Metaphorical work

I haven’t written in an age. Did you notice, really?

I haven’t felt drawn to share much. A web of physical pain and some emotional (let’s call them spiritual) entanglements and confusions, some quiet disillusionment about modern yoga — all threatening stagnation in my practice but ultimately providing shitty fertilizer which has allowed for some growth and maturity.

I feel a little wiser, a little more discerning.

Actually I just feel more.

I was with my bodyworker today. We’ve had maybe a dozen sessions together now. She’s always an inspiration to me, both very like me and very unlike me. Our past histories run along some parallel lines, on opposite sides of the Atlantic and a few years apart. Since last spring we’ve travelled a long way together. Or rather she’s looked on as I have meandered, circled, fallen down, picked myself up and just recently started skipping forward with a bit more bounce. I wonder a little what my progress looks like from the outside? Except that she’s not outside, she’s feeling and probing with her intelligent fingers, she reads my body like a book in Braille. She tells me things about myself that I can’t articulate or that I haven’t yet noticed, but which make perfect sense when she speaks of them. How can she read so much, with such clarity?

She observed this week how much I’ve changed overall and how much more in my body I am. She ventured to tell me that I looked well, but only after she’d taken care to hear my story, not pre-judging my smile. It’s been a confusion these past weeks of a family bereavement and all the heavy grief of that. Yet underlying the sadness there’s been a steady state for more than a month now of what we ventured to label santosha, a contentment not dependent on every day events or circumstances, some deeper sense of belonging and stability. She was humble enough not to credit this entirely to Rolfing, observing that I’ve been working towards this for years through my sadhana. Maybe now is the time for those seeds to ripen.

Our time together usually concludes with the gentlest of all homeworks, the merest suggestion of something I might play with. Today was to imagine effervescence bubbling out from my ears and from the top of my head, to imagine myself as a vessel without blockages but open at the top. The metaphor delighted me. The whole time together was a series of creative expressions. How else can one describe experiences of the body? Subtle sensations defy anatomical description or any technical vocabulary.

We started with her impaling me through my breastbone and me trying to soften the tissues around the stake, work on one scapula where there was a lot of soreness was as though she stabbed me in the back. But it wasn’t all so violent. We also dreamed up an interpretative dance performance to express my Rolfing journey, which then turned into an opera as she conceded my strengths might be more with words than dance!

By the time we got to my effervescent ears I was ready for any metaphor. If only all my homework seemed so delightful. Back on the train home, and I checked my emails to find details about registration for my Sanskrit exams. No delightful metaphors there, just a lot of hard work.

4 thoughts on “Metaphorical work

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  1. Sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like a heavy time for you. I’ve also been there with the modern yoga disillusionment. My wiser self says this is a sign of progress. I appreciate your dedication to study Sanskrit. Try to find joy in what you are doing during this time. Many blessings!

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