Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Do Know When The TIme is Right?

I have been waiting and wondering, with great frustration, for a sign to come to me to know when the time would be right to return to dance. I am still struggling with back and mostly hip pain, stuck energy, chi, according to my acupuncturist, so how would I know when to be able to resume dancing? After much deliberation yesterday, I decided that last night was the time to dive in gently and try to meet my body where it is now, and dance. To even change my definition of what dance is. I knew I would have to take extra care of my body, and stay present with it at ever moment, not something I like to practice. For some reason, I felt unnecessarily nervous going back, but it reminded me of Where The Wild Things Are,  when Max returns home after all his adventures, and "his dinner was still warm". Well, my place in the dance studio was kept warm for me by my dance family. I even had an envelope waiting for me with some lines chosen for me, and saved by my fellow dancers in my absence. It was so sweet to sip that nectar, and receive my much missed and needed hugs. They told me I had had the best lines and I agree. The three lines were:

"I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of 

(Indeed I want that!!!)

"full of gorgeous life" (Yes! Yes!)

"and you try" (always a bit too much)

So I decided to "try". My body at once felt at home, as I chose my own line this time, from the current Mary Oliver poem, The Messenger, and it could not have been more perfect, once again:

 "Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird"

It made me think about my experience at the lake this past week and my life. I was gifted with the spotting of no less than three hummingbirds on my feeder at once! I thought about how hard the hummingbird works to stay suspended in air, as it flutters it's wings, sipping the nectar, yet he makes it look effortless. They can actually hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second although they appear to be suspended and still. I think it sometimes must seem like I "do" life effortlessly, yet I work incredibly hard at it, yet rarely stay still. What lessons to be learned from observing nature, and then from looking within. Can I stop flapping my wings, and trying so hard? Can I slow down and listen to the rhythm within? Can I truly try to make my life feel effortless. The only deadlines are those I choose, yet I always feel as if I am flapping 80 times per second. Where does the effortlessness lie?

I thought about how the large sunflower reaches toward the sun, even during times when she is not aware that the sun, the hope of summer, is there for the reaching. It grows tall and strong each year and then drops it's seeds for the future. 

There were many lines that resonated with me from the poem last night.

 "Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?",
made me think of the comfort of wearing or experiencing something that is so known and so incredibly comfortable that it feels like a second skin like Tim's line:

 "these body-clothes"
the place that gives us comfort but is not necessarily the persona we wear in the world. 

An then of course G's line:

"Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? "

What is young? Is it a number, a feeling in an aging hurting body, or a feeling in one's heart and spirit. I choose to stay young even though my body so often tells me differently. And what is "half-perfect"? Is there such a thing? I have always felt that way, but there is such a yearning energy to be somehow better, and one I would like to discard like a lizard leaves his no longer useful skin.

And finally, Michael, who was celebrating having turned an amazing 70 years old, the day before, and seems like he is in his 50's in movement, body and spirit. His line was:

"Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here".

That is the biggest piece to try to remember. All the ingredients are here, and you don't have to flap your wings 80 times a second to stay aloft in the air or to stay afloat in life, to keep your head above water. You don't have to try. All the ingredients are indeed here already in this moment, this body, at this age, in this heart and spirit. And my heart does not have to beat 23 times a second, like the hummingbird, to do this!


by Mary Oliver

"My work is loving the world.

Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird
—equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?

Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?

                                                                                          Let me keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be


The phoebe, the delphinium.

The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.

Which is mostly rejoicing, 

since all the ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, 

to be given a mind and a heart and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over,

 how it is that we live forever."

No comments: