After introducing a new step or hand position, my Bharatanatyam teacher, Supratim Talukder, always seems to ask me this. I understand his meaning: do I understand the new step? But the way he phrases it generally pushes me to an existential level: do I have any doubts?
Well, um, yes.
When I wake up greeted by grey skies hiding the sun… When I read another pandemic related article in the newspaper… When I reflect on the many ways the current lockdown is impacting lives…
But today the sun, reflected by white snow, turned the world bright. A safely distanced walk with friends rekindled life-giving communion. And I learned some new dance steps in my class – Natya Adavus 1, 2 & 3!
Doubt transformed into delight, hope, and joy.
Life continually offers possibilities that have the potential to banish all doubt. We swim in beauty. Possibilities for connection are endless, transformative, and absolutely life-giving. So many blessings, so much to be thankful for! I leave you with a dance that celebrates that beauty – in the enchanted world of Vrindavan.
Interesting territory today. He asked me to use my own movement vocabulary to explore the theme of birthing.
This takes me into some pretty deep waters. My own experiences birthing my four children, of course. And… the birth of my first grandchild! – and the rebirth of the light at the imminent solstice – and a friend’s story of a woman pregnant and on the road during the first months of the lockdown in India, giving birth – and the Christ, born into poverty in a stable –
– and the Earth Mother groaning to birth our world.
And the ways we’ve systematically destroyed Her creation…
It will be interesting to see where this takes me.
There has been a little turbulence in my life lately – some of my own making, some from other sources… I’ve been looking at how I respond/react… At times, it’s in such a way that increases suffering, at other times in such a way that is a little more skillful, and may even invite in the possibility of happiness.
But in all this, the question: who is the one doing these actions? A good person? A bad person?
I’ve recently concluded: neither. It’s all a flowing context that includes me (and everything else). And what is important is, do my actions increase the suffering in this context – or do my actions lessen the potential suffering in this context – ?
I cannot rest on any previously acquired “laurels” saying that I am a “kind/compassionate/patient/loving” person, because then I go ahead and succumb to anger and have a meltdown that places me into a different category entirely!
The “suffering/happiness” that my actions create is all that matters.
If only I can bear this in mind when it comes down to the crunch! A little pause to reflect on the potential consequences of my actions, enough to allow reason to influence the decision to respond with kindness, compassion, patience, and love.
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with kindness;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with compassion;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with patience;
Through all of life’s turbulence, may I respond with love.
Starting with Paterson , a brilliant and unconventional film exploration of what it means to move through the world as a poet. Please find space to let it move through your world.
Pranayama and prayer: I’ve been thinking a lot about these two lately, with the conclusion that they aren’t two, but one. The pulsation of breath is prayer, although we mostly remain unconscious of it. Life is about becoming conscious breathers and aligning our life force with the greater Life Force that moves through us in these tidal waves.
Prakrti pulsating (more P words!) in praise! (Pure poetry…!)