yogāyoga

Mid to late afternoon, after tea, after reading Tagore. I lie down on the couch and curl up like a comma. Not to sleep, but to go quietly inside and think things through.

Today, I am considering the collision of world-views.

A few blog posts back I considered this distance that separates in the air you breathe: the inevitability of the separation that results from being coiled into our cultural cocoons.

The divide is fractal, existing not only on the macro level of culture, but on the micro level of any two individuals. We are all blind, in varying degrees, to the ground upon which we stand. We look out into the world, thinking that we see objectively. But the really real is veiled by the innumerable beliefs we hold about it.

What to do, then? Just give up and sink into the false conviction that only my world-view is real?

It occurs to me that attempting to bridge the gap is why we’re here. Here, now, in apparent isolation from everything else. Our attempts to find connection may often be clumsy and miss the mark. But we can’t give up the project.

This conundrum reminds me of the title of one of Tagore’s novels: Yogayog. That is, yoga + ayoga. Yoga – connection, and its opposite – ayoga – separation. The former is the ultimate reality that underlies everything. The latter is the relative reality in which we spend most of our time.

May we support each other in the attempt to bridge the gap and find connection. The survival of everything depends upon this.

Connection…

So.

Today I connected, via Zoom, with my new Bharatanatyam teacher for the first time.

A miracle of connection in a time of isolation!

As it turns out, Supratim Talukder is not only a brilliant dancer, but a talented and engaging teacher as well. Oh, and did I say patient? Because between nervousness and the newness of this art form for me, I was a little slow on the uptake. Being thrust into raw beginner mode – it’s very humbling, to say the least. And oh so good for putting that troublesome ego into its place!

I am really looking forward to my next lessons. A blessing of connection in a pandemic that has touched us all: from Kolkata to Ottawa, and everywhere in between.

I’ll leave you with a video my teacher (wow! I can say that now: my teacher) created as a kind of public service announcement called Isolation.

F is for family…

– and fun and frenetic and FOOD and – farewells. (Those will happen far too soon.)

The holidays have been a delightful dance of train and airport pickups and drop offs. With three out of four children living at a considerable distance from the family home, these times of confluence are beyond precious.

As we each create our unique choreographies in our own home bases, there is always a little period of adjustment when we come together once again, and find out how to dance together now.

Listening. Observing. Connecting in the dance.

What a blessing!

IMG_3688IMG_3687IMG_3689IMG_3685

 

A is for… absence.

(As a little writing challenge, I have decided to create a lexicon of musings… This is the first instalment.)

Today I listened to a radio recording of Stuart McLean’s Christmas special.

Stuart worked in various capacities for CBC radio over 40 years. The Vinyl Café was a much-loved show that focused around his heart-warming story-telling. This broadcast was recorded live last year, just before he took a leave of absence for cancer treatments. His last words on the show:

See you next year!

But that was not to be. He passed away some time after that recording. Today’s broadcast was poignant – a celebration of his warm-hearted presence on the airwaves, and in people’s hearts, for all those years.

Hearing his voice today I acknowledged his presence, and felt his absence.

IMG_3665

connection and grace

Well this is a little embarrassing.

If you read the previous post, you will already know the first part of this story. So… next day scenario! Today I am scheduled to take my car (with a flat tire) into the garage: in addition to fixing the flat, the winter tires will be put on. But since the tire is flat, I call roadside assistance to put a spare tire on so that I can drive to the garage.

Service truck arrives. I have to back the car up a few feet so that J.T. can access the tire. I look at the tire pressure indicator, expecting it to be very low…but it’s showing 176 KP (190 is normal). Walking out to VIEW the tire – it hardly appears to be flat at all! It had been parked in a dip in the pavement and it looked really flat… especially since I had expected it to be flat (for the record, my husband had the same reaction).

I apologize to J.T. about the call, which proved unnecessary. He generously regales me with a story about another unnecessary call he had made, which was even more amusing. He creates a moment of human connection. Grace.

Since I have a little bit of time before the service appointment, I decide to take a little walk  and run into my neighbour – the recipient of yesterday’s soup. Another happy connection. Grace.

Off to the car dealership/garage where I have agreed to meet with a salesperson who is to do an estimate on the car just in case we want to trade it in. In our meeting it comes out that he has been in a car accident the night before… and our conversation turns to the impact of this trauma, the inherent kindness of certain individuals who appear when this type of event occurs, and life’s higher purpose. We make a meaningful connection. Grace.

Then it turned out that the shuttle driver recognizes me from a tai chi class that he had tried out last year. He shares about chronic pain he has had to endure, his wistful remembrances of being strong and fit, and his attempts to quiet his perturbed mind through sitting meditation practice. No small talk here: we find connection in the deep challenges of life. Grace.

So this is my little story of how an almost, but not quite, flat tire led me into a day of connection and grace.

IMG_3461