Friday, May 17, 2013

Tomorrow: back and forth

My little dude stood at the front of the room, two cinder blocks holding up a piece of plywood. I could see him breathe in and out a few times, rehearse in his mind the movement and then go to strike. Strike means putting his little paw through a board.

A board. Breaking a board.

I kissed these hands tonight. They are small, somewhat gamey and dirty...who knew they could be the delivery of such power.

D has been in martial arts for five years now. In that time, I have seen him grow from a kid who was unsteady and unsure about engaging to a force to be reckoned with on the mat. I love watching him work through the forms that require memory and patterning. I love watching him bring power and precision to something he loves. Mostly, I love that this is a space that has been a constant for him for five years. A great teacher/master/mentor, good friends who practice with him, work that his body and mind know well: all a part of this journey he's been on for five years. When you are approaching 10, 5 years is half of your lifetime.

Tomorrow he goes for his black belt. There have been essays to write, there have been pictures to take and forms to brush up on and patches to be sewn on. It's a beginning, not and end, but it feels like a huge mile marker in this little guy's life. It started in Kindergarten and we are here on the brink of middle school. So much has changed, but he remains the still amazing boy.

Good luck tomorrow, chico. We love you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

From Inside the Center

I began to write this post ages ago and then read a post from one of my favorite yoga writers. It's really the essence of everything I wanted to say in a single line:

And a constant feeling of being broken open from inside the center of the chest, to everything. Everything.  -Inside Owl

Flat on my back, eyes closed, I'm summoning the courage to move my hands into position. Then, moving my feet in towards my sits bones, I pause again, playing into the nattering around the edges of something when that something needs to be done but the will isn't there.

Now I'm thinking about why I am pausing, what is holding me back from lifting, arching my back, leaning into my outstretched arms, moving into full Urdva Dhanurasana (Wheel pose).

Now I'm thinking about how this thinking is really an excuse to pause more.

Finally I push up, fearful, and feel the familiar pull of too much scar tissue, the shakiness in shoulders and legs, the arch of an unseasoned back. I push forward onto my hands and breathe through five inhalations and exhalations. Sometimes my teacher comes to brace my shoulders and pull me deeper into the pose. By tradition, I'm in it for two more and by the end I'm lying on the mat, nearly in tears.

I've been spending a lot of time wondering why I am so scared of the Wheel. Different theories, mostly about my physical nature, abound:  I don't trust my own strength; I fear that my arms will fail and I will fall on my head; I know the feeling of the scar tissue stretching freaks me out.

But in the great-grand scheme of things, this asana is an exposition on fragility, of evolving, of pushing out, of trusting oneself, of asking others for support and of finding the opening that leads you forward. It is opening your heart, being vulnerable. It is flexing your spine that has grown rigid and static. It's brilliant and scary. As I do it more, it doesn't necessarily get easier. In fact, it seems to get harder, in many ways, to hurdle the fear and push into it anyway.

But I breathe and go, breathe and go, breathe and go and then let myself take it in, this feeling of discomfort and fear that so clearly mirrors the interior of my mind.

To everything. Everything.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Motherless Day

For Denise, in particular.

I am declaring a new National Holiday, Motherless Day.

It's a day where the legions of us motherless daughters will meet in a beautiful place to grieve. Tents will crop up with signs outside that say "Lost The Best Woman Ever", "Unresolved Shit", "Denial", "Guilt", "Sadness", "Struggling to Be the Woman She'd Want Me to Be", "Grief", "Will Never Be the Same". Inside there will be Listeners who know when to nod, when to hand over tissue, when to comment. Listeners are alumnae of the former year's camp who come back year after year because it's never over. Because nobody knows like another motherless daughter.

There will be special sessions on "Surviving that Fucking Hallmark Holiday" both for motherless daughters who have no children and have to suffer through a day of total reminder of every inch of loss and for daughters who themselves are mothers and have to plaster on the smile knowing that their own girls look to this day as a day to love someone who someday will be no more.

Screw the Avon walk. I want a Motherless Day.

At night we motherless daughters will make mad feasts of our mothers' finest foods. Comfort food like Velveeta and rotel or Chicken in Wine sauce or delicious tenderloin cooked to perfection and topped with a cold bernaise. We will tell stories of how we learned to cook at our mother's elbow, just as I taught my girl today, or how our mothers were lousy cooks but could order like champs. 

We will make the first toast to our lost mothers with their favorite mother's little helper: chablis, cheap scotch, valium... spanning the years of Halston dresses and power suits and jogging suits and nightgowns that we remember from our youth.

But most of all, we will wander this space of lostness, of being cast slightly adrift in the absence of that anchor that moored us. But we won't be alone.

It's a big tent. Come on in.