Saturday, July 11, 2009

Riding the Tree

Hello, gentle reader! Its been a doozy of a two weeks, we are going to consider this "corollary training" or something, because I haven't spent much time working on my fitness, in fact, the last time I posted from the Bridger Ridge is the last time I went out and did something strong.

But I've come up against a situation, another one, that has to do with behaviors that I want to change in my life, that of taking on too much, working myself into pieces, then dropping the ball for two or three weeks while I recover.

I've decided on a multi disciplinary approach to find the kernel at the heart of these issues, dig it out, examine it, learn from it, make a change, and move on (and then make a change, make a change, make a change, because ONE thing I've learned this year is that you can't expect it all to happen at once. As Shrek said, Ogers are like Onions, they have layers. And pathologies, too, are like onions, and its gotta be an interesting journey that you are invested in taking in order to keep peeling!)

So, I'm going to counseling with the amazing and talented Amy Keefer, and getting a LOT of body work from Tamara, MaryLee and Renee, trying hard to connect with this amazing intuitive Aubrey (but I'm sabotaging myself from getting to her, wonder why that can be? hmmm), and getting acupuncture from Brendan Kelly at Great Turnings.

And something is happening. Its frustrating, its the most frustrating process I've been through so far, because I don't like it when the path out is unclear.

I'm not going to document my entire process through this, but as the epiphanies become clear, I'll share them with you. I'm excited to focus on this part of my training, because, as it relates to being on the Demo team, I need to be absolutely reliable. I need to live with integrity (which I learned yesterday means INTEGRATED, not just responsible). And in order to have my trainers, coaches, and support team feel confident that what they are giving to me isn't wasted, and in order for the Team leaders to feel that they can depend on me, I need to and am going to make this change. But its going to take time. Its a good thing I've got three years!

The weird thing about this one is that I like to tackle practical problems with a very linear attitude. I'm having trouble applying patience and compassion to myself here, because learning to manage money and time are two things that are simply grown up responsibilities, things that simply need to be done, like the dishes.

And I'm rebelling against them in strange ways. For instance, I had $300 in my wallet from working on Wednesday. Which I didn't deposit for three days, even though I needed to, could have, and should have. I actively CHOSE not to. This is not good, this is certainly sabotage. This is illustrating the issue.

Here is the eerie thing. So I've decided to focus intensely on this issue for the last two weeks, and into the next two at least. In the last two days, since I started working on it with my support group of acupuncturist, counselor, and body workers, I'm hearing EXACTLY the same thing from all of them, and none of them are talking to each other. I mean, sometimes, I have 15 minutes between appointments, and its just been very weird to hear this. Maybe someone is trying to tell me something? Am I listening? I guess we will find out.

They are telling me to be compassionate with myself. They are asking me to give myself grace. I chafed at this for some reason, even though unconditional love and compassion, patience and grace are the foundations on which I lay my own practice, my life, and my relationships.

I've come to some beginnings of understandings about incorporating these things into this issue, but how they plug into being able to balance my check book reliably is hard for me to see. The picture is gelling, I have whispers of connectivity. I'll share more as I wander through this area.

Right now, I'm going to go for my first hike in three weeks, and I know its been a while, because suddenly, I don't want to go, I have a million other things I could do, and its become easy to say, oh, I'll do it this afternoon, or tomorrow morning.

I know that the only way to break that cycle is to face it head on and go do it. Not a huge one, maybe just up Kirk Hill, but off I go.

Below is a meditation I did while I was in session with Tamara, it was astounding to me to experience, and I thought I'd share it with you. You should know that I was focusing on the aggression and frustration I have at myself at not being able to make this change, and this was what came out of that:

Tamara took this moment to travel back down to my sacrum and hold there, accessing the place of calm, and inviting me to view my back as a ladder or a tree. I saw a tree, and began slowly and steadily climbing it, and she, from far far away, told me that the branches get thinner as I reach the top, but that they are no less able to hold me up, she disappeared, the room disappeared, my existence disappeared, and this is what I experienced:

The tree top sways high above the earth. All there is is green and space, the sun on the left side of my face, warming me, my cheek, my ear, my arm. The branches, now willow thin, support me, though I don't trust them completely.

He is standing comfortably, in flip flops, in the crook of a branch impossibly small to hold him. He is smiling, pleased I have reached him at last, he has something to show me. His face is smooth, soft, and full of youth, I've known him for a long time, but I'm shy to meet him again. His name is Lapso. He smiles at me with his whole being, patient, but bubbling with joy.

He says, "I want to show you something." And his eyes shine. He's been waiting to reveal this great secret to me. I'm humbled, serious, ready to hear the great truth. He sits down, wrapping the tiny, cord like wisp around his leg, and smiles at me with total acceptance, no fear at all, and the branch he is on slowly bends to the east, he sails gracefully through the breeze, the tree moving all around him as though it, too, enjoys this simple game. He disappears into the canopy of the tree top, his branch bent deeply. I wait, forgetting to feel unsure and unstable, wondering how long it will be till he reappears, still feeling the breeze that took his branch linger on my skin.

An eternity passes, and moments later, slowly, the thicker portion of his branch reappears, like a fishing pole with a heavy catch on the end, gracefully the limb unbends, and my friend comes back into view, a gentle thrumming heart, a tiny dot of saffron and maroon, a glimpse of bare toes, he's kicked off his shoe so he might feel the breeze, and the leaves as he travels through them. As he goes sailing past me, I feel the impossibility of what he is doing, I feel fear for him, I feel desire to experience freedom like this.

He smiles again like a young child at a favorite game, rolling down a grassy hill, safe and free, and the branch bends to the west, and he disappears again, grinning. I wait and watch, feeling the sun moving slowly so my whole face and chest are bathed with its heat, the back of my arms are chilly, the air around us is thin, crisp, and vital. I sit down to wait, realizing the tree will hold me, no matter its thin branches. I feel the root of the tree through my small connection with it outermost limb. I feel the thick base of the tree, I follow the ancient, gnarled root deep into the earth, where it to becomes young, new, thin and growing, reaching outward, downward, just as the tiny branch that I rest in.

The tree, which has been swaying gently, rocking me with it, opens to allow Lapso to reappear again, the weight of his body slowing the ascent of the branch, he comes into view impossibly slowly. In his body I feel the pull of gravity, the gentle counter force of the unbending limb and the freedom of flight. As he nears me, he waves his hand to join him, turns his face to the east, stands, one leg trailing out, one arm in the breeze, and face turned toward his descent, he joyfully disappears again.

I decide to follow, and as soon as the thought enters my mind, the branch begins to bend, I am allowed to ride the rhythm of the tree as it bows gracefully into itself. There is no fear, only freedom, and I feel myself slowing as the lower branches and trunk get closer. It is cooler down here, inside the tree, a different view and world than in the heady clear bright young tops. There is a still point, a pause where nothing happens, and in this moment I listen to the thrumming of the tree, its entire world presented to me in a moment, bugs crawling in between fathomless valleys of bark, energy running through the channels to the translucent new green leaves, I see and feel the earth around the root, the cool, damp, internal visage of the heart of the tree, I fly into the root and up through the ancient trunk, down my own bent branch and out into the leaves that I cling to, that cling to me, and we both want sunlight, and so, the branch begins to unbend, and we sail back up, gaining speed as we burst through the canopy with amazing speed, but a sensation of all as it should be.

Lapso has gone, vanished, and I do not miss him nor long for his company, I feel that to honor him, I must apply myself to the joy and the lesson he has handed me. I turn toward the west, and let go with one hand and one foot, I am barefoot, I am translucent, and the branch begins its descent.

All photos courtesy of the amazing photographers on Flickr. To see the photostream of any of these artists, please click on the individual photo.

1 comment:

Jongira said...

Integrity is also related to "integral", that is, something which is essential to completeness. (I'll guess that completeness and balance are close kin).

I truly enjoyed your Lapso meditation image, riding the sky on gossamer branches of trust. (and also the photo images you found to illustrate it, even tho the text was enough).

- J