Sunday, March 29, 2009

Look for the white spaces

Arriving at yoga early for once, I used the time to meditate on balance, a quality I've been trying to regain for much of this calendar month.  The blog has fallen by the wayside as a consequence.  Is it surprising to me that I've been thrown off-balance?  Not at all.  I look back at the entry that started this month, March 4 with its disappointing news regarding Robert's diagnosis: mostly I've felt stunned into silence.  

This morning, lying on the purple mat and thinking and thinking: balance.  And the class, perhaps not coincidentally, focused on balance.  A little Twilight Zone music, please.  Tree, warrior three, half-moon, revolved half-moon, inverted half-split, and some simpler pose the name of which I can never quite remember. Usually, balance is my worst subject, but not today.  Today I could do these things.

Balance, definition of: focus, release of fear, movement or power from the center to the periphery, confidence, engagement of the whole (body).

This month, I've sought to rebalance a number of aspects of my life--engage more fully with writing (poetry) again, draft new work, assemble a chapbook, connect with some old friends, revise.  Push the exterior world with its noise and its chaos out and away in all directions; let the still center expand outward to fill the space.  And the interior pushed outward and the exterior pushed inward at roughly the same degree of engagement: balance.

Balance has always been my worst subject.  Even as a kid, I was never good at downhill skiing in part because I was afraid of falling.  And somewhere in yoga today, I figured out (maybe for just the one time, maybe for the longer term) how to locate the mental lever that releases that fear.

I found it a week or so ago, different activity, in the library drafting a poem from notes I'd kept for the better part of a year.  Let's just say it's about Queen Anne cherries and NYC.  The world and its noise were pushing in, and an image came to mind from a conversation I'd had a month or two ago with a friend.  And I was able to breathe and push back at that internal anxiety soundtrack that interferes with so much.

I'm going to share this image, in part because I know some other mothers of disabled children read this blog intermittently, and maybe this will ring true for one of them or for someone else as well.  A friend explained what he meant by a skiing reference he'd made--turn in the white, miss the black:

It meant I skied through an area that burned a year or so ago, so it was all black snags and white snow--turn in the white, don't hit the black--about the only black and white decision I'll ever make, of course, since the trees are fairly tightly spaced and looking down the slope means they sort of run together.  You have to look for white, focus on the spaces, not the obstacles--or you'll hit them.

And that it what I have been doing: focusing on the spaces, ignoring the obstacles, looking for bright white light.  I've never had a mantra, but now I do.  And when I say it and visualize skiing it, I can.


Maggie May said...

These words are close to my heart. I struggle terrifically with balance, fail, try again, fail, pick up, etc.
I have 'moments' of balance. Yoga was very important to me at one time, I hope to incorporate it again.

Elizabeth said...

As usual, I read your posts, however rare, and have to really savor them. This one in particular is so resonant, and the white and the black imagery fantastic. I'll think about it for days, if not months, to come. Thank you so much for your insights and your beautiful writing.