embodied wisdom: 15-mile meditation

My foot, poised for motion, rests upon solid Earth.

My lungs balloon open to capture Air. An expansion that readies my heart for the journey.

Oxygen combusts into compassion. Fueled, I step into Wind’s welcoming arms.

Blade-sharp chill cuts through illusion.
Clear comprehension arises.

Movement is my refuge: those sensations, vibrating upward from sole to soul, become a massage that awakens equanimity.

Steady footfalls, rhythmic and soothing, lull mind inward.

Penetrating deeply but gently. Flushed through arteries to appendages. Aligned. Attuned.

The course (my design) landmarked by old injuries and hard-won victories in self-understanding.

A training in awareness: an inside-out, 360 degree study of my body gliding through space, covering distances immeasurable by miles.

No striving. No pursuing. (No race, no finish line, no medal.)

Simply abiding.

Cheered on by the thrumming of heart and the rejoicing of cells and muscle fibers.

Spirit soars. Boundless.

In call and response, I am guided by the synergistic conversation between my lungs and legs.

Who will lead? Walk now? Or run? They negotiate in whispers with the lumbar.

Adjustments are made to pace and posture. Muscles contract and relax in a reassuring hug.

My complex weave of supple tissues and resilient fibers, in harness, I am anchored–

Head to heart, hip to heel–as shoulder blades kiss my spine to bolster each vertebrae toward open Sky.

By my stride: 30,000 steps or so.

By my breath: a fusion of body, mind and heart.

Reclaimed. Reconciled. I am solid, steady, free. In this body. As it is.

embodied practice: on whole body awareness

Living, the whole body carries its meaning and tells its own story, standing, sitting, walking, awake or asleep.

It pulls all the life up into the face of the philosopher, and sends it all down into the legs of the dancer.

A casual world over-emphasizes the face. Memory likes to recall the whole body.

It is not our parents’ faces that come back to us, but their bodies, in the accustomed chairs, eating, sewing, smoking, doing all familiar things.

We remember each as a body in action…

Thus the stuff of the ages goes into man’s thinking,
is interpreted and comes out in movement and posture again.
Personality goes into structure—by denial or affirmation into person again.
It is an aspect of life in evolution.

~Mabel E. Todd
The Thinking Body

embodied practice: on noticing happiness (+ all that arises)

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” 

~Kurt Vonnegut, “Knowing What’s Nice,” an essay from In These Times (2003)

embodied practice: reclaiming the spirit of wonder

Recall the religion you practiced as a child. Not the religion you were tutored in,
but the religion before religion, when the vast Heaven and wondrous Earth were truly one…
Can you remember what it was like to walk in the midst of a world of miracles?
Can you remember ever traveling within a world of pure delight with a joy untainted by craving or aversion?

~Frank Jude Boccio, Mindfulness Yoga

What Part of You is Free?

“He who argues for his limitations gets to keep them.” ~ Richard Bach

Wow! To be “committed to stuck-ness”
Such a powerful statement about an equally powerful position to be caught in:
gripped by pain, fear, anger, self-doubt, feelings of helplessness and defeat.

Constantly hearing the voice of the inner critic calling out our flaws and weaknesses. We wince and turn away. Our vision now obstructed, dimmed.

To reframe this question (to refresh our perspective and broaden the view) is to unravel what has us so tightly bound.

This is a timely contemplation for our practice of awakening the voice of self-compassion and love. This voice speaks in gentle and reassuring tones with discernment and wisdom.
We open our eyes to witness the illusions dissolve, remembering that what makes us whole and free is not always visible to the unskilled eye.

Related

Yogic concept + practice of Pratipaksha Bhavana

Linda Stone

This post was written several years ago.  I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments…

From January 2010

I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen.  I’m right-handed.  I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there.  I remember something my doctor said, “When you wake up, pay attention to what is working.  Put all your attention on that.” 

I scan my body.   My left arm is great.   Okay, left arm, show me what you can do.  I reach to grab one of the headboard spindles, and use my left arm to roll over and hoist myself up.  My left leg is working pretty well, too.  I lean against the wall and drag myself into the bathroom.  Home run.  I may be right-handed, but my left arm rules.

A few…

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