Greetings, shalom & namaste from the anti-blogospher(e)!
And before I proceed to a much overdue post, the biggest and grandest of non-secular Happy Holidays to all of you!
Apologies as well in advance, for the dearth of holiday and year-end gifts.
I am ending 2017 with a continuation of minimized consumerism. This shopping ban, that I am down one year now, has evoked the Scroogish.
It will not get in the way of the flow of gratitude, however.
Zero looks the same upside down
Credit: Nirupa FatFinger drawings on her trusty iphone. Zero looks the same upside down.
This year, I have shamelessly been the recipient of extraordinary acts of kindness from friends, family and strangers.
And for this, I will be grateful beyond 2017.
Please accept this electronically signed token of gratitude. I hope to be returning such favors of hospitality in the near future :)
Back to gifts….
Biggie my alter-ego, aka Grumps, got a lifetime membership to the Club of New Perspective for Kwanukkah this year
(Yes, we celebrate Kwanza and Hannukah as one mish-mashed occasion in this household)…
I thought a new “perspect” and “aspect” should do Biggs some good.
Etymologically, I am also loving how aspect and perspect-ive are close cousins. Please allow me the word-goofery here)
To start 2018 on the right note, we are going to need a major shift in perspect and aspect, after all.
Middle English, attested since 1381, from Old - or Middle French, from the first word of the Medieval Latin perspectiva ars (“science of optics”), the feminine of perspectivus (“of sight, optical”), from perspectus, the past participle of perspicere (“to inspect, look through”), itself from per- (“through”) + specere (“to look at”); the noun sense was influenced or mediated by Italian prospettiva, from prospetto (“prospect”).
And further, an apology, not an excuse upfront.
I have been deliciously delinquent in my blogging. And delightfully remorseless about this.
All the unwritten blogs shall wait for their asthmatic, wheezing turns. This is in the spirit of a non-striving, non-bullet-pointed, no to do list kind of year isn’t it?
First a year in recap
The journey of demotion to a zero in 2017, meant going into dramatic reverse gear of all kinds, inverting patterns, subverting habits that did not serve, and dealing with the gnarly curiosities of closet and life.
And I continue forth on this journey, bumpily and blissfully like a fish on a unicycle!
My progressive shift in lifestyle is slowly and steadily moving me toward a new center of distribution, with new perspective in tow, on all the glorious things that matter, and all the beautiful things that don’t.
This particular movement through time, space and the multiple coordinates of life with a new perspective, I now call adapting to a new center of gravity.
The center at points seems askew. It is all still new, in motion and in process. And the balance therein, tenuous and shifty (not being punny).
Which brings me to the subject of this B-log.
Shifts in normals, shifts in the center of distribution, shifts in a center of gravity.
Allow me to explain please.
And think normal distribution- but for human behaviors, with their erratic curves, with lots and lots of tails.
So to close this half year’s worth of writing, I am looping back to tie this new aspect of “perspecting” to blog number 1- of inversions and becoming a zero.
For purposes of this post, let’s merely keep this in the space of going upside down, physically I mean, like below, in Shalambha Shirasana, in yoga.
And what this does to shifting the center of distribution of weight and hence, balance.
And further, perhaps I can extend the analogy to how going upside down can relate to shifts in perspective and aspecting.
For the more enlightened read on what inversions do to perspective, please go to the fierce post from Jules Febre from Jivamukti Yoga- “A Version of Inversion”
The world looks like a different place upside down.
When upside down, floors become ceilings and ceilings-floors, fans spin on floors, hands do the walking, your vision orients to legs and feet of furniture.
You are viewing the world at a certain base, ground level, bottom up.
Adapting to a new center of gravity involves building all kinds of new muscle memory
The body-mind does not have muscle memory of being upside down. Combined with an altered point of view, it can be disorienting.
Upside down, my body’s orientation to the tenuous space of emptiness into seeming infinity, becomes an extraordinary act of balancing and recalibrating an internal point of view.
Adjusting to gravity upside down becomes a delicate lever between thrusting up while being pushed down and sideways.
It involves dropping and tuning in intensely into different body signals, its creaks, complaints and the way it reflects comfort and ease in breath.
And the stories!
Oh there are many stories floating inside, especially in inversions.
And discerning the ones that serve versus the ones that don’t serve is practice unto itself.
“This headstand might launch me into life long paralysis.”
“Oh shucks, what if I roll backwards, hit my neighbor in the nose, and then they sue me for all my money. Do I have to declare bankruptcy immediately!”
“Does my butt look tight, as I am falling in slo-mo?”
So I have built muscle memory in small increments.
And in different approaches.
And Like with all good things, there was a catalyst.
It came in the form of chronic pain, a neck injury and the premature onset of arthritis.
Thanks to this glorious, middling list, I have had to slow down, both in my asana practice and outside.
And stop striving.
When headstands were not to be had for over 10 years of a steady and building asana practice, I had to let headstands be. I dropped the muscling and determining my way to inversions. Because it was just not happening.
Here is a fun fact- dropping the zealousness and determination to be a headstander has helped me move closer to headstands.
The entry point to gnarly things might not be head-on, literally….
The approach was not to practice headstands everyday. It was to familiarize the body-mind in other asanas, and inversions in supported ways.
I built shoulder strength and openness through less intimidating poses. I got my body used to suspending upside down through aerial yoga, within the safety and support of a hammock. I then moved to handstands against the wall.
Over time, I built muscle memory across numerous bodily data points, finetuning my internal body awareness all the while.
This included calibrating more acutely to the center of gravity of the body, the integrated region of the core and the pelvis.
A new respect for the body developed, as an integrated supported whole, whose fulcrum rests in the core.
Muscle memory built gradually and gently over time, in small increments, critically tipped into trust and confidence.
And all of this asked for practice, a constant and steady practice.
One that involved just showing up to the mat, tuning into the body and allowing it go where it wanted to go.
working with limitations in this way, switching to the mode of non-striving and introducing play and patience, has led to a dramatic shift in center of gravity, of movement, balance and attitude.
The reframed perspective looks like this.
Injury and chronic pain are now windows of opportunity to develop presence. Body presence and deep internal body wisdom.
I follow presence through my body. The body is always present. The mind will learn to follow.
On any given day, I do not know what awaits me on the mat. But I show up and allow for the practice to unfold.
Additional bonus, through this exercise, I stumbled upon a new technique of problem solving.
The practice of doing other things, perhaps gets you to approach a particularly gnarly problem in a new way, by shifting the vantage point of practice.
And lastly, the wondrous thing about zeros is that they look the same upside down, inside out… they present themselves as zeros all around, even when inverted.
2017 introduced me to the beautiful symmetry of being a zero and the additivity that comes with it. So why not make another year of it.
So 2018, here I come, fiercely emboldened by the spirit, symmetry, boundless additivity and the wholesome continuity of zero.