“When we are very, very still, in the way that meditation allows us to be, we can find the space to let everything be as it is.  It is from that space you will find the room you need to see who you are and how you fit in the world.”

-Angel Kyodo Williams, opening quote, Meditations from the Mat

Day 309 – Unknown to everyone but Fred, I’ve been getting up extra early and doing an hour of belly dance through daturaonline to include pilates (ick) and my continued yoga practice.  It isn’t easy re-engaging muscles from a few years past, but I’m trying.  I’m really going over the basics to see what causes pain and where and then I write this down and figure out a course of action to stabilize or stretch or strengthen the area through yoga.  I started about a month ago building upon what I call my “old warrior” yoga sequence, which includes lots and lots of pranayama, at least 5 minutes of meditation (if not more, and sometimes twice a day), and really specific core exercises, relearning and increasing my current ranges of motion.  Suffice it to say, I have many issues in my neck, shoulders, and hips and lots of tension in my hands and feet.  It ain’t no easy task, but I found this all through stillness.

It takes a long time to fit in listening to your body and head and heart in the wee hours of the morning because, of course, I need sleep to for my autoimmune.  I tend to need 7.5 hours at least to be healthy and I’ve been average more like 7 hours of late.    I’m also not too stringent on the diet, bouncing between paleo and keto and a few too many beers last night in the blessed Samhain circle.

Today’s reading is about stillness and finding one’s way.  This has been such a tough few years as my body reeled from a life-time of aerobics and physical endeavors every day with too many stringently designed food limitations and too little sleep coupled with the sorrows that come with aging–watching friends and family get cancer, being diagnosed with 2 autoimmune diseases, knee surgery, arthritis, ad infinitum.  And yet, I still long just to be me, moving freely and learning.  I love to dance.  I love to crossfit.  I love my morning yoga ritual.  These things give me so much joy, and in stillness, I feel lifted and rested and ready to fully participate.

Return to regular belly dancing, in particular, has alluded me because I have no stamina and I know I need to address my structural issues to dance safely again, but I guess what stillness has taught me is that to move freely again with love, I need to be patient.  Indeed, each and every time I feel absolutely frustrated with my students in my classroom or with my lifts at crossfit or even with my morning session of belly dance, I exercise patience.  I learned this from my time on my mat in stillness, redirecting my mind’s chatter (about what hurts and what doesn’t or my daily list of ta-do’s) back to the present.

In reality, improv dancing is all about being in the present, but it is afterward when, being unmindful of safe dance habits and range of motion restraints, I feel pain.  If I can take it slowly on the mat and develop these habits of patience and stillness, then I can do it elsewhere:  in the classroom, in dance, in crossfit, and in life.

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