free the body, find freedom

“So you see, if you become aware of the fact that you are all of your own body, and that the beating of your heart is not just something that happens to you, but something you’re doing, then you become aware also in the same moment and at the same time that you’re not only beating your heart, but that you are shining the sun. Why? Because the process of your bodily existence and its rhythms is a process, an energy system which is continuous with the shining of the sun, just like the East River. Here is a continuous energy system, and all the waves in it are activities of the whole East River, and that’s continuous with the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s all one energy system. And finally, the Atlantic ocean gets around to being the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, etc. So all the waters of the Earth are a continuous energy system. It isn’t just that the East River is part of it. You can’t draw any line and say ‘Look, this is where the East River ends and the rest of it begins,’ as you can in the parts of an automobile, where you can say, ‘This is definitely a part of the generator here, and over here is a spark plug.’
There’s not that kind of isolation between the elements of nature.”
― Alan Watts
~~~~~~~~

it’s not often that i ask my feet to relax
though one should think that such an important member
of this flesh and bone expression
ought to warrant more attention

‘relax feet, have faith the earth will support you, have faith’
i lay on my mat, eyes closed
all of my attention placed upon
my toes

oh! and those toes
they pulse with the rhythm of my heart
‘relax feet, have faith’ i breathe into them
in on five counts, out on six
they acknowledge and
quiver with delight

‘okay, ankles, shins, calves …’
and so it goes
up and up and up the body
five counts inhale, six exhale

the requests for relaxation and faith
and letting go
are met with resistance

hmm

the mind dully notices that
each member of this body
has its own story
and not every one is willing to part with theirs

after years of disregard

so i lay with
patient attention
and feel the overwhelming tension held
in the ankles and the shins and the calves
enough to make me cry and shake
and squirm with anger and frustration

i breathe through it anyways

‘let go, have faith
relax’

and
i cry as the body cries
waking up from its
nightmarish slumber
of wounds and buried feelings
neglect

and oh god
it’s too much to bare

so  i breathe deeper

laying on the floor
moment for moment
time stalls as i get to know
who has joined me
for this human experience

and one by one they say
‘hey! where’ve you been?’
‘been waiting for you this whole time
for you to wake up and notice me as
divine’

and wow
divinity is expansive
a spacious room in which to dwell!
mmm, newly remembered freedom!

and ah, each time i
get on my mat
and discuss life with all the bits that
make up the whole
i just
give respect where it is due
to all the parts that i call
my home

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

heh, i remember this one time
on a pebble beach looking out on the
juan de fuca

here i am, coming up on lsd
and i come to the truth that my feet
were sensory devices
not unlike hands or eyes or ears

that each toe was its own person
with different intents and purpose
and how we bind our feet
with plastic shoes and concrete

and it’s no wonder that
this western society is so disconnected from
the soil that raises us

each pebble that sunk into my
heels and my soles
my soul
sent sensation to parts of the body
enough to wake me to their
true nature

and ahh
that cannot be unlearned

 

free the feet, free the body
find freedom

6/99 ~ to live like the wild ones

“Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorney or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We were in a really bad way before the white man came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without the basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilized society.”

-John (Fire) Lame Deer

 

it was already dusk by the time we made it to the banks
of the Red River, exhausted
we dumped our bags on the wet sand and flopped down
taking in what lay on the other side
bright city lights and the faint sounds of sirens and engines revving

‘i don’t know why you’ve been acting so ashamed’
my travel pal said mildly disgusted, as he often tended to
‘we aren’t the problem. just take a look around. we aren’t the problem’
i knew in my heart i wasn’t necessarily a problem but in my head
i was a slug, a burden, a no-thing

after spending a few weeks stuck in a city
living on the fringes
with my home on my back
the endless seas of cars and faces that
avoided my gaze or didn’t see me at all
had left me downtrodden

i looked out on the water, and then at the trash and debris caught on the shoreline

‘we aren’t really much different than that guy you’ve been reading about,
Lame Deer, doing his best to live free within the confines of a civilization that has taken it all away’

the deep breath i tried to take met with the constriction in my diaphragm
and i just sighed and sunk deeper into the frayed canvas of my overstuffed backpack
‘yeah, i dunno’
i could usually count on this guy to shake me up out of my limiting beliefs
but bringing up the suffering of Lame Deer and his people
just made me feel ashamed for feeling ashamed

the sun had long since sunk below the horizon by then
and under the refuge of darkness we relaxed enough to set up camp

in the morning i tried to imagine what this bank
on the Red River would have looked like
what it would have sounded like
200 years ago
before this land had been claimed
to be anything other than free

surely i would have felt free to be there then

eh, but

no matter,
we had to pack our things up quickly before too many eyes
saw us

the rest of the day i imagined
the houseless people of the city as
the nomadic people of a time that once was
when this land had been the home for the
wild ones

and now, how those unable to adjust to a society that required them to
live in four walls, and
pay taxes
those
who didn’t want to pay
for living on the earth
were cast aside and overlooked
the low layers of a
sickly society that poisoned
the same river they drank from

in a city of millions
how could one man’s freedom
endanger the freedom of another?
was freedom truly found in the dollar
and did it somehow justify the brutal intolerance
of anyone who chose to live outside the margins?

i know the answers
and i proclaim that without hesitation, for
the answers are weaved into the fabric of all creation
the shoreline on the Red River waxes poetic of freedom reigned
and the free peoples of times before find their voice in those that
still live
like the wild ones

4/99 ~ if nothing else, feelings can change

woke up today feeling really rather shitty

the kind where it’s like

man, i just woke up

what could have gone wrong

already

 

and every interaction this morning

was just

mediocre

from the first cup of coffee to

the last line in my journal

even a brisk morning walk against a backdrop of

golden oranges and brilliant reds

wet yellow leaves

couldn’t get me shaking this feeling

 

i frowned my way to the yoga studio

and cried and moaned

and opened my hips

it felt so good to feel the pain of

relaxing into the clenched and constricted bits

i had to jelly walk home

with swinging hips and a loose caboose

and a furrowed brow

 

the dogs, well those dogs

i can always count on them to bowl me over with joy

when i get home

but i say ‘down doodle, down. get down’ though i want him to

consume me whole with his eccentric adoration

i can always count on him

to love me anyways

 

‘so you guys want to go for a walk. when i’m ready, we’ll go’

but they look up at me with jaws hanging open, panting

ears pointed in prepartion to hear me say okay, let’s go

they’re underfoot until i do, so

 

‘okay, let’s go. put your leash on. no? okay, fine. i’ll do it’

and we’re off

and i feel so rotten

like i look at the sky and shake my head at the contrast

from just yesterday

i yank their leashes as they yank my arms

 

the rain starts falling. i look up at the trees overhead

and recall times before when i would feel

incredible ecstasy

such joy

in remembering that i was alive

and connected to all that surrounds

i could look up at the trees

and feel full in my heart

the stress of trying to achieve or be or do anything

would melt away

and i was free

 

the same furrowed brow and i

recalled that feeling as though

far removed from here and now

is it really just so simple to feel like that?

 

and it really was just like that

that i start laughing

 

hysterically, tears prickling the corners of my eyes

the events of the day so far, playing over in my mind

all the more ridiculous. absurd!

it was me coming to the realization that i was walking around

in a self-induced pit of despair

for no particular reason

 

and  my storm began parting

my eyes softened, my heart

and i noticed the nuances in the clouds

and how the raindrops felt on my cheeks

how the dogs lapped up new scents with such

present wonder

and i remembered i could feel that too

 

and i did

and i laughed some more

 

it’s just a choice.

that

i can change my feelings,

if nothing else

 

if nothing else.