Saturday, April 2, 2011

Physical and Metaphysical

As part of my plan to start taking better care of myself, I went to a yoga class this morning.  A very gentle, almost pre-beginner class.

I knew that every part of my body hurts, but the class was an intimate, precise confirmation of all of those aches and pains.  Such silence, such attentiveness to joints and muscles, to all kinds of things, bodily and otherwise, that I try to ignore.

Why is my left side such a problem? I wondered.  The order in which the pain revealed itself: left hip, left calf, left knee, left shoulder, left forearm, left middle finger, left side of my head.

Josh was left-handed.  Ah.

As we packed up our things at the end of the class, a woman who looked vaguely familiar came up to me and introduced herself.  A former neighbor, from across and down our old street.  I asked after her family.  "I'm a grandmother!" she said proudly.  "And you had the two boys, right?"

I nodded.  We moved from that house into this one when I was pregnant with the boys.

Her husband was and, it turns out, still is, on the vestry of the church behind our house.  I asked about the current goings-on there, and offered nothing at all about myself.

I wonder whether she goes to that class every Saturday morning.

Always something.  As if the video of the little twin boys filling the internet all week weren't enough.

Batter my heart . . .    .


  1. That Donne sonnet lives in my heart...

    And I wish there was more attention paid to the physical aspects of grieving, which go so far beyond the immediate moment of shock, and reverberate for years.

  2. Oh, {{{Robin}}} - that video.
    I am so glad that you went to this class. When I spoke to my massage therapist about the pain on my left side, particularly chest, shoulder and back, she said it was normal in grief - pain around the heart. So in addition to Josh's left-handedness, it might also relate to your own heart?

  3. Did you feel better physically after the class? So many sharp places in the world - no wonder staying in bed often seems like the best option.

    Always keeping you in my thoughts.

  4. No, Kathryn. But I'll try again.

  5. When I was first introduced to yoga it was in a class that was designed and held for women. The lights were always dimmed. There was a gentleness in the air that was created and held for the entire class.

    When there was a woman on her period the teacher brought a blanket and a pillow and a candle, and we all gathered while she was bundled and covered and blessed. Then she was to lie, warmly and comfortably, still while we had our class. To honor her body and it's hard work.

    I will never forget that. It was, perhaps, the most foreign experience I have ever had.

    Cherishing the woman's body. As it worked. Doing the things that it knew it had to do.

    I think of a mother's grief as much the same -- in our bodies there is work being done.

    Oh for a place, a space, where a simple gathering and cherishment .... just for a bit.


  6. This sounds like an awesome yoga class - in that it is gentle and encourages attentiveness to our bodies - the suffering held in our muscles, tissues, bones, and joints, often goes unreconciled. IMHO Body work is just as crucial to our sense of wholeness as any other kind of "work" we humans do...just beware - bodywork will also "release" stuff - so drink plenty of fluids and be attentive to your dreams and emotions - hopefully the feelings that surface won't detract you from taking the class again, and again. ((Robin))