Abiding is an in-between experience. Because of that, it gets less attention. It’s not a peak event such as arriving or departing or even an intentional action such as accumulating or releasing. Lacking an obvious drama to pull you in, it is easy to miss or ignore or avoid.
But if you do place your attention on the liminal, allowing yourself to feel the threshold-space of richness of neither here nor there, you discover that this is where the magic happens. It’s when things start to cook.
A good yoga brew is made of the universal elements of heat and exertion, breath, sweaty muscles, and strong bones. In life, these same ingredients show up as tears and love, anger and fear, hope and confusion, sometimes nausea, sometimes heartbreak, sometimes joy.
“You already have everything you need to be happy.”
Bingo! All of us experience moments of insight that pop up out of nowhere. Maybe it was a matter of time and practice…drip, drip, drip, the bucket fills. Or maybe something more ordinary like boredom or exhaustion or jet lag slows us down long enough to notice.
What I wanted had been there all along, but I was too busy creating my own dukha to notice it. I see that tendency in my students too. They might be sitting nicely in a pose but the space between their eyebrows has a deep crease that tells me they are in pain. When I ask them about it, it’s almost like I woke them up out of a nap. A typical reply might be, “Oh yeah, this position always kills me. It’s been like that for years. I just don’t have good shoulders.”
The wind is blowing so hard it feels like I can’t hold on much longer. Even if I do, I can’t be convinced that the tree won’t get blown away itself. My little claws are grasping onto a thin branch as I look down to the depths of where I could fall. In this moment I wonder if it’s worth holding on or if I should just let go…
I’m supposed to be able to fly anyway. But somehow that doesn’t give me the confidence time after time to take the plunge. I remember on one of my trips out East, a Taoist person was spreading virtues of “not doing.” I have to wonder how I can possibly “not do.” If I don’t let go, am I not holding onto things I should let go of? If I let go into a situation that feels dangerous, am I doing what I always do—plunging into risk? The fundamental nature of “not doing” is, in itself, doing something!
created by Ann Hamilton for the Park Avenue Armory
this November i was invited by Anne Bogart to participate as a reader in Ann Hamilton’s installation event at the Park Avenue Armory. as both a great honor and delight, i am reading to pigeons alongside members of SITI Company and their affiliates. the selected texts are from writers such as Aristotle, Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, and more. these readings address a shared consciousness about our existence and our voices are transmitted via paper bag radios carried throughout the space. my participation is but one element amidst the vast participatory landscape that Ann Hamilton has so care-fully created. the following entries are an attempt to understand and share this intimate and meaningful experience with you.
it is true what they say (whoever “they” are)…starting is the hardest part.
so i will just try to be exactly where i am right now, in this moment, and go from there…
rip off that Band-aid…one, two, three, go!
i am on the brink of ending my first year of grad school. i have one more final exam to take—naturally it happens to be the hardest class for me and we just got it today. it’s Max, the computer programming exam. i am dreading it, even though i know it will be fine. (why do we do that to ourselves? or am i the only one?)