After the weekend’s workshop with Mary Paffard, studying the female fluidity as it relates to an octopus, I realized that I have a limited connection with my intuitive, prehistoric self. I became easily frustrated because I could not muscle my way through movement as I have been taught. In fact, we were specifically told NOT to use the muscle to move the limbs. The process did become a bit easier as the class progressed, but I was left feeling uncertain of the sufficiency of my fluidity.
After the asana class, we discussed our experiment and, naturally, I had to speak up. I told of my initial desire to “get it” and “feel it”, and feeling aggressively disappointed that it wasn’t coming to me very easily….or fluidly. Mary spoke of the 20th century yoga that has created many of the asanas we practice regularly and diligently; of the Yoga Journal (and the like) and its tendency to create an aesthetic of yoga as fit, beautiful and luxurious; of our consumer driven culture that has fed us stories, telling of our brokenness and how their product will fix everything. Whether it is related to physical appearance, mastery of subjects and information, professional achievements, there is a constant, unavoidable barrage of cultural influence. This workshop and discussion triggered something for me as it relates to my cyclical processes.
For the past 7 years I have been working to break a mental pattern of wanting more, most and best. Much of my work was spent in an attempt to eliminate the deep-seeded hatred I harbored for my physical body. It has been several years since I have had a real nasty thought about myself, but the mean-Jean still chirps up now and again. However, by believing I had stifled the mean-Jean, I discontinued my acute awareness of this pattern, choosing to focus on the other “issues”. For example, more recently, there is this tendency to notice the superficial, obvious defaults of character and lifestyle. Mary’s class and words have caused me to pause and revisit this old nemesis – Why do I have an asana practice and what is my true intention? Is it an insidious perpetuation of the old mean-Jean? Am I honoring my body and loving it unconditionally in my practice, or am I bullying my way through?
I do not yet have an answer to these deep inquiries, but it has created an awareness, that an aim to eliminate a harmful mental pattern is not an effective method. Enter, Samtosha.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not) Mary focused a lot on the deep belly and it’s crucial role in keeping us connected to our intuitive selves. By relating the anatomical and physiological aspects of this region, with the spiritual significance, it has become more clear than ever, that this is our “Magic Spot”. My favorite take-away one-liner: Go to your Womb.
I have a lot of meditating and intuiting yet, but I am so grateful for these inspirational moments that continue to arise on our brilliant journey.