My recent encounters with bodywork have only shown me clearly how valuable social acceptance with that kind of intimate self immersion really is, for a culture increasingly growing dry and afraid of being in relationship with Other.
Both individuals that handled my body with such focus and care are immigrants, molding my flesh with foreign mysticism and accented ideas, listening to the subtleties of my body in a language that lives outside and underneath words. The woman applying fierce pressure up and down the length of me was strong and focused, but her comments were mostly English and warm with humor. Even when she spoke in English to the man getting a massage in the space next to me, through the curtain, as she translated for the woman working on him, her hands never stopped. My fingers dragged and rested against her thigh, her hair brushed against me as she crawled across me, as her hands and elbows reached into the past that had woven itself into the fibers of muscle and connective tissue between my shoulder blades and pelvic halves. As she worked she told me not to shower for 6 hours afterwards. "Chinese medicine' she offered as a quick explanation to a question I hadn't asked.
Later, I noticed a curve in between my shoulder blades, a gentle rounding like my spine had been released from a cage. I paused to consider it because I have never seen my body look like that before. I don't know what it means, and I was too sore to be aware if anything else seemed different the next few days. That is not the first time I haven't recognized myself in the mirror over the past few months.
Normally I am sharp and succinct, focused like a laser, but I can feel the fuzziness taking over. Rereading emails I'd sent hours before would show egregious mistakes and overlapping times, forgotten words and dates. Its been hard to get up early, and harder to rally around the things I want to address in my life. Forgetting to feed myself and my dog, how to get to the places I'm going like I updated my software and lost the memory of routes I always take. I feel like I have no control over myself, but somehow am safe enough in the love of the people I work for and with and love and live with that I can coast through the day, each day that keeps coming. I'm still here.
Walking to the train from the homelike office near Columbia of a school for the Alexander technique, I felt like the flesh had been peeled away from my spine to my sides. Like all my machinery was exposed along my backbody, I could feel distinctly the multitude of tiny pistons and pumps, wires and circuits that moved me through space. I realized my shoulders had drawn themselves back, so consciously released them forward, trying to retain the calmness from his hands on my body, and found an automatic mirroring in my pelvic halves. My patterns wrestled with this newfound bodily existence, drawing my shoulders and pelvis back and forth along with them. Every time I caught it again, my shoulders would initiate a wrapping out and around that my pelvic halves followed.
On the train everything seemed to happen at the same time and I noticed all of it. The sticker peeling off of the door, the concentration of sheen on the zipper of that guy's jacket, the smell of something savory like food, the shift in someone's dyed hair from one color to the next, the hint of a crease in someone's closed eyes as their facial muscles shifted gently, a few curling strands of hair on someone's neck being rhythmically blown around by a stranger's breath, the sound of the train, the sound of the rain, the sound of someone's headphones and distant chatter in the train car, the rain hitting the windows, the light from vehicles outside the window moving towards us, as the train moved past, their lights playing off the million droplets on the window between those two events, the different ways everyone's feet landed on the stairs as they walked down them towards the street...
Maybe I need time to process everything I've thrown myself into. But what if it keeps coming? What if this is just the beginning? What if I am too busy spinning and noticing to accomplish the things I want to do? What if I can't hold back the desire to kiss everyone who touches me, or blast with harsh words everyone who trespasses on my particular sense of justice? If I'm not in control over myself, what am I? What holds me together? If I am not sturdy and reliable, who am I to those that I work for and with and love and live with?
So much of the somatic and embodiment work circles around the question of Choice. Having it, acquiring access to it, being able to pause in our patterns to find it - but I am having a hard time distinguishing the difference between Choice and Control at the moment. So in trying to let go of the need to be in Control, I feel like I have neither.
But I do feel I have managed to surround myself with people I can trust, that speak similar enough languages that I would be heard, should I have to ask for help. For how unsettled and foreign I feel to myself, at least I am not afraid.
Maybe its ok to sit inside of this question for a spell.
Australia is the clearest place on earth to witness the milky way from this planet. The aboriginal tribes there devised mythologies based on creatures they saw sculpted out of the darknesses between star clusters, rather than shapes defined by an outline of specific stars.
Like the ocean at night, the stars are the foam riding the waves, born from the swirling depths, merely an expression of the teeming currents moving invisibly in the darkness underneath what we can actually see.