Seated here, crossed-legged, I am archaic sea creature Clamped fossil-like to a rock, Grafted on the sea's dark floor. Tentacled, pocked by deep abysses, I am swaddled, spat, swayed Within the vast nowhere-cloud Around me. Clinging, forgotten. Forgetting. Since rippled womb-hole, Aloneness was my primal base; Reaching beyond flickering fear, And desires paddling the surface. But now it reveals its gravity, its grace. Like a sea creature clamped to a rock; I am swaddled, spat, swayed Within the shores of vast awareness Within me. This aloneness opens a wave, I remember, let go and swim into its tide.
In this poem I am attempting to illustrate a movement, a transition of soul, a threshold of thinking, where a sense of being in isolation and abandonment, reaching into stories of the past, changes into a place of resource, of grace, of opening. This metanoia, interestingly, and I know this to be true, does not occur firstly in the form itself. The 'sea creature clamped to a rock' does not alter; what changes in the space 'beyond flickering fear and desires paddling the surface' is the relationship to the environment, the ocean bed. Here aloneness, which to begin with seems to follow the context of 'clinging' and being 'forgotten', becomes re-fashioned; a primary trueness of our embodied condition is revealed (that we are each alone); and yet the word aloneness re-appears as the place of opening, of movement, of letting go, of connection. My body uncovered this sea-creature experience during the stillness of meditation one morning; a process that had started in a yoga class some weeks before when a lifelong feeling of imbalance in one foot and leg started to turn around, like an eye suddenly aware of the periphery of vision. The teacher came over and said words to the effect of 'look away from the struggle and see what's here in your spine.' A hand on that side of my sacrum was enough to understand; this was the place of resource, a space from which the place of 'struggle' could be 'swaddled, spat, swayed', and located in a new light. Since, I've had glimpses of the world in a new light. Vanda Scaravelli, and numerous other practitioners of movement, point towards the healing that can happen when we challenge our impulse to fix and mend, impose and push (often most coarsely displayed in the yoga hall) and give ear to the intelligent resources of the body. Here the paradoxes of life are most intricately entwined: weight and space, liquid and bone, 'gravity' and 'grace'. Scaravelli named these resources as Ground, Breath and Wave and, like the whole patterning of nature, one feeds and enhances the source of the other. See here for a day workshop I'm running with Giovanni Felicioni in London this October when we will be exploring this very theme. The last lines of the poem bring in the images of memory, swimming and tide, metaphors reminiscent of the 'rippled womb-hole' and being born. Finding ourselves in the place of resource is therefore a remembering, where the tide of life threads us back into an ancestral insight into who we really are, where we are free to swim back to the beginning (in this context the beginning of the poem) and through the cycle of discovery again and again; that our aloneness is the wave on which we are brought to the shore, the threshold of constant movement, where the other can meet us, where the mystery is that we are never alone.