June 29, 2011

Can Yoga Save Tea Party Barbie?


Enlightenment consists not in seeing the luminous shapes and visions, but in making the darkness visible –Carl Jung

Time is a twisted path circling back on itself, creeping through the brush marked by                                  memory, presence or anticipation. It is not two dimensional or orderly. This is written by a serpentine memory. This is written by a member of planet earth. Come on.

Walk through this door and into the earth writhing heat. Head up the road with my dog and a rain jacket tied round my already sweat soaked waist. On this full moon lunar eclipse morning it will storm from the east which is an unusual scenario, promising hail and hurricane force winds. Omens scream in black clouds and stirring branches. I don’t care. I head for the woods as the world rumbles. For all you know, I’m there still, casting this post via satellite.

Energy is rocking us; stronger when the moon is full or during an eclipse or storm but always there like a heartbeat.  I look up and beg lightning to charge the earth and wind to scour the air. Branches will fall and trees as well. Someone will die. Storms beg our attention. They bridge the gap between form and formless.  The earth spin overlooked in a high gravity world on duller days is as clear as the heart pounding in anticipation now. I cling to this body of mine that is both form and formless. I am familiar with its part in this quickening. Like you, I am most clear in a storm.  I trust it as I trust the ground under my feet. As I trust all of us most in the wake of destruction. Don’t you see how we rise out of ashes?

Walk with me down the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland for the closing performance of the CMA festival last week. Hawkers like archangels heralding hell stand every few feet begging us to give a dollar for plastic water pulled in coolers like chains through purgatory, to put money in ragged pockets. I wonder what land was stolen and raped for that water. I think of an empire ravaged by corporate greed and predicated on consumption. I consider companies that buy rights to Africa and India’s water, pour it into petroleum based bottles and carry it across the world to the gaping mouths of Americans who do not seem to remember that there was a time you could survive just fine without a bottle of water as ready as a mother’s tit.  Parched and stubborn with no public fountain in sight or in this entire town; I choose wine over water.  I thank my country for my drunkenness.

My cup is half full but my gas tank is half empty. My half full cup is full of poison thanks to the water that flows from the tar poisoned streams of West Virginia to my door. Still, I do not take this personally. I have too much faith in myself for that. My stirring heart circulates love within circles of sorrow. But I wonder what to do beyond writing letters to my Senators and Congresswoman who are not that interested anyway.

Will I proclaim my superior yoga teacher’s techniques while we rape the earth for fuel and water? Will I argue about God or what ancient texts are most valid to my synthetic genetically modified life? Will I talk of business and selling yoga while the administration of hope and change opens wild lands to drilling? Will my business ethics be no different than any other but worse because I’m delusional? Will I pad the pockets of false prophets who tell me I am perfect just the way I am while women’s reproductive rights are quietly removed?  Perhaps I should stay here and leave no footprint in these woods.

A doe stands quietly by. She looks no more than a yearling but she is a child bride guarding her baby. She will know when to run for shelter. I might be advised to do the same though I know there’s no place to run.

My dog slips into the creek. Water spiders slide past the freckled nose he rests on a half sunken tree vine. Disturbed silt swirls and shifts creating silhouettes in the dappled light. I peer into the depth like a seer with a crystal ball.

The wind bears down bouncing branches and flapping leaves that reveal a hidden palette of pastel colors missed when staring straight ahead.  Look up and don’t miss what habit stole before. There are bundles of dead leaves stuck in trees that look brilliant copper more than the brown of decay cast by egg laying cicadas. Point of view depends on where one’s coming from. It’s best to always see in all ways so the looking doesn’t wear you down. I’m looking this way for now.

The rain comes quickly and I ignore the dripping rain coat round my waist to let the rain cool hot skin that might otherwise tempt me to preen ruffled feathers in the birdbath of my own discontent.  That discontent can be assuaged by running into storms, into power that is greater than mine though it is strengthened by my power too. That discontent can also be buried alive by retreat. That discontent can be reckoned with by facing facts head on.

I used to have a name, now I have a user name: And a password.  I’m not so much even a name as a set of numbers: I‘m not so much a person as a profile. A thousand years ago I had a flirtation with a fellow in a bar who asked to see my wallet saying that you could tell everything about a person from the contents in her wallet. I wonder what he would say about me now.

This storm is a global reckoning like the others.  Who are we in all this? Does a pass key to yoga make me different from anyone else? All I know of yoga is in revealing the body’s secrets. I know that formlessness is found in the form of the body. I can shed light on a map to the bridge between forms and formless but that is just clarity. After that it is about choices. Though yoga has lessons to teach, yoga teacher arms don’t grasp or pull. One must walk willingly into them. We don’t know you.  We have to respect the mystery.

People stare from shaded glasses and tinted windows. If I can see your eyes I might think I know you but then again, I once knew a criminal with kind eyes and a beautiful smile.

I recall a walk down this road last winter.  A squirrel’s sunken body was hanging by its armpits from a tree branch. A leering death grin evoked Batman’s enemy, The Joker. Hands curled at the shoulders, he crouched in the sky on hind legs like a meerkat.  A hawk must have dropped him in flight.  The image of this communal creature hung out to dry in a predator’s sky inspired the thought; here are we the people, a grotesque masquerade of our former selves. I pictured the waxy faces of Fox News pundits. I heard Bill O’Reilly embracing the rising moon and ocean tides as proof of a puppeteer God. I imagined blond Velociraptors wielding talons, forcing tiny Botox frozen faces into smirks and ripping lies. I pictured shocked stares of the suddenly homeless.

I think of Sarah Palin and her We the People tour riding on her earth-exhausting bus, spreading stupid like Monsanto’s poison seeds. I embrace the worst of us, the disease of us, the koo koo catchoo hold him in your arms yeah you can feel his disease of us. I’m braced for the storm and storming memories. Some would call this distraction. I think apathy a greater threat. Bring on the storm. I know when to be peaceful.

Tea Party Barbie Bachmann with her self -proclaimed titanium spine is running for president. Next to her, Sarah Palin looks more like a cross -eyed Smurf with a speech impediment than Sweeney Todd’s scary tea party hostess.  Who are the people who make these women powerful? Most everyone I meet seems too sane for that and I wonder if they vote. Then I wonder if they twitter.

With the shameful exit of Clinton we became a country divided; a bumper sticker badge wearing group of yahoos who screamed and jeered like rioters at a soccer game. We learned to flaunt our disrespect. Eight years under Bush and Cheney revealed that fear and ego is always there and deserves managing. We made greed the prize for fear. We learned group shame.  Anarchy and repression are part of our menu and there for the taking. Anything goes. Put it on the internet so we can see it. In a country that declares itself bankrupt in debtor’s prison; corporate America is still cajoling us to buy with credit to ensure we spend more than we have.

We’re in a storm. Storms bridge the gap between form and formless. The earth spin is as clear as a heart pounding in anticipation now.

I’m putting away the breakfast dishes. The television is on. Florence and the Machine is on stage for the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series.  The Burger King logo floats behind her.  She’s singing an apocalyptic song. It’s pure poetry.

To respect the nature of the place we inhabit and recognize that our preservation depends on our relationship to it, to love its inhabitants great and small, is to live gracefully. Where we might recognize ourselves alone in a forest, do we recognize ourselves in a global society or any society at all? Is it possible at this uneasy, dis-easy juncture where all of our welfare is at stake, that we are shape shifters with feet in cement only by our lack of imagination? Light and dark are cast not only by sun and moon but by emotions, ego and love.  What shapes us also shapes the world. How will we shape ourselves?

I’m awake at sunrise and head east for the highest hill. Sun shifts and clouds slip and the earth feels uncomplicated and unfathomable at once. Awe is a halo that surrounds my heart and cradles my brain. I’m struck dumb with love for this planet. I see angels in the form of hawkers, beggars and homeless urging us to wake up.  I have no answers but imagine us on the brink of a stampede to sanity because right now, alone in the forest, it’s what I have to believe.

You don’t love because. You love despite – William Faulkner


Read 15 Comments and Reply

Read 15 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Hilary Lindsay  |  Contribution: 4,420