Notes on Practice: I Think the Theme is Pain

October 19, 2014 - Meghan LeBorious

Occasionally, I suffer with this weird pain. It feels like the sciatic pain I had in my legs during pregnancy, but it is in my arms, too. I feel it most in the heels of my hands and the bottoms of my feet. It is worst right before my period, and can be very intense. It makes me feel afraid. In addition, contrasting my accustomed cavalier attitude about germs, I have been acting like a germophobe in the last two weeks. Anxiety about ebola (whether justified or not) has ricocheted through my mind and body; and I have been subject to the tightening of fear.

Walking into class, I wondered how the pain in my hands and feet would affect my ability to move. I experimented with giving it its full shape, holding my hands, rubbing and pulling at the sore surfaces, curling over, holding my shoulders like they held up tightly folded wings. Thanks in part to Advil, the pain started to subside, and I found myself deep inside a thrilling and tender dance.

I danced with one enigmatic friend, who I have been increasingly drawn to over the last few months. For a long time our dances were similar, but recently have taken on many new aspects. We found ourselves in a soft, tender, breathy dance in the Lyrical phase of the first wave, and I found that I kept turning the soles of my feet toward him—a humble offering and expression of gratitude. On my own, I pressed both my hands down onto my chest in a physical expression of a heavy heart. By the time Tammy stopped the music between the first and second waves, tears were coursing down my face. She had us sit in silence for several minutes. I couldn’t help but think about times when the collective field has been unbridled joy, such as when Obama was first elected, and how much I noted the contrast, feeling on this Friday such gravity.

I did not plan to go to the Sweat Your Prayers class today, but decided to accompany my sister, Courtney, and attend. My sister’s heart is very, very heavy right now. Her best friend, who she has been close with since middle school, is very sick. She will begin receiving hospice services this week. She will have her 39th birthday in November; and she has a seven year old son. Courtney saw her yesterday. I wanted to respect her need to experience her pain without interfering, and also kept feeling drawn to rub her upper back and to move with her. I hoped that I wasn’t being too pushy, but stayed with her as often as it felt right. When my favorite dance partner—my wild Vajrayana-like friend who travels with me into unexpected pockets of reality—came to invite me to dance, instead of falling into a dance with him, I kept close to my sister and the three of us danced together. I wanted to just hold her and hold her. Sometimes there is the mistaken wish that if I can just love someone enough, I can take pain away. Really, I think it is too much pressure on them, and I am just not that powerful. Then the pain becomes about me instead of an honest expression of the loved one’s reality. Instead, I tried my best to hold the space and be as supportive and loving as I could be. And, too, I shared exquisite dance after exquisite dance, including several with the friend I bared my soles to on Friday.

During the final of several waves, the music dropped out during Chaos. The room went wild, and we spontaneously turned the room into a big Chaos circle. I took a turn in the middle, leaping and whirling with all the explosive love of living that came to me in that moment. When the music came back, Peter (who was subbing for Jonathan) continued with the circle format.

Courtney and I left a few minutes early, as I had a firm appointment I could not change. I left feeling amazed, amazed, amazed, as I am on so many occasions at the ability of the 5Rhythms to hold everything, in every way it is needed.

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