Saturday, October 4, 2008

Turtles....

Thoughts from this morning’s meditation, writing and yoga....
There’s this place at the top of my back—right in the center—a diamond, some yoga types might say—though a big stiff diamond—guess maybe that metaphor works—petrified organic matter, hardened to the point that it’s really difficult to move it—an incredibly hard rock embedded at the top of my spine—the base of my neck, causing pain and stiffness to radiate upward from it—where’s that come from? I think from stooping over. Sure, biking doesn’t help, that bending over the handle bars thing, but it’s more than that...it’s being stooped over, like a fetus, like a turtle...what’s that blues song Janis Joplin sang? I’m just like a turtle underneath my horny shell? Okay, maybe there’s a double meaning there that’s not exactly what I mean—but anyway, it’s about the constant sense of being under siege, needed to curl in for protection, escape inside the shell, not face forward, not engage but retreat....so, this brings me back to that last post—about Paul Newman but more particularly the role he played in Cool Hand Luke, the fight scene—where he gets the shit beaten out of him—doesn’t sound much like a hero, but he is, because every time he gets knocked down he gets back up—again and again, with everybody telling him to stay down, telling him he’s beat, he gets back up takes more punches, cool, completely, undeterred, unbowed, unwilling to stay down, unwilling to curl under, not even thinking about it most likely—and that scene, of course, is a microcosm of the entire film—yeah, there’s a kind of overbearing Christ imagery to it, but I’m not getting into that any more than the horny shell thing—so forget about that Judas Iscariot crap, the point is being calm, the point is being undefeated even in constant and brutal defeat, the point is stepping forward not curling inward, the point is not particularly caring about being hit because what’s being hit isn’t what matters, because what does matter isn’t being hit at all even if it feels like it....

with thanks to Jennifer and everybody at Yoga Schelter....

6 comments:

human being said...

"what’s being hit isn’t what matters"

oh i just needed that...

and funny whenever i do the turtle pose in yoga, i'm ready to come out of my shell!

svasti said...

Cyclists have a couple of tough spots - definitely the back of the neck, and also the knees. I mean, generally the knees get stronger from cycling BUT they get less flexible. So as long as you're doing plenty of work with those parts of your body, things should improve.

The back of the neck thing could also be from lots of writing, lots of time at computers - as I'm sure you know. And yes, its a way of holding your body for protection.

Or if you're like me and you decided to have a high speed skiing collision between your head and the hard snow then you might just be stuck with a bung neck for life... :(

Onto the more metaphorical stuff... uhuh. Some of us have that experience more than others. Some feel the slings and arrows more deeply and take longer to deal with those feelings too.

There's a sense of not being comfortable with one's own body too. At high school I was a good foot taller than all of my friends, and I hated that. I hated that they could all talk to each other at the same level, getting really close to each other to whisper things. I'd always feel like I missed out. And I'd hunch my body to try and be shorter...

Perhaps in the end its about accepting who and what we are, and relaxing into that?

Lydia said...

"what's being hit isn't what matters even if it feels like it" is what I needed to read tonight after the past 28 hours or so. You're kinda becoming my guru, Jay.

Tonight we rented a VHS of "Wall Street" that I didn't see when it came out in the 80s. Extremely prescient. But there's a scene where Charlie Sheen's character takes a beating from Michael Douglas's character--not for the same reasons as we see in Cool Hand Luke, (although that Judas analogy...) and there was a certain dignity and satisfaction to it.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm familiar with your hard diamond, myself. It probably wouldn't hurt to get away from the computer (& similar things,) for a while. Stretch it out. Look UP for a change...

Ed T. said...

Great insights you have, I guess this comes from all that meditation huh? Maybe I should try it...! I know what you mean though, it's like keeping your same balanced personality through all kinds of crazy stuff, or at least knowing your extremes and working within that. Because when push comes to shove, what of you got to show I guess?... I don't know, that thing that can't be taken away, what do you call it?

flawedplan said...

Hey, flawedplan here, thanks for your comment on my post today, I am a fan of the snark and the yoga, but feel it may indeed be cynicism that put me off yoga back in the day, so this blog might speak to me. But you can explain Faulkner to people, seriously? That's the shame of my life, I know Faulkner was writing for people like me, and no matter how I try, it doesn't get through. I do try to read him, regularly, and next time I pick up As I lay dying I'm coming over to pull on your coat. That's the easy one, right?