waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Location: montreal, quebec, Canada


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

the magic in the everyday

there are so many important things to say right now i'm stumbling around trying to figure out where to start.

i was writing an email yesterday morning, in the hour i usually give myself in front of the computer before the day starts, and in the midst of writing, i had this thought apropos of my essay:

by not writing it, it's inhibiting me from graduating. i know that particular nugget of wisdom has been waving its little hand at me over the past few days, trying to get me to pay attention to it, but yesterday is when it fully sunk in.
and i'm 28, still working on my first undergraduate degree. i know 8 years trying to accomplish something off and on doesn't seem like the hardest, but i've had to face so many things down just to come back - and nobody thought i could finish school, including myself, when i moved here to do just that.

once i changed my thinking process to recognize essays as hurdles in my academic life, and figured that i have maybe, maximum 15 left to write ever....my little shakespearean block fell away and i was able to write a 10-page paper on midsummer night's dream and twelfth night. i'm not sure what its quality is, but it's done, and that enables me to move on with my life, already.
that took up most of my day, as you can imagine - that, and the 8 packages of poetry i had to edit for last night's workshop (catch up from last week). but i did it. not only that, but i looked at the clock around 5:15 and stopped working, even though i had some points to clarify in the paper, to go to yoga.
and yoga was amazing. i almost didn't go, but i made myself, and i'm so glad i did.
i attend a small studio that is sort of in my neighbourhood - an upper-level loft above a coffee shop and a hardware store. i almost always end up taking the same woman's classes, because of scheduling and interest, and last night was no different.
what was cool was that there was only one other student.
because there was only 3 of us, (jodie, myself, and a girl who had taken her first yoga class ever 2 weeks ago) the class took on an improvisational quality about ten minutes past the introductory pranayama - seated meditation and breathing exercises. the other student was asking about how to do a particular posture, and then i mentioned something about not having much flexibility - and then the three of us engaged in a discussion and all of a sudden we were working on flexibility, doing partner asanas.
i love partner yoga, even though i rarely do it. i love the way jodie teaches her class - she's so relaxed, and her classes are more about deeeeeeep, thoughtful stretching that my muscles really respond to - and it was fun to use another person as prop to get deeper into the stretch, the breathing, the meditation.
through that exercise i realized a few things about myself.
first, i'm a LOT more flexible (or, at least i was yesterday) then i thought. usually i think about how stiff i get - but going into so many poses, i kept having these holy shit, i'm doing this??!! moments.
second, i did the shoulder stand with splits for the first time ever. (refer back to the holy shit, i'm doing this?!! moment above.)
third, i realized i've been unconsciously talking about something for years now - always putting it off, always saying "wait until i graduate" - but i don't necessarily have to. it would be good for my body and i'm thinking the universe wants me to go there: i'm going to look into applying for my teacher training in hatha. hopefully i will start this summer.
i, of course, don't know if i am at the technical level yet. but seeing where my body was yesterday - and knowing where it could be very easily, and feeling inspired - i want to give it a try.
a good friend of mine always said, to make an idea truly happen for yourself, start making it happen 24 hours after you decide to do it. today i'm going to look up costs.
after i did my class i went to my poetry workshop - which lasted until 11, and by the time i caught the last shuttle, the shuttle got to my neighbourhood, and i walked back to my apartment, it was quarter to midnight, and i still had to finish the essay.
so i made myself a tiny pot of yerba mate (i just started drinking it seriously this week, and i'm a complete and utter convert) and i wrote.
when i got to the bottom of the pot, i had this unmistakeable urge. the yerba mate i was drinking was loose leaves, and they had settled in the bottom of my cup. god knows why, i've never done it before, but something made me stir up the leaves with my finger, clock-wise, and turn the cup over.
the shape that came out was unmistakeably a turtle. and just for kicks, i googled "turtle symbolism" to see what would come up.
and shivers ran up and down my spine.
these are excerpts from the first website i looked at:
"...in the Far East, the shell was a symbol of heaven, and the square underside was a symbol of earth. The turtle was an animal whose magic united heaven and earth. The turtle is a creation of nature that carries its round shell over the ground, like heaven, and has a flat bottom, like earth.
Turtles seem to possess an enviable and god-like resistance to aging, and so they came to symbolize longevity. Their link to heaven and earth made them a natural for use in divination. Turtles are also symbols of immortality and are considered temporary dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana.
According to some Native American tales, the Earth Diver turtle swam to the bottom of the water that stretched across the world. He surfaced with the mud which the creator used to make the earth. The turtle is a shore creature, using the land and the water. All shore areas are associated with doorways to the Faerie Realm. The turtle is sometimes known as the keeper of the doors. They were often seen as signs of fairy contact and the promise of fairy rewards.
In Nigeria, the turtle was a symbol of the female sex organs and sexuality. To the Native Americans, it was associated with the lunar cycle, menstruation, and the power of the female energies.
The markings and sections on some turtles total thirteen. In the lunar calendar, there are either thirteen full moons or thirteen new moons alternating each year. Many believe this is where the association with the female energies originated. The turtle symbolizes the primal mother and Mother Earth.
Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth."
i found myself resonating with this wisdom as though a cosmic gong had sounded through my entire body. i really felt my whole body, my whole mind, stop and stare and try to absorb this information.
i've been thinking lately about how my own environmentalism has become a bit lax...and how i need to fix that. when i was in nicaragua a few years ago, i remember being so sad as i stood on the seashore, watching the garbage-filled waves roll in, that i made a vow to the earth. i said, out loud, how i would be a warrior for her, to try and protect what is left, to restore what is damaged.
i don't think i've made good on my promise at all.
there's this native american saying which says, "in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." i truly believe that - and it's not something i've lived with awareness towards lately.
the day is cotton-soft outside my window - it's early and i've got to slip away to hand in my essay before the english office opens at 9. the rain falls from a warm, silver sky...and my apartment smells like dark coffee. i looked down at my arm yesterday and the scars from last week have healed over - leaving only the faintest trace, like the etching of a fork, on my skin...a reminder to be aware all the time, to take care of myself and others, to be gentle.


Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

I love that you read your own tea leaves, I have never done that and am inspired that the image was so clear to you. I also think you considering teaching yoga is a fascinating idea!

7:20 a.m.  
Blogger kerry said...

bee, it's so refreshing to hear about your burst of productivity, i'm so happy for you. it is a really great perspective you came to about those essays being the hurdles between you and your goal, and to see each one as just that. i may try to visualize the rest of my semester's assignments that way too. thanks for that view.
and i'm so glad to hear about your yoga class too. that sounds healing. i wish you much more of that.

7:53 a.m.  
Blogger Jessie said...

"by not writing it, it's inhibiting me from graduating."
i've been thinking about these words very hard since i first read them. i've been thinking about them because they are true for me also. oh my god, so true. right now it is that same sort of thinking that is pushing me forward, pushing me to finish. still, i want my work to come from the heart...i don't want to simply "jump hoops." life is too short for hoop jumping.

what is on the other side of graduating? i don't know. but i am deeply excited to find out...as i'm sure you are too. there is so much potential!! but then again, i need to remind myself that there is potential within us EVERY day.

reading about your yoga experience fills me with happiness. for you, for me, for our potential...for everyone's potential! you are a living, breathing, beautiful example of what is possible. you are a gift, my dear.

bee, i put my hands together in front of my chest, bow my head, and reply with a "namaste" to you in return....from the absolute center of my heart.


8:10 a.m.  
Blogger a m y said...

This post is beautiful and so hopeful. Good for you for getting your essay done, for going to yoga and for applying for teacher training. Sounds like things are moving along wonderfully.

9:34 a.m.  
Blogger Hulles said...

It is a beautiful post. I'm particularly happy to hear you consider teaching yoga. I thought of doing that myself when I first moved to Minnesota but never did. I faintly regret it. Perhaps I can do it vicariously through you.

The message that really came through for me from this post is that you're healing. I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

10:26 a.m.  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

I love you :)
I love that you are committed to making good choices for yourself AND being spontanious enough to not miss the little blessings along the way.
MMmmmmmm warm and fuzzie you :)
big hugs,
oxo darlene

12:30 p.m.  
Blogger Sock Girl said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post.

4:12 p.m.  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I think you're doing so well. I can tell.

4:29 p.m.  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Turtle has been very symbolic in my relationship with my husband. We nicknamed eachother turtle when we first started dating.

I too feel I am not flexible and yet also feel pulled to get certified in yoga. This seemed funny to me until I read you say it.

I too feel intimidated or did feel intimidated by papers in college.
And to some extent still do feel a bit nervous about writing. Blogging has helped with this tremendously

I got a message in a similar way to yours a few weeks back-from butterflies.

What am I trying to say? I feel so connected to you bee, I really do. I love reading about your growth and experiences. Our life cords seem intertwined.

Love to you

5:05 p.m.  
Blogger JimmyJames said...

The tortoise is my totem. So the parts of the turtle really resonated with me. A freind gave me a numerology reading for my birtday in March, and it was fascinating. That is where I learned that in this life, the tortoise is my totem. I need to make decsions slow and steady and give things a chance to develop instead of rushing in head strong.

I have a turtle story that I will post on my blog in the near future.

nice blog

5:24 p.m.  
Blogger Deb R said...

Holy moly, girlfriend, what a fabulous bunch of insights and accomplishments to happen in so little time. As I read this wonderful post, I kept saying "wow." You shine, Bee.

10:02 p.m.  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Congrats on the completion of some of your academic projects. Brilliant! And lovely to hear that you are open to the symbols and messages that Universe has to offer. Keep you heart, mind and soul open ... these are important guides... much peace & love, JP

10:28 p.m.  
Anonymous ceanandjen said...

Bee, so much insight and goodness and progress. Congratulations on the completion of your paper. Good for you that you stopped to nourish your body (and as it turns out, your soul...and mind) at yoga. If you feel a calling to become certified, you most certainly should persue it. I imagine that you would be a most amazing teacher on so many levels!

And the turtle, oh my goodness! I am left a bit speechless by that. If ever there was a sign....

Love to you...

10:29 p.m.  
Blogger Amber said...

This is such a great post! Where did you find that totem info? It was so good. I want to look up some things!


8:32 a.m.  

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