This is the first time I have wanted to write in over a year.
I have been planning on starting up the blog again, but have been struggling as to what it was that I wanted to do with it. I have been intending for some time to write about water. I thought that would be a natural second year to learn one thing about water every day… It is a natural sister to oil and certainly does seem to be our next major issue.
But it has never felt right.
In my first year of Product of Compression I learned far more about myself than I ever expected -- I learned about my writing and my own personality. I learned a fraction of a fiction about oil -- which has deepened my understanding of the world exponentially... but I am not really interested in another year long exploration of some mushy mix of poetry and journalism.
What I love, is the practice. The commitment -- and the unfolding understanding of life that comes from long projects.
Product of Compression.
The name came from a definition about the creation of oil. And the oil, in so many ways, became a metaphor for myself to understand how I felt about and understood the world around me.
So much of my life, I believe, is the product of compression...
I have a story I often tell my college students when they are struggling over the many drafts I give them in the attempt at showing them the layers of understanding work.
I was in college -- in a drawing class -- I was an art student surrounded by academics -- and that class was a haven for me.
One day the prof assigned us a 10 hour still life. It was really ugly -- a boot, a tea pot, something stuffed. Nobody did it. A few hours -- maybe 5. I did 11. I just wanted to see -- I figured if she was assigning it, there would be something I would learn by seeing my way through the time -- letting go and trusting the process.
It was amazing -- the drawing began to live. I also learned about small changes -- of light, of things on a table -- of a room. So much lives and breathes around us when we begin to notice. So much is learned in our body -- our fingers and our seeing. It was an ugly still life -- and at the end the teacher looked at me and said, "you really spent 10 hours?" incredulous and I wondered if she had been cavalier with our attention… But what I learned from that assignment has carried with me always.
In my life I am dedicating more time to journalism, and so in this Blog I think it is time for a more personal practice.
I have a new yoga teacher. She is absolutely amazing. She has a lovely music way of speaking, and a teaching style which pushes the body to pain -- and strength -- and understanding. I've taken to taking her class on Monday morning. And each week I find myself joining her on the type of path that comes when I am open and receptive and ready to grow.
At the moment, I am in the process of deep recovery. Over the last six months, my body and my heart and my life have all experienced the kind of wounds that radiate down into the core of personal pain and fear…
Last week she had us do this strange pose -- she said it came from days as a dancer -- lying on your back you open your legs, with very bent knees, and let them drop open. Then you roll from one side to the other slowly -- letting one leg and then the other take the lead -- without pushing anything -- and feel what it is like to have different parts of body lead.
One of my injuries is in my right hip. It has kept me in constant pain for nearly a year. How I got this injury is ironic beyond ability to convey (sex) -- and got worse over time as I tended to every other piece of my life (affair) first.
What I noticed that morning was what it felt like to lead with an injured part. My right hip couldn't lead, you know. It could only stop me and fill me with pain. In isolating the muscles, I had no choice but to respect their limitations and their current state.
Much of my life is in that state these days. My heart.
I do not have the strength to lead with that muscle. I can only stretch it -- see if I can begin to ease the blocks -- begin to open the joints and the memory of movement.
Product of Compression.
Let me say here that I was raised a hippy fruit cake -- and hated it.
I was raised on carob, knew how to seed marajuana at the tender age of 6, chanted in hidnu and ate glutton roast in the 70s. I did, indeed, sing Kumbaya.
I never wanted any part of such things.
I fell in love with a republican. I went to Smith. I did everything I could to never ever to talk about anything anything like this ever. Ever.
Product of Compression.
I want to learn one thing about life everyday for a year. I am afraid of going out on my own. A personal practice has been taunting me for years -- I'm afraid of any path that I have to quiet to explore -- I only walk in circles -- I like to be told what to do...
Today the teacher gave us three ways of working into being upside down. One was strong and energetic. One was assisted. The third was slow and supported. Measured. I do things best that way.
I am going to begin 365 days of yoga practice. And for each of those days I will write about the practice. I would like to see what will happen to my understanding of the world and myself. Watch what I will grow to learn and understand.
I think in the end this will all be related to oil. We will just have to wait and see…