This weekend, preparing for Small Stories (for various sized) People class I thought: That which is broken, disfigured, ruined, can’t stop there. We’ve been reading pieces that are fractured and fragmented, about trauma. And we’re in this time of difficulty. But then what? What’s the transformation? I chose a prose poem by Brenda Coultas for today. Then I was leafing through a book and Laird Hunt’s essay popped out. He said about Brenda Coultas, “She brings an indomitable hunger for beauty to bear on her cracked and spilling subjects.”
Ah. So that’s it— what I’m looking for: beauty.
I know from my Zen teachers and my own sitting practice that pain and discomfort is the pain of aliveness. And there’s beauty in the fleet of being alive. I have such pain in my ankle when I walk on uneven ground or hard concrete. That’s where gravity landed apparently, after all these months. Today, after teaching online Yoga and then my Naropa class, Wisdom of the Body, I took Jake to the field behind the church to walk, then home. Chloe was waiting for her turn when I got home. I took Chloe to the river. Each step and slight tug on the leash brings pain to my left ankle. Mary, the physical therapist says, Stop when you feel fatigue. But pain is part of the healing. It’s counter intuitive. I have to go through pain. I come home, satisfied after a good walk with my dogs. I stick my legs into the sky and immediately the pain disappears.
Friends watch me and say, you’re limping. Friends ask if I’d like to go for a walk, as if it would be pleasant. Last night Damaris and I figured out that limping is a progression from not walking. Learning to walk means I’ll limp. Heel. Ball. Toe. (I thought I knew. I don’t know). To mend is to experience pain. Learning, healing and being awake enough to feel pain is alive, beauty itself.
*Here’s the poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/145212/an-after-hour