After days of warm sun and springlike weather, there is a last gasp of snow this morning. The birds are in a frenzy at the feeder already. I find myself anchored in place at the window, watching and feeling the swooping fluid movements of these creatures, enjoying the colorful display against white background. A cardinal is in the feeder sampling the suet there. As I step toward the window he swoops away to the branch where she is waiting. I actually see him put his beak to hers, offering her a taste of what he found.
I’ve been taking small video clips of the moving water all week. The sound has been intense, full of force and purpose and joy. The number of little waterfalls even in my small brook are tenfold. I too have been wanting to offer a taste of what I find here.
It is food for the soul, this sound and smell and feel of fluid body reminds me that it is from here, this flowing undifferentiated way of energy moving like water, that I can move like the wind, willy nilly, to a new place without too much effort. I can walk through an opening in the stone walls framing the path, spirit free to discover what is in the other side of the light beyond those trees. I can stop for an indeterminate amount of time to listen to the wood trush singing in the wind. I have the strength and support to just stay with the intensity of simply feeling so much.
I just happened to watch the movie “The River Why” last night. Smile. Though primarily a movie about fishing, there is scene after scene of moving water in big rivers, the sound and the feel evoking this week’s findings. There is a scene between the protagonist and a philosopher in which the philosopher says, “I believe in the rivers of living water. I believe in the soul of that water.” He also says, “fishing is nothing but the pursuit of the elusive.” What a great metaphor for following flow, energy, prana, life force. It can be felt, it can be followed, but can it really be captured? Making these clips of the water feels like fishing to me. I think I am capturing the essence of something.
Even with the bright sun, the wet soggy earth under matted down leaves of yesterday was crunchy solid again from an overnight freeze. Walking along the river, the sound of the rushing water from the past week now seemed muted, as if slowed by the desire to return to ice. Air currents registered on the surface of pond in the woods just one day before were now buried under a thin layer of ice.
How quickly this transformation happened. I liked the firmness of the barely frozen earth again that allowed me to walk at a brisk pace, to the rhythm of my purpose toward a determined goal to get to the top of a particular crest. I also noted that the way I was moving was very different from the day before in the soft wet earth. The fluid filled ground had slowed me down, required my body to find balance in a more specific way. The presence of the water flowing so freely kept me aware of my relationship to the earth. It triggered a more natural embodied presence in kind. It reminded me of how good it feels to resonate with my fluid body.
Hiking deeper into the woods with temporary firmness underfoot, I remembered that I only have to engage ‘pit of the belly’ to feel fully rooted in fluid body again. My yoga teacher refers to this second level of the practice of mulabandha as “a powerful magnetic pull into personal core. The pit-of-the-belly both draws life force into itself, and emanates intelligence from itself.” (For fellow yogis, here is the link to my teacher Patty Townsend’s wonderful essay about Mulabandha http://wp.me/p3vfZm-bVeBE). I’ll never forget the day many years ago when I felt the truth of this during a simple walk around the block with the dog. Like riding a bike, after much practice, the transformative feeling of powerful awareness in this sacred place in my body simply kicked in. I have never walked the same since. There’s no going back now. Not unless I want to purge myself of all that feels good and strong.
It can seem counterintuitive, to embody support within when there is seemingly support outside underfoot. However, when I find my stability and commitment deep in this belly space, the rest of me, including my mind, becomes free. My ‘will’ no longer propels me forward. Instead, movement comes from the delicious feel of my fully committed body in desire. I imagine this is exactly what a committed stream of moving water toward a fall feels like too..
Nora and I are just back from our walk to the pond. And it has transformed once again.