Reflections on Practice

Thursday 17 June 2021: second series

Like a day in heather with a clear sky and tussocky grass.

Like a clear run.

You weren’t expecting this when you woke up muscle-sore from yesterday’s endeavours and intending only to glance over the surface. But then you surrender and the possibilities expand. You know it works like this, but still it always comes as a surprise. When it’s a trick you try to play on yourself it never works – not quite like this – although playing injured, even when not, was a way you made this practice tractable again, malleable, like a good dough. And then you were in, away and laughing.

The edge is always going to be a challenge – sitting just so on the rope, the pole finely balanced, not a teeter left nor a totter right. Even now, with all that you know, you still have to have just a taste out of Daddy Bear’s bowl – just the littlest bit – though it’s Baby’s porridge you actually eat. And you’re always the littlest bit burned.

If nothing was burning, if there was not this low tide of pain ebbing into sensation, so you don’t quite know the name of it, really, this hum … If not, would you know you were alive? It stands in for the missing proprioception. Comforting. Reminding you that you are in this body, that it has boundaries, that there is you and not-you, and other people can see. It reminds you that you are still coasting the surf of this wild sea. By some extraordinary grace. Today you are here.

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