Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The half turn of your face
toward truth
is the one movement
you will not make.
                                                David Whyte

Sometimes, we turn away from the things that scare us and sadden us. Sometimes, we turn away from the truth that calls us, the love that awaits us, and the life we say we so dearly want. And, we don’t even know it.
In our time and place, one great turning away is from the body, from what is going on in the chest, the heart, the stomach, the shoulders, the legs, and elsewhere.
It’s a turning away from what we feel.
We struggle with the world, with sex, with joy, with love, with sadness, but we struggle from the neck up. One of the simplest and most powerful techniques of Tantra Yoga is simply to learn to use the breath so we can withstand greater and greater waves of pleasure during lovemaking.
As I write this I feel a bit of tension in my stomach. Part of me has a judgment about what I am writing. As soon as I become aware of the tension in my stomach, it eases and the words continue to come. I think of a friend and how she will possibly criticize these words as wrong or trivial. I feel it, take a breath, and am again able to continue.
We are comfortable feeling a certain size. As soon as someone begins to praise us and we feel ourselves getting ‘bigger’, we quickly deflate ourselves. Thanks, but no thanks, we say. We can almost begin to feel ourselves cracking.
Well-known relationship specialists Gay and Kathleen Hendricks say that often relationships suffer from what they call “The Upper Limits Problem.” The relationship is only allowed to get so big, only allowed so much intimacy, only allowed so much joy. Problems arise simply because one or both partners has reached the upper limits of how much happiness they can stand. Their comfort zones have overheated. Their rivets have popped. Their bubble…you get the picture.
If you look closely, you know this all too well.
Not so fast, we say. Not so high. Not so happy.
We’re afraid.
If we get too happy, we feel our unworthiness.
Or like we’re doing something wrong.
Or like we will be punished. 
We fear that we’re like Icarus in the Greek myth who used wax to fix wings to his body, who, as he approached the sun and the wax melted and the wings tore loose, was plunged to the sea where he drowned.
Many of us have a bit of the myth of Icarus buried in our chests.
It’s not always easy to make that half turn, but that’s where the truth of our life lies, the truth of what we are afraid of, the truth of the questions that have been waiting for us, the truth of who we want to be before we die, the truth of the music we hear when we are alone at night, the truth of what we long for and love.
One of my friends calls this turning towards the truth ‘leaning in’. Another calls it ‘curling around’. It really is that physical. It does require wrapping your body and heart around it. It’s getting cozy with what you fear, with what you don’t like, with what you want to get away from, with what you love and yearn for.

Hard to look,
but you know it has to happen
that it takes only the half turn of your face
to scare yourself
to the core.
Seeing again
that strange resolve in your new reflection.

Go for it, wrap yourself, body and soul around your life, and make it a good one.

 Please share. Namaste.

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