A walk in the woods

Today is March 5th.  It doesn’t feel like March to me, but it looks like I expect March in eastern Canada to look.   There is plenty of snow, and plenty of sunshine, but boy, it is still very cold, unseasonably cold.  There is no sap running yet in those maple trees.

My own sap seemed to have dried up some, too.   I resent the cold, ridiculous as that might be, and long for different weather.   Today, though, I took it upon myself to dress up and head for the park, ready to enjoy the sunshine if not the temperature.  Grateful for my day off, and that I finished an early draft of a presentation this morning, I layered up, pulled on the boots and thick mitts and  the warm and very ugly fleece hat that Dan literally found out in the woods some years ago, and I headed out.

It was not only my misfortune that I had to make a stop at the hardware store first.   I felt some mild pity for those who had to view my backwoods attire, but at least it was the hardware store and not some place where customer appearance might raise eyebrows.  If mine raised anybody else’s eyebrows, I was unable to see them from under my fleece hat.

I did ultimately arrive at the park, checking out the cars in the parking lot (How many people am I going to run into here?), the piles of snow at the edges of the lot, and securing my keys to avoid an unpleasant surprise upon my return.  These are all strategies to delay actually getting out of the car and into the cold.   But I finally did what I went for, and got out into the day.    There was an immediate payoff.   I discovered a lovely surprise:   someone had decorated a Mardi Gras tree!  Yes, purple, green and gold decorations on a charming little spruce just off the main trail.  The gold was glittering in the sunshine, though the tree itself was in the shade of the forest, but it sure made me smile, remembering Mardi Gras of years gone by, and making me wonder who, in this part of the world, would celebrate this way?

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So there was a bit of delight, but I had to move along and quickly, because my personal temperature was dropping fast there in the woods.   Walking was predictably hard but at least there was a track; first a rolled track for the skiers and then I landed on a snowmobile trail.  Say what you might about those noisy, gas guzzling, roaring monsters of the winter night, they do lay a nice trail on top of the snow for us walkers and especially walkers with dogs.   When I slipped of the track, I discovered just how deep the snow really is….that would be somewhat deeper than my leg is long.

But the moral of the story is this:   warm happens.   By the time I was up and down and around a bit out there on the trail, I was unzipping the jacket and popping off the hat for a bit of ventilation.  Who could have imagined that?   The warmth lasted, too;  I stayed warm for hours, warm physically with the movement and warm also emotionally, with the sense of connection to the world that I gained with my little adventure.

Sending you warm wishes for your late winter….Peace….

Leslie

Body pain, emotional pain: why I don’t work out at the gym

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Working out challenges me. I am challenged physically, of course, and also in terms of my attitude and thoughts, so I guess I could say that I am cognitively challenged, too. I have to stay positive, to avoid over-thinking and to just DO IT.

But what I have found out about working out at home, is that the sensations in my body allow to me access other kinds of emotional responses than I thought likely…or even possible. I suppose if I had not been a client of bioenergetic therapy for more than ten years, I would perhaps not feel free to allow the behavioural expression of my experience. But I do, and I am amazed and full of wonder at what is going on.

Specifically, when I work through some of the deepest and most chronic of my body tensions, it hurts. It hurts a lot, but I am okay there, knowing that what hurts is my own tension. I am not injuring myself but pressing extraordinarily tight tissues against gentle resistance, such as the foam roller, or opening my hip outward using a strap to support my leg. What happens is this: I wait with the sensation, sink into the intensity, try to allow relaxation to happen around the exquisite pain of the place where my resistance meets the roller (for example). And I am moved to sobbing, deep, deep sobbing, tears and wailing. It feels pulled out of me, from my deepest self, like part of me is tearing apart. Rolling my thoracic spine over the roller has a piquancy that is like nothing else, but as the roller descends toward my lower ribs, to the area of my diaphragm, the intensity increases. It is painful, genuinely painful, but I know it is not the pain of injury. It is the pain of my chronic tensions, chronic defenses against living my own life, resisting the pressure to soften, to release, to let go, to allow, to surrender.

So I do let go; I let go into the sobbing and wailing and that contributes to some softening and relaxing. I can’t stay for long; the sensations are too intense, my reactions are big, and I can only hold that space for a few moments.   There it is:  my body letting go another tiny bit, releasing ancient tensions through sobbing and vibration.  I don’t have any stories to tell myself about WHY I am crying, don’t have any need to locate a reason in my everyday world.  It just happens.  Then it is over.  And then I can step away, take a deep breath, and rest in the experience of a new and different body, a calmer and more alive self than just a few moments before.  The ground feels more secure, the world looks brighter, and I am intensely present to myself.

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