Ever noticed how babies and toddlers have perfect posture without being told to sit up straight? As Bridger and Theo have begun moving in earnest, and I've begun my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training I've been observing their posture, movement and innate yoga asana practice with great interest.
Babies seem to automatically stack their joints; that is they line their skeletal structure up perpendicular to gravity automatically. On all fours, they just know how to line their wrists up under little shoulders, or knees under hips. I have decided that they can do this because they lack the muscular strength to do anything but rely on correct alignment in relation to gravity. As Bridger sits in a most natural cobbler pose (seated with soles of feet touching, thighs splayed) I marvel at how at ease he is, at how open his hips are, and how effortlessly he sits totally erect. There is no tension in his frame - just wondrous awareness of right now.
I spent the better part of last month trying to form a hypothesis as to why babies have such natural posture, and this is what I've decided - without an ego, they have no reason to draw their shoulders forward to protect their heart, or to push the heart forward in defense. They live so completely in the present that there is no somatic repercussion to the emotional onslaught of the outside world. They are utterly authentic. It's so beautiful.
In my own practice I'm exploring moving like a baby. Initiating each movement from my sacrum, and trying to use as little muscular strength in each asana, instead relying on proper alignment and presence to find the edge in my own body - the place between ease and effort. In yoga this is known as sthirasukha. In the Yoga Sutra this is explained with an image from Indian mythology; the asana must be soft and gentle enough to serve as a couch for a god, but at the same time be strong and steady enough to support the whole earth. Another way to process this cerebrally is to rely less on the outcome of an asana, and to focus on the quality of the action. In a lot of ways I think this is how one must be to parent effectively as well.
I know a catch phrase in zen philosophy is 'beginner mind' - in my practice my phrase right now is 'baby mind, baby body'. It's been an interesting exploration - I'm curious to see how it will mature with time.
Finally! The promised garden pictures... (My apologies for the haphazard layout - still figuring out this whole blog picture post thing)
Like I said, it had sat untended for two summers...
Here's the garden after I cleaned the bed and planted (drumroll please) three varieties of tomato, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, parsley, two varieties of cukes, zucchini, eggplant, romaine, green leaf lettuce, bell and jalepeno peppers, and mint. I left the old sage plant, and chives as well.
Good thing I planted when I did, the tomato plants didn't look too good when they went in...
My friend Colleen was over for planting day - Isabella 'helped', and so did Bridger and Nora - they sat out in the sun and oversaw the operation.
Ok, done with gratuitous cute kiddie shots...
Two weeks later, my plants are doing ok! I've only lost a couple - one of each lettuces, one cuke, and one basil. I think all this wet weather has been inviting the slugs to have a little caprese salad - they really like the basil. I remember my dad used to put saucers of beer out for the slugs - I think I'll be trying that too. I'm a bit unsure of when to harvest the lettuce, and how. Do I just pull the leaves I want? Or take out the whole plant? And then replant? Confused... Need to find a organic gardening for plant killer dummies website or something.
And of course, I had to get shots of my grubs
And the snake that lives in the wall - I stepped on it by accident the other day while I was weeding - sorry buddy!
No blossoms yet, I think the eggplant and zucchini look best so far. I just keep reminding my self to focus on the quality of the action - not to be attached to the outcome. Beacuse if these all kick it, I still have our CSA share to get my summer veg fix taken care of.
Any person who murders another in the name of their God, whether it be Allah, Jehovah, Krishna, Pan, whatever, is, in my opinion, a fanatic. The neo-cons spout off about Islamic radicals, and how endangered America is by these people. They say precious little about the terrorists in our midsts. The man who alledgedly murdered Dr Tiller yesterday did so in the name of his God. I see no difference in a terrorist who straps on a bomb and walks into a grocery store in Israel, and a man who bombs an abortion clinic.
As a member of a generation of women who have always been able to take our reproductive autonomy for granted, I am fearful for future generations. I see those hard-won rights being chipped away at, from so many sides. Obviously, the murder of a provider is a glaring example. But more subtle are the restrictions that have been put on access to not only abortion recently, but birth-control, and birth choices.
Why do I feel so strongly about reproductive choice, you may ask? Because I feel that is a fundamental right for every child to be wanted. My daughter was a totally unexpected pregnancy. And not for lack of birth control - her conception involved the failure of not one, not two, but THREE forms of birth control. And so I was confronted with the responsibility of deciding how to move forward. Ultimately, I decided that terminating the pregnancy was not an option for me. I am eternally grateful that in America, I had the CHOICE to have that child. I can look her in the face and tell her that I wanted to be her mother. It's a priceless gift.
Yes, I feel abortion is wrong for me. But I feel most strongly that the decision belongs only with the woman, her doctor, her God, and her partner. It in NO WAY should be in the hands of voters, or legislators. Attempts to 'define' life as begining at conception (sorry kids - the zygote must be implanted in the uterus for the body to recognize a pregnancy), or ban medical procedures, are all part of a slippery slope that we should fear. As much as we do Al Queda. Because there are terrorists in America - but they don't wear turbans. Operation Rescue condones the murder of Dr Tiller - what will they condone next? Flying a plane into a woman's clinic?