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October 9, 2012

Having rediscovered arm balance poses during a winter slump, it’s nice to know I can turn to them when I need some play, focus, and grounded confidence in my body.

In this case, literally turn to them: with a new twisting asana I learned yesterday.

The teacher said it was Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose), but seems like it’s actually a kind of modified version, like a pushup on your knees?

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So there’s the learning of a new pose, but there’s also a meta-learning about how to take care of oneself, right?  What particular practice might help with certain mental states.

And it’s one thing to learn what tends to help; it’s another to summon the discipline to do it.  Showing up for ourselves.  Whether it’s playing music, getting outdoors once a day, eating well for our bodies, getting proper sleep.  Part of being a sustainable revolutionary.  I’m lucky to be around political people — and a legacy of people in the Bay — who value this as a part of our work.  As I’m reading the STORM document, it’s bittersweet to see that despite their emphases on self care for revolutionaries, they still ultimately ran into “exhaustion and poor health among STORM’s most active members.  Physical and emotional fatigue were both widespread, particularly within the Core” (37).

There’s no quick fix, I suppose.  And while it might seem like the hardcore thing to do to “power through,” I personally suspect that the people who appear the most hardcore and indefatigable are not neglecting self-care practices, but have actually cultivated tremendous discipline toward them.  Whether that means never missing a mass, five daily prayers, morning meditation, morning pages, or surfing every day.

So a few more handstands, then on to tonight’s support for indigenous land struggles in the East Bay!  :)

What are some of your tried-and-true self-care practices?  What are specific ones you draw on for certain reasons?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2012 6:12 pm

    Hokey smokes, that looks difficult! I am impressed, and you look great, really fit. Since April I have lost 47 pounds by eating well(and less, especially starches and junk), lifting weights 2-4 times a week, walking, working up to four miles a day with at least 3/4 miles uphill, and yoga 30-40 minutes a night. It is not magic, it is the willingness, as you say, to show up for yourself. And to keep finding ways to challenge and extend yourself. I have just ordered some nordic walking poles to increase intensity in the walking. Thanks for the post and the pics. Stay healthy.

  2. richard permalink
    October 9, 2012 6:12 pm

    love this post! i know you know how much this resonates with where i’m at (married to myself, living by myself, deep sea soul spelunking on the daily). awesome yoga pose, your on your way to being a b-girl!

    a helpful practice that has emerged for me is so simple it’s surprising, and that is the practice of doing *absolutely nothing* for at least 10 minutes a day. in comparison, even meditation is “doing something” (observing breath, clearing the mind, etc). i simply sit and stare out the window, and that’s it. stare into space. let thoughts come up, entertain them. watch birds fly by. maybe have a pad and pen close by in case an idea gets exciting, jot a shorthand note. watch people walk by. look at wind in the trees. i guess these examples are also “doing something” on some level, but it’s really not super structured, and there is no “have to.” you don’t HAVE to follow birds in flight. it feels very centering, calming and strangely indulgent. and i feel more on point for the rest of the day whenever i do this. it feels like an antidote to our 21st century multitasking schedule… usually if we have a “free moment”, then check your phone, go on facebook, etc etc…. the urge to “do something” is strong. i recently *enjoyed* waiting in a 15 minute post office line by *not* checking my phone, and simply appreciating it as 15 minutes where i didn’t have to do anything. i could feel the anxiety of others, and i on the other hand was kind of enamored with the ceiling cornicework, and how the trees outside were actually turning fall colors.

    its a funny meta-learning process to see if i have the discipline to practice doing nothing at least once a day :) what do you think? do you have any similar practices?

  3. October 9, 2012 10:34 pm

    Thanks Roger, sounds like you’re keepin busy! Haven’t weighed myself in over a decade (have a history of body image and eating / exercise issues) but I enjoy the feeling of muscle soreness, building strength and agility. Being able to feel what the body wants to do. Good luck with the walking poles!

    rich you already know! yes! living alone, married to self. :) i remember you telling me about the doing nothing practice (even less than a practice, less striving than meditation), and i love this description of it. yes, waiting does not have to mean impatience at all!

    if i had any similar practice, it might be lying very still in bed just as i fall asleep and just as i wake up. but i think for me this slides pretty easily into a more depressive tone (don’t wanna get up), so i think a sitting-at-the-window practice or something slightly more active might be helpful. thank you for reminding me of it! did we talk about how this kind of reminds me of some of these anarcho-nihilist tendencies i’m starting to hear about lately? a friend was describing with utter disdain how this person at an anarchist salon was arguing that opposing capitalism means we need to stop ‘doing.’ including activism. but i kind of see what they mean, you know? we *do* need elements of non-doing in our lives, i think. spaces of receiving the world, rather than acting on it. i don’t really see it “as resistance,” per se, but as part of what might help us as we be in resistance, transformation, fighting, and healing.

    thank you for sharing your brilliance and kindness. and thanks for making me feel seen and understood on a lot of levels. hella appreciate that. :)

  4. richard permalink
    October 10, 2012 12:38 am

    hey katie, no, you didn’t tell me about the anarcho-nihilist parallel! interesting. i also agree that i don’t see it so much as resistance, but more so as replenishing ourselves for resistance. i could see this approach being more about resistance if it was about not voting, not paying taxes, not paying bills, etc.

    re: lying still in bed, i totally feel you on that slippery slope towards depressive tones. i think this possibility gave rise to another practice for me. this morning practice (which is in a happy liminal space between “doing” and… lying in bed!) consists of focusing on gratitude as soon as my eyes open. gratitude that my eyes opened. gratitude for each breath. gratitude for another day. gratitude that my loved ones are safe. gratitude that i am well. etc. it definitely sets a good tone to start the day, and is a good antidote for crappy mornings, it definitely takes the edge off. even when i am sick, i am still thankful for my relative health.

    thank you for your kind words, and i’m glad that you also feel seen and understood as well, dear katie! :) sweetest of dreams to you!

  5. Stefan permalink
    October 22, 2012 1:05 am

    My new favourite is getting into a squat, pre-crow, and waddling around. It embraces the right balance of oppositional forces – rooting and growing tall, pushing left and right – and the right degree of playfulness and humour. Namaste my dear.

  6. October 24, 2012 3:16 pm

    tried the waddling. LOVE IT. thanks for the recommendation. :) big waddling hugs to you.

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