Gifts from the Tribe

i found this piece of writing in my journal from a few years ago. it was an eye-opening/ heart-expanding experience for me, and on re-reading it tonight, thought i would post it here so you can read it too. enjoy…

i had my work cut out for me today.

i taught a client who is 72 years old. we did some lovely passive stretching on her back, with me supporting her legs and arms. i had her roll to her side, and up to sit. but she was unable to get off the floor and stand. i had never experienced that before with a student. she could not bend her knees enough to get her feet on the floor, and was resistant to putting weight on her knees. i suggested many different ways for her to get up to stand, using my body weight to support her, using a chair… she really could not find a way to get off the floor. i have helped senior students rise to stand before, but this was the first time someone was really resistant to all the ways i suggested, including me actually picking her up. we called in her family, her husband was the only one she trusted to lift her up to stand- and it took a good 15 minutes to accomplish this. she was frustrated, angry with herself- she looked ready to burst into tears. when she finally stood, she went immediately into the chair and sat down. i pulled another chair in front of her, and we sat together, face to face, and talked about what just happened. i asked her what she would have done if she was alone, and she happened to fall- how would she get up? and all she could say was, “well, i would call someone over to help me.”

we finished the session with small movements for the arms, hands and neck… and a short seated meditation. i gave her a big hug, and we talked some more about that moment in our session that brought about a real challenge. i’m not sure if she heard my suggestions to practice walking up a few steps in her apartment building every day, to build strength in her legs- or to find a teacher in NY (where she lives) to teach her the mechanics to learn how to stand up from the floor. (Feldenkrais practitioners are extremely good at teaching this). but it certainly made me appreciate the health that i have, and gave me new understanding how i would teach someone in her condition in the future.

other than than, i’ve been thinking recently about that thing we hear so much about in the yoga community.. the thought that “we are all one.” with this concept, we ask ourselves to broaden our perspective enough- to see past our separateness, and understand our connection to everything and everyone. that where we all come from, and where we all will go is the same mysterious place… we are made from the same star dust, linked as members of long ago ancient “tribes”, or we are distant celestial relatives. we can widen our understanding of ourselves, and relieve the suffering of thinking that we are alone. a friend suggested to me recently that instead of thinking “tribe”, we can say we are a “cluster of souls from the same frequency coming into the earth… with a recognition of one another from an unexplainable knowing within…”

i like that.

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