The reflexologist, whose name was Lea, was gentle and firm, kind, and soft-spoken but insistent. As she worked, her hands found places on my body that I hardly knew were resistant until she tried to open them...shoulders ("your left one wasn't half as tight as the right...") and hips ("hmm...feel the knot here"), legs ("your range of motion is good; your ease of motion isn't so much") and feet ("that was quite an adjustment in your right foot!").
It didn't take me long to realize that the knots in my body had a lot to do with the mental state I have put myself in...closed up, shaded. After the session, riding home in stalled traffic (three accidents along the interstate), I might, on another day, have zipped off at the nearest exit for another route, impatient to move. Now I felt no such compulsion; I rode along in the heavy tide, feeling rather heavy myself, and a bit emptied. When finally I got to my own street, I was tired but not frustrated or annoyed. The trip seemed only a slow venture into wellness.
Physical openness and ease means mental and emotional ease. This is, of course, no surprise to most of you, and in theory not to me, either. But theory and practice too often cut communication in my life. Yes, yes, I tell myself, and go right on ignoring signs of distress, clumsily stepping right over them in the interest of time and trouble. And perhaps there are some rags of belief that I am above such things as bodily renovation.
It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance... and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process. -Henry James
When I am free, I walk into my stalled art project--a project I would have the day before seen as stale--with insight and willingness to act on it. I delve into it. Plans for the next book suddenly seem clearer, as well.
Other issues untangle themselves. Midway through my neck adjustment, I thought to myself, I am always carrying too much on my shoulders...I always put too much on myself. Why is that? Am I not enough on my own?
And then, a bit later, I need to let go. There are too many things I presume I need to fix.
The clutter working against idea and inspiration is made up of such shoulder-heavings. Art, like the self, is an expression as valid and significant...imperative...as any other responsibilities of the day. It says something about us that we must learn that time and again, hoping it will take hold.
Likewise with peace. This piece I have finished revising today, for example, Setting a Place at the Table for Peace...without yesterday's session, I probably would not have noticed how unnecessary...indeed how distracting...were some of the embellishments with which I had initially chosen to set it. I pulled off extraneous ribbons, reset (Kathy helped me see this) the places, accepted the whiteness of the cloth, and resewed the poems on more genuine paper. If it mattered to me in the beginning that this be seen as a statement of where peace might be welcomed and honored, it mattered more now that the table be set for nourishment, be clear of clutter, of artifice, of cheapness. Calm, not ceremony, would engage the company. The path would be open for good to come, rather than impeded by posturing or fidgeting, or supercilious one-up-man-ship.
I didn't revise any of the poems, by the way. From the beginning, what I have needed to say has been said. Now, hoping that someone will hear it, undistracted by the inessential, I let it go.