Today, in Sue Reynold’s divine Sanctuary Sunday – a full day to dive deep into words, to come at ideas, images, and stories in fresh ways – she offered up as a prompt Thomas R. Smith’s poem, Baby Wrens’ Voices. With the invitation to use the first line of the poem, “I am a student of wrens,” as a jumping off point, I took the cue and wrote this poem: Continue reading
Here is another piece from Touched, a narrative non-fiction story about learning the art of Osho Rebalancing in Pune, India.
The blue Nivea bottle is slick and warm. Just a drop, said Komala, displaying a nickel-sized dollop at the base of her palm. Just go slow, and you’ll be fine.
My partner is Jivan from Germany. He has short copper-coloured hair and constellations of matching freckles all over his long body. I think his eyes are green but he’s already taken off his glasses, closed his eyes, and turned his head away. He lies like a gift on the table before me, his hands palms-up at his hips. Continue reading
Last night I danced in the summer with a handful of women and one brave man. The music was good, the energy light and uncomplicated. I danced into, through, for and by myself for the first long while, only vaguely aware of the others. And then, as the evening sun outshone the murky clouds that had permeated the day and the light sparked red and gold through the windows, I became aware of the tribe.
Silhouetted against the soft light their forms danced, each to their own rhythm, and for a moment I was breathless with wonder. Continue reading
Last week I posted the first part of the first day of Rebalancing training in Pune India, 1988. Here is a continuation of that first day.
Amrita stands facing the group with her eyes closed, arms loose at her sides. Sats gently lifts her hand. “We’re going to explore each other’s arms as if we’ve never seen such an amazing thing before. How does it move? How does it feel? Its weight, its texture, its ability to articulate…” As he speaks, Sats first lets her hand rest in his palm and then slowly begins to move and stroke each of her fingers, the wrist, the palm. “All the while, the receptive partner focuses on letting the active one have the full weight of their arm, surrendering it totally.” Almost imperceptibly, Amrita’s slim shoulder drops. She’s wearing loose blue and green cotton pants bunched with ribbon along the sides.
He’s sliding the wrist in delicate half-circles while cradling her elbow with the other hand. “There are so many possibilities for movement and stillness. Be innocent. Be curious.” Continue reading
In 2012, I took a year-long course, A Novel Approach to Memoir, with Sue Reynolds. My ambition was to write about the winters I spent in India taking trainings in various healing modalities. The original title was “Four Winters in India,” but when the year of writing was up, I had hundreds of pages of scenes spanning those years, and no clear “story”.
In my first winter I learned Rebalancing, the bodywork technique that continues to sustain me. I also met the man who would become my husband. The second winter I trained as a therapist in emotional release techniques as well as Tibetan Pulsing Healing, which my future husband convinced me to take. The third winter he and I both apprenticed as Tibetan Pulsing therapists and received our certification. The second and third years focused intently on the development of our relationship. Just before leaving Canada for India in 1992 for my fourth winter, I was diagnosed with cancer, so the final winter is all about my dance with cancer.
I realized at last that the reason this massive manuscript was so unwieldy was because I was trying to tell a whole bunch of stories. In the first year I learned a new trade, stumbled into dark concealed placed within my own psyche, fell in love, and healed some old wounds. It was enough material for a book. My memoir became, Touched. The title refers to how some of my friends and family viewed me “running off” to India to hang out with a guru. It also conveys my emotional response to the teachings and the deep connections I made while there. And of, course, the whole notion of learning “…how to touch and be touched, deeply,” which was the training’s tagline.
I’ve just graduated from the Humber School for Writers with mentor, Donna Morrissey. It was a year of hard questions and a lot of tough work, but I’m almost there. Writing memoir is not for sissies.
Here then, is a piece from the manuscript, where the protagonist has just completed a couple of weeks of group therapy and meditation practice. This is the first day of my Rebalancing training in Pune, India, November 1988. Continue reading
“And this is one of the mysteries, that the mind can speak, and knows nothing, and the heart knows everything, and cannot speak.” Osho
There is short video of a few moments of an installation entitled, The Artist is Present, by performance artist Marina Abramovic at the Museum of Modern Art. Everyone I know who has seen this clip gets choked up as soon as Marina opens her eyes to see that her former lover and performance partner, Ulay, is sitting across from her: Continue reading
Great Uncle Ben drove his shiny Cadillac all the way from El Paso to Montreal. He brought his new camera to take pictures of our family. Nana says he’s a hero but he doesn’t look like one – he’s kind of old and bald. My sister’s eleven and she’s pretty. Everybody says, Where’d you get those big blue eyes? She sits with her ankles crossed just so.
Daddy takes a picture of Uncle Ben standing with his hands behind his back. Nana says he thinks he’s the cat’s pyjamas because he flew bombers in the First World War. Also because he flew movie stars and a president of America’s wife, Mrs. Roosevelt. He even flew to Venezuela, which is far. Continue reading