When Your Body’s Your Teacher

A bout with neck and back pain recently sent me to a few different body-workers (physical therapy, Feldenkrais) who promptly identified the source of my problems as sitting. Too much time on my rear end, hunched over the keyboard. Contemporary work demands things of our bodies that they’re not evolved to do, and I was suffering the consequences.

I’m working around the pain with exercises, a standing desk, stretches, a commitment to not stay in one position for too long, and by sitting the way I was designed to sit. I have these sitz bones that support me like concrete footers for my spine. I just need to sit on them.

Which is ridiculously obvious except that the vast majority of chairs in our culture don’t allow us to do use this foundation and instead force us to lean back. I was shocked the first time I paid close attention to a healthy seated position and then got into my car; the seat dictated that I curve my spine and hunch my shoulders. It prevented me from sitting properly. Continue reading

Memoir’s Small Frame

(I’m on a hiatus from writing about writing. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from Writing the Sacred Journey.)

Memoir revolves in an orbit of its own choosing, and therefore its pieces are often unified by a theme or period of time. The material is always the author’s life, and the narrator, (the speaker, or “I” voice), is always the author. Unlike autobiography, which attempts as complete an account of one’s life as possible, starting from the beginning, memoir begins where it wishes and concludes when its story is told. Memoir is more elastic, unpredictable, and crafted than autobiography. Because memoir does not strive for a complete accounting of one’s life, it depends on other elements, typically themes, to give it form. Continue reading

Dreams You Don’t Remember

I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.            –Emily Bronte

Some mornings, before I’m fully awake, I lie in bed swimming in a sea of dreams. Their images (a cup, a pew, a panting dog) float around me in nets of narratives but then dissolve as I climb into consciousness. Every rare once in a while I can pull one into the air. Once I realize I’ve done this, I repeat the dream to myself until I can reach pen and paper. Even if I have no idea what the dream is about, the fact of harvesting the dream feels significant. I’ve heard you, my remembering seems to say. The gift of you, I’ve received. Continue reading

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