Category: Contemplation (page 1 of 12)

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

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

What’s Next?

One evening when I was in college, I attended an orchestral concert in the large Gothic Revival chapel. The atmosphere was elegant, subdued. The space was dim, candles on two grand wooden candelabras burned up front, and hundreds of listeners were swept up in the rise and swell of the music.

I sat toward the back. In my late teens and early twenties I was terrifically shy; I avoided talking to professors, stuck tight to my core group of friends, and did my best to avoid any limelight. The student body at my college was extreme in its intelligence and talent, which intimidated me terribly; for three years I was convinced admissions had made a mistake by accepting me, and I struggled mightily to prove to myself or anyone that I belonged. I’m not sure when or how that feeling dissipated, but the night of this concert certainly helped. Continue reading

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