Pushing the edge to feel alive
- Concrete expression of something
A tangible or visible expression of an idea or quality
- Embodying of something
The act or process by which something is made tangible or visible
My Favorite Challenge
Last weekend I swam three miles in the ocean, biked 120 miles to Millinocket and woke up at dawn the next day to hike Katahdin barefoot via the Knife Edge. I had been anticipating this challenge all summer and the weekend was pure delight for me. But pretty much everyone I tell about this excursion wants to know “Why?”
Here’s a partial answer. Here’s why I practice yoga, dance like a Maineac and run barefoot, swim, or bike every day.
Feeling the Current
Much of my life revolves around trying to make concrete, tangible and visible the pulse of whispering spirit. I live as though there is a powerful ghost river that flows through and around me and if I stand still too long I stop noticing, stop feeling its quickening current. But if I move, even take one step up or down stream, then I can feel the force of water anew, and I know I am alive again.
But I don’t usually stop with one step. Once I feel the current I don’t want to loose it. That fleeting feeling of living. Embodied living. My body pushing into the current becomes a concretized expression of vibrancy. Life is here, pulsing, dancing, moving, right here, in my very own finite form.
Embodying my life
I often devote several hours a day to this project. I’ve been called manic and an exercise addict and I’ve inspired genuine awe and genuine disgust with my need to move. I’ve walked myself silly, I’ve hiked myself to sleep, I’ve stretched myself thin (and fat), and bent and broken my own bones pushing into the current. I’ve tried taking breaks, I’ve tried taking drugs. I’ve tried the very yogic idea of slowing down, doing less, being more . . . Sometimes, such as after my children were born, I was forced to, and sometimes I voluntarily sleep in. But it makes me feel dull and disconnected. The trees are blowing in the wind, the grass is growing, the birds are wheeling high into the sky and I am . . . sitting still. Ugh.
Running 10 miles barefoot at dawn. The cool air, soft light, rough pavement, gravely shoulders and white-throated sparrow call me into being. Into a being that can love and mother my children with the immediacy demanded from this embodied life.
Later, at the end of the day, my body soft and tired, then I can sit still. Then I meditate to recreate space, to disembody. To fray back into vastness. In meditation I loose my capacity to do and respond, so I wait while my spirit knits itself back together. And when I wake, I am ready to move, ready to embrace this embodied life all over again.