Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mind, Body, Earth, Human

Poem of the Day:
"Changes" by Ruth Stone
In the Next Galaxy

Tonight I attended a hot yoga class. My sweat did things I have never seen it do; it dripped, it pooled, it poured. I made the mistake of not eating enough before attending and halfway through the class I swore to the heavens that I would pass out. I think the 70-year old man in front of me, the one with the perfect headstands, agreed.

I have practiced yoga for about two years. Throughout my practice one concept has stuck with me; it is the idea that the mind gives up before the body. Our head screams "Quit!" while our body in fact has the ability to continue. Tonight I was mind-centered; it took the reigns and had not the strength to fight back.

What is this disconnect between mind and body like? Stone's poem speaks of the disconnect between human and earth; she writes of changes within a neighborhood, "Did 7-Eleven close down?" (line 5), otherwise local verse. But in the final moments of her poem the tone alters its scope quite drastically. Stone speaks to environmental change, change that spans centuries and not just a few years. She writes, "the open mouth of a glacier/one mile thick...after it gouged/the bedrock down to a whisper/and filled it with recycled water" (lines 31-36); her poem highlights the difference between human history and the history of earth, these different 'changes.'

I'm not sure that this disconnect in any way mirrors the disconnect between mind and body. The latter seems to be composed of competing forces while the former reflects cars parallel, moving at very different speeds. Despite this, it is interesting to observe the limits of landscapes, be them man or earth, body or mind; if nothing more today's experience has reintroduced me to life's many dualities, to various forces, opposed or not, that exist as part of the same universe. Thank you Stone and hot yoga for the reminder.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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