Dear feet,

Oh, how I relate to you with complexity, challenges and discomfort.

A dear friend reminded me today of “rooting in my feet” and it is something for each day. I asked him if he would “keep reminding me about rooting in my feet.

You are such a fraught place within my body as I continue to adjust how and where I place you and position myself over you. I stumble with how I use and locate you when I stand or when I sit. You are a place where I habitually do not take up space where I cower in the first four inches up from the ground in an attempt to take up less space, which feels both uncomfortable and agonizing. I will continue to recognize that you are the roots that nourish the trunk and branches and limbs and appendages that the rest of me rises from.

In another conversation today, another friend said how the arms of an embryo extend from the heart which immediately made me ask myself where do the legs and feet extend from? My guess is from the sacrum and/or hips and/or spine which makes me curious about how I might feel differently about you if I was constantly acknowledging how you are a continuation of my spine and my back and that the gap the torso to you is small even though the legs are vast, as are the three sets of joints in between you and the hips.

For much of my life, I’ve appreciated the lengths and places you’ve taken the rest of me. Yet, I have been negligent towards your care and the pristine nature of who and what you are. I read last year how researchers cutting up cadavers noticed how 40% (or so, if my memory is in any proximity to what was written) of the tension and strength within the arch of the foot does not come from the familiar arch on the bottom side of you but that 40% of the muscle capacity is in an arch in the top of the foot.

As I searched to find a reference for that dissection history, I came across how much written about you is in terms of pain and how many bones and muscles inside of you. Names that are unknown and bewildering and some things to learn more about …

here: the talus and calcaneus in the hindfoot + the 14 toe bones and 5 metatarsals in each forefoot + the 5 tarsals of the midfoot

… and here: like the muscles of fibularis longus and fibularis tertius and fibularis breviary

There is so much about you that I have yet to heed. And for this, I thank you for your patience and guidance and for your inability to run away and leave the rest of me behind.

Talking w the children about Kamloops

How are the children?

Listening to the stories of genocide, savagery, the incomprehensible behavior of whites that litter through history.

Last week, the children listened to the news detailing the research in Kamloops/Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc that revealed that 215 children were buried in a mass grave.

That wasn’t a school. It was a prison.

That wasn’t a residential school. It was an assimilation hall.

A few days prior to the stories out of British Columbia, I had picked up:

  • I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, 2016)
  • Little Bird #1, by Darcy van Poelgeest (Image Comics, 2019)

The week prior, we were exposed to the language of lies wrapped inside a tone of cunning deception that qualified the officials who kidnapped and stole indigenous children as “nice” and the act of forcibly relocating children as “tricked” with stories of nourishing meals.

Lies perpetuated through decades and centuries, repeated in news accounts, embellished in children’s books upholding the sanctity of white colonizers, refraining from mentioning the horrors of abusers and authorities.

Insights on anger

In recent days, I have been unraveling more of my beliefs about anger. Two days ago: got-headed was a euphemism for violent. Yesterday: my father could not express rage in his home or in public spaces because it was not safe. Today: it is preferable to process anger and resolve anger alone away from others.

As I child, I did not allow myself to feel or express anger or at least that is not what I perceived and understood my feelings as. I opted for sadness rather than anger. I did not trust anger to not be violent or vengeful or lash out at others. Any of those reactions seemed worse than a feeling alone so I didn’t want to experience a feeling that was oriented towards others. Sadness oriented me inside and quieted me so i did not divulge with others.

Isolating anger is curious for me as I wonder if I don’t trust anger as a constructive way of being with others.

Now I experience anger and oftentimes find myself saying words that are lashing out, seeking someone to land on. It still feels untrustworthy and inaccurate. And I don’t know how genuinely what I say demonstrates what I’m feeling. The words that come out in my angry outbursts seem like distractions rather than insightful.

Sadness takes me away from my words and keeps me inside some feelings and many thoughts. I may run through sentences in my heart and head but I’m not trying to persuade or explain to others what feels messy or conflicted or shitty when I’m sad.

It isn’t exact or precise or best. It’s simply where I’m at with my aging relationships with both anger and sadness.

logic mind is same ol same ol

Same minds from before will attempt similar efforts of the past.

I believe that there are diminishing returns to the level of studying and conventional education about trying to address and redress the challenges we face as human beings.

The more that someone researches, learns about others failed attempts, models, approaches. Hyper-analyzing existing structures oftentimes caused people to replicate the shapes and forms that have been inaccurate up to know. There’s a point where intellect reaches diminishing returns, and that is when it quashes creativity.

What education and learning has become resulted in a lot of approaches from the neck-up. In other words, that ignores intuition. We train to ignore our physical body, and ridicule our sensory abilities, including our Spidey sense.

As a result, people give the same ol, same ol kind of responses. We have been conditioned to play it safe, to seek security and reassurrances by parroting old and tired ideas as professionals — nonprofit, civil servants as well as case workers — who believe that a career happens in increments.

In professional settings, we have settled into a habit of analyzing, diagnosing symptoms, railing against the systems and the tragedy of our current world.

Logic has convinced itself that we control over so much more than we do. Yet, for all of logic’s analytical rigor, it disregards Acts of God, Black Swans and the reality that people are unpredictable as well as irrational beings. Unpredictability is what makes us human rather than a machine.

The habits of professionalism cause us to act from the neck up as it makes us feel safe and makes us feel like we are smart when we have to attend a meeting. We feel the need to be predictable since it is safe. That we walk into a meeting and ought to know what’s coming from others, as well as not surprise them.

Yet, our sensory bodies like spice and new flavored. Our physical bodies delight at the surprises and the unpredictable of the wild world and the natural outdoors. We are better off by not attempting to tame or control natural phenomena, whether those are hurricanes, avalanches or bears.

We are kinder and better to ourselves, and others, when we don’t delude ourselves into thinking that we control more than we do. Cuz we don’t.

Rather than disempowering (as it isn’t a source of power), it is freeing. We can free ourselves from notions of grandeur, of responsibilities and realities that are not our’s.

regurgitating poison

yes, the vitriol, the hurt, the despondency that people are experiencing and spewing is intense. sometimes it feels like people are regurgitating the poison that’s been fed or forced into them.

i have been cautious, quiet and calm about not being subjected to too much. the systems of media and cable tv are as complicit in this moment as a courtroom in florida. and then getting small glimpses of the behavior, and wrong-speech has been humiliating. so, i have been around few dosages of it.

and, i was writing about my mixed race self on monday morning, which i shared with a friend. how my mom’s whiteness — as the only (wholly) white person in a six person family — connected me to cousins who have given me life, experiences, knowledge and stories that have been instrumental in cultivating compassion for someone who is racist. that has been a doorway for me to be compassionate, and just be with someone who is misogynist, sexist, abusive. and compassion has given me a better sense of my own self to note when i am splayed out emotionally, psychologically or physically.

so, it is an intense moment. our humanity is ill, and this is one more reminder and instance of it. yet, there are still ways to find life, goodness, love, brilliance and beauty in everyday interactions.

Shocks to the system after systems failure

For months, an acute pain has arisen in the fleshy palm of my left hand. The swelling in a capillary bloats stands of tissue that reside beneath my epidermis. Skin over a swollen, small vein is sensitive to touch in a way that other skin is not.
Last month, the shooting, throbbing pain on less than a square inch had company. I noticed tightness in some strands of tissue on my inner bicep. A tightness that I could mistake for muscle tautness, except that there is no similar strand in the bicep of my dominant, right arm. This self-noticing, which was palpable to the touch of my external hand, led me to trace my right hand further over the adjacent muscles of my chest, shoulder, and back that form my physical body. As my fingertips investigated, I noted lines of tightness spewing from my armpit in two directions: across my chest, and a band of muscles down my back.
My intuitive sense revealed that these were interwoven symptoms of muscles beholden to a particular tension. What minutes earlier was only a throb in my palm was showing itself now that I was seeing with the fingers of my right hand and listening with my right hand. This is what sensing looks (feels, tastes and soothes) like in the body.
I sat with the discomfort, which now tasted slightly different thanks to my recent curiosity. I was unsure of what to make of it. I pulled my thumb to “pop” the joint (or pop the knuckle, although I see the uniqueness of the thumb give this joint a different name rather than be one of five knuckles) for momentary relief. “Popping my knuckles” has been a way to realign, reconfigure and redesign the spaces in between my skeleton I learned how to contort my fingers to make an audible adjustment. I pop knuckles considerably less as an adult than I did as a child, though I “pop” or open up space between vertebrae in my lower back, mid-back and neck daily. I open up spaces surrounding my sternum by spreading my shoulders back and apart in such a way on most mornings that I can hear the reconfiguration within my chest.
But this popping of my thumb has been different. The realignment of my joint provides some relief to the tissues that are two inches away. However, after the energy moves, the pain returns soon after.
Then last Monday, I placed my hands underneath my shoulders while laying on my back. Knees bent. Soles of my feet on the floor. A position called wheel pose, when I use my hands and feet to push my body up off of the floor and out. I could stay up briefly. And came crashing town to the ground once or twice.
The sensations of coaxing a throb began soon after. Previously, I had begun and ended multiple yoga classes by rubbing the flesh of my palm or yanking on my left thumb (frantically). This morning was the first time that I could feel the tightness dissipating as blood flowed through my palm, my thumb, my bicep, my armpit, my pectoral and my back.
____

One pose stretches my wrist and calls upon the needed force of select muscles to hold my body up in a new and different way. Holding me in a certain position for a matter of seconds, yet rippling throughout my day.
The vein in my left palm palpates now. Rarely it is visible to my eye. Yet, I am learning my own body. Learning how the sorenss of my left thumb cascades up into my chest and back. Similarly, I am learning how new poses and new stretches are like math problems, spelling contests and reading comprehension. New assignments and new challenges are needed in order for me to keep on learning. My body self-organizes the programming of my DNA and the coding of my musculature in this moment-by-moment school of learning.

spacious in the morning

I awoke and did yoga this morning. It is barely 8:30 and i can already sense the spaciousness in my body that feels differently. Rather than feeling cramped or tight, there is a lightness as a result of it. In muscles and joints that can be lethargic, especially after four days on the road in four beds in different rooms in two cities.

As much as I want to attribute this to a single thing, this is another instance where there are a multiplicity of factors culminating in this experience, in this moment. I may have slept in a more comfortable bed last night, which factored into choosing to stretch this morning.

Spaciousness accompanies flexibility and fluidity for me. I can hear my body flowing, which is a softer, gentler sound than the creaking that happens when I am slow struggling in the morning. My muscles feel limber rather than taut. Taut is a bizarre feeling when I have been awake and out of bed for less than 120 minutes.