Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was browsing around the internet, looking for an appropriate image to decorate this barren(!)-looking blog and came across this beautiful image. I couldn't stop looking at it. It is SO beautiful. I followed its trail, in this strange and navigable cyberspace and came to the source. An artist named Cathy Nichols made it. See her stunning work at http://cathynichols.blogspot.com/ or find her on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/cathynichols
The experience I have when I look at this picture reminds me of the intensive yoga workshops I used to do with Hart Lazer. We'd spend 20 solid hours squeezed into a little weekend intensively back bending or twisting. The experience of contorting the body to such states of susceptibility sometimes caused significant emotional releases to occur. All for the purpose of letting go of what was trapped in our bodies, held there by habitual pattern holds. The workshops were often called 'yoga as a tool for self-transformation', which given my professional calling (clinical psychologist) was intriguing enough to keep me interested (not to mention how in yoga class I was finally breathing fully and countering the effects of my lifelong anxious chest breathing). And so those mysterious transformative effects started to happen. And then something occurred to me.
In Psychology in general and in therapy in particular, words are everything. This is also true for the modality in which I experience life most easily. I knew I wanted to be a shrink when I was 11 years old. I started writing a journal a year before that. The words have always been the tool. The expression of sorrow, joy, confusion most often came in words for me. Therapy is a word-based world. And I've spent lots of time on or next to the proverbial couch.
When I came to yoga, I found out that there was somewhere to go after the words stopped. I think I knew about it before I began yoga but it might have been more nebulous in my mind. I had felt transcendence in the wilderness, in the silence of the muted winter forest. But with this practice, I was presented with the opportunity of going somewhere where words lost their ascendancy. This is also what happens when art moves me, which is the case here.
And this brings me to the owls and my encounter with them. The words escape me. I think the owls reflect my hope in a way I cannot write about. My reckless, courageous hope for a little owl.