Assume a noble position.
Feel your butt in the chair…
One of my favorite things about working with master teachers, particularly women–elder women–say 70+, is the way they effortlessly move between the sacred and the profane, weaving the earthly and the divine into ONE without pretense or affectation because womanhood has surrendered them into living this way.
The guided meditations offered by Joan Borysenko at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in her weekend workshop Writing Down the Light: Retelling Your Life Story were Mr. Rodgers-eque… humble, simple, slow, deeply profound… inviting ease, childlike innocence, patience, and an open heart.
“The seeds of a soul’s becoming are hidden in the stories of life that cause pain and limitation,” she said.
One of the many gifts of assisting teachers like Joan is noticing how they too are transformed by their work, always arriving at new frontiers.
“You can’t rewrite a story until you’ve grieved an old one,” Joan said, referencing by example the pain of her neighborhood in Boulder consumed by fire, producing afterward toxic fumes and “the most awful weeds” as well as “the most beautiful flowers.”
“Grievance stories must be heard, witnessed, metabolized, and integrated,” she said. “But rehearsing a grieving story (without digestion) is like branding the brain.”
“One misses relationships as they were,” she said, or she may have been quoting David Kessler who was presenting that same weekend in another room on grief. “Sometimes we make Gods out of our stories.”
Joan invited us each to rewrite our grievance story with one that holds “more meaning” and “reveals our nobility.”
She went onto explain that there is an “Innate hunger at the end of life, a desperate hunger, to integrate parts of life that don’t make sense.”
When the end is coming near, she said, we’re drawn to “embroider the hanging threads” that haven’t been woven into the fabric of our lives.
Joan closed our sessions by singing to us, emphasizing how vital sounding is for the soul:
We sat by the waters of Babylon,
We sat and we wept…
“Everyone has a basic life story,” she said, “A way we hold the whole story.”
It occurred to me then, particularly as a memoirist, that when we’ve rewritten all of our stories, we are ready to write The Story.