Writings

Retreating


This moment is an aching reminder of the fundamental underlying principle of life. That of change. Of groundlessness and the fleeting nature of it all.
We’re individually but collectively confined, our reality is being stripped down to a minimum for a while.
Like in retreat.
It’s like we’re all collectively retreating.
Retreating
The seclusion is through its global scope uniting us in a way that only a few months ago seemed impossible, our perceived common enemy is airborne and does not discriminate so it seems we’re in a way reaching that sci-fi moment when “United we stand. ..” Only it wasn’t the alien or the robots, no, it is a virus that secured the role as the proverbial bad guy.
Now the camera turns to us in suspense to find out if we can overcome our differences of opinion, creed, race and gender. Stretch our sense of solidarity to include the furthest removed, stand together and choose wisely how to proceed from here… The moment is so Hollywoodesque it feels almost unreal. And I’m afraid that happily ever after is not happening anytime soon.

That doesn’t seem to be the nature of this beast.

But who knows, the way things progress, it seems uncertainty is the guiding principle and what held true yesterday is in question today.
I hope this is not the beginning of the end of freedom of movement. I hope this is not the Orwellian nightmare lurking in the shadows waiting for the time when fear has ripened the human heart enough to agree to microchips and surveillance.
I hope this time we’re allowed to be retreating together gives us enough perspective to not in panic agree to a new world order that is as scary as any Big brother/Matrix scenario.
I hope.
I know that uncertainty is scary as hell, I know very intimately the dark places our thoughts can lead us to when the rug is being ripped out from under our feet. I know we all just want ground, safety, security…
I know. But...that is not the underlying principle of life, impermanence is.

Now within this constantly changing fabric of existence we do have a say in how to proceed from here. If we could choose, would we rather live secluded working on our computers, needing to report our state of health and our daily movements to a machine for approval or even permission to live freely, or are we ready to modify our habits, our over the top spending, our way of caring for our self, and others, engaging in how our community is being run, in order to maintain our independence, our freedom?
This line of questioning that a few months ago seemed to be part of the sci-fi, futuristic scenario is now right at our doorstep.

I think I know what I would choose.

Besides contemplating the possible scenarios of hard choices in, I suppose, a not too distant future, this moment also lends itself to reflect on the choices we have taken so far. We have much time to think and whether we let the endless world of distraction and entertainment swallow up huge chunks of our days, or bury ourselves in self imposed tasks of cleaning and organising our lives, we all inevitably have moments where we’re reflecting upon our lives.
I find that even though all my eggs are placed in a basket that in this climate seem incredibly inconvenient, I’m happy about my choices. Having yoga and meditation as the cornerstones of my existence, this current situation of seclusion and confinement, although highly unusual feels quite familiar. I have voluntarily retreated in silence and exclusion many times and I host the experience for others as my livelihood, so it’s not as shocking as it may be for those that are not used to it. I kind of like the emptiness.
I miss teaching though, especially in this big moment when we’re all retreating separately together, I realise what an important part of my practice teaching holds. On the upside I have spent more time on the mat these last couple of weeks. The long monotony of the days coupled with the uncertainty of the situation cracking open my practice with new curiosity.
I also miss teaching dance, miss directing, choreographing on people, for people with people…miss coming up with weird ideas and watch them become reality in front of my very eyes…I miss that outlet of creativity that of late has been a wonderful cherry on top in my daily life, but…
This is a moment of retreat. To let teachings stew inside the confinement, allow ideas to brew and digest. A generous parenthesis in time to sit with fear, restlessness, groundlessness, and allow for empathy and gratitude for what we have to surface. To feel deeply our communion with others but recognise that death is a solitary experience and just marvel at the accuracy of impermanence.

A new way of teaching and communicating is in the works. We’ve been pondering different ways to handle our precarious work situation, allowing time and space for ideas to mature, and we’re slowly settling on a couple of ways to proceed. Yesterday we invested much of what we have, and some of what we don’t, in equipment to be able to carry on, reinvent and vamp up our way of teaching/communicating. And in a way, through this stretch of separation, bring ourselves closer to all of you, hoping our care will travel well across the airwaves. The ideas we are working on feel exciting and that is always a good point zero so although there’s risk associated with our choice, I think it’s a calculated risk. I know by design, life is not ‘calculatable’, there will always be an element of throwing the dice and see where they land but I would say now more than ever, we gotta go big or go…? And who knows, perhaps that risk factor turns out to be our x-factor. And whatever comes out of this global giant pause, our choices will now more than ever define us and our world, so as we’re collectively retreating, I hope we give space and time to reflect upon who we are, what is important to us and how we want to carry out whatever is left of our time here on earth.

 

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