Now, I don't write my rants about seventh series while the bad days are upon me; I know better than to get ANYWHERE near a computer when the bad days are here. I write rants after I've digested the feelings OF the bad days, and then I describe them here. Most of the time, I'm in a fairly good, high-energy mood when I'm writing rants about seventh here. Sure, I'm bitching like a jealous schoolgirl, but until seventh's apparently inevitable "weird magic" kicks in and makes me love it more than anything else I can imagine, this is the way.
People love their first kid SO MUCH, apparently, that they get psyched to have a second one. That blows my FUCKING MIND. The first two months of this child's life have been some of the most violently hateful disorienting hell that I can ever even IMAGINE going through. The pain has exceeded my WILDEST imagination of how bad it could ever POSSIBLY get. And that's on all levels: partner's sleeplessness, emotional anxiety, child's incomprehensibility, multiple rounds of mastitis that make breastfeeding into pure agony, on and on and on like that. We basically HAVE no relationship to ourselves; we are pure and total parents.
BUT APPARENTLY so much love and wonder and magic is headed our way that we will FORGET ALL ABOUT THIS. EVERYONE seems to.
On the one hand, I can't wait. But on the other, I fucking DARE the gods to make me forget this. You fucking BRING IT, you motherfuckers.
Let us talk about things we enjoy better. I did get in a Primary today, and while Supta K was harder than I remembered, and Baddha K was much stiffer than it was a week and a half ago (my last Primary before this one), generally things were good, and I was able to get in my now-regular backbends, although I decided to walk in vs. stand up (well, stand to kneeling) from the 3 dropbacks.
I am DISTINCTLY mellower in my house, after I've had an asana practice.
I think it is NOT about ego, about "me time" or anything like that. It seems that it should be, but on a certain level which is not entirely conscious, I am AWARE that I'm deceiving myself about the baby thing, wholesale. The pain isn't real. It IS, of course, and I know that I can't get "myself" to follow this line of thinking in actuality.
It's like I walk out of my accumulated self, from the mat or rug, and especially so from ashtanga practice, moreso than power yoga, which is why I throw in specifically ashtanga moves when I do power yoga. Something about the routine, a sort of emotional familiarity, which could use some more digging-around-in.
There IS magic in ujjayi-bandhas-dristi. It has looked--especially after trying to dig into the wildly deep stuff Owl is saying about this recently--like an ocean that my feet are wading into. Shallower before, fairly shallow now still, depth awaiting. And there's your "all is coming."
Quick tangent: the new Yoga Journal arrived today (I get it as part of my yoga teacher insurance, it's a set deal, which I can't undo if I want to) and it's got a marvelous couple pages of quotes about remembering Pattabhi Jois, and from real live Mysorians like Freeman and MacGregor. Good stuff.
A lot of my Primary practice is about either one or more of ujjayi-bandhas-dristi. I like to work with dristi in sun salutations. I like keeping a very, VERY strict breath pace; it provides RIGOROUS focus. Eventually in seated the rigor of my ujjayi falls off, usually around the Marichyasanas, and asana details--mechanics--take over. The twists are still fun for me to think about in terms of ribs-to-thigh, shoulder up, back, spine tall, twist, vertical, shoulders down, etc. The physical experience. Probably this is because the twists happen BIG TIME in my outer hips, which is also part of where my backbends happen (and actually, not long ago, foot-behind-head got in there too, which it doesn't usually).
Dristi is KEY in Navasanas for me; makes them not easier but steadier. Changes them from "the pose" to something else, something back to ujjayi-bandhas-dristi, moves them from OBJECTS to FLOW (insert quantum physics equation here).
The hard poses were all, well, hard: the arm balance, the ankle-cross in Supta K, the rollup in Garbha Pindasana; actually I couldn't do it today, and that's damn unusual. I've been able to hit that since 2007! Everything that got into my right glutes, took me out of the flow. Became physical, sort of "settled into reality" again, the way my emotions do under intense child frustration. I sort of "embody" the stickiness, I agglutinate, like rice. Threatened, fear, sadness.
Focus can be maintained through this: Baddha Konasana. When it stops being about my inner thighs, it moves right into the glutes. The same way that Janu Sirsasanas, more productively, move from being hamstring stretches, to hip openers. Again, I get them in the glutes. Janus, however, are not as intense on me as Baddha, and so I can maintain breath and gaze and bandhas there, whereas its harder in Baddha, more physical, "stickier." Here it's not riding the tristana, it's in a way BEING the tristana so as, if you like, NOT to be the physical, not to get stuck.
I don't ACTUALLY believe that I am "non-physical" when I'm high on tristana, but it's a metaphor, for again, emphasizing flow over cessation, over pose-as-object. And in a way, it DOES get to physics, and quickly. There are multiple meanings of "pose-as-object." In one, the pose is the thing you got, did not get. It's about you and your capabilities. Gymnastics. In another, it's about the pose as a moment of stoppage (did you stop breathing too?). In another, it's about the pose as an agglutination, what Deleuze and Guattari would call "striated space," unopen space, defined space, a territorialization. Full tristana, if you like, de-territorializes these agglutinations, and poses turn liquid. One POURS OUT a practice.
(Uhh, Patrick, you just used French theory to describe asana practice)
At this point, binaries crumble. One isn't HAPPY to be engaged in tristana, but one CAN be sad, angry, other things, to be what I've called "agglutinated" into a hard pose. One "wakes up" at not being able to do it, perhaps. This is where I see Owl's bit about not exerting, but not "consciously" surrendering, either. There is a surrender from which the pose comes, and it's from surrendering (I think) the very exertion, not from ACTIVELY surrendering. It's not a surrender you "DO". At the point that you STOP DOING, something happens, the movement occurs. I just CANNOT trace it further than that, you'll have to ask her, assuming that I haven't just fucked it all up.
To be happy to have achieved a pose is cool, but I think that in my tristana terms, it still reflects stickiness, agglutination, striated, determined space. "I got it; I didn't get it." Not long ago I did (via experimentation) an Advanced A pose that I've wanted to do ever since I saw it in a photograph. I just fell totally in love with the look, the lines, the energy of it. I'm intentionally not naming it here. The position was achieved, but all the while that I was doing it, it was suprising, unusual, weird. It wasn't that I was unsure, or anxious, but every movement was distinct, and weird, like it was underwater or in slow motion, or like I was in a Cronenberg film where you can't tell if you're watching TV or if you're ON TV.
I have no idea what my breath pace for it was, getting in, but I remember putting the gaze in the right place and taking five breaths and then by the time I exited, I was thinking about breath again, cueing it right. And it was all beautiful, particularly the way out. So yay me, right? Sure, whatever. What was remarkable about it was that I COULDN'T BELIEVE that it had happened. It was as if I didn't do it, but dreamed that I did. A very realistic dream.
I like the dreamlike quality, and I'm torn--still--between wanting to REALIZE IT and own it and make it mine, and wanting to LEAVE it out there in the foggy dreamland. Maybe if I am ever doing that sequence, it will come with the ability to leave MYSELF out there in the foggy dreamland.
See the parallels between asana and baby care?
Is there a "tristana" for baby care? For seventh series? With all of its wildly unpredictable entries and exits? Is there baby care "vinyasa" if you will? I think the mindset needs to be considered, not some actual "asana" parallel.
Let us rephrase: is there FLOW in baby care versus OBJECTS? Smooth space, deterritorialization? The urge, of course, in such WILD deterritorialization that the child creates, is to RETERRITORIALIZE, to fucking draw lines EVERYWHERE, to delineate MINE from THINE and they're all broken regularly, and that's where metaphors of drowning and being killed and overwhelmed and "having no relationship" come from. Not that having no relationship is imaginary.
But that falls for the trick that the SELF is territorial, has territory, and that all deterritorialization is therefore chaos unless it's "controlled" in some way, and then we're right back at self and not-self and it's not juicy anymore.
Baby space DOES have striations. There ARE objects and agglutinations there. Crying. Feeding. Napping. All of that is agglutination. The emotional dynamics of the child's noise and my REACTION to it is an agglutination. NOW we're in sexy territory again; surely there is FLOW in that dynamic, yes? Dynamism itself implies flow. The tendency is to REDUCE all FLOW in order to create, precisely, ORDER.
But order flows. Otherwise time stops. No pose is steady; you've heard this? It has nothing to do with your heartbeat or your shaking foot; it has to do with the FOURTH DIMENSION.
But this is a tangent. Baby care: what would it be to INCREASE THE FLOW? Not the chaos overall (that's the trapdoor we just evaded) but to increase the FLOW of it, versus the AGGLUTINATIONS of it? Books offer strategies, like taking a break or a walk or whatever, but this isn't about strategies, its about dynamics, about not getting stuck, not settling for "good baby, bad baby" and plays of "good behavior, bad behavior." Those will all still exist--it's not for them not to--it's the DYNAMICS between the two, between him and me, between "his" and me.
Not "to give more love" or "to be less irritable," those miss the point, those conditions are still sticky, still little homes on the smooth space. Maybe one can park there, but to live there will mean this same unhappiness, I think.
This morning I did four different tasks of housework in about 80 minutes. Things I generally hate, like cleaning porcelain and vacuuming. DO, not THINK ABOUT. It was easier than I thought. Not hard, not hateful, there was no place for it, no time for it. But after that I was STILL pissed off about duty vs. enjoyment, because this phase of life is so massively (in my sticky experience) weighted for the former and seems to utterly deny the latter. This, of course, is deception, but hard deception for me to undo.
"Enjoy your duties!" That's how the wise man on the mountain nixes the binary, right? Bullshit; there are specific joys that I want, which I cannot have. It won't hold up, it just reinvents itself like a computer virus. Can one SURF over dissatisfaction? Another temptation: the Silver Surfer, mythology, a metaphor from the Sutras about surfing, swimming, experts we must be, and so on. No, let's not do that, THIS TIME. Can one DETACH from dissatisfaction, still DO what is dissatisfying, still NOT do what would be preferable, and maintain "yes/no" while COMMITTING THE TASKS? To make even the rarified, the privatized, the so-desired, INTO DOING?
Not to lose the valuations, the "good and evil" as maybe Nietzsche would have put it, but to avoid the stickiness of those valuations, to keep from being OWNED by them. Nietzsche's weird bit on what SOUNDS LIKE agency is telling here: he very much sounds like he's talking about domination, about even fascist conquest, when what I see there more and more is simply NOT BEING OWNED by what is "good," what is "evil," not BELONGING to what's already there in its accumulated errors and unthought traditions. Sure, he digs into the traditions and the histories and gives Foucault the material to call it later, "archaeologies," but he's not about what we call "living in the present" as much as he is about living AMIDST all of what I have above named "agglutinations." Nietzsche does not wish to be STICKY, to be CONCRETIZED. From this non-stickiness, this sort of CHOSEN friction or frictionlessness, this CONTROL OVER THE COEFFICIENT, Deleuze and Guattari put together territorialization and deterritorialization.
Control over the coefficient of baby care frictions is already coming. The past pain is, in what's come to be called yoga lingo, "aversion." Sure. It's not my only aversion and won't be my last one. It's probably possible to sail past painful experience with sufficient "tristana" but I haven't done that (haven't acquired the siddhi yet?) and so the game that I CAN see, is one of NOT STICKING. Of choosing the coefficient.
There is a sense in which my efforts to "chart the progress" of newborn care and to "set the record straight" are a record of failures. But those aversions are linked to ideological ones, gender aversions, long-held mythologies; I didn't just randomly "fail the love of parenting." It's not NEARLY that simple. I'd have to take apart my whole long-held value system (as deception, as I am a deception) in order to undo the aversions the past year has stepped on, re-set-off. There is a sense in which I WANTED to stick to the pain, to study it, chart it, write it down, use it as a hammer to defy what I see as euphemizing rhetoric. Sure, there's himsa in that, but I wanted it. I did it. I got it. It doesn't make me feel better in any way other than the cathartic power of writing something accurately.
I wonder if this is my LONGEST POST EVER yet. I've gotten damn chatty in the past. Maybe I will let this end now and see if anyone gets to these lines. There's good stuff in here, things that I've been thinking about less clearly; there are lines of discovery in here, little aha moments for me. Sometimes that's all I write for. I dance around a concept and turn it every which way, get all CUBIST on it, in order to get JUST the right beam of light to come out of it.