Friday, October 3, 2014

2014.10.03 — Happy Yoga Hippy and a Word Fushigi*

I was asked to write something for my yoga instructor's newsletter. This is what I wrote for the Nataraja Wellness Centre.

“I’ve lost it!” I told Steve. It was Monday morning, first day back to work after a weekend gone too quickly. “It would seem I have gone totally hippy!” And I started laughing with him.
“How so?”
“I have discovered the joy of yoga in a park, with the sun shining down onto us through tall trees, with grass beneath our mats, and the sound of birds chirping and flitting in the leaves. It was so much better than I thought it could be.” I shook my head. “Yup, I’ve gone totally hippy.”

Yes. A few weeks ago the gift of hippy-hood was given to me as another lesson in life from life. Or, to be more accurate, a reaffirmation of the old lesson that out of all things, even the so-called ‘bad’ things, opportunity and discovery and joy can arise and be embraced. The bad thing was the closing of Babeeta’s Wellness centre on 6th Street at the beginning of September. In response to that ostensibly distressing event a few of us took advantage of the closing of our cherished yoga centre and the nice weather to brave the outdoors. Pure heaven! It was far FAR more delightful and invigorating than I had thought possible. And so, out of the blue I enjoyed yoga under the blue. And outdoor yoga has become, after the fact, a bucket list item I have managed to complete. Thank you.

And I can’t stop smiling, even as I write this. Yup. Maybe the hippies weren’t all dippy after the all, for it would seem I have become one, as I lay on my mat with my friends and fellow yogis, with the sound of birds all around us, under the sun tickling our faces and warming our bodies. Ahhhhhh. And to close the event before we dispersed into our days, hot tea, fresh fruit and bread, and conversation.

I am reminded of a poem. A favourite of mine that has remained a favourite for more than 20 years. Oddly enough, it is set in winter! But here it is:

Four Tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berry bush
in sun, and I am one.

Such merriment and such sobriety —
the small wild fruit on the tall stalk —
was this not always my true style?

Above an elegance of snow, beneath
a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four
birds. Can you mistake us?

To sun, to feast, and to converse
and all together — for this I have abandoned
all my other lives.
Francis, Robert. "Waxwings", cited in News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness, ed by Robert Bly. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1980, p. 139.

Word fushigi:
As I was beginning to prepare this blog, I interrupted myself to send to a new friend the list of e.mail closing quotations I’ve collected over the years. My sending them came about after I related to her how a director of mine asked me to stop using them. Given that I had been attaching them to my work e.mails in a random manner, which was indeed unprofessional, I understood his request. However, he added that he thought that they were fine, except that most everyone wouldn’t understand them, and that if I wanted, I could send them to him instead because he would appreciate them.

Anyway, I felt I wanted to clean up the formatting of them. And I was enjoying reading some of them again. As I was doing that, Laurie Brown of CBCR2’s ‘The Signal’ once again added a fushigi: “The problem with words,” she said, “is that they try to explain away the mystery [of life.]” She then elaborated that music did the opposite. She then played Cosmogony by Bjork.

The fushigi was that, just before Laurie began speaking about the problem with words, I had just finished reading the following quotation:
Men know how to read printed books; they do not know how to read the unprinted ones. They can play on a stringed harp, but not on a stringless one. Applying themselves to the superficial instead of the profound, how should they understand music or poetry?
From the Saikontan, by Kojisei (circa 1600) cited in Haiku by Robert Blyth, circa 1947 Tokyo, p. 73.
So I looked for my other ‘word’ quotations:
If words were satisfactory, we could speak the whole day and it would all be about the Way; but if words are unsatisfactory, we can speak the whole day and it will all be about things. The Way is the delimitation of things. Neither words nor silence are satisfactory for conveying it. Without words and without silence, our deliberations reach their utmost limits.
Chuang-Tse. Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1994. Tr. by Victor Mair, p. 266.

And, the finally noteworthy word on the word/music fushigi is a quotation I’d forgotten: developing the language, enriching the meanings of words, ... [the poet] is making possible a much wider range of emotion and perception for other men, because he gives them the speech in which more can be expressed.
T.S. Eliot.

2014.10.04 Word fushigi Addendum
This morning, when I checked my e.mail, I saw that I’d received notice that a dormant thread in Goodreads had come alive again over night. when is poetry not poetry is the thread’s title. I’d first commented in it July 08, 2014 and, up to yesterday, the last comment was September 13th. This adds to the fushigi because one of the issues the thread is philosophically bantering about is the gap in creativity between reason, words, and that which exists before/outside of them. Yesterday’s comment, from Greg, is a simple one: “God has no reason to exist.” This makes me laugh. And of course, post a comment.


  1. P.S. I always thought you were a hippie anyway. ;]

    1. Really? LOL! When I was a teen I had long hair and a leather braided headband. No flowers, though.