Tuesday 17th July 2007
On the Mat
The opening scene: 6am, Renate’s studio, only blackness staring back at me through the huge windows, rain and occasional hail beating down on the roof, two heaters fighting a losing battle against the chilly night air.
The odds were against a good practice this morning:
Firstly the cold had deposited itself stubbornly into my joints.
Secondly my body has taken on the protective armour of mid-winter shape, extra kilos in padding spread evenly all over and a rather voluptuous tummy that keeps getting in the way. The damage from this winter will take a bit of work to repair.
Thirdly my mind was elsewhere this morning, overly active in some other fuzzy world, and really not present at all.
So it was Sun Salutes and the standing poses, and some of those I cheated on – only 3 breaths in Parivritta Parsvakonasana, and only ONE BREATH in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana C (that last variation where you hold the leg up unsupported) – most of the other standing poses I did properly. But after that I was kaput.
My mind was scatty, my breath was absent, my joints were frozen. Continuing with the flowing Ashtanga sequence just wasn’t possible.
So the rest of my practice time was spent trying to passively open my body up with some innocuous poses like Supta Baddha Konasana, Virasana and a few twists: Bharadvajasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Marichasana A, and the twisted version of Upavista Konasana where you turn to face the extended leg and bend forward til the nose touches the knee.
No matter how bad I feel and how bad practice is going I can’t NOT do any backbends – the guilt would kill me. So I laid back over a bolster to convince my body it could open, then I did Ustrasana before trying Urdhva Dhanurasana. It wasn’t half bad actually but I copped out and only did one. I know I could have done a few more but my mind was so rapidly collapsing inwards it seemed urgent to finish off with the minimum inversions, Sarvangasana and Halasana then fall into Savasana before I died.
Still, any day I get on the mat is a day not wasted.
The next few weeks will be tough because my yoga buddies won’t be around.
Renate leaves this Friday for China and Outer Mongolia (sounds exotic and dangerous) she's off adventuring for about 5 weeks. Kosta’s hernia operation is today so he’ll be out of yoga action for at least 3, maybe 6 weeks.
I’ll have no-one to practice with.
Makes me wonder what more can the universe take away from me, I shudder to contemplate that question.
The systematic stripping away of my support systems is almost complete.
Up until 4 weeks ago, housesitting wasn’t an activity I’d given any thought to – not part of my vocabulary really.
But events seemed to be orchestrated around me in a most extraordinary series of ‘coincidences’ and I found myself housesitting 4 different houses over a period of 4 weeks.
First I looked after Lisa’s house (and cat) on the other side of town for 5 days, it was a little further to drive to work each day but that was compensated for by the beautifully renovated old house and a bathroom to die for.
I went from Lisa’s house to a 5 day stay at my ex-husband’s house, more to look after his dog Snoop than his house while he was away in the country.
When Rod and Anna heard that I was looking after Lisa’s house (all three are work colleagues at the art school), they asked me to housesit their place (and their dog Polly) while they went to Byron Bay for 6 days. I still can’t believe how I could pack up my clothes and leave my husband’s house one day and move in to Rod and Anna’s house the very same day, then leave their house and move into my current housesitting spot the next day. Four houses in a row, each one available straight after the last.
So I’m now at Margot’s place (she nabbed me when she heard I was housesitting Rod and Anna's place) while her family are holidaying in Sydney. I’m eating and sleeping in someone else’s house, snuggling up to their dog, showering in their bathroom, using their pots and pans, inhabiting their personal space that is saturated with their character.
I’m surprised at how quickly the unfamiliar becomes my own, surprised that I can step into another person’s home and fit in so easily. Perhaps it’s because I have so little sense of self left these days. I almost cease to exist as a personality so there’s a fluidity to my being that no longer carries a personalised stamp.
Experiencing how other people live by actually inhabiting their homes has been interesting. What we choose to surround us in our most intimate sanctuary reveals the unique expression of our character. Clutter or simplicity, old style bric-a-brac or contemporary deco, carpets or wooden floors, vivid, muted or beige colour schemes, lighting, wall decorations, selections of books, manicured rose gardens or natural bushes, we express our Selves in this world through every choice we make, not only in our homes but in everything we do.
An soon it will be my turn – only 6 more sleeps until I move into a slightly more permanent home (let me see…that’s 3 more sleeps at Margot’s, 2 sleeps back at Renate’s, then 1 sleep at my boyfriend’s).
My semi-permanent home-to-be is actually a 1 year residency housesitting Fleur’s amazing place while she ventures overseas and interstate, travelling and taking up funded visual and performing artists residencies and internships.
She has virtually nothing in the place (it's a typical starving artists studio) so I have carte blanche to do what I want, feather my new nest for a while.
And the best part is…I can move in there with my long neglected little dog.