I have a quote, an opening sentence really, hanging above my desk from L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between that reads, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” I haven’t spent much time thinking about the past recently, at least not consciously. I have been pretty focused on the present, and freaking out over the future. I don’t have time to go to a foreign country right now, they do things differently there and while often things make a little more sense in hindsight sometimes they simply do not…at least not yet. For better or worse the customs are different, confusing, baffling even. I’m having enough trouble navigating the present thee days. Sometimes it is better to leave well enough alone.
This evening in yoga class while in Warrior II the teacher gently stepped on my back foot to root in into the earth then lengthened my back arm and pulled on it. At first I found myself confused, I wanted to fight her. No teacher had ever done that to me. I didn’t like it so much. And then I stopped fighting and let myself have the experience. She was bringing awareness to the half of my body that lay behind me, the parts of myself that I could not see. What lies behind us? The past. Duh. I initially didn’t want to go there, but then I was forced to either fight or sink into whatever it was that was making me want to fight. This moment reminded me of how powerful the body is and how a physical experience can bring our awareness to something so much more quickly and with so much more depth than simply talking or listening can. I am not sure what I am running from or avoiding or even why I don’t want to visit the foreign country called the past right now. This is something that will take a little more time, a little more exploring. However, the past seems to need some attention and mentioning, so here is your moment to shine past. I promise to pay you a little more attention in the coming days.