Bare Essentials

“The winds of change, they are a blowin’.  I laid in bed awake last night, and when I awoke, it had Fall-en.”

I moved, yet again.  And though I’m fairly certain that this is going to be the last time in a while, it is still such an emotional overhaul.  I forget how much work it is to move into a new place.  There is all of that cleaning, even if it already seems clean, (which this place absolutely did NOT); that need to wash away all of the traces of old occupants, so that you know you are starting with a clear, fresh slate.

And then once the place is clean, there is all of that painting, because most people have absolutely horrendous taste in paint colors.  But before you can paint you have to chip and sand and spackle and TSP.

I moved into a typical Montreal apartment.  Long and narrow.  Crown mouldings and high ceilings and hardwood floors and a wrought-iron balcony, stained glass and old-fashioned things like built-in hutches and window seats.  This apartment has good bones.  But for some god-awful reason, every single door and molding and window frame in this apartment has been painted over with at least six different layers of paint, when the original structure was beautiful wood.  Who does that??  Why do we seek to add/hide/disguise when the natural thing is so much more attractive?

So it seems that there is a lot of stripping in my future.  Because now that the paint is almost completely chipped off of the wood, and there it lies, in all of its warm, grainy glory, it seems practically criminal to put more paint on.   I stare at the peeling paint and I contemplate all of the layers of paint that have been added on over the years.  Every new tenant sought to find their own aesthetic twist to make their world a little more beautiful….even if the trim was Pepto-Bismol pink, or hospital green, or brick red or Mayonnaise (gross).  And who am I to judge one’s definition of beauty?

And all of this washing away, sanding, adding, painting, subtracting and cleaning has got me thinking about layers.  Our lives become this topographical map of our experiences, layered one on top of another:  love on top of rejection, success on top of apathy, laziness on top of manic proliferation.  We build on our past as we move into the future and everything that once was is still a part of now.

But yoga.  Oh, yoga.  Yoga strips it down.  Layer by layer, delving deeper into the body, yes….but if you practice, you know…it goes way deeper than that.

Sometimes, the layers just sheer away, like biting into a Mille Feuille pastry, where thousands of miniscule striations just flake off into buttery goodness that evaporate inside your mouth and leave trails of crumbs dangling down the front of your shirt.  And other times, it feels like to break through even one or two layers (of all of it: all of the bullshit, the stories, the past, the baggage) is like attempting to move the San Andres Fault by tapping a hammer on an L.A. sidewalk.

Sometimes you just get stuck.

In a way, it forces you to go back into time.  To reconcile and expose all of the layers that you previously had slapped a thick coat of paint over.  Your body is filled with nothing but fear and resistance.  Nothing wants to give.  Everything is tight.  I try to come into Camel Pose and I feel like I’m being stabbed in the chest.  What once was a playful and curious handstand is now timid and insecure.   Forget about back bends:  they give me headaches and heartaches, and apparently, I am now the “class crier”.

I feel like a dam about to burst.  And there is this inclination that it is going to be a “burst” in a positive direction but there’s always the risk that it could go horribly awry.

But still I chip and I sand and I strip away.  And I trust:

This house has good bones.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Debbie Keoughan
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 18:35:56

    Words to live by…..Thanks again Jen..

    Reply

  2. Robin
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 19:12:07

    We can cry together sunshine because apparently I am going to cry brick loads during this program. Hope you and your good bones are there to help this girl out. We will get through the fogginess together.

    Reply

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