This week my yoga teacher said, Think about your relationship with time… and what occurred to me in these COVID times is to wonder at our relationship with place, how relationships need to meet in real place as much as real time, something the online meeting has yet to master, because as humans everything we come to in this world is through the body: speaking, eating, seeing, hearing, breathing, moving, believing, knowing, but especially touching. This is presence. And how there’s a vague sense of displacement in all my relations right now, a sense of imbalance as we approach the balancing promise of Spring Equinox. And how excited, how heady, how giddy I become at the prospect and the reality of meeting someone, anyone in the flesh.
Time keeps moving through space: water, wind, fire. It’s what defines life. Perhaps what it means to be human. No matter if our land masses were separated by oceans millions of years ago, separated and reconstituted how many times? Birds, mammals, fish, humans: we keep migrating, we adapt. The earth recreates herself, hemisphere by hemisphere, season by season but especially in spring. Chooses to sprout, to root, to give birth to another round of life.
There was a heart meditation I used to do with groups, “heart” for compassion, Buddhist in inspiration. Sometimes I would do it accompanied by a video from the National Film Board of Canada called Cosmic Zoom: Hold this moment in your heart: this body, breathing, alive, moving. In your mind begin to widen the circle of view, imagine yourself like a bird lifting from the ground, your home/your neighbourhood receding below, broadening wider and wider, the whole city/the whole countryside floating into view. See it in all its fullness: pain and expectation. Soon whole provinces, then countries, borders dissolving, rivers running into oceans. Holding more and more of it in your body. Continents slipping, becoming one green-blue-smoky whole, the lights of cities, the hum of rainforests. We move through time and back into space, Earth, one of a multiplicity of planets whirling, taking flight as we pass; moons in orbit; solar systems; stars and comets streaming by us. The galaxies we know and the galaxies we don’t know. Black holes and worm holes. The universe within us and around us, darkness and light.
Until we stop to hold all of it, all of the displacement that precedes new growth: forests on fire in the Amazon, shrinking glaciers, and breaking icebergs. Oil patch labourers caught in the eye of climate change. Black Lives Matter protests, the small farmers protesting Big Agriculture in India, the democracy activists in Hong Kong, in Burma, the abandoned prisoners of war in the deserts of Syria, the memorials for missing and murdered Indigenous women, black women, women of colour and all women who die by violence. Seniors stuck inside long term care longing for connection, the frontline workers exhausted and the hospitality workers waiting for the end of COVID. People lining up for vaccinations. Tulips and perennials pushing up from the soil in our own backyards. Migratory birds getting ready to sluff off their southern wintering grounds and the child refugees of Central America massing on the southern US border. We hold all of it in this body. This heart. And then we let it all go. As so many struggles surge forward to come into the light.