A friend guides us for a second time through a sunny afternoon gathering, a weekly Saturday afternoon event we call BODY SQUAD. We sit on blankets or mats in the yard for yoga, bodywork, and guided meditation. R. “scripts” or choreographs the gathering. She guides us through exercises. We sit and stand and stretch with friends and partners. During the guided meditation, we concentrate on our chakras: aspects of a body-model involving centers of energy. It involves a practice of “visualizing” or “imagining in the mind’s eye” a ladder of colors, points of light along an inner totem pole of the body. At each point, one is asked to visualize a flower that blossoms to reveal a jewel of a similar color. One becomes a student again, learning experientially by trying and doing. One explores and develops one’s awareness of one’s body, as Esalen Institute Gestalt psychotherapist George Downing recommended in his contribution to Anne Kent Rush’s Getting Clear: Body Work for Women. “At the deepest level if we are bound to roles,” Downing writes, “it is because our bodies bind us. […]. Any real transformation must ultimately include transformation of the body” (227).
A multi-talented translator / Reiki instructor / musician friend of ours guides a group of us through a sequence of physical exercises: stretches, poses, celebrations of embodiment. We stand and sit in a circle in the driveway. (If we do it again, we might consider the grass. Or does it not matter? When we sit, we sit on yoga mats.) The exercises are body meditations aligned with particular limbs, joints, and muscles. At the end we lie on our backs together enjoying a lovely, sunny afternoon. Frankie played and sat among us on her blanket / happy, pleased to be with us in companionship with others. More of that, please! It feels wonderful to be present, nerves stimulated by “Chi” again in our legs and feet and arms and fingers and toes, in our hips, our backs, our butts and pelvises. The group concentrates together, bodies held through lengths of breath through guided exercise. The trees stand in their tallness and majesty beside us, their autumn leaves lit by the sun.