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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Sep 24, 2010

Residue-or-"Nostalgia is Death"

Our good friend Jimmy Smith, who is 60 + and wise, recently said that as he has gotten older he is finding that his movements through the world leave less and less residue. He doesn't "matter" as much - he's becoming less matter and more space.

That really made me think. At first it sounded sad to me - and then i decided it was O.K. - a humble expression of a natural progression.

Residue. That's what is left when the water drains out of the tub.

My household life has been like a tub of warm, soapy, bubbly, swirling, rubber-duck-and-boy-filled water for the last couple of decades. That has suddenly changed. (OK - it's been changing all the time, but just recently the change seems sudden and big).

Eli left at the beginning of the week for his many months in Europe and Asia. Leo will join him in 2 weeks. I am feeling all the heartache so many mothers have felt for ever and ever. At times my heart feels like how I imagine quicksand to be (having watched all those horrifying images of quicksand pulling people under when I was a kid). At times my heart is deep with the grief of being separate from these 2 humans that are my heart - and it's at those times I experience the quicksand effect.

As the quicksand effect has been periodically moving through my inner landscape, I've been surprised to find that I've been avoiding meditation. I really didn't get that! Why would I want to avoid a source of peace, lightness and happiness - like I enjoy the heartbreaking quicksand or something?!

And then I was talking to my friend Denise who was describing that her meditation practice is steadier than ever. She rarely misses a day and if she does she feels it is as if she missed brushing her teeth or showering. As she was telling me this I got it! I understood why I'd been avoiding formal practice. Meditation, asana, etc, really do serve to wash away the residue - the film - over my heart and mind. I think I had been unconsciously holding onto the residue left in the tub of my happy household life - clinging to what was left after the water drained out.

The minute I saw that clearly I immediately regained my motivation to practice. I know the quicksand effect is not done with me and I don't know if that ever stops. My dad still feels it and it has been decades since the last kid left home. But who needs residue? Or - as Bob Dylan said - "Nostalgia is Death".

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Karen--Your post about residue is really
    meaningful. The residue will hang around for quite
    a while, but if stays too long, it turns into hardpan,
    which is like concrete. Our greatest responsibility
    to ourselves as mothers is to not let "hardpan" happen! Love to all, Edith