Story Water, by Rumi
A story is like water that you heat for your bath.
It takes messages between the fire and your skin. It lets them meet, and it cleans you!
Very few can sit down in the middle of the fireit self like a salamander or Abraham.
We need intermediaries.
A feeling of fullness comes, but usually it takes some bread to bring it.
Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.
The body itself is a screen to shield and partially reveal the light that’s blazing inside your presence.
Water, stories, the body, all the things we do, are mediums that hide and show what’s hidden.
Study them, and enjoy this being washed with a secret we sometimes know, and then not.
Now and then, I read a poem at the end of my yoga classes. Sometimes, the poem relates to a theme or sequence in the class (or, often: inspires either). I’m not sure how well it came across in Monday’s class, but I wanted to encourage people in the room to allow themselves to stay present but detached enough in the practice to simply observe the rich pageant that our minds and bodies can present.
Over the weekend I’d had another one of those overwhelmingly real experiences in a hair salon. Does this happen to anyone else? Months (I was overdue for a cut, again) go by and I settle into my seemingly busy, overstimulating life and then BAM! I go in for a trim and the life, vibrance and intensity of experiences (compared to my daily life) playing out for a mere hour or so make me feel that not really much is going on with me. It’s not true, but it is true that my life doesn’t presently include dealing head-on with a recent cancer diagnosis; chest surgery; being 20 and handling dreams of children and yourself, but also education costs; amazing people who die instantly from brain aneurysms; running a small business while dealing with medical bills; or even the anguished strain of a salon that is behind schedule when your day will not allow for that delay (that was the lady scheduled after me).
Above all, my reality doesn’t include having a long-time client who says she trusts your professional judgement with regards to her sometimes unruly coiled locks, and yet has moments of such faltering self-esteem that she visibly shudders when she looks in the mirror after 90 minutes of snipping, spraying, blowing, scrunching, primping. It’s a great cut; the client looked every bit the beautiful, stylish and confident person that she is.
Once done, I had to make a decision. I could swallow the drama I experienced, and move on with the next Saturday afternoon agenda item. Or I could opt to let the emotions flow through me and accept that life is happening, right now and maybe find a comfy plum-colored sofa to park on, to breathe, listen and re-set for the weekend.
I went with the latter. What did the story reveal – or keep hidden?