Sluggish, coffeeless, genius

Sluggish practice. I feel like I am fighting a cold, my upper back/shoulders felt tuckered out right from the first chaturanga. Ugh. My pep talk to myself was simply, “Sometimes you just practice because it’s time to practice.” Not very high expectations, clearly.

I think I need to open up my practice a bit. I tend to create efficiencies in anything I do routinely, and in movement situations, that can mean reducing the movements, making them tighter (versus letting them open out a bit). So that’s a little something to start thinking about.

Otherwise, everything was fine. My lower back is stiff, stiff, stiff when I wake up these days. Not sore, just stiff. I’ve kicked my ibuprofen habit and this morning decided to go without pre-practice coffee. Oh, hey, maybe that’s why I felt kind of sluggish! Anyhow, by savasana, I couldn’t get the thought of CHAI! out of my head. Mmmm.

Volleyball Guy gave me a great assist in pasasana today. I can get my feet flat and the bind (tenuously) on my own, but it never feels like a real twist. I think I compromise the twist in order to keep my balance. So it rocked to get some serious twist happening in the pose. Maybe I will put my heels up for a while, perhaps that will allow me to twist more and still keep my balance?

Kapotasana was okay, I’m ending up an inch from my toes according to Volleyball Guy, which is fine by me. A good enough starting place.

Souljerky has a video of the Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies following Allen Ginsberg’s death (wonderfully titled “Scenes from Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth as a Spirit”). I’ve watched it a couple of times: it reminds me of a great documentary on Tibetan practices (“Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life”). Allen was one of my teachers in grad school, and I spent a good bit of time hanging out with him. He was a really gentle man, very sweet and funny and irritable and human. He thought poetry was the heart of reality, a perspective I couldn’t really share. Once, he had to be away during class time and sent Gregory Corso in his place. Gregory was pretty awful — I think perhaps he was baiting us on purpose, but suffice it to say, he managed to be belligerent and sexist and racist all in one fell swoop. The next week, Allen said, “What did you think of Gregory?” “He’s an asshole,” I replied. “He’s a genius,” Allen said. “Maybe so, but he’s still an asshole,” I said. Allen just nodded.

This was an interesting conversation to me, because when Allen came up, “poets behaving badly” was de rigueur. Some poets behaved badly in the ’30s and ’40s, but by the ’50s, being troubled and substance-addicted and suicidal was a prerequisite, and the clan of poets was always inspecting itself, eager to determine who among the crowd deserved the title “genius.” I always got the feeling that Allen saw people like Corso and Burroughs and Kerouac as more “genius” than he: they certainly were more troubled. And by that criterion, Allen couldn’t “win” — he was a kind man who tried to do the right thing and be thoughtful of other people. He seemed very curious about the idea of forgetting about “genius,” about not valuing the notion, but I think when you are famous and live in New York, it’s pretty much impossible to escape the constructs that get built by your self and around your self.

I hope he escaped rebirth entirely, or found a very happy new life.

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2 Responses

  1. wow! now that’s impressive. ginsberg as a teacher. “poets behaving badly” seems so quaint in this hilton yuga…

  2. I know, right? Interesting how people used to be haunted by their fame. Now it seems folks’ll do ANYTHING to be famous. I don’t get the attraction.

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