Thursday, April 23, 2015

Subvert the Status Quo

Abraham Joshua Heschel was an orthodox rabbi who was a philosopher, a friend of Martin Luther King and wrote The Sabbath among other books. He was particularly concerned with time and a proponent of the celebration of things in time rather than gaining power and control in the realm of space. He advocated creating a "cathedral in time."

In order to better describe this concept, I will tell you how I first came to understand it. Josh and I used to have the space in our schedule for regular Friday dates. We would rush to get ready, preparing food, cleaning up, sending out final emails, making last phone calls until finally shut the door with everything in place. Then as soon as things were set, we stopped, sat down together and time changed...

It slowed down, became luxurious and nourishing. We had nothing to do, only to be and enjoy for the duration. We would wear our best clothes, take them off, splurge on the best food, listen to whatever music, open a fantastic beer, watch a daytime movie. There were no real rules except not to invite in the profane; no phone, no computer, no answering the door. It continued and included the kids, after they came home from school, unless other plans couldn't be held at bay. And then we would do it again the next week. Another break in the regularly scheduled programming, something to look forward to, that nourished the soul, the relationship, life.

This is also why I do yoga. Yoga is not a goal. Not about exercising or changing this body I currently exist in, even though it does do both for me. Instead it is about having a date with myself, giving myself an hour in which to flow, to focus on planting my hands, stepping back, working at my full range of motion in enjoyment. I coordinate each inhale with my intention, with my body, the community in the room and each exhale with letting something go.

Note to self: This is also what I want for the classes I teach, be they with the kids, with the writing, or with yoga. I want to subvert the status quo and find all kinds of time for myself and others. No trying to catch up or change anything, just being one with the moment and the work we are doing, whatever it is.

Abraham Joshua Heschel: “To gain control of the world of space is certainly one of our tasks. The danger begins when, in gaining power in the realm of space, we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time. There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.”
― Abraham Joshua HeschelThe Sabbath