Thursday, April 23, 2015

Subvert the Status Quo

Abraham Joshua Heschel was an orthodox rabbi and philosopher, and a friend of Martin Luther King. He wrote The Sabbath among other books. He teaches about creating wealth in time rather than seeking to gain power in the realm of space. He advocated for a "cathedral in time."

I didn't always understand what this meant. Or I guess more accurately, I didn't understand how this felt. I got to know time in this way over a period of time from the regular Friday dates my husband and I would have. When he had the space in his schedule for free Friday afternoons, we set them aside to be together. And Fridays always looked the same. We would rush to get ready, preparing food, cleaning up, sending out final emails, making last phone calls and then once everything was in place. We stopped. We sat down. Time changed...

It slowed down and became liquid.

There was nothing we had to do, the only requirement was to be 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; phone, computer, answering the door. It included the kids after they came home from school, sometimes other plans couldn't be held at bay. But we always took a few hours. And then we would do it again the next week. Another break in the regularly scheduled programming, something to look forward to, that turned out to also nourish the soul, the relationship, life.

Yoga is like this too. There is nothing really to get done. I do believe it keeps all the working parts working. And it does change the body. But more importantly it is about having a date with yourself, an hour in which to flow, plant hands, step back, work at your full range of motion in enjoyment. Coordinate each inhale with intention, with sensation, with community and each exhale, let something go.

Note to self: Remember what you want from a class and teach to that. Subvert the status quo and find all kinds of time for yourself and your students.

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