For the last few weeks, in one of my quickly-becoming-a-favorite classes at Still, we have been guided (by the complex-thinker/former-filmmaker/kick-ass-yoga-teacher Tara Judelle ) through the Organ Body.
I have been both longing to write this post and avoiding this post with all my might, since said beginning of said journey through the organs.
Let me preface this by saying 1) this is probably just one of many posts on this subject and 2) i am reluctant to write because before beginning this little dive into inner-space I knew exactly jack-squat about the shape, placement and purpose of my organs (save the stuff everyone knows, like my heart beats and my lungs inflate and my diaphragm does...something) and now at the close of week 3 of study I know approximately jack about the organs. Which, I have decided, is the next step up from jack-squat. Progress!
However, I am convinced that my jack-knowing self may possibly be a welcome tour-guide for those of you out there who also feel a bit-- unacquainted with the insides of their torso.
The premise of the classes, for those who are still stuck on what the hell the Organ Body has been that (and hopefully my teacher will forgive me for possibly butchering her sentiments)--it is possible to:
1) become intimately acquainted with the organs, and
2) to then be able to MOVE--to generate movement --from the organs.
I know, right!?
At the close of the first class I was convinced that the only organ I was becoming more intimately acquainted with was my frustration organ (located, I believe, right between the ears?)...as my apparently woeful elementary and high-school anatomy education reared it's ugly head.
What the heck is a Zyphoid Process?!
Who actually KNOWS where their kidneys are? (Not to mention spleen, liver, pancreas, gall-bladder, etc.)
People, I kid you not, I did not even know that the heart actually sits between the lungs (like a cookie buried in a couple couch cushions)...I'm not sure where I thought it was.... I think I had just never thought about it at all.
And this was the thing that began to slowly Bloooooooow My Miiiiiiiind. I had Never. Thought. About it.
Any of you who have taken a yoga class or a meditation class or read an Eckhart Tolle book know that there is such a thing as an "inner body". This is something that is referenced all the time in yoga philosophy (perhaps with different names), but it is also a bit of a pop-new-age-spiritual-culture phenomenon. Your "gut", your "inner voice", your "heart center", your "spirit"...whatever it is that is contained WITHIN the magical spaces between your skin....this is your inner body.
I have done a lot of thinking about this space. I have meditated on this space. I have attempted to "check in" with this space in times of trouble. Over the course of my practice, I would say I have begun to consider myself a person with a pretty strong connection to that inner space...and certainly to my own heart. My god, it's actually one of the things which DEFINES how I think about myself, I am "big hearted", I am "heart driven", I "wear my heart on my sleeve", and yet always (always always always) in these conceptualizations about my Inner Self, I have never (never never never) stopped to ask myself what the actual physical construction of that space might be.
I guess I have always just pictured it as some bright amorphous blob.
("I shall be guided, not by my mind, but by my bright amorphous blob." That seems trustworthy...)
And so, to be asked to put a name and a face to this space...to be asked to feel these various parts, either from the outside with my hands or ribs, or from the inside with my sensory perception, really made my head spin.
Because what began as an amorphous blob... my Zyphoid what?...quickly began to fill in. My lungs--they're enormous! My liver...it feels different than my stomach or my kidneys...my kidneys! Crazy moveable kidneys...who knew!
And on, and on....
This is, I think, the sort of "teaser" blog post for this chapter of study, because something vital (no pun intended) will be left out if I try to cover all that I've learned in the past few weeks in this one post. But there is an image I am going to leave you with:
It was last week that we began really talking about the heart. Now, beginning to feel and think about my heart as an actual organ instead of just generally the space of my chest was powerful--what a vulnerable machine--all pink-fleshed and pulsating right there in my chest cavity. Yikes! That's about as far as I can go before I get the heebie-jeebies..... But, what was possibly more profound and definitely more beautiful, is the idea that the heart is tucked between the two lungs, because...
If the heart is tucked between the two lungs, it means it has an intimate relationship to my breath...
If the heart is tucked between the two lungs it means it is quite literally protected and housed by my breath...
If the heart is tucked between the two lungs, I could imagine how slow rythmic breathing could soothe and caress the heart, while sharp erratic breathing could be an instant sign to the heart to speed up and be aware. Not because the breath (as I may have imagined before) travels down some tube whcih then alerts the other systems to speed up or slow down (like a snorkel?!), but because the heart and lungs are literally feeling each other. Communicating with each other...