Compassion, how it feels in the body.

Hello, Dearly Beloveds.

‘Tis the season. Is everyone ready for the holidays? I wish you all good things in great abundance, particularly health, happiness, and good cheer.

I want to say something about cultivating compassion, not just because my beloved husband will soon be teaching a course on it (details below), but because of the lusciousness of the felt sensation in the body. Yes, compassion is the good, right, and kind thing. . . . . . .but it also feels so scrumptious in the body, right? If some “jerk” cuts me off in traffic, I can get absurdly tense and worked up (and how yucky does that feel in the body?), or I can assume the driver is in a hurry for good reason, perhaps some tragedy has befallen the family and so the situation is dire and requires rushing on the roadways. In such a situation, my heart softens and I feel compassion. I really don’t know what the circumstances might be, but I do know for sure that assuming the latter feels better in my body, so why not embrace it? The holidays are a rich time for the practice of compassion (toward self as well, amidst so much rushing and planning and so many expectations). . . .please do not forget the all-important self-compassion. Soften. Love. Accept. Find delight. Be curious. All things we practice on the dance floor.

It would not occur to me to contemplate how compassion feels in the body had I not been introduced to this marvelous practice so many years ago. Grateful for the subtle and beautiful insights we learn on the dance floor.

Beyond thrilled to report that our beloved Jennifer Burner will be spinning the tunes tomorrow. Bless her for her light-filled presence and for her many talents as teacher, space-holder, DJ.

And now here’s a brilliant poem by Gregory Orr. So many dazzling lines herein. . . . . .Enjoy!

Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved

Resurrection of the body of the beloved, Which is the world Which is the poem Of the world, the poem of the body.

Mortal ourselves and filled with awe, we gather the scattered limbs Of Osiris. That he should live again. That death not be oblivion.

When I open the book I hear the poets whisper and weep, Laugh and lament.

In a thousand languages They say the same thing: “We lived. The secret of life is love, that casts its wing over all suffering, that takes in its arms the hurt child, that rises green from the fallen seed.”

Sadness is there, too. All the sadness in the world. Because the tide ebbs, Because wild waves Punish the shore And the small lives lived there. Because the body is scattered. Because death is real And sometimes death is not Even the worst of it.

If sadness did not run Like a river through the Book, Why would we go there? What would we drink?

Oh, there’s blood enough, and sap From the stalks. Tears, too. A raindrop and the dark water Of bogs. It’s a rich ink. Indelible, invisible (hold up the page to the light, hold the page near a flame).

The world comes into the poem. The poem comes into the world. Reciprocity – it all comes down To that. As with lovers: When it’s right you can’t say Who is kissing whom.

Lighten up, lighten up. Let go of the heaviness. Was it a poem from the Book That so weighed you down?

Impossible. Less than a feather. Less than the seed a milkweed Pod releases in the breeze.

Lifted, it drifts out to settle In a field, with all that’s inside it Waiting to become Root and tendril, to come alive.

Now the snow is falling Even more than an hour ago. The pine in the backyard Bows with the weight of it.

Two years ago, my father Died. What love we had Hidden under misery, Weighed down with years Of silence.

And now, Maybe the poem can free Us, maybe the poem can express The love and let the rest Slide to the earth as the snow Does now, freeing the tree Of its burden.

To be alive: not just the carcass But the spark. That’s crudely put, but . . .

If we’re not supposed to dance, Why all this music?

Time to shut up. Voltaire said the secret Of being boring Is to say everything.

And yet I held Back about love All those years: Talking about death Insistently, even As I was alive; Talking about loss As if all was loss, As if the world Did not return Each morning. As if the beloved Didn’t long for us.

No wonder I go on So. I go on so Because of the wonder.

~ Gregory Orr ~

“If we’re not supposed to dance, why all this music?”

“to be alive: not just the carcass, but the spark. . .”

Oh, that makes me tingle all over.

*Roy Remer teaching “Cultivating Compassion Training”, beginning January 26th for 8 weeks at Mountain Yoga in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland.

See you on the dance floor.

Heart full of love,


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