Josna Rege

175. Make It So!

In 1970s, 1980s, 2010s, health, Inter/Transnational, United States on February 16, 2013 at 12:39 am
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, basalt.  Photo: Javier Hinojosa (deyoung.famsf.org)

San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, basalt. Photo: Javier Hinojosa (deyoung.famsf.org)

I had drawn my face absently into a frown. You pointed it out, smoothing my troubled brow. But whatever had furrowed itself into my forehead soon found somewhere else to go. Look out! you warned. It has moved to your mouth and chin. Sure enough, I found my mouth pursed and my chin set. A light toss of the head dispelled it—or at least, I thought it had. More likely, it went underground, only to re-emerge the next time I wasn’t paying attention. That was forty years ago.

I’ll never forget the day Eve had surgery, also nearly forty years ago. Eve has a beautiful round face, softly glowing like the moon. But even so, visiting her just as she was coming out of anesthesia, we found that with all the tension melted away her countenance was of another order, as calm and clear as that of a sleeping baby.

At nineteen, I could still vaporize pent-up energy simply by willing it away. Make it so! And so it was. Once, stricken with a rare headache, I closed my eyes and, breathing deeply and steadily, visualized it lifting, lifting, until it was completely gone, spiralling out the top of my head like a lazy dust devil.

But old habits die hard. Years of treading and retreading any pathway set it like stone. By then, simply pointing out the problem no longer suffices to dislodge and disperse it, neither do a few deep breaths and a toss of the head. It demands energy—active, sustained, focused yet free; relaxation; and a good night’s sleep. Easier said than done? Establishing good practices early will keep your body, mind, and spirit supple and responsive, so that your “Make It So!” is not a command to a sulky (and increasingly arthritic) inner schoolchild, but a natural outpouring, the joyful confluence of your deepest desires and the highest good.

[See a related story, Lively Up Yourself.]

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

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  1. Interesting, isn’t it, how we try to conceal our emotions, and how much energy it takes to make those ‘sculpted’ lines disappear when we’re trying to do it. As a yoga teacher, I witness beautiful, relaxed and vibrant faces at the end of each practice, regardless of how ‘screwed up’ these faces are when we begin. A miracle? I think not. Rather, the practice brings us to a place of greater integrity and deeper truth about ourselves and who we are. Beautiful!

  2. To WHOM are you ” speaking”?

    It isn’t just years and years of treading and retreading. Inertia. Habit. Being stale. It’s, life isn’t as, and so, simple. Problems aren’t so simple. Complicating factors, limitations. issues, aren’t so simple. Resources- to utilize, to fall back on – are different. Consequences are different. Risks, and the consequences of them, are different. Life. Is different.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • To myself really, Robin. You’re right, life is complicated, and there are real obstacles and intractable problems to be dealt with along the way. One can’t always “make it so,” and that isn’t one’s own fault. Still, regular practice can help one be more self-aware in every moment, and to feel more keenly the joy in being alive. And as Achebe put it in _Things Fall Apart_, “when a man says yes, his chi says yes also.” xo J

  3. Attitude is everything – and it does seem that we can control our outward show of our inner feelings, however it isn’t always so easy because we do have so many influences which affect our feelings. Those habits you mention which some practice and even perfect can certainly be cultivated, however, as I get older I realize that many things in my life are really not in my control, and no matter how diligent I am in practicing ways of controlling my reactions, my life flows on with all its ups and downs and I am full of gratitude to know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand, as the beautiful song goes.

  4. Perfect illustration! Feel the stress (and then release it 🙂

  5. Marianne and sometiger, both of your beautiful replies share the wisdom of letting go. Marianne, it puts me in mind of the maxim, Let go and let God. Sometiger, it makes me think of the effective technique for getting to sleep when you’re too keyed up: starting at your toes, you flex the muscles and then relax them; one foot, then the other, and so on, all the way up to the muscles on your face. But in order to release the stress, you have to let yourself feel it first: another piece of wisdom. Meanwhile, no matter what you do, “life flows on with all its ups and downs”: somehow I find that very comforting. Thank you both.

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