I injured by back as a teenager. Not in a grand flash of adventure or an unpredictable accident. That would be far too glamorous. But simply a list of factors (compressed discs, lower curve, repetitive movements in dance classes, and running) that when added together along side a healthy dose of denial and ignored physical therapy sessions meant tension and complete release at the same time – as in- the back giving out completely. It would always happen at random moments of quiet insignificance. Like while bending over to tie my shoes, or turning to talk to the person behind me. It was like my body saying, maybe if you’re still you’ll listen to me.
Activity grounded me and quieted my busy mind, so I did not want to stop for something I felt was a temporary inconvenience. But as we know, there is often a different plan or something else going on below the surface that needs to breathe and be nourished. After many doctor visits with similar findings, I was still having trouble. And then I walked into a white empty room where the doctor cracked, pushed, and looked at my spine. His only words were, “You need to make more space in your spine and in your life.” He went on to briefly explain that physical and emotional cracks weigh and compress, and making space in both areas is necessary.
It felt true. Yoda like, but true.
As I read the pieces for the month I remembered back to this strange, yet oddly revelatory experience. All contain the cyclical way nature teaches us to make space in our lives to learn about ourselves and others through tension, and simultaneous release. Our featured writer and artist for this quarter, Ashley Mae Hoiland, speaks to the imperfection and vulnerability required to create room and awe for women’s bodies. She explores the tension of being exposed to a more accepting way of existing in our own skin contrasted with society’s silent messaging. Jen Bosen’s “Creating Space” tells how caring for a mulberry tree unearthed lessons in stillness. Her imagery and clear language remind of fundamental truths found in our own backyard. Likewise, Markay Brown’s poem “Flurries” explores a relationship with snow revealing angles of pride, memory, and connection in stunning diction. In “When she wakes, rigid”, poet Elizabeth Garcia breaks open the beauty found in fear through a care-taker experiencing the cyclical nature of life with dense layers of thoughtful wording.
All speak to a little mystery residing in ideas of space, which when read together create grounding wisdom.
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