At the sensory awareness conference two weeks ago, one leader led us through experiments with shawls. He had been in Morocco with his wife, and was curious about the various stages of dress and undress he saw there. We played with what it is to be covered. Does it feel safe, or stifling to have a shawl over one's head, over one's eyes? Does the weight of the shawl or veil make a difference? People had different responses, and as we moved through the room, responses changed. At one point, we were under one scarf with another. I found it pleasing. Another found it too intimate, frightening. Can we use a shawl to feel safe and protected? Yes, when it is our choice. Many of us were brought back to childhood, to religious requirements. I remembered how females had to have their heads covered in the Catholic church. I remembered veils draped over my head, white lace, and then, as the church modernized, "doilies" placed atop my height. Was the intention subservience or humility? Did the veil allow a place to come within, to rest? It seems some feel safer veiled, and others confined, imprisoned.
The shawl this morning, which is not over my head, allows me to feel safe, comforted, warm. It feels like hands on my shoulders, and I feel the "shoulds" drop away as I settle more easily into my chair. I come to rest.
We don't seem to wear shawls much these days, or at least I don't, but today, I sit with comfort on my shoulders, soft, liquid weight dropping and melting down my back. Breath responds with a reach deep into the gut and those lower ribs respond with movement in and out like sails in a changing wind.
Another experiment was done with a sponge and a rock. Most of us use a sponge every day, many times in a day, but how much attention do we give it? We placed the sponge under our head, and stayed with that. We then placed a flat rock, a stone, under our head, and felt response to that. I've kept the sponge and the rock out to experiment with during the day. What is hard? What is soft? What has layers, my head, the sponge, or the rock?
I have now placed a rock in my sink to remind me to pay attention to weight and gravity and what is needed in this moment. My heart responds, and lungs clap reverent in the awakening massage of air.
If you're in the mood to play, find a shawl, rock, or sponge, and maybe all three. Where does curiosity lead you to place these items right now?
Sometimes coming to myself, I find tears, and other times, springs. Water goes up. Water comes down. We live in a system of water circulating from roots to top of trees, to clouds and back again. May your day be liquid and rich, and if your shoulders need a wrap, nestle into a shawl like roots in soil, bewitched.