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March 8, 2021

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: My mind and me

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Here & Now 226 pic
Image S Sorrensen

S Sorrensen

Larnook. Monday, 10.40am

‘Welcome everything that comes up. Welcome everything you feel. Invite all…’

Her voice flies off with a crow, calling faintly from afar, as my body relaxes on a deck overlooking my home valley. My eyes are closed, my body is still, but my mind is a drunk, lurching from one scenario to another.

And I have an itch right at the end of my nose. It’s annoying. I want to scratch it, but my arm is heavy and, really, given the situation, I should just be aware of it. Welcome it, she said.

So I welcome the itch on my nose. Hello. I realise, as Krishna once said (between maids), I am not the itch. Good. At least I got that sorted. I’m not an itch. I’m a middle-aged man searching for a way to negotiate the next stage of my life.

The noisy miner birds are, well, noisy in the tree outside. They squabble. I can even hear the leaves rustle as they hustle about. Further away, I hear the crow and a… bell miner.

Oh no. Those bloody bell miners are in the valley, their bell-like call tolling biological calamity. I have a mate on Old Tweed Road who had bell miners. He’s a blacksmith. Oh, must talk to him about the ironwork for the bookshelves in my bedhouse. I’ve a great design. Simple and elegant. I think I’m turning Japanese. But who reads books anymore? His property was infested. All the other birds disappeared, the flooded gums died, and…

Her voice returns: ‘…and let go!’

I feel three thuds through the floorboards I’m lying on. Three thuds for my three fellow participants. Oh dear. I’ve missed something. What should I be doing? I could check out the person beside me, but would that be cheating? Can you cheat at yoga?

Yes, dear reader, I’m doing yoga. Who’d have thought?

Living is the art of changing your life, and I want to keep living. These are desperate times. Age is stalking me like a crazy person. Denial and distraction have been my life tools of trade, but it’s time to dig deeper into the toolbox. This is my type of yoga, though – yoga nidra. Nidra means ‘sleep’ in Sanskrit. Cool. No legs over the shoulder here. Knew this girl once who could…

‘Your right leg is filled with sensation. Radiating, pulsing…’

The voice flutters at the edge of my awareness like a butterfly. A big blue butterfly. A Ulysses butterfly darting around the lantana bush of my brain. Don’t see as many Ulysses butterflies around here as I used to. Another species in decline, I suppose. Climate change will…

‘…and let go!’

Damn. I’ve missed something again. My mind is uncontrollable. I have no ability to focus. Sure, give me a screen and a keyboard and the internet and I can multi-focus (read ‘distract myself’) for hours, but leave me alone with my brain and it’s a delinquent stream of consciousness. Like Joyce’s Ulysses, except his stream of consciousness has some meaning. Apparently. Some worth. Wish I was him. Always found Ulysses too difficult. I don’t like difficult. But when I finish the bookshelves, I’ll…

‘…stretch, waking up the body,’ the blue voice says. I feel movement through the floorboards.

I stretch slowly. My body is very relaxed. It’s more relaxed than when I try to sleep at night. Slowly, I roll to one side to get up. (Dodgy knee.) I rise like a bubble from the babble (sorry) of my mind to the quiet of the group.

The blue voice becomes the smiling face of our yoga guide. A crow calls.

I scratch my nose. It’s not itchy anymore, but it’s unfinished business.

Like me.


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