No!

May 1, 2011

Stories, series of stories told by people who know how to live, who know the rules, who follow the rules. I read about the rules as I stretch my arm … “No, this is not how you stretch your arm!”, says the rule “this is wrong, you have to do it like that!”… I move, flex my fingers … “No, not like this! This is the rule for how you flex your fingers, like this…” I turn … “No, this is wrong, this is the wrong way to turn, the sinful way, it will have you damned, it is how you fall! Here, this is how you turn, this is how you stretch, this is how you roll, this is how you move, this is how you live, this is how you think!” I move and stop … arrested, corrected, fixed, righted. My body grows tense, rigid … I move just a little … “wrong!” … I freeze …. I try again, slowly, maybe this way … “no! wrong!” snaps the rule. I stop. Shocked, terrified, blank. My body is frozen, rigid, tight. I can’t move anymore, I wouldn’t dare to move for the fear of rolling my hip the wrong way, the shameful way, the damnable way. I can’t think, the risk of thinking an improper thought is too great. Inside of the blank, tight, constrictive box I can not move, breath, feel. I am frozen, and it is just as well. I do not need to move, breath, feel. The rules do it for me. The regulations, the rights and the wrongs, the meanings, the ways – they are all here, pulling on strings they’ve attached to my arms, folding my legs into proper configurations, setting my feet just so, rotating my head into the proper position, at the proper angle. I watch the rules as they move me, twist me, rotate me. I watch the rules, trapped inside of the tight, small box of my frozen body, immobile, blank, shocked. Shocked into being a puppet. But a proper puppet, a right, good, moral, upstanding puppet. A well adjusted puppet. The rules pat me on the head, they are pleased with me. “Good girl!”, they say. “But there is space here, within those rules” I allow myself to recognize, “in every rule that pulls on my hands there is a space, there is an experience. If I can be there, feel there …”. I feel the space, the space within the rule. I flex my muscles tentatively … there is no protest. I move a bit more … and a bit more … nothing! “I can move here!” I realize with elation. Here, within the very heart of the rule, the very meaning of the rule, I can move and nothing stops me! I can move how I want to move, I can move my way!. I wave my hands, they are my own again! There are no strings here, inside. Here I am myself again, within the rule, within the experience of the rule. I roll and twist and bend in a way that is mine, that feels good, that feels open, spacious, and I can feel the rule, I can feel it’s experience in my body and I move with it, twist with it this way and that, my way. “This is how I dance with this rule … I choose … this is the right rhythm for me, the right form for me, the right relationship for me!” Here, it is all me now – how I dance, how I move, how I relate. With the rules, within the rules. There is only space to be what I am, when I choose to experience this space.

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