Thursday, 21 January 2016

Joined up thinking

And networks, and connections, and interrelations.

That is what it is all about.

We generally prefer to compartmentalise, and classify, and name, and say this is differentiated from that.

"Here I do this, but over there I do that..."

We have to; we can't keep nearly enough information in our teensy brains all at once; and how can we agree on what we're talking about if we don't give each thing a specific name.

If I want to describe a tree to someone who has never encountered one before, I might talk first about the spreading roots, then the solid trunk, then the branches, then the leaves.

"That will do to be going on with; thank you very much"

Says Mr Alien from Planet Elsewhere, who has never experienced such a thing before.

"I'll assimilate all of that before you tell me any more."

And only then can we move onto root fibres and their interaction with the soil (there's another life times field of investigation) and how those fibres take up nutrients from the soil, leaf mould, the symbiotic mycellium, and then the xylem and phloem in the living structure of the bole taking stuff up and down and so on and so forth.

 Furthermore we have to consider the photosynthesis in the leaves and how those cosmic rays from millions of miles away are absorbed and used by the leaves to make food for the tree. And the complex exchanges with the gases in the air, and seasonality and elevation, and aspect and so on.

And that's one living structure amongst hundreds, nay thousands of things, the like of which we are surrounded by on a daily basis.

 Not to mention all the man made stuff and phenomena we've dreamed up to complement, and or substitute for the natural world...

Is it any wonder we need either philosophers to help us make sense of it all; or vast amounts of fairly meaningless trivia in the form of Look! look! A distraction; to stop our brains hurting, at the enormous complexity of everything.

But of course at a molecular level it is all joined up, within the biosphere, and plant communities, and amongst all us 'higher' organisms.

When I started this blog I wasn't quite sure what or whom, it was for, or about, save being a channel for a compulsive writing habit....

Should it just concern the farm and what goes on there? Can I talk about yoga too? What if I go somewhere I find interesting? Could I write about that here? Or should that be put in another compartment?

Well, for better or worse, it's all ended up in the same place.
Because that is very much; what my life is like.

Most of the things I do, are joined up with the other things. They all feed into, or feed off each other.
Not everyones life is quite so intermeshed.
 Even the simple act of walking, or driving, or what have you, from ones home, to ones place of work differentiates..

Maybe that makes for a confusing presentation? An unfocused 'scattergun' approach?

Does that matter?

But then people start to read what you've written.

Quite a lot of people in fact (or at least numerous globally scattered robots; with interesting points of entry ;)

And if they, the readers, say anything at all; it's generally complimentary (with the odd slap on the wrist for misspelling; but I have to give 'em something to feel superior about...)

But oh, and then, ones own nasty little 'self generated' demons can start up with their chatter.

Why are you wasting your time doing this?

No one's really interested; or if they are; its only to point and laugh...

Shouldn't you be doing something more useful and productive?
You've not got to the end of that jobs list (never will) and look at all that paperwork still to do...

And at the same time I will admonish my friends for having that very same attitude; the one that tells them, they can't allow themselves to do the thing they burn for because they first have to 'earn' the right to do it...

It really is like we're our own worst enemies.

Where do these voices come from? That, is another field of study, for another day...

But back to our tree..

Remembering of course that no one is contractually obliged to read any of this stuff...
'cept maybe the robots...

And really even the poor androids should have a good yoga teacher; who can show, and tell. and adjust. and repeat, and show and tell again, and adjust and repeat, until it sticks for a bit, then you go home and you practice some of it.....

Or at least fully intend to; but something else comes up; like that voice that says:

"Why bother? I'm busy, or I'm on holiday.You can't make me..."

Like we're kids; trying to get out of doing our homework...

Vrksasana (tree pose) in front of quercus pyrenacia (pyrenean oak) on route btxt  Lac d'Estaene, and Candanchu.
Five languages in one caption, three living, two dead....Not such an'ignorant peasant...After all.

This one is very much a case of the leg bone being connected to the hip bone.
and some bio-mechanic; action and reaction.

On first sight it might appear that the bent leg is doing the most work, and undoubtedly to get the foot up so high, and the pelvis level, the femur (thigh bone) head has to learn to move well in the hip socket. It takes a bit of practice.

Beginners are at least allowed a strap; to help lift the foot in place.... Tuesday night bondage session anyone?

But there is (or should be) just as much, if not more, going on in the straight leg.
And boy should it be straight...Well rooted at the foot; and sturdily straight like a tree trunk......So the knee is kept healthy and strong, and your legs are able carry you pretty much anywhere.

And that foot pressing against the inner thigh bone, makes the outer femur head react, by drawing more firmly into the hip socket, making that stronger too.

Could be very useful with hip replacements on the NHS possibly not being a thing to rely upon in the future.

Yoga is often perceived as something that is done exclusively to make you more bendy, or perhaps an even worse misconception, it's only for people who are already flexible.

But really; physically in our practice we are working to get a perfect (Mmm?) balance between strength and flexibilty.

The happiest, least injury prone, energy giving, place; for a bod' to be...

As teachers, our hearts can sink, when we are faced with a 'rag doll' of a student who can 'make the shapes' no problem; but needs a lot of gathering into themselves, to build strength and enhance their bodily awareness so as to avoid injury.

Stiff people have to work hard, for every degree of extra useful movement, but they are acutely aware (painfully sometimes) of what they are doing..

I will often get people saying

"Oh I'd not be any good at yoga, I'm not bendy enough"

Well pish and tosh to that (more language!)

Its not a case of being 'good' at yoga; its a case of it being good for you.

 Done (and taught) properly everyone can make progress; and gain enormous benefit.

Because its not just the body we're conditioning; its the mind; and the breath; and deeper than that; if you believe in things such as spirit.

 (But you don't have to have any truck with the esoteric side of things in order to benefit.)

The modern world is just about catching up with the concept of the health of the mind being inextricably linked with that of the body; something that Yoga has expounded only for a few thousand years.

Question is; how could it really be otherwards?

What we eat; how we move; the air we breathe; the scenery we look at; the satisfaction of our labours; the people we hang out with, and so on, its all interconnected, and contributes to the whole.

It's all so blindingly obvious, almost to the point of it seeming banal to bother, to point it out.

That's not of course to suggest that all mental health problems can be sorted out so simply. The mind, and its healthy working has far reaching complex influences bent upon it.
Influences that, for good, or for ill, are built up over a lifetime, and sooner or later, when the time is right, may need some examining.

But we do mostly carry on living; and I know that some folks don't have the privilege of choosing elsewise; as if it wasn't all interconnected....

So as a nod to the fact of others not being so fortunate, last weekend I ran an extra beginners class on National Iyengar Yoga Day.

A number of newbies turned up and some were surprised that it didn't hurt and that their chakras left the class utterly unbothered....And apparently some of them quite enjoyed it.

And in the process we raised £150 for a charity that is taking low cost sanitary protection manufacture into refugee camps....

Even in the relatively 'enlightened' west, it can be awkward enough to find oneself out and about, 'unprepared' for what happens, for half of our lifetimes, to half of the population of the globe, on a monthly basis.

Imagine you've been uprooted by forces way beyond your control, and you find yourself in a miserable situation, totally not of your choosing, and then on top of all the other stuff you have to sort out to look after yourself and family, you get your period, and there's nothing available to deal with it...

"Oh great.....Now this"

One attendee on Saturday brought a contribution from her mother; who would have liked to come; but had other matters arising.

She remembers a time when it was 'normal' to have to use rags, even in this country.
And that is still routine in much of the developing world, which can lead in turn to all sorts of health problems. That's besides the inconvenience and shame, of a subject which is still taboo amongst so many people, even in so called 'civilised' countries.

Here at least, we can afford to buy our 'luxury items' (5% vat, thanks!) to make our lives more comfortable.

 And; in one other very happy piece of serendipitous connectivity.

In the process of putting out feelers for a potential trainee for the season (come and learn 'hands on' how and how not to run a small vegetable farm)

My old travelling companion; now living back in Australia tracks me down via my post on the oft maligned Face Book....Even the hairy homespun; permacultural; eco activists are all over it these days.

Much; much, and more; catching up to do, and reminiscing... Our best hitching record timewise being Honiton to Morocco in less than five days.

I don't think our first lift, a milk tanker driver on the A30, quite believed we were actually going to North Africa.

So who knows? She might be applying for the post, next year....

She's just got to get the ocean going pedalo fettled first...


  1. Good vibrations. How can you unpick one thread of life? They are all interlaced, and the connections provide the patterns we see. Feel the web vibrating and add own own rhythm with as much harmony as you can muster. Keep weaving your words, and smoothing out the snags. xx

    1. Thank you for the encouragement...I appreciate that.
      I think we all struggle with the harmonics.
      Discord is; too oft sought as a theme.
      But I guess the snags can add texture.
      'Perfectionism'...That killer of joy.

  2. You give good blog woman :)

    1. Well, mighty nice of you to say so :)


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