Let go…..Cleopatra.. said my dance teacher in response to my failure to connect a phrase.   Say what?!  said I, stalling for time. It's a Donkey Bridge, he clarified, let go of the arms, then Cleopatra to make a shape.   A memory device, a connector, so called because donkeys are supposedly too stupid to make it across the river any other way.   In Zen it is said: Every Ass can Pass.   Every one of us can get to the other side but we need the right bridge.  

Words can be a bridge to dance.  Dance can be a bridge to freedom.   Yoga to meditation or meditation to yoga.   The specter of death is a nifty bridge to a satisfying life.  

Whoops, so easy to slip into the Big One.  I meant to keep it small, methodical, mechanical.  Because it's all in the details.  The details hold your focus, keep your feet moving.  

Have you ever tried to relax after a stressful day and your mind can't stop racing?  You say to yourself, I can't relax!  so you act out--check email again! yell at the dog, the kid, the partner! buy another outfit!, or zonk out--tv, drinks, you name it.   Well, let go, Cleopatra!   You need a donkey bridge to get over the gap between active adrenalin rush and receptive deep calm.  Maybe an energetic workout is the bridge; maybe it is seven breaths in a forward bend; or maybe it is sitting down with a cup of tea and a ball of yarn to crochet.   But you have to be able to see the bridge when you get to the river:  I know when I get home, I'm going to put my bag down, hang my coat and walk to my mat.  I will take off my shoes, pee if I need to, then stand on the mat.  I will feel my feet; I will slowly roll down, sensing the subtle sensations in my feet as my weight changes, and then I will breathe in.  And then I will breathe out.  Repeat 6 times and if I still want to check my email/eat a cookie/watch tv/wack the dog after that, ok.   Well, no, just not the dog part, but you get the idea. 

Since that class, I'm obsessed with bridges.  I see nothing but bridges.  Obsession is a bridge to true understanding.  So, here are some more:

Diagnosis is a bridge to effective action.
Praise / criticism is a bridge to non-judgement.  
Medication (or breathing) can be a bridge to self-regulation, which can be a bridge to self-acceptance, which can be a bridge to letting go of The Self.

And I am struck by how often restriction is the bridge to freedom.  The dance combination itself becomes the method by which the body expresses itself entirely.  But without the guidance, it will sit there like a lump on the couch assessing life miserably while checking compulsively on Facebook.  whoops again.  TMI.  

So, the point is that the bridge, while essential, is not the thing itself.  If I cling to the bridge, I won't get to the other side.  I have to walk on it, one step at a time, and then when I've made it, let go, Cleopatra.  Soft.  Take a breath.  Take in the new setting.  And look for the next bridge.  


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