Posture or Posturing?

This morning I walked to a quiet and lovely section of Madrid. There I contemplated big topics like purpose and identity while trying to address the practical concern of where I’d like to live. When you’re navigating a huge life change such as the loss of a spouse, critical illness, retirement or children leaving—your whole world deviates and both profound and practical questions arise: What is my purpose being alive? Who am I? What should I do with my time? Do I want to live in this house or move to an apartment?

While ruminating and checking out a few buildings, I found myself noticing the architecture, the confident posture of the people and the elegance. It was a tranquil, tree-lined neighborhood and the streets were so much cleaner than where I’m currently living. The attention to aesthetics comforted me and I felt curious. As time passed, I began to wonder about the value of location and how one postures oneself differently in different settings. Who am I sauntering down this swank block? The Isley Brother’s song came to mind: Who’s That Lady? Then, I thought about all the choices I’ve had to make while navigating sudden change and how does one really know the right place for someone like me, or the me I’m becoming?

Of course, none of these questions were answered as I meandered home hungry.

Later in the afternoon, I meditated. I lit a stick of incense and sat in the brightest area of my apartment. About ten minutes in, my left foot fell asleep. The tingling, numbing sensation distracted me. I wiggled my toes to get the circulation going but it didn’t help. Then, because my thoughts kept going back to the foot, I considered adjusting my posture. I sat up straighter and paid attention to my position on the pillow. I thought it might improve the flow of blood to my foot so I can stop being distracted from my nirvana. I saw the inside of my body, observed each bone and muscle where the blood and oxygen needed to flow. I told myself that if any conduit were blocked, I’d continue to feel this pain in my foot. My back got super straight and I kept breathing.

Within seconds, I smelled the incense again. I felt a tiny nodule open up, a release in my foot. Ooh, that sweet, blood flow. My foot was breathing again. I heard the lyrics Who’s That Lady? come into my head and I let them go but a smile lingered on my lips.

When the meditation was done, I thought about each step of my day and the finality of awareness. Posture matters. And when you think you’re posturing, that’s okay too because you’re testing things out and trying on things for size.

Also, there are tiny signs put in place all over to get you to pay attention to your posture, as needed. I wasn’t aware I was slouching until the pain in my foot pushed me to adjust. All that stuff I had read about in books about energy and blockages and the body is true. It’s like there are all these little fairies around you, poking you, saying, hey, keep your back straight, get into alignment, find your dignity, purpose, identity. Hmm.

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