"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."
To me this quote is an encouragement to let go of definitions, categorizations and judgments...the othering of people, places and things. It is a cry to instead feel what is shared, what is true, what is authentic. The vibrations and sensations of the heart often truly defy language. It is a call for us each to exist more often in that state of santosha or contenetment that is so readily available to us when we tune in to our feelings, rather than being ruled by our thoughts.
Now, I'm a word nerd at heart. I love scrabble, I love to read and learn. Language enchants me; I'm ever disappointed that I only speak one language fluently, though I do what I can with Spanish and only know the strangest of French words and phrases, primarily gleaned from Canadian packaging, as it is legally required to be in both official languages.
But often, words fail to capture the vastness of what I'm thinking and feeling. My brain and heart are flowing faster than my mouth, teeth and tongue can articulate. I think that is why I was initially attracted to dance as both an art form and a mode of communication. I'm interested in expression and experience on a visceral as well as an intellectual level.
And in the midst of practice this morning, I was reminded of just how jumbled, how limiting and fallible words can be. In a classic case of brain moving faster than mouth, while preparing class to move into salabhasana this morning I said, and I quote, "Lift your fart.". Now, what I actually meant to say was "lift your heart forward", but that is not what came out, my mouth instead combining heart and forward, into fart. I find this happens more often then I would hope, my mouth combining two words into one word, which is either nonsense or inappropriate. Luckily, we all had a good laugh, and no flatulence occurred, that I am aware of.
But this little slip of the tongue, literally, has me thinking about words, the vibration of sound through space, and both the fullness and emptiness that language can hold. We can express with a movement or touch what would take us sentence upon sentence, paragraph upon paragraph to explain with words. The distance between my brain and my mouth may in fact be further than the distance between my heart and my physicality.
We seem ever ready to define and somehow more hesitant to experience. Our default is often to intellect, to the critical faculties of the mind, rather than the yearnings and outpourings of the heart. I truly believe that a vibrant, curious yoga practice is a really great tool for balancing these two aspects of ourselves-inquiry and instinct, thought and feeling.
I met a woman yesterday after class and we had a really interesting chat. She was mentioning to me how she had noticed many yoga teachers referring to their class as, "you guys". She was expressing to me how jarring she found this expression. It really got me thinking, how often do we use a word, an expression, merely because it is common, without really having considered it. As I taught this morning, I did notice myself using the term "you guys" several times. The dawning of awareness, the considering of other words, forms, phrases. Evolving is a slow process, but I am really grateful to have been given the opportunity to examine my habitual use of this phrase, and of other words and phrases as well.
It's a great reminder too of how small words are compared to concepts and feelings. In my heart, I suppose I would be referring to my class as, "coming together of unique, beautiful, souls in form to play and explore with one another. faces and perspectives that I adore. curious and awesome reflections of light." Somehow all of this gets shrunk into "you guys". It does not really do justice to the feelings and the experience we are all a part of in class.
So, today and as we move forward, let us honor Dr. King's teachings, his memory, by living and expressing more fully from our hearts. Words are wonderful but our actions, our touch, the power of our feelings, are pure magic.
WIth mucho love and the spirit of namaste,