A Neglected Garden

It’s one of those days — you know the kind:

Waking up and wandering about, knowing you need to buckle down and get to work, your list for the day is never ending and continues for too many pages, but instead you continue to wander:

Picking at a few weeds in the yard, but not committing to doing any actual weeding, so the garden you imagined in your mind is still only in your mind, because you also haven’t been watering.

Pulling out your shoebox of receipts to go over, organize, and make sense of, but then getting distracted by the soft and very velvety ears of your beagle, and the receipts stay in the box for another day.

Planning to write about and discuss the latest, and devastatingly horrific massacre that has yet again taken place in the USA, but instead you are scrolling aimlessly through Facebook while feeling sick to your stomach and empty inside, and yet you keep scrolling.

And in some ways, the scrolling through Facebook. maybe it’s okay, because you read about the Orthodox Rabbi who took his congregation, in their yarmulkas and garb, to the local gay bar as an act of solidarity.

Maybe it’s okay to scroll through feeling empty and ill because you also read about how the JetBlue Crew and the passengers on that plane held a place of quiet and condolence for a grandmother traveling to Orlando to attend the funeral of her grandson.

Maybe it’s okay to scroll through and listen to all the people sing, and all the people stand, while so many circle the block, waiting to give blood.

Maybe it’s okay to scroll through for another few minutes before you turn off the computer and confront the truth of the matter.

But you can’t, because what is the truth here?

What is the correct course of action?

How do we move through our day as if nothing happened?

Can we all stop for a bit and reassess this entire situation of being human?

I taught dance at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies for 8 summers. 

There we some good times, some bad times, some peculiar and strange times.

One of the strangest was taking a walk with a woman, in the summer of 1998, who claimed to be able to see into the future (is that called Clairvoyant?).

And she was a mess.

She hadn’t fully arrived onto the planet yet.

Wonderfully kind and generous, but a bit undone.

Anyway, we were taking our walk, chatting about nothing in particular, when she took my arm, stopped me in my tracks and said:  “Something terrible is going to happen in September of 2001.  Something we cannot even imagine.  It is going to change the course of everything.”

Her eyes were wild and desperate.

She let go of my arm, and continued walking, amiably commenting about the flora and the fauna, forgetting in an instant what she had just said.

I don’t know what to make of that, because also at Omega, King Solomon (from the Bible) spoke to me through the body of a 24 year old mad man who ended up frying his brain with an overdose of Kundulinin Yoga, and was taken to the state hospital, BUT everything he said rang true, and some of it even made me cry.

So I don’t know what to make of the truth.

I don’t know what to make of violence, death, power, and greed.

I don’t know what to make of desperation, confusion, isolation, and loneliness.

I don’t know what to make of actions that so horrifically hurt others.

Is that why I keep scrolling, to try to make sense of it all, and to try to find the truth on Facebook?

I am going to stop scrolling now, because I am becoming hollow and paper thin.

Instead, I am going to go outside and try to save all the plants in my garden that I have  neglected, and most likely killed.

Then,  I’m going to sit down with my receipts and figure out a more workable budget.

As a treat, when all of that is done, I am going to take my teenage nephew for an ice cream cone, and listen to him talk about all of his favorite bands, and all of his favorite youtube stars, and maybe we’ll talk about Orlando…but probably not.

It’s come up a few times, but today, I’ll let him guide the conversation, and if that’s where he goes, I’ll listen, and I’ll try not to say a whole lot (that is really hard for me…I’m working on it, but it’s not going so well).

But if he talks, excitedly, as I expect he might, for many hours about My Chemical Romance, Panic at the Disco, and Twenty-One Pilots (all bands…sort of punk-pop teen bands I think) I’ll listen then too. 

I’ll sing along to the lyrics, because god help me, I know them all. 

With Warmth,



Joanna and The Agitators

sweetly agitating/persistently upending


PS:  Your Dance Mission!

I have been working these past two weeks with my classes, and with my work with Andrew on getting the body into awkward and almost stuck positions, and then seeing how you maneuver and navigate out of that puzzle.

Do you want to try to do that too?

If so, start on the floor, or in a chair maybe.

And put on some music that you love, and drop into your dance by noticing your breath, your body against the surface of the earth, or in the chair.

Notice what you notice, and fall in to dancing. 

When you get an arm stuck underneath you, or a leg tangled in the rungs of the chair, slow way way down….so slow that it’s almost as if your cells have to shift around and re-orient first, before the rest of your body can untangle. 

Keep going, and trust the dance that is emerging from deep inside of you, and follow it to the end.