Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2018 issue.
I live in a forest.
Trees live and die around us all the time.
This one taught me about aging.
Dis-ease starts deep in the unseen
With a small wound in the fabric
Of our self-regard.
Remaining unexplored and unresolved,
We now learn to live
With a Self that is compensated.
Nervous system stiffens to accommodate.
Eyes harden almost imperceptibly.
Integrity of BodyMind now slightly reduced.
Without wholeness consciously recovered,
And that ground being taken back,
We shrink the game
And learn to settle for less.
Loosing first what cannot be seen,
We surrender possibility in life,
And give up far more than needed.
It lives in the belly.
That vision of unlimited possibility,
That will to grow newly,
The possibility of rebirth,
All disappear into a subtle resignation.
It’s winter in our heart,
And spring rarely comes.
Having never learned to listen,
Deeper needs go unheard,
Stifled and unanswered.
Meaning and purpose
Give way to survival.
The hole at our center,
The true hunger,
Into a new normal.
Fresh possibility disappears
Into benumbed, dulled habit.
Routine and automatic pattern
Occupy and permeate us –
Mentally, emotionally, physically.
Every day, 24 hours a day,
We practice unconscious
Movement, feeling and thought.
All of it generated by a mindset
Dry of connection
To deeper meaning and purpose.
Just as energy follows attention,
And body reflects consciousness,
So the interlocked physical system
Begins a domino effect
Of compensatory moves:
Core strength wanes
Low back locks
Ham strings shorten
We have become a shell of ourselves,
Looking healthy on the outside
But having no center,
No healthy core,
And no purpose to back it up.
We have little marrow in our substance,
Little gist to our grist,
And what is there has no foundation.
The hole at our center has taken over.
On we drift,
Until our biology
Our state of mind.
Life’s storms inevitably come.
With us hardened, unsteady, and inflexible,
The winds blow long and strong.
Soon we fall.
Break a hip.
And pass on.
We rot at the core.
It’s an inside-out game.
When we habitually pay no attention,
Avoid looking under the surface,
And choose the sleep alternative,
Our inevitable will catch up.
Finally no substance is left,
Except the shell –
The casing that once housed
A deep drive to matter
And live life to its fullest.
The drive to know real depth
And see the true face of God
Lives in each one of us.
So too does a desire
To take the easy route,
To constantly avoid,
And look the other way.
We run the whole gamut
From enlightenment to slug.
Which are you choosing now?
Photos by Tom Lutes and Marcelo Silva.
Tom Lutes is a co-founder a teacher for Real Evolution Yoga. He has devoted his life to the study and practices of human development. For over 30 years he has been a coach, facilitator and trainer, working with over 200,000 people with diverse backgrounds, from corporate executives to at risk youth, yoga teachers to athletes. Tom draws from the fields of somatics, interpersonal communication, experiential learning, energy work, and martial arts in his work, seamlessly blending a variety of tools to powerfully contribute to his clients. He is widely known for his skill in coaching people through transition in order to evolve into the next best expression of themselves.