Afternoon Inertia

Little has outwardly changed about my practice in the last many months. After a long day of remote work and before picking up my 11-year-old son, Simon, at his pod learning group, I roll up the rug and dance in my apartment living room. 

Some days, like today, I was slow to start. I moved from the living room to my favorite bookcase – the one directly across from my bed that houses the books that have inspired my life, including three books by Gabrielle Roth, the creator of the 5Rhythms dance and movement meditation practice. I opened Gabrielle’s book Connections to a random passage and patiently drank it in.

Returning to the living room and my pandemic dance floor, I turned on the music. Today I started with a TV on the Radio song that makes me shake. An email I had received right before the end of the work day was on my mind. It was hard to shake it loose, but the more I moved the easier it was to remember that petty posturings and the impulse to guard my territory are not useful. In fact, it occurred to me that if I do choose to protect my territory, though perhaps good for my career, it will destroy my own practice and everything I stand for. 

I sank to the floor for a tonal song and stretched the parts of me that rolled into reach and into my attention as I curved and arched. In Flowing, I gave myself to circling to the extent that I could, noting still the impact of the earlier email. A mild inertia influence held me ever so slightly heavy. I could feel myself on the verge of accelerated transition – about to move homes, Simon about to end elementary school – and stories radiated off of me. A million ideas of where to focus, where to steer myself, what calls me, arose. I let myself off the hook on trying to figure out the big vision, and just settled into the knowledge that new territory is opening up.

Staccato came too fast. I was still feeling a tint of inertia. It continued to cling to me as I swung my hips wide, watching myself in the reflection of a turned-off TV. Not breaking a sweat, I explored the big gestures, micro-cuts, scoops, and sways of the hips as the music brought on more and more beat. I sank low, almost langorous for these first two staccato songs.

It never even crossed my mind that it was just me, no partners, no witnesses, no one to witness, but I’m thinking of it now as I write.

The next songs increased in tempo and intensity. Inertia kept the slightest hold, but I moved with inspiration, ranging throughout the space of the living room.

Time was running short, so I cut the wildest chaos song to its last couple of minutes, closed my eyes, and took it on – hopping side to side, and letting my breath get erratic. The next chaos song was lighter, and I cast myself wide and diagonally, spinning and shaking.

Between Lyrical and Chaos, I played a fast, sarcastic song that I love, and I twisted and coiled the spine, letting my hips throw the rest of me into motion.

I couldn’t remember what I had next on the playlist but was delighted when I heard Mumford & Sons I Will Wait. It hit me like Irish music, like bluegrass, like rollicking summer. I I leapt and soared, barely noticing the slight inertia, almost evading it, and totally forgetting the email that had made me feel territorial and small.

I was almost out of time so thought to put on a stillness song to settle for at least a few breaths before picking Simon up. But to my surprise the Jamaican classic Murder She Wrote by Chaka Demus made its way into the air. I moved with delight and speed, finally losing the inertia – the weight and distraction – that had somehow carried me through today.