Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #14

With each drip, arriving to my forehead I accepted the invitation to go deeper into the generosity. It was a steady flow of herbal infused oils onto my brow, or where the ‘third eye’ is said to reside – considered by many to be the place of human consciousness. It wasn’t easy to relax and I found myself trying to breath in a way that would support the flow and release me from thoughts and whatever it was that was getting in the way of me accepting this gift. It took quite a while for me to relax into the experience and literally ‘go with the flow’. I had booked into this ayurvedic treatment after I had a strong vision of how I needed to learn how to receive first before I could embrace the financial gift bestowed upon me for the crowdfunding campaign to note my role in community as an “equity weaver”.

This therapeutic treatment is known as shirodhara, is renown for its ability to support, sooth and heal an agitated nervous system. I chose it to reflect what I had received, individual drops fused together in a bountiful golden flow. Before the flow started a vigorous head massage took place, and for some reason, more than once I thought about the song from South Pacific I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair.  I did try to banish the thought and soak into the moving around of molecules inside and outside of my scalp. After this preparation took place, I moved to the other end of table, my feet now facing a new direction, offering another layer of meaning. How often have I had to pivot 180 degrees, to see a new perspective?

In this new position, and in stillness, eyes closed and with a person on either side of me the pouring began. It took me a long time to take it in, my breathing wouldn’t settle in with ease, and while I wasn’t fidgeting in my body, my mind was certainly fliting and flaying around. I turned to a mantra with the in breath to say thank and exhale to say you which I became very dissatisfied with quickly and reverted to Sat Nam which held and faded away.

All these tiny invisible moments of interiority, happening while oil is flowing onto my head in a visible and visceral way! There is plenty going on behind our eyes, in our hearts, in our guts all the time. Some of this comes out for the whole world to see on a stage in front of squillions of people, but for the rest, it is microworld soup of feelings, thoughts, impressions. And the soup is not for others to sip – it is our work to determine who gets to sip and savour, taste and see – and when we can be truly honest with ourselves, hold the mirror up to nature as Hamlet instructed.

This mirror we are all seeking to tell us what we see in ourselves may be closer than we think. I’ve found it on a wall, over dinner, in an email, at the end of zoom. Others notice and see what I may not – an invitation to consider a future leadership possibility, a welcome mat being put out to take up a role with trusted peers, a request to be the one to hold a particularly important relationship on behalf of a community, an AI message to ask what if we have the power to stop the mind running away with turbulences. 

The AI of the mirror at the Invisibility exhibition at MOD, delivered the poem below and I wondered what was in my eyes that the algorithm detected from my facial features – a call to stillness as a proven crime prevention strategy? What we need is weighed up with risks, which is all part of a grand design. Regardless of all that is going on, there is still wonder and not knowingness.  The gift of just receiving, not knowing the cost, not knowing the risks, not knowing the reasons … just receiving … or maybe it is a 180 degree turn around and is to receive justly with dignity and grace, the therapy of this prescription of Gratitude?

The glad tidings that a crime has been prevented, a thought has escaped us

Justice has been interrupted

But surely all this could have been prevented, if we had the power to stop the mind from running away with

Its turbulences.

Science which is based on sound principles,

Has asked us to believe in a supreme being,

Who has arranged all

This machinery for us and who knows the meaning of our risks

While he is concerned with our daily needs, he is not bothered

By our innermost desires, we are his

concern

today

Meanwhile the daily goings on of our human body

Are going on without us

We are no nearer to understanding these than a school boy

should

At MOD Photo credit: Dr Kristin Alford, Director MOD

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