In “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss, one of the main characters, Leo Gursky, and his best friend develop a system of communication where one of them can bang on the ceiling or floor to ask if the other one is alive. (They live in apartments above and below each other.) Three taps for the question. Two taps back means “yes”, one tap is “no”. I don’t need to point out the obvious hilarity in this system, but the theme carries out right through to the end of the book, where Leo is figuratively reunited with Alma. Alma, I said.
She said, Yes.
Alma, I said again.
She said, Yes.
Alma, I said.
She tapped my twice.
I was in yoga class on Tuesday night, we did all kinds of crazy poses I hadn’t done before. We also chanted at both the beginning and end of class, which is unusual, and I’m sure if there were any first-timers in the class they were sufficiently spooked enough to not return. But, I’ve come to love the chanting now and then. Something about the way sanskrit syllables tumble through my mouth, so foreign, and although I only know the meaning of a few words, there is a force behind the sentiment in those chants. They are all purposeful if not a bit odd, full of wisdom and so, so very old. It’s like being in the presence of someone very powerful, yet you can’t explain why, you just feel it and are glad to be there to absorb some of that wonderfulness, whatever it is. The chant we did at the end was one I didn’t recognize and was particularly beautiful. We transitioned from sitting and actually singing the words ourselves to lying down in shivasana and listening to them being sung by some amazing voice over the music system. Maybe it was God :). There’s something so raw about laying in that position at the end of practice. This is something that has really evolved since I’ve started doing more yoga. Where I used to just dissolve into immense relief that it was OVER, I started to find other things, namely space and emptiness. It’s not all peaceful in that it always feels good - oh no - but it’s whatever it is and there’s space enough for it all to exist and in that space I have learned to stay, stay, stay. With whatever comes up just stick around and let things come and go.
Tuesday night as I was laying there, it happened to be particularly peaceful. I felt very well taken care of surrounded by the pretty music in that dark, warm room and the tiredness that had settled into my body after all the turning and bending. And then I got a tap, tap, tap in my belly. My body perked up to take notice of what felt like…kicking! And indeed, tap tap tap, it was the first time I could unmistakeably identify the movement in my stomach as baby movement. I took in a long, deep breath and a huge smile grew on my face as I moved my hand to my belly over the spot where she was moving. Tap, tap.
"Hi, little girl."