The Storytellers – Restless #1

“A very blustery day…” by Gillian Harrison

GH-BlusteryDayI blow into the yoga studio off the wild wind of the threatening summer storm. I figure it as good a day as any to return. I lie legs crossed on the concrete floor. The heaviness of the day echoes in my lower back as I replay a bustle of activity.

It began with teaching the children a new word. Blustery. The early morning wind blasted hot and turbulent and the children responded by poking sticks at each other. The ferocity in their tiny voices matched the power of the southwesterly while coloured silk wraps whipped about the mandarin tree in the playground, violent and captivating. Like wild snakes spitting and fighting for freedom.

It is this image that replays in my mind while I try to focus on the present. The Sanskrit wall hangings, the image of an elephant mother tending to her baby, the weaving bamboo plants. The reaching wooden tree sculpture, twisted, tangled and confused in its direction.

Then the first instruction comes softly: “Stand still and calm your mind”.

My limbs twitch and pulse, like the restless legs of pregnancy. My focus drifts away from the soles of my feet, my breath struggles to stay steady. The Mountain Pose gets the better of me.

I look upon movement in my life with fondness. Nomadic. Wandering. Fluid. Transient. Shall I move our family to Southern Italy? Or paint the bedrooms red? Restlessness signals the delicious stirrings of change

But while I yearn for the resonant hum of the Tibetan singing bowl which I know will signify that the end is near, I sense importance in this focus, in this deliberation, in standing still and I wonder if intentional living became the casualty of my thirst for movement.

Finally the storm kicks in beyond the glass screen doors. It is as wild as the wind promised it would be.

Yet I stand still. And I manage to breathe.

{Post by Gillian Harrison, written to the theme “Restless” for The Storytellers}

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Gillian Harrison is a contributing editor to Rhythm & Method. Gillian has a double major in Creative Writing/Philosophy which eventually led to a ‘real writing gig’ as Editorial Coordinator of a hippy lifestyle magazine. A bout of wanderlust lured Gillian to a teaching job in South Korea where the writing dream quickly faded into the polluted haze of the Korean peninsula.

Today, Gillian finds herself living in the world’s most isolated city and the town of her birth, Perth, Australia. She spends her days teaching, parenting and breathing air into her writerly self. Every now and then she dreams of throwing it all in and studying archaeology.

(“Wind Costume” image: a late 19th century Japanese hand-tinted photographic studio portrait from the UK National Archives, licensed under Creative Commons)

3 comments

  • Gillian

    Thanks for having me, Naomi. I enjoyed the challenge! You have found a beautiful pic for the post too, love it. x

  • Katherine @ Through My Looking Glass

    What a great story, Gillian! I can completely relate to feeling ‘restless’ during yoga when I should be calming my thoughts!

  • debbrightandprecious

    Oh Gill! What a BEAUTIFUL post! There’s something so soothing about how you write about the calming thoughts of yoga juxtaposed against the blustery day (good word ‘blustery’!). And your thoughts about movement/living? So poignant. “I wonder if intentional living became the casualty of my thirst for movement.” – my favourite line. A pleasure to read you, Gill. xx (And thank you Naomi for hosting this series – how lovely!)

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