Practice Day 35: What Have I Got?

Theme/Mantra: “What have I got?”


Reading:

After Work by Richard Jones

Coming up from the subway

into the cool Manhattan evening,

I feel rough hands on my heart—

women in the market yelling

over rows of tomatoes and peppers,

old men sitting on a stoop playing cards,

cabbies cursing each other with fists

while the music of church bells

sails over the street,

and the father, angry and tired

after working all day,

embracing his little girl,

kissing her,

mi vida, mi corazon,

brushing the hair out of her eyes

so she can see.


Meditation:

Alternate Nostril Breath

(read through once before practicing- it will be easier to navigate that way)

Sit comfortably.

Place the middle finger of your right hand on your forehead, with your thumbs resting on your right nostril and your ring and little finger resting on your left nostril.

Inhale and exhale.

Close your right nostril with your thumb.

Inhale through your left nostril for the count of 5.

Close both nostrils.

Hold for the count of 5.

Lift your thumb, and exhale for 5 through your right nostril.

Inhale through right nostril, hold, close right nostril and exhale through left nostril.

This ends round 1.

Repeat 4 more rounds.

As you go through this process- keep in mind “I am balanced, calm, and serene.”


Physical Movement:

Leg &Through-the-Hole Stretch

Lie on your back, with your legs straight.

Bring your right knee to your chest.

Place your left hand firmly on the left thigh.

Wrap the thumb and forefinger of your right hand around the big toe of your right foot.

Inhale.

Exhale and slowly raise your head.

Look down at your left foot.

Straighten your right knees as much as possible as you pull down on your toe and bring it as close to your nose as you comfortably can.

(Both your right knee and your right arm should be straight).

Keep your left leg on the floor, with your heel extended.

Hold for up to 20 seconds.

Slowly lower your right leg and repeat on the other side.


Again straighten both legs as you lie on your back.

Bend both knees, keeping the back of your head resting on the floor.

Cross your left leg over your right thigh.

Center your ankle bone on your right knee.

Bring your left arm through the space between your legs and around your right thigh.

Clasp your hands together on the back of your right thigh.

Draw your right thigh toward your chest, as you move your left knee away from your body.

Hold for several breaths.

As you exhale, draw your right thigh slightly closer to your body.

Unclasp your hands.

Undo your legs. Repeat on the other side.


Reflection:

The Raw. Real. Wow. Of Nina Simone. Not just the words but the resolve and defiance and clarity with which she sings this. Always gets me in my chest and brings tears to my eyes. I mean she starts out with so much she doesn’t have. And her lack is almost definitely due to prejudice and injustice. So to name all of that- and move on with a defiant claim of agency and truth…. BUT- “I got …..” What is it she got? What matters?

Maybe it is about balance. Knowing/Seeing it all. What is true. What is false. What I have. What I don’t have. What I deserve. What I don’t deserve. To understand one’s own value. To love oneself enough to believe in one’s own value.

I go through out my day today asking- what have I got?

May we all.



Song: Ain’t Got No by Nina Simone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtJzr1Wcy_s

Lyrics:

I ain't got no home, ain't got no shoes

Ain't got no money, ain't got no class

Ain't got no skirts, ain't got no sweater

Ain't got no perfume, ain't got no bed

Ain't got no mind


Ain't got no mother, ain't got no culture

Ain't got no friends, ain't got no schooling

Ain't got no love, ain't got no name

Ain't got no ticket, ain't got no token

Ain't got no God


And what have I got?

Why am I alive anyway?

Yeah, what have I got

Nobody can take away?


Got my hair, got my head

Got my brains, got my ears

Got my eyes, got my nose

Got my mouth, I got my smile

I got my tongue, got my chin

Got my neck, got my boobs

Got my heart, got my soul

Got my back, I got my sex


I got my arms, got my hands

Got my fingers, got my legs

Got my feet, got my toes

Got my liver, got my blood


I've got life, I've got my freedom

I've got the life


I've got the life

And I'm gonna keep it

I've got the life

And nobody's gonna take it away

I've got the life


Until Tomorrow- Peace


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