Monday, December 7, 2015

To Balance on One Foot...Harold Pessirilo

This is part three of what I'd begun writing when doing the post about Milton Feher, and then the one about Pauline Tish. It all seems to be about man's relationship to gravity, to moving on the one does it, and how it can be done better.

So I will begin with telling something about Harold Pessirilo, who was a friend during the years when I lived with my two daughters on Roosevelt Island (a tiny slice of land hanging in between Queens and Manhattan, just as I seemed to be hanging in between my life as a married woman and the rest of my life as a single one.)

Harold was a unique figure in my life: he taught high school art in Queens, the part of Queens just over a little blue bridge from Roosevelt Island. He too was divorced and he too had two children living with him, older than my daughters, a girl and a boy. He was a wonderful cook, had special ways of cooking quite delicious chicken and myriad vegetables and rice and such like that. He also had a certain way of seeing the role of the parent as helping the child approach life boldly and encouraging them to join in to activities without temerity. There was a very nice article written about him in the paper called the Roosevelt Island Wire, an interview with him where he was asked ideas about single parenthood and how to navigate through it.

Harold also taught a yoga class on Roosevelt Island, and that was how I had met him. And now, over the years when we have spoken, he would often mention that he had hurt himself, pulling a muscle, or falling and bashing a knee, and his method of healing it was, instead of putting the leg up on a chair, or resting his back, he instead tries to work into the injury, bringing the blood circulating to the injured tissues, a way of working from the injury to bring healing to it, so to speak, and that way, restoring equilibrium.

Here follow a couple of poetry-like excerpts that I wrote in response to Harold's classes...he was very similar to Milton Feher in the things he would say in the course of a class, the way he used words to pull the mind of the student into alignment with the body.

You say that to balance
on one foot may make the foot
struggle...that all the little
muscles are brought into move-
ment to keep the great body
poised above, the great weight
funneled into the small base,
the large dependent upon its
linkage to the earth, to its
reality, gravity, a place
in space.

I saw you during the class
spring to what you are
without any system evident,
your atoms going to their
appointed places, your body
making a curve in space
elegant as some ancient ivory weapon
(one that monks would use,
 nothing ordinary about it.)

Here also is a quote from the I Ching, the book I absolutely love, not only for its help in times of stress with a word or two of wise counsel via synchronicity, but also for its overall balanced words of wisdom that stay fine and imprinted on one's mind for many another moment:

"In the Zen Monastery: The abbot placed a stick on his finger, balancing it. He pointed to the left, and said, this is the past, it will not come back. He pointed to the right, and said, the future is yet to come. Then he pointed to where the stick balanced, and said, here, there is nothing, emptiness, zero, yet if abundance can be piled up anywhere, it must be here. It is now."