Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On a Personal Note: Change

I haven't written a post for a while because life has been in flux. Change and movement constitute life. Static states and stagnation are a condition of death. Why then do we all cling to the static? Maybe because it's safe, it's known, it feels secure.

I'm expecting a baby at the end of October. Her birth will be the culmination of years of decision-making, the roller-coaster of trying to conceive, conception, miscarriage, trying again. It will also be the beginning of a new movement into life, of a constantly changing being. Actually, we've arrived at that point already--I have a clear sense that she's here, moving and changing inside me. Although there are strong punctuation marks in life, like birth, there is no real point of arrival because that would be stopping the ongoing process that each of us is. There is no period until death.

Being pregnant is like a Feldenkrais lesson at the cellular level. My body's chemical, hormonal, and physical habits are disrupted daily. Each day I have to negotiate a new balance because my center of gravity has changed again. This is really interesting, and attracts my curiosity, but it's also disconcerting at times. I've had a strong feeling more than once that I don't know who I am. It's true on so many levels. I have 50% more blood in my veins. My belly is huge. Hormonally speaking, there is a bigger difference between me and my non-pregnant self than between me and my husband. He and I, a couple, are becoming a family of three.

Just to add more change, my husband and I decided to move from San Francisco, where I have lived my entire adult life, to Berkeley. Not a huge distance, but a big change for us. It's kind of satisfying to change everything externally at the same time that so much is changing internally. It's also interesting to notice how much I identify with my home--how difficult it was to take apart the San Francisco home, how in a hurry I am to set everything up in a familiar way in the new home. In the same way I identify with my body, and do double-takes when I look down at my big belly. That's me. This is my house. Not really believing it yet, still stuck in the old patterns.

If I lie down and breathe, let my breath find its natural rhythm, that rhythm has changed because my metabolism has shifted during pregnancy. I'm lying on the floor in my new home, looking out at the redwood tree in the front yard. All these indicators of identity are superficial, even the rhythm of my breathing. I cling to the old familiar indicators, but there is a core of myself that is deeper than these indicators, and when I can stop for long enough, when I look for it, I can sense it. I couldn't describe or locate it, except perhaps in the primary image, in my representation of myself as directions and lengths. I can sense myself at some points as a continual process--my history feeding into who I am now, but also able to shift and change. When I can sense this, I can also sense many new possibilities for how to be myself. If I can change this much, what else is possible?