My girlfriend, Veronica lives in Colonia Allende with her 19 year old son. Her son's father, Jose, runs a community circus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jose and partner, Anaïs, who also performs in the circus, and their eight year old daughter came to visit three weeks ago. The little girl, adorable Amarella, is the biggest performer of them all.
Everyone is staying at Vero's. I am often in attendance. It's very entertaining. More than a little theatrical myself, I can give as good as I get, mostly role playing with Amarella. Yesterday it was her pretending to be afraid when I rolled my eyes up into my head impersonating a zombie.
The second week of their visit Jose and Anaïs went off to Tolotongo to take a workshop on Janzu, a water therapy that involves being cradled, floated, rhythmically moved and sometimes briefly submerged in the water. Amarella did fine in their absence, going off with Vero and her 19 year old half-brother to join her parents mid-week.
I would have thought that, after a week of soaking, they would have had enough of hot water, but a few days after the tribe returned we all went to Escondido Place (the local hot springs) so that they could practice what they had learned. Ah, the enthusiasm of youth.
In the big round pool Anaïs suspended me in her arms swaying me mostly back and forth, side to side, through the water. Sometimes she put my legs over her shoulders, with my knees bent over them, one on either side of her neck. Then she began giving me a prearranged signal, two light taps with her finger, to let me know when I was going to submerge, even rotating me, turning me face down while I was under water. (I had a clasp on my nose to keep the water out.)
The whole thing was a unique, delightful experience lasting about 30 minutes. My favorite part was being submerged. It was the most effortless movement, a kind of falling without falling. It was uterine without the confinement of the womb; the security of the womb translated onto the world.
When I was 40 something I confronted my mother, "You didn't touch us enough when we were kids." A day later she tearfully admitted that it was true, adding, "But that does not mean I didn't love you." I didn't object to her then, but, unfortunately, to the baby it means that and more. It means something is existentially wrong. It means, "I am going to die."
My relationship with my mother, my maternal archetype, has made it very difficult for me to receive; not nurtured by her then, I found it impossible to be nurtured by life later. The world was a struggle, without safe places. I gravitated to women who were not emotionally available and eschewed those who were. If it didn't hurt, then it wasn't love.
I've been working on that, or as I prefer to say, "playing with that," for years now, becoming more aware of my prejudices and limitations about love. Poco a poco (little by little), and sometimes by leap and bound, the world has become for me a more abundant arena.
There in the water, supported by Anaïs, for a moment when I was submerged, I felt a physical sensation of fear in my heart, a flash of terror, whose echo lingered for some moments more. I was reliving the primal, existential dread that I experienced as an infant. To feel the love that was denied me, I had to feel the pain that I was denying.
When I shared my experience with Anaïs she told me that she herself had cried when she was floated during the Janzu workshop, confronting the physiological truth of a similarly difficult relationship with her father.
Afterwards, when they dropped me off at home (I'm letting them borrow my car) I sprung something on them. The papaya tree beside my front door, which started from a seed rinsed out of my compost pail, is now tall enough so that, lacking a ladder, I have to use some ingenuity to reach the fruit. I figured that would be no problem for a couple of circus acrobats and I was right. See the short videos below.
It strikes me that the papaya tree is a good metaphor for my process of opening to abundance. The tree grew on its own, from no effort of mine. The papayas are offered to me freely, and right outside my door. Like my Janzu experience, after a lifetime of trying, relaxing is the key, letting others come forward and help, sharing the fruit of what I receive.
Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.