An exercise of the body

This morning as I was painting on a painting, I looked down and noticed that my belly was nearly wiping out everything I was doing as I moved along the canvas. I don't mind this. There is a phrase that returns to my head almost as often as "how did pioneer women do this?!". This new phrase is one that came to me one night as I was making my way down a dark hallway to the bathroom for the third time in five hours. I was rather sore and uncomfortable and even feeling a little trapped in the state of my body. "This is an exercise of the body," was the phrase that came from somewhere, either kind and revealed, or halfway between dreams. Either way, at the time it came to me, it seemed brilliant. It also seemed comforting, which is perhaps far more important than brilliancy at times. In my head I thought, 'you know, like an exercise of the mind, except right now, in this pregnant state, I am experiencing an exercise of the body.' As the phrase has permeated my life over the last weeks however, I have begun to question, the original phrase, 'an exercise of the mind'. Have I been engaged in an exercise of the mind for so long that I forgot about all that can happen within the body? Is it all the writing poetry, and about poetry, and typing on a computer that has caused me to Is there such a phrase? I haven't wanted to look it up or ask anyone, because I don't want to the answer to be no.

So, I find myself repeating to myself, several times a day, 'this is an exercise of the body.' I think what I mean by that is that there are times in our lives, pregnant or not, when we are acutely aware that we are living in a body and that within that body, we are experiencing things that we literally have never experienced before. About a week ago, Carl and I took a small hike up Rock Canyon. Before we left the house, we weren't planning to go hiking and there was a storm watch up on the news, but somehow we ended up at Rock Canyon anyway. I was in a skirt and trusty moccasins and Carl didn't have his coat. The way up was bitter cold. The clouds were moving down the canyon like the glacier that once carved it. The sandstone was vibrant and stark and there was no movement but our icy footsteps on the trail. Remember when the spirits jumped into swine bodies and then jumped off a cliff? I thought of them as we hiked upward. They were so elated and overwhelmed at the opportunity to experience something powerful within the body that they over-zealously ended their mortal probation with a leap off a cliff into a swashing ocean far below. I had no desires to jump off any cliffs, but it suddenly seemed quite marvelous that my cheeks were biting with cold, and I couldn't feel my calves, and my body was cumbersome with the baby moving inside. It seemed pretty great that for the first time in my life I am aware of my own body in ways I couldn't expect.

I was not aware at how uncomfortable, or sleepless, or even at times painful, the last trimester of pregnancy would be. I think I may be feeling even more dramatic because the pain of surgery at 5 months has led into different pains that might not be there otherwise, but then again, maybe everyone experiences this and are just a lot more graceful than I. The point I guess I have been thinking about though, is this idea that right now, I am taking part in an exercise of the body, which simultaneously makes this time an exercise of the mind and spirit. I think that is pretty great. It is fascinating that physical pain, in whatever type or sort, can be a catalyst for happiness. And I guess I mean happiness in the way that those spirits wanted so badly to be a part of this joining of body and spirit that they jumped into a herd of swine. We get to be a part of that, not only for a moment, but for a seemingly long and short time.