Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On October 11, 1988, I Went Headfirst Into a Cement Curb.

"Universe works.

We are a part of it. We are not intruders.

We concentrate it's themes most exquisitely around us when we valve its energies for our immediate service: controlling the flow of electrons, frequencies, fluids, foods, heat; warding off winds, the fires and the rats. We can either call this building a house or caring for our bodies."

For me, it seems fitting that as the experiment known as Swami O'Bryan's comes into play, I write a bit about the crossroads I seemed to be at where yoga began for me.

A fractured skull can be similarly compared to a seismic jolt. A shifting of terrestrial plates. It happens quickly. The only difference is that this physical form will either live or die. Either way, there is change.

I finished my studies at UCLA in December of 1987. The first six months of 1988, I did production work and became quickly disillusioned. For me the jury is still out as to whether I quit out of pride, having a high opinion of myself or a strong intuition for self-preservation and dignity. At the time, I just did not like being in my position in the production hierarchy, taking orders or feeling lesser than who I thought myself to be.

So I made a plan. I would go back to the town where I was raised and do summer theatre, acting for fun. Once the run of the musical was through. I would travel to Europe for three weeks and then make my way back to Los Angeles.

That was the summer of 1988, I got the role I wanted, Benny Southstreet in "Guys and Dolls," by auditioning with the song, "Pass the Football" from "Wonderful Town." During the run, I realized that I had become a professional actor as I knew what energy and talent was required to make a show work. The trip to Europe was harrowing as much of the time, I was traveling solo with no knowledge of the languages of the countries in which I was traveling. By October, I was back in Los Angeles, living with a friend and his father in a me on the Hollywood Hills above Sunset Plaza West.

I didn't know what I was going to do next. I just knew that I did not want to go back to the farm on which I was raised.

On October 11, riding a racing bike in San Pedro and training for a biathlon, a friend of mine and turned west from Western Ave onto 27th Street heading towards the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The avenue had a downward grade and as I rode behind my friend I could feel how I was picking up speed. I knew at the beginning of the ride how I wasn't "there"..........how I felt far, far away as we pedaled away from his parents home.

I find myself sitting on the curb, a towel draped over my head. I feel warm. there is a funny taste in my mouth. I catch myself pulling off the towel. I am hot. I don't hear anything. The towel is replaced. I pull it off again. I feel like I have a fever. The towel is suffocating and hot. I feel dirty and sweaty. The towel is placed on my head a third time. I then hear the words, "Leave the towel on. You've fallen and you're really fucked up."

At that moment, the paramedics arrive. To me at that moment, they are angels.My vitals are taken. Neck braced. Strapped onto support board and lifted into the paramedic vehicle. On the way to San Pedro Peninsula, I am asked basic cognitive questions. Some I cannot answer. It is here, I realize that whatever has happened is serious. I think I go to sleep, waking as we arrive at emergency. I find out later that I've had another grand mal seizure, the first one happening as I was lying on the side of the road.

I saw myself lying on the side of the rode six months before. It was as I was traveling north on Highland, just after the Franklin Ave. intersection. I was heading back to the production offices in Burbank and there he was. Bike on its side, male rider separate from the bike, unmoving......still life on asphalt.

My hospital experience can wait for another time. For reasons of brevity, here is what I realized.........

I had some inclination that something like this was going to happen and I prepared myself so that I would survive it.

That if my family was around I was not going to get well.

That I need to figure out why this happened.

What it was like to see someone who was "bright" and "full" and how important this was to healing.

That when it comes to the brain, doctors know how to cut and paste, but healing it is uncharted territory.

Friday, March 7, 2008

"Dialogue with Tensegrity" or "Beauty Takes Care of Itself"

This is the reason why I'd like for you to read what tensegrity actually is. For example, the Eiffel Tower vs. the Washington Monument. While the Tower is not geodesic or and example of Tensegrity, it does help to pove the point. Built in 1885, the Washington Monument in getting to 555 feet five inches in the air, uses more than 81,000 tons of stone. It is stone layered on top of stone. Weight is what holds it up/out and keeps its shape. Built four years later in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is twice as high and is about one-twelfth the weight. It is basically "bones" rather than "stones" (Memory of me riding to the top of the tower in 1986, whooshing up into its thin neck and panicking as I could not feel weight around me. I thought, "It is so light. What is holding me up.") On a patch of ground a chair might cover, the Tower imposes no more weight than would a man sitting in the chair. The Monument's pressure on the same space would be 27 tons. The implication for thousands of years was that "weight equals strength. With new technologies, alloys etc., the Eiffel Tower exampled a different definition of strength and caused a huge uproar in the process. The leading intelligentsia of France organized petitions damning it.

Why am I bringing this out? This is what I was trying to get to when I did the workshop with Angela and Viktor. As Viktor assisted me into the dropover backbend. I realized that, "Bones are light." I rely on (sound of MK patting his arm) muscle.

I rely on weight as......as a reference point to everything (weight=gravity) and all of a sudden........."Bones are light!" They are extremely strong and durable. DUHHHH!"

That is why in the example of the Tensegrity sphere given here, there is literally no weight. But the "tensions" keep everything "up". It will move in the sense of expanding and contracting. The tensions of everything working with each other keeps its form. It's not about "up" or "down." It is about "in" and "out!" It is about expanding and contracting which it will physically do. So that's where I am at with this and that is why I keep throwing it back into that experience with Viktor. Bones are light!. I thought in practice today, how much do bones actually weigh (the thought of marathon/long distance runners..... those who run light and heavy.) How much do our bones weigh? I thought it would be interesting to know this for both you and I. That would be really easy to find out.

Ken Koslow told me when I first mentioned Bucky to him after yoga class, "He was the first architect to ask how much does a building weigh. (Ships are measured in tonnage.) Another thing that Bucky would do is that he would upset his teachers off in grade school by asking if a square is warm. You get what I am saying? It is like Angela saying that anatomy is for cadavers. There is everything else that's happening.

The tensegrity process is happening. From what I understand that is Bucky's description of universe. He gives an example of our solar system. There are gravitational pulls that are in effect. Everything seems to staying together at some specific level, expanding and contracting. Which is what the muscle does around the bone.

The muscle does that around the bone and the muscle effects over the bone and over the nerve ending tissue that sits on the bone. That nerve tissue has an effect on the bone by how much weight the muscles are pushing and pulling. I think that is the hardest thing to.....to......You can probably do the mathematics of your arm opening and closing but you can't necessarily do the mathematics of how much muscle can squeeze around the bone, wring itself out against the bone, its release and then measure how deep the relaxation. You can't necessarily measure that kind of stuff.

For operative language today, let's assume that Bucky has already done that with his synergetic geometry. That is where he was going with it. If you actually look at the book, there are big blocks of geometric information that maybe for you and I, we don't understand the language of it, but we do understand....this is what I want to say right now.....we do understand the shape of the thought he is implying. On some level, we get THAT. And that is why it seems to be so apealing to us right now....or so appealing to me.

And the....if you read the book, there is the geometrical language and then there is this other stuff that pops through. We get THAT. We understand THAT. We don't necessarily have the language to describe it in a mathematical way.

AND here is the thing that we do understand. It is that we do have certain experiences that seem to encompass all. And with experience there does come a certain geometrical knowledge that comes with that if we are talking about "there is enough to go around. I mean, Bucky's big line is the fact that, "I am a terrific bundle of experience. So are you. So am I.

So is everybody else around here. So is everybody on the planet.

Everybody is a terrific bundle of experience. It wouldn't be here if nature did not want it or allow it to be so. There is no waste. There is no waste of thought. Some sort of energy can be regenerative in a specific way....that can be done in a myriad of ways.

Life becomes fun in the process of doing that.

I want to say that yoga does seem to throw you into omnidirectional knowledge. It does wake up the brain in specific ways. It's not a booklearning sort of thing.