A Party for the Broken

A note from Carl:
Block 12th
First, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for all of the 50th birthday wishes. I was truly touched by the kindness shared by so many of you. Thank you.
I limped into this new decade on my peg-leg crutch on the long, slow recovery process from my Achilles tendon tear. Of course, this wasn’t what I had planned for fall. Coming toward the end of a year long mentorship with Jozef Frucek of Fighting Monkey, I had been feeling more free and strong and dynamic in my movement than ever before.
A day before the injury, I was sharing with Erin how much I value the long history of injuries and healing I’ve had in my back and spine because it keeps me close, it keeps me listening to that which is most vulnerable and tender. And, just in case I didn’t get that memo, a day later I got another invitation to slow down, to give my care to what is most tender and even mythically vulnerable – the Achilles tendon.
I was reminded of the line from James Hillman: “In your inferiority is your soul.”
So often, in a culture of ascension, we just want to improve, grow, push through, plow forward with our plans, and leave what is broken, what is limping behind. One of the great gifts I have received over the years working with Francis Weller is to come to recognize the sacred in what is broken. What is limping. What is struggling. What is confused. What is not working. The parts of myself that I want to improve, correct, get over etc. Do you have any of those? Any of those parts that you just hope meditation or therapy or psychedelics or exercise will help you get rid of?
Perhaps we could invite them all to the party that our poet friend, Tom Hirons is throwing – a Party for the Broken.
Tom Hirons
Tonight we will have a party
Only for the broken pieces.
Only the crooked and the blunt ones
Are welcome tonight;
The shattered and the stained can come,
But you perfected ones should stay away.
All the orphans and exiles
Will be arriving soon with their
Bundles of rags and sorrow.
Make room, you bright angels:
Now the wounded are coming home.
Tonight will be a celebration of our tragedies
And our petty stupidities,
Our shameful transgressions,
The unedifying failure
To become what we might have been
In other, more radiant lives.
Here are the unrelinquished griefs
And the never-forgiven slights;
Here is the stuttering clumsiness
And all the stagnant laziness.
Here is the hollow
In my heart.
Come in.
I’m so glad you’re here.
Outside, the Buddhas
And the Saints are laughing.
In here, there is a quieter
Communion of our tragedies.
Sit. There is food and cheap wine,
A warm fire and candles.
Eat. Drink. Then speak,
And we will all weep
Sticky and graceless tears.
At this party, we are dancing
To the tune of ten thousand folksongs,
Each one of imperfection
And darkly holy for it.
This is the party for the broken.
Imperfect music plays
For imperfect dancers.
Imperfect speeches are
Imperfectly spoken.
We bang tables and forget
Our words and
Wash the floor with our tears.
You shattered and stained beauties,
All crooked and graceless as you are,
Blunted by the hard world of death,
Love and the push of time’s spear;
You who are more glorious than statues,
As rich in stories as pirates,
As worthy as comets or stars,
This is the secret I want,
Tonight, to tell you:
Our dark-tongued singing
Reaches heavens even the Saints don’t know;
Our graceless, defiant dancing
Opens up the whole Universe.
The broken world is our country.
The struggle is our homeland.
Tonight, let the Buddhas be silent;
In here, we will raise our glasses
To our brokenness, howl
And sing so loud and badly
That all the bright and dark
Heavens will hear our song.
p.s. The wonderful site Hedgespoken, which carries Tom’s written work as well as that of other gifted writers, along with the incredible art of his partner Rima Staines, is having a Samhain sale. Don’t miss it or the chance to support their soulful offerings!
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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.