If you want to judge the extent of violence a certain group faces, in all the different forms everyday violence can take, what you need to do is examine the state of the nervous system of people belonging to this group.
Trauma layers after each clash with violence, no matter how subtle or imperceptible, and each layer grips the tissues, nerves and muscles tighter and tighter. The reaction becomes chronic, creating a sense of panic and danger even if the danger that originated the gripping response is not immediately present.
We often fail to recognise the subtle violence in our environment because we are desensitised and lead to think that what we experience doesn’t classify as violence because it is ‘not serious enough’. Next time you feel your body gripping, see if you can identify the source of this reaction. Don’t judge yourself if you can’t immediately recognise it or confront it; it’s all a practice, and you can only eventually address an issue if you can feel it clearly first.
And if you find yourself gripping by just sitting on the street, as I do, then do accept there is a battle to be fought; and if you don’t and someone tells you that they do, believe them. The response of their nervous system is one triggered by their survival instinct, and this occurs because experience and patterns observed have taught this highly intelligent organism that there is a threat. This isn’t rooted in fiction, because it is being picked up on a level where we are most attuned – the one of an animal body existing in the physical realm. Work needs be dedicated to adjusting our world so the threat the body registers is no longer present and / or appropriate rehabilitation is offered, not in wasting breath on trying to disprove the violent structure’s existence. The latter is impossible, and violent in itself.
I offer here a humble translation of the transcendental closing track of Lena Platonos’ iconic album ‘Gallop‘. I do this to honor the feat of storytelling that many of the pieces on the album represent, as well as the fact she employs imagery which featured in the guided meditation that concluded my very first yoga practice, occurring some eight years ago in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Now, just as a little air lifted, everyone expected these days to be cool. At least that’s what they all said.
Even the lady at the street pavilion made mistakes in her transactions from the excessive heat.
And on the radio they prepare the winter with humour and stability, seriousness,
galloping through and choosing different answers.
You close your eyes. You arrange a date. You close your eyes and dream of different cities. Sparsely populated cities in the night lacking unnecessary sounds whose light emanates from within the people, from the walls of the houses.
A door opens. Someone lifts their hand and their greeting traces the shape of a star,
or rather a moon.
You reciprocate. Slowly many gather, then even more.
They all reciprocate and their greeting traces the shape of a moon
and as they approach one another they are united by that same gallop of the first rain; by the colour of the moon in their own touch.
Yes, and further down there is a couple that have only a moon that they cut in two, biting the half
and again the half, until crumbs are left behind. Until nothingness remains.
But they share even that nothingness as it appears that nothing doesn’t exist.