Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Ride the dolphins

One of the favorite sayings I´ve come across in yoga classes: 'If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans'. To wit:

I was supposed to be spending this week cruising with my brother and his wife, home on a three week vacation from the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan. I can´t overstate how much I was looking forward to it; I haven´t seen either of them in more than a year, and was looking forward to catching up, seeing pictures, and hearing more about their pretty wild time there. Second, having a guest on board makes you a de facto passenger for a week, which means really good food, room service, not having to wait in line, etc. A respite from the annoyances of ship life.

Alas, to quote Julia Sweeney, God said ha. Some, er, issues are keeping Luke and Jen Stuck in Staten Island (wasn´t that a horror movie?) for the forseeable future. (Jen has the details) So I'm stuck in the world of long lines, cheap swill for dinner and, well, the usual. As an added bonus, we were forced to cancel one of the shows last night, leaving hundreds of angry customers. Oh, and my elbow is sore, my voice sounds like two grizzlies were playing volleyball with my larynx, and it's going to rain today on the one port I like. Did I mention my Dog died, my girl left me and I lost all my money in a poker game? (Okay, only one of those is true. And probably not the one you think.)

Forgive my melodramatic melencholy, it´s (mostly) for effect. I´m actually in a really good mood. One of the things I´ve been working on a lot over the past year is starting to detach myself from the results of my actions. That doesn´t mean trying any less, it just means engaging in what you do without worrying so much about how it turns out, or what other people think of it. Yoga has been a major influence here- as anyone who is a serious practicer can tell you, if you´re in a difficult pose, you don´t have time or energy to think about what it looks like, or if anybody else likes it, you have to be completely there doing it.

And I´m amazed how much living with that idea changes my reactions to things. I´m no saint, obvoiusly, but I´m much less rattled than I used to be by Italian officers, or the silliness that comes with ship life, or even the bigger things like missing my siblings. That said, I still wish they were here.

A couple of yoga notes, while I´m thinking of it. The aforementioned elbow soreness, which I think is related to how I sleep, oddly enough, has really transformed my practice, because there´s quite a bit that I just can´t do right now. As a result, I´ve refocused my practice, and one of the real treasures I´ve (re)discovered is Dolphin pose, which looks like Down Dog with you´re elbows on the ground. (Photo here, though I teach it with the wrists parallel to the elbows rather than hands together.) It´s hard, but suddenly things that weren´t available to me, like Handstand without a wall, aren´t such a big deal.

Oh, and it´s the funniest thing. The more yoga classes I teach, the better a teacher I become, the more I carry the calm I get there elsewhere. Go figure.

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