E=Mc2 or Some Shit Like That

Electricidad

In an $80-dollar Uber ride home on New Year’s Eve, I asked the driver the question, which I had previously been asking every new encounter throughout the evening prior to midnight:

“What do you want to leave behind in 2015 and what do you look forward to in 2016?”

Having recently gotten out of a relationship that was fulfilling on many levels, one of the things it lacked was connection. We never really shared hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, secrets or that kind of human intimacy that goes deep into the guts. Feelings made him uncomfortable. So I squashed mine. Or dimmed them down to reading-light wattage. Barely perceptible without squinting.

So 2016 is a year that I want to find spiritual, real, raw and meaningful connection with humans who want to gruesomely feel, share, emote, wail, lament, grow, learn, dissect and eviscerate their insides. Electric. Connection. Like two fingers barely not touching after dragging stocking feet over carpet. But maybe not with men for a while. Or boyfriends, in any case…I’m a little afraid of things with penises at the moment.

Her response was this: “Well, I lost two of my best friends to suicide last year, so there’s that.”

And suddenly, we spent the remaining $63 dollars talking about the thing that nobody talks about, especially not with strangers driving cars during 3.3 times the normal rate: Mental illness. Depression.  Suicide.

It’s acceptable to talk about your skin rashes and your knee replacements. We send sympathy cards when our neighbors’ kidneys need dialysis, and we tell our friends about our UTI’s and our gallstones, but nobody talks about the days when life seems like such an uphill battle all you can do is mitigate the sadness in pajamas and then feel guilty for all of the things you didn’t get done that day.

Nobody even knew her friends were sad.

Not long ago, and for the first time, I saw the watery depths of my darkness and it was a terrifying and shocking place to be. Shocking because I had never previously had any notion that such a place existed within me. I had never felt so annihilated; so worthless, hopeless or insignificant as I did then. I feel better. Much, much better, but sadness is persistent and there are days when I’m just proud of myself for getting out of bed every day, putting food in my mouth and actually being somewhat productive by most peoples’ standards.

It wasn’t always like this. Or rather, I think that for a large part of my life, I was naïvely optimistic. I guess the older I get, it all starts to seem more scary and overwhelming.

Or perhaps it’s because I’m starting to do things that only grown-ups do. And I am throwing a full-out, toddler-style tantrum.

Because I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to apply for health insurance or have mortgage payments (which, actually I do want to own a house, but I’d rather win Powerball and pay for it outright) or have denture care on my health insurance (that I didn’t apply for) or save for my retirement. I feel like I’m too old to grow up. I’m 37 so, like, if I haven’t grown up already, then I’m probably not gonna.

I was supposed to scan 25 pages of business receipts to be sent to our accountant on my sister’s scanner; a beast of a machine, which takes approximately 18,571 hours per page to scan. The thought of sitting at her desk for the rest of my life if I’m lucky enough to live until 90 was giving me major anxiety, so I drove down to the FedEx Copy Store in the middle of a snowstorm, where the dude scanned all 25 pages and saved them to my memory stick in 13.6 seconds for $12 dollars. And since time is money, then for $2.08 per page, I just bought 2.12 years of my life back in 0.54 seconds flat!!!

Obviously, this just makes good business sense and basically proves that I’m a grown-up.

Forget the fact, that I just spent an hour on my flight to New Mexico creating and then solving a problem I didn’t have or need or get paid for, so now I guess I’m out .00011 cents, which is probably why I’m terrible with money and can’t save for my retirement.

And pretty much why I’m awesome at math.

Needless to say, the $80 dollar Uber ride was priceless because the first interaction I had with the first person in the New Year was real and open and raw. We both genuinely said “thank you” when I got out of the car and it was her just being honest that spawned a connection that needed no introduction or preamble. Honesty speaks the language of a thousand heart-songs and sorrows.

Life is hard. Overwhelming, big, dazzling, terrifying, exhilarating, long, tedious, beautiful and perfectly unperfect.

Connection is available only if you’re open to it. You gotta intentionally drag your feet across the carpet, hold your finger out and wait for the shock.

Math, on the other hand…..is easy-peasy.

 

 

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Craving

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

I could sugar-coat the facts and tell you that it’s all hunky-dory, that life is what you make of it and I am living the dream.  I could tell you that my social calendar is filling up faster than Justin Bieber’s prescription refills and when you open yourself up to the Universe, it’s just astounding what flows in.  And while most days that is my general belief, today, it’s a Porta-Potty full to the brim.  So, I’m throwing a pity party…for one.

The honeymoon phase has worn off.  The adventure and the road are but a fond and distant memory.  Gone are the distinct recollections of harrowing road conditions and impending snowstorms; strange locations and newfound friends. 

What I am left with is a sobering dose of reality. 

Living in a new town, with no network, no friends, no social life save for the occasional yoga class I teach and a restaurant job, though it is an adventure of sorts, it’s starting to get a little bit lonely.

So, I took my lonely ass out on “me-date” the other night.  Headed straight for the movie theaters after work for a 10 o’clock show.  The perks of the theater were wine and a spicy tuna hand-roll at your cushy, couch-like seat.  The movie was Her.  And it got me thinking….

Over some generations, we’ve been taught that it is noteworthy and important to be independent.  We live and die alone, or so “they” say.  And while independence is normally my default setting, isn’t that also just a little bit sad?  Haven’t we evolved as a species because of our ability to work, think, create and live…together?  Nary, a solo cave man would’ve faired so well against the pointy tusks of a sabre-tooth tiger if he weren’t sufficiently backed up by his Cro-Magnon cohorts.

Automated operators, online dating, online shopping, self-checkout lines, bank teller surcharges, social-media sites (which are the most anti-social thing EVER).  I mean, we’ve built so many layers and boundaries around ourselves to protect against actual, real, human interaction. 

So why can’t we admit that deep down inside, we just want connection?

Is it wrong to want someone who just gets you?  Who laughs at your jokes and gets your geeky interest in whatever it is you geek out about.  To crave a person with whom you can investigate, learn and scratch deeper into than the veneers of our profiles? Who is loyal and supportive and in it for the long haul?  Does that make me co-dependent to crave what seems a natural, human, social inclination?  And, while I firmly believe in doing my best to make the most of what Life throws at you, what if this is it?  If this is all there is, is it wrong to be unsatisfied?

While normally I try to douse myself in positivity, today the pep talks fall flat.  And in the spirit of being authentic in 2014, today this is me. 

Starting over.  Questioning, quiet…and struggling. 

Connecting with Disconnect

trust

I feel disconnected from yoga right now.  One week in New York City, full of social obligations—aka: drinking and eating and then back in Montreal for three days before a sudden and unexpected house guest arrived, which meant more eating and drinking and there just hasn’t been a lot of time for yoga these days.

And it makes me wonder about this thing called balance.  Is balance supposed to be something one strives for on a daily basis?  Yearly basis?  Life-ly basis?  Do things find equilibrium over time, with periods of want and periods of plenty finding homeostasis at some point or another?

I still step onto my mat each day, for I am learning a new sequence right now that I need to practice, but there is a lack of curiosity.  A lack of joy.  I connect to my body and to my breath and inevitably I feel better afterwards, but what is it that’s missing?  Inherently, it makes me question my abilities as a teacher, because if I can’t connect to the practice, how can I possibly teach others to do the same?

But then the other day, something happened.  A date that I had been planning for, preparing for; a date that is not romantic in nature, but is nevertheless as dreamy as Ryan Gosling knocking on my door, winning the lottery, and creating world peace all condensed into one long end of a brittle wishbone was postponed, indefinitely.  And this date is related to a very big goal that I have been working towards for a long time now (more on that later) so naturally, I was crestfallen.

And instantly I realized that practicing yoga is not about how many times per week or day you perform asana.  It is not about what juice cleanse you’re on or whether or not you drank a bottle of wine last night; it’s not about what bendy shapes you can transform your body into, or how many hours you sit in meditation.  Practice is about plugging into your life in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

We practice asana because as we physically manipulate our bodies towards specific shapes, we start to see what obstacles we must face before we get there.  The process, which can take weeks, months or even years teaches us patience and diligence.  It teaches us to be humble and to learn when to back off, or otherwise face torn muscles and injury.

A teacher of mine said once, “Everything you do on your mat is a metaphor for your life.”

But what I failed to remember, is that the converse is also true.  Life can teach me about asana.  That when I find the ability to take every “shape” life throws at me and move into it to the best of my ability, this is practicing yoga.

And so as I wrestle with feelings of disappointment and notions of anticipation and expectation, I am grateful.  For the opportunity to connect to practice in a way that makes so much more sense to me right now than 100 chaturangas.

Once again, I am humbled by the journey and I am grateful,
because I am still learning.

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