Article 25

‘All is Coming’

In Uncategorized on 08/20/2011 at 5:35 pm

 The yoga of getting back up

By C.A. MacConnell

A while back, after teaching yoga, I met this awesome worker at the quickie mart. He was throwing plastic bags all around, flyin’ man, inventing wacked out poses of his own, and I said to him, “Hey, man, I like your style.” Even behind the counter, he seemed so free.

He said to me, “I like your style, too.” Then he smiled wide, ringing me up. Pretzels, Super Big Gulp, straight shot to the bag, so smooth. On the top half, worker man was all neat. I mean, it looked like the bro might be about to play croquet or something. But on the bottom half, he was all mechanic — greasy and dirty, the works.

I could relate. In all ways, divided, it seemed. I wanted to help others, but the last time I wrote and fought about complicated social issues that affected me personally, it took me a long while to recover. Right here, writing, I’m still smarting from it.

Then he handed me the goods and said, “Don’t hurt anybody.”

I said, “I won’t. Myself included. I’m no good to help anybody if I do that.”

He said, “That’s right, that’s the one.”

He was magnificent. Thank you.

To me, yoga is a form of meditative movement. After 11 years of practicing in the Ashtanga tradition, I feel that it’s not about being good or bad at something. It’s not about becoming a great twisty pretzel with flexibility cranked to the max. It’s not about doing 50 head stands or impressive arm balances or trying to be someone who others want me to be. Sure, I work hard at it, and these things are fun, but the ultimate goal doesn’t rest in having the perfectly cut yoga body or doing the most advanced poses or being an endlessly serene being who burns candles and incense and never gets pissed. Sorry, not me.

And it’s not about swallowing endless amounts of historical and spiritual information, just to let others know how smart I am. Sure, there has been and always will be study involved. But I want to bring this study to life, like the man in the quickie mart. To me, yoga is about drinking in teachings, remaining humble and striving to find my true self, to embrace it for all its worth, to pass it on, to be easy on myself, laughing as much as I can, knowing that I’m human. When I fall down, I get back up. It might take a while, but I do. I have flaws, like you and you. I’m that girl who gets lost on the way to your house, again and again, because I’m thinking strikingly dreamy thoughts about imaginary true love rather than following directions. That’s me.

I’m learning to love my “lost sides” along with the “found ones.” In writing and yoga, I’ve been known to go fast. I’ve been known to go slow. I’ve been known to wear nice clothes or sweatpants and an undershirt, depending. I’ve been known to be utterly serious. And I’ve been known to crack ridiculous jokes. To me, it’s about being real. Right now, writing, I’m in two-day old clothes, really struggling. But as the wise one, Ashtanga yoga founder Guruji K. Pattabhi Jois, often said, “Practice yoga, and all is coming.” He was a major force in bringing yoga to the west. He also liked to watch Bruce Lee movies.

I believe that writing, at its best, is meditative thought in action as well. So in a sense, I see my tattoos, grandiose thoughts of love and weird thoughts as spiritual. I see my straight up words and melancholy poetry as spiritual. Down and dirty, lofty and deep: It’s all me. See, I don’t mind the scars. I never really feel “writer’s block”; I just write, whether it sucks or it rocks. Even as a little girl, the words came pouring out. I wrote to the wind. I wrote to imaginary friends, my dog, the horses in the neighbor’s yard, whatever and whenever.

Now, sometimes I write to specific people. Or I might have a situation – a memory or dream – in mind. But sometimes words just come out of nowhere, similar to the times when my body has moved into a pose I’ve never done before. Sometimes, I am just writing to be heard, writing to the universe. Creating for creation’s sake. But always, it seems to be a strange act of prayer, however serious or hilarious it might come out, the same way it is when I move during my yoga practice. It’s all reciprocal.

The practice of being real has leaked into my writing view. I might still have a potty mouth here and there, but if that’s what rolls out, then that day, that’s where I am. Sure, there are some articles I wish I could take back, erase. There are some classes that I wish would’ve been better. But that was me, in the moment. That was me, creating then.

And this is me, creating now. In yoga, poses bring me into the present, and in writing, my callused man hands type now. So here’s where I’m at … I am wrecked, feeling loss. Two people I know recently died, and it has called up some old pain from when my old boyfriend overdosed. And a man I currently love seems to prefer another; he seems to like my writing, but that’s it. This has happened before. It has devastated me, and my tears are thick, but I also feel blessed, grateful that I have a warm, dry place, running water, food, two cats and all of the things I need. I have always had what I needed. Maybe not what I wanted, but I’ve always had what I needed, even at my most stubborn times.

Back in the ’90s, when I lived like a crazed shadow, testing life to the max, it seemed that someone always showed up with leftovers at the right time – suddenly, English muffins or pizza would appear. I’d find a soup kitchen, a food bank, something, always. I hung out in some dangerous places with some dangerous cats, and then it got worse, but somehow, I always skated by. I’m still here. A miracle, really. Someone or something or some energy is seriously pulling for me, for you. Deep down, I truly believe that.

Right now, the worst outside problems I have are that my jeans are too long, my hands are so dry they are riddled with tiny cuts, and someone’s blocking my driveway. Not bad. “High class” problems, as they say. My feelings might be off, but if I pay attention, they’ll let me know where to go next. And I still love movies and curious road trips and rock and roll. Driving is like being in your own movie, only you make the turns. No one can take that away from me.

So with my writing, my practice, my life, let me move forward with pure wisdom — smart, but free. Let me honestly give when I can but still embrace my own need for peace. Let me have patience, speaking out when I need to, when I can, when it’s right, but not with force. Let me help others one-on-one, directly, in person, in the flesh, whenever the universe’s light brings others to me in that magical, anonymous way. Let me trust in this completely, focusing on those close, real connections, those nearby who need a hand. Let me not be afraid to leak it out. Let me choose to release my most difficult, deepest, startlingly honest words at the right moment, the moment when someone needs to read or hear them. These are the most sacred times reserved for sharing stories, for passing on a raw message of pain and hope. In every aspect of my life, let me honor my own needs, and in turn, give back.

Things do change, and things turn around. Sometimes it seems like forever, but they do change. So if you’re having a hard time right now, hang on, they will change, they will get better. I will hang on if you hang on. Life, the more that I live it, is becoming quite the magnificent beast.

Gotta go. I feel like doing a rockin’ headstand, just because, just for me.

“All is coming.” Kinda makes me shiver. That’s right, that’s the one.

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  1. Great piece Chris. i think you have it figured out.
    Love dad

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