Fatalism Can Be Fatal

In the Closet Lays
Prismacolor on Arches cover paper

When I was talking with my friend, Dwynette, last month I mentioned in somber tones that I was thinking about taking yoga classes.  

"Please, Victoria, don't over excite yourself talking about it, she replied with a total smirk.

"I sound that unenthusiastic about the possibility, huh?"

"You could call that an understatement."

It's been nearly 3 years since I was dancing consistently.  With no advanced Middle Eastern dance classes near me, and joints too old for Hip Hop or even Old School Jazz for that matter, I've become a studio potato. All the work I do involves sitting in a chair, hunched over a tool or a keyboard. The only moves I regularly make are the Waiting for Hot Tea to Brew pose (it involves walking to the kitchen) and the Downward Facing Jeweler pose (hips in the air, head under the workbench, searching for the bezel setting I dropped).  Getting up from of the floor reminds me that I'm not getting younger.  It also reminds me that the paternal side of my family has a long history of strokes and heart attacks starting at 50.

So at last I carved out time for a noon class at Nirvana Yoga.  Cool old building that's a five minute drive from my house.  Reasonably priced classes.  No excuses.  Perfect!  When I got there, the class was already full. 

"Yoga, I thought, "sometimes no music, kind of woo-woo, people who might gasp in horror if they knew my idea of health food is organic sugar."  Maybe this was not for me after all, then I thought of how the breathing techniques I'd learned in pregnancy yoga had saved my life during the delivery of my son in 1999.

The owner was kind enough to give me incentive to give the place another try, and I found another day the next week when I could squeeze in yet one more thing.  As I walked past the sofa outside the studio there on the end table were two of my most favorite calligraphy pens.  I'd missed them but just thought that I'd misplaced them. They'd fallen out of my purse when I'd sat there the week before. Was I meant to come back?

The class was wonderful.  I'd shown up on a "gentle yoga" day. What's not to love about a form of exercise in which you spend half the time lying down?  Everything was, as my young teen son would say, very fluffy. 

I eagerly went back as soon as I could the next week.  Class was cancelled. One class out of three trips?  Maybe this was not meant to be.  

I tried again the next day.  Bingo.  It was to be a "restorative yoga" day. More lying down while feeling righteous that I was being active.  Yay!

I walked across the studio to sign in and slipped on a slick part of the floor, catching my big toe and grinding it into the metal heating vent.  The pain was extreme.  Was this a sign?

Many classes later and my shoulders hurts a lot less than normal.  I can feel my back and stomach muscles struggling to hold me up in less painful ways.  In fact, I'm beginning to have stomach muscles again! I can get up out of the floor without having to think about it for a second.  Is this a better sign?

When I was young I was quite fatalistic.  I paid attention to signs, the kind that stand out and say, "This Is Meant to Be," because I was looking for meaning outside myself. Years of being a parent paired with dogged persistence as an art-repreneur have taught me that the only signs of significance are the ones with big letters on them that say things like, "Exit," "Ladies," or "Chocolate" and "Sale," preferably with those last two together.

I saw Dwynette again couple of weeks ago.  "I have discovered yoooohhhhhhhhgggaaaaahhh," I said as I slowly extended my arms with my fingers in a classic mudra.

"Do you do that arm and hand move every time you tell someone?"

"Yes, I find it sets the mood better for them to fully grasp how wild it is that Queen Type A Personality is relaxing occasionally."

"Uh huh. Try the Boat Pose."  She described it.  I said I'd stick to the lying down poses.

Our brains are amazing at rationalizing. If we look for signs to tell us what decisions to make, we will see whatever we want to see in order to justify our desires of the moment.  I could have followed the signs that told me I "shouldn't" take yoga, but those might only contribute to the greater odds of an early stroke, and that could really be fatal.

Life is all about the choices we're faced with on a constant basis.  What signs we see and follow are strictly up to us. 

Namaste, and pass the chocolate.  

1 comment:

Mare said...

*Passing the chocolate*

In our house, we have been thinking about signs as well. What is funny is that I have started to see them *after* something has happened, perhaps in a way to explain why we had to endure something terrible.

Thank you for the reminder to open our eyes and trust our hearts!