Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aligning Myself (Sections of A Longer Essay)

At the last minute I decided to go with my friend Rachel to a yoga meditation workshop. It seemed like the right thing to do. She was telling me about it on the phone, explaining why she wouldn't be able to get together and I heard my voice say, I think I need to go to that. I think I need to do something to help me feel better about everything, to help me relax and breathe and feel enlightened. She told me there would be chanting and singing. I said that's perfect because I chant and sing all the motherfucking time. She said to wear white and bring a scarf. She said I might cry. I said, Fantastic! I might even end up on the floor weeping in a fetal position. She said that's good, that's great, that's a beautiful thing. It was set.

Breathe....and Release.


There's a weird thing that happens after a traumatic event, say a car accident or the end of a relationship or a death. You keep going. You don't really feel the full impact until a little time has passed. It's like Wile E. Coyote in the roadrunner cartoon. You know where the roadrunner hands him a ticking time bomb that explodes in his face, causing the rock on the mountain where he is standing to dislodge and fall 500 feet into the middle of an empty highway, where a 16 wheeler going 80 mph appears out of no where and hits him head-on. The coyote gets up, walks about 10 paces and shatters into dust.

That's what I felt like.


Rachel met me outside and brought me into a huge room with about 100 people spread out on the floor on their mats. She said I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to; she said I could sit on my mat and eat a sandwich if I felt like it; she said it was okay if I didn't know all the poses; I could just follow everyone else. If I wanted to just lay down, I could lay down.

In the front of the room there was a stage with a few instruments and audio gear, and a woman dressed all in white sitting on a mat. She wore a Janet Jackson style head-gear-microphone and sat looking out at all of us. "Okay everyone find your place", her voice was so peaceful and melodic and beautiful that it gave her words a deeper meaning. (I'm going to find my place!... Thank you!... I love you!) I looked at her and waited for guidance. I wanted to hear her voice again. I wanted her to tell me what to do. She stood up and looked out at every one and said,  "Shut" then she took a pause where she scanned the entire audience with just her eyes, "UP".

It's important to note that she didn't say shut-up like one word, like in a blurt of exasperation, but rather shut (long pause) up, like she wanted to make sure you heard the unspoken words in your head. The fuck. "Shut the fuck up." I heard it! I looked around at the others, some of them smiling, some of them quickly getting to their mats. "Just shut (pause) up, and let's get this thing started". I couldn't believe it. Shut THE FUCK up! These were my PEOPLE! This was my PLACE! Right here in Santa Monica, California where everyone was wearing white and trying to align their chakras. What? I looked at Rachel who smiled and raised her eyebrows twice. I almost started crying.


I was just about to say that sometimes I'll find myself in a place I wouldn't have ever imagined, a teacher-training yoga workshop, a buddhist gathering, a stage in Las Vegas giving a lap dance in front of 300 people, Los Angeles, and think this is either bizarrely uncomfortable or completely fantastic; but then I realize I can say that about every day of my life. There are always both of those things together: awkward and graceful, traumatic and uplifting, good and bad. Always. I know this by heart. If something awful has happened, I always know it means something great is coming.


The woman on the stage with the headset (Miss Jackson if you're nasty) told stories about things she had learned from her guru, and then someone would sing, and then we'd chant, and then do some breathing/stretching pose, and while I made a good effort to pay attention, and could even recall some of the things she talked about, I ended up doing what I always do when I'm supposed to be learning and improving myself, I think about sex. I think about kissing this guy I have a crush on. About how it feels like that's all it would to make everything amazing and perfect. About how it could be that simple. I think of us talking; I think of us laughing. I think of us doing all kinds of things together.  Then I have to stop pretending to listen to the teacher, or trying to do yoga poses, or singing along to the gentle music, and I just lie down and carry on in my own world, grateful for all the good I have in my life, aligning my chakras, manifesting powerful energy.

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