Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The one where I use the "F" word

As I fiddle with the color balance levels on one of my camera apps, it occurs to me how much we are responsible for the color of our world. I altered the color balance so much on a photo that a blue sky turned bright orange, and the brown grass turned lavender. The photo may not have any artistic merit; I may be the only person who appreciates it, but for this moment, for something as harmless as a photo, I don't care what other people think.
I do care (what other people think) when it concerns my well being, or the well being of others. What was initially going to be a post about balance is turning into many thoughts on how we color our world. In word, deed, thought and action, we all have a paintbrush. Finding that balance is tricky. Life is about balance and contrast. Day/night. Sleep/work/play. Trust/self-protection. Dark/light. What would you add to the list?
We spend about a third of the time in my yoga class doing balancing postures. I wonder if that translates into real life.
Every facet of life has been challenging my notion of balance lately.
How do we find our balance? How do we find balance in a world that seems to be spinning off its axis?
I feel things acutely. It's part of my genetic code. Sometimes it leaves me wondering if I was the only one who felt the earth move, or if the whole world did. I'm not yet able to decipher that out. For instance, that awkward moment when people don't know if they should clap or not, and then the awkward moment of when to I the only one who wonders about these things? What is the perfect balance of time to clap? Not so long you're a lone cheering section and not so brief you're the sourpuss barely able to rub two palms together. As a dear friend says "stop thinking." I can't help it. Sometimes, I have vertigo of thought. Spiraling thoughts make me dizzy, and I want to find that firm leg to stand on.
I've been really enjoying a new favorite blog; Recovering Yogi. Usually the stories crack me up. Often, they are self effacing. People have forgotten self effacing I think. They translate it into negative self-talk. But that's another blog post....Recently, someone tackled manners. I have long wanted to tackle manners, as many people around me already know. What I found interesting is the responses to this post. This is all about being in a yoga community, but I'm sure it translates across life.
I'm going to get gross here. Real gross. Leave it to me to use gas as a launch pad for deep thoughts. There was your warning word. I'm going to talk about farts. Right now. Follow me here (if you can stomach it): the author suggested one leave the (practice) room until they can get their gas under control. To which several  responded in different shades of how terrible she is to judge the accidental fart, to which the author responds she wasn't referring to the accidental fart. She understands those happen. Are you so turned off now? Because I'm taking it to the next level. The next comment had me rolling on the floor. "What about the accidental shart?" Yep. I went there.
Where do we draw the line in our collective prudishness/open-mindedness?
Because, this probably isn't a news flash, I would die if that happened to me in class. So should we shame people for bodily functions? No. And, I think we'd all agree that we'd all like to just not have to think about any of the above. But what about the guy who rings out his soaked towel so you can hear a rush of water on his mat while the room is still and quiet? Is that necessary? I've gotten really acceptive of the sweat that happens in hot yoga class. I've accepted gas happens. But if you can help something, do.
Today, I complimented a new (to my studio) woman's top. She thanked me, told me she made it, and that it was the least amount of clothing she could get away with. Followed by, "wouldn't it be great if we could practice naked yoga?" Um, no, no it would not be great. I'll tell you right now, that thought offends my sensibilities way more than the above conversation about gas. But, I can choose to go or not go to a naked yoga class. I can choose to go or not go to a hot yoga class; knowing there will be things that are not my favorite. I can also choose to be mindful of others. I can choose to try not drip all over others. I can choose to not shave my legs when 10 women are in line for the shower. I can choose to respect other people's time and space. I cannot choose whether or not my nose is going to start running. I cannot choose if I have gas...though really friends, I never do that.
Sometimes, I feel like we've gone so overboard in being love and light or being irritable that we don't really know which battles to pick. What I think is okay and not okay is not what you'll think. Somewhere in the middle is balance, no? I think the key is: do no harm, within balance. Be mindful that we share a space in the yoga room and on this planet. I confessed in my last post that I talk about things. It's true, I do. I talk about what's funny, what I want to see change, what's obnoxious. I talk. Here's my choice; if you can't change it, I'm not going to talk about it. If you had a rough day, you've got all my grace. If you're new to something and don't understand, no judgement from me. If you're a selfish prat, then I'm probably talking about you. And when I'm done, I probably still like you. I just don't like that thing you did. The longer I practice yoga, the less annoyed I am in general. But I still expect people to show up and realize we live together and share space. The balance I struggle with is realizing you can't change other people; and realizing you can.


Lisa said...

I can relate... and I just glanced up to see "Finding Grace" and thought about this:

I was asked in a teacher training recently, (yoga of course, aren't you a yoga teacher too?) "What is Grace?" We had to think about it and write about it and the next day, talk about it. I listened to others, I listened to myself, and all I could come up with was basically something "pretty". And it's true. Grace is pretty, but as the discussion went on, it is also not.

My point is not to try and teach anyone that Grace is also a person who doesn't hold in their farts, or a person who doesn't attempt to keep their oogie sweat off of strangers. But I think it's more in line with how you recognize your ability to have less irritation about it. That the gross and the annoying things we inevitably will encounter will hopefully lean us in the direction of something more like the pretty side of Grace. So it's Grace that leans us toward Grace.

Grace's face is variable, and in all things. Thanks for your chat. It makes me want to be less irritable. ;)

Cassandra said...

Thanks for your comment Lisa! I love how you related this more to grace! Grace does lean us toward grace! What a great thought.

Jasonian said...

I will try to be more careful wringing out my towel as for the rest... well, we'll see. I commend your honesty.

Cassandra said...

Ha! Thanks for the comment Jasonian. I think the point is maybe lost in shartland.
I don't think people need to walk on eggshells. It's yoga, be mindful! That's all. Things happen. Sweat drips, burritos make their way into the air, it happens. Part of the practice, I think, in yoga and in life is be mindful, and what you can't control, let go of. That goes for taking a break when you need one too. All the same. I think.