Monday, September 26, 2011

on yoga

The big thing with me lately is that the past is present as I'm working to manifest my future. I've always thought of the past as the past and the present as the present and the future as the future, but I'm learning that things aren't often as simple as that. This straight line of chronology through which we all think we move is not so straight at times - it bouncily doubles over on itself like a seat in a movie theater, it loops around and sometimes it pauses in a space that feels like it's outside of time altogether. I suppose I've always "known" my past experiences are part of my present, because they've led me to this moment - but never in my life has my past been such a tangible presence.  Never has my own understanding confused me so much.

It seems that my yoga studio - or, more likely, the yoga itself - is a wormhole to the past. Near the end of my training as a teacher, with my heart as wide open as it had been since before I moved to New York, I thought about A, in passing. (Remember?) It was a Saturday evening. I was walking from the studio in the East Village to meet a friend for drinks in the West Village. I thought, "I wonder what I would do if I ran into A in the city." I watched myself have the thought, wistfully interested in why I was thinking about this man who (I thought) broke my heart, and whom I had not even passively considered in more than a year's time. I also asked myself why I was thinking that thought specifically, when (at least as far as I knew) he doesn't live in New York. Piggybacking on that thought, more thoughts bubbled to the surface, and memories from the time we shared together, and then I found myself thrashing at my covers, trying to shake him out, wondering why the fuck all these images still live within me when I so unequivocally banished them.

A sort of bizarre sequence of events led to us having a conversation, A and I. He told me he had been in the city the day I thought of him. I had no way of knowing he was here that day, nor did I have a reason to think what I thought. He also told me he thought the same thing about me when he was here, what he would do if he ran into me. Synchronicity. Since that conversation there has been a revolution in my heart, a sort of open-chest surgery I'm performing on myself, blindfolded.

Then the other day, I taught class at the studio. After class a student approached me. She said I looked very familiar to her and asked me where I'm from. I told her Birmingham, Alabama. She said her too. She asked me my name. I told her, and as my name escaped my lips, I recognized in her a glimmer of a young face I once knew. I said her name as she told it to me. She went to my middle and high school. She was a grade above me,  and we were never close friends, but I remember her because she was always performing and singing at school concerts and plays. We talked for a while and she told me she moved to the city just two days after me, on Jan. 1, 2009, to pursue a career in theater. She told me she had also just done a show down in Virginia. I befriended her on the book of faces, and learned that she is friends with another actor friend of mine who I just visited in Virginia last weekend. And so the past folds in on itself, and that fold folds in on itself again, like one of those wooden Chinese toys where you hold the end of a chain of blocks that tumble over each other repeatedly in an irrational way, clink clink clink clink clink.

For the past year or so my actions have largely been fueled by the belief that a higher power is guiding me to a destiny of its design, but lately I'm considering the possibility that I was born, that we are all born, to find and courageously follow our own hearts - that our hearts are our destinies. For me, yoga is a portal to my heart. Everything that comes along with that - past, present, and future - all present themselves to me, in ways I never conceived. Yoga helps me harness the power to transform all three, however I see fit.

Today I practiced yoga and the woman next to me in class had a tattoo on her forearm that read, "You have everything you need." And I think it's true.


  1. That photo is so befitting of your post... The rr tracks head in both directions and you too are aligned with the tracks...

  2. It's crazy how this stuff happens all the time.

    When I was preparing to go to France, I met this fantastic fellow language-assistant in the line at the consulate in Atlanta. We didn't do much more than shoot the breeze and discuss our France-bound anxieties. We never even told each other to which city in France we were headed. We just lamented the fact that we would, we were certain, be one of very few Southerners abroad.

    Six months later, I ran into the *same guy* at a random bar in Rennes, France. Turns out, we had been assigned to the same city.

  3. Yeah, life is crazy. That's pretty much all I can say right now, beyond what I've already said. Words?