Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 5 January 2015

2014: Year of the Spiritual Pants

2014 was the year of the Spiritual Pants.

Spiritual Pants in Fake Yoga Selfie
On January 1, 2014, I bet the Boatman twenty bucks that I could meditate for one hour without talking or taking a break. And I won.

Around that time, I had the brilliant idea that maybe I should become a nurse because I was obsessed with nursing memoirs, medical shows and diagnosing myself with all sorts of diseases on Google. Also, I thought it would be fun to get to wear purple scrubs and sneakers all day. I was relieved to have finally figured out my life’s purpose. In the meantime, I continued to work at the Montessori School. I had a terrible time getting out the door. The Boatman and I devised an imaginary sticker reward system. For every morning I left for work without a frenzy, the Boatman would give me an imaginary sticker. After a week or two of earning imaginary stickers, maybe I’d get a prize. The system was not super structured. Despite this, sometimes I did win some excellent pens.  The Boatman is good at choosing excellent pens.

I tried my best to be cheerful; however, I felt moderately grumpy most of the time. One night I dreamt that all the children were running around the gym with knives. A particularly adorable little girl had a huge pointy knife which she held up and aimed at my mouth. I was lower than her because I remember I could feel that I was busting my knee cartilage in an extra low hip width squat.

“Put the knife down,” I said.”

The knife stayed hovering about my mouth.

“Put it down,” I said again.
She brought the tip of the knife between my lips. Then I screamed in the night and the Boatman took me into his arms and said it was okay.

One Wednesday morning in real life, two little boys were pulling each other around in the pink and green and blue synthetic tunnel. To distract them from their dangerous game, I said, No, in French and crawled into the tunnel myself.

Wouldn’t this be very fun?

Very Fun.

The younger of the two boys jumped on me and I wacked my chin on the concrete gym floor. I sprung up, pulled myself out of the tunnel and walked away. I said nothing, sure that whatever I said would be yelling or crying, neither an appropriate response for someone in charge of a gym full of kids.

My chin was bleeding and I decided that I had a spinal cord injury. I insisted that my bosses let me go to a walk-in clinic to rule out my imminent paralysis. The doctor gave me a tetanus shot, a band-aid, and asked me to look up at the ceiling and then touch my toes. He said that everything was fine.
I bought my ticket to India in March. My plan to become a nurse did not progress beyond hammering every nurse I met with incessant questions, inhaling every nurse memoir at the Halifax library and watching the entirety of Nurse Jackie Season Six in two worknight evenings.

Nurse Jackie
Although I filled my journals with page after page of endless, relentless angst and complaints, I didn’t get around to finishing many blogs or other pieces of writing. Around the springtime, I considered deleting my entire online output when actor, celebrity and disability-activist Danny Woodburn expressed his horror at a trilogy of articles I had written for comedy website The Boatman convinced me otherwise and ultimately I only removed the offending words along with a bunch of pieces that I decided were pretty mediocre anyways. I republished the revised story, “Soul Fucking” and it has made it into the blog's all-time top ten posts.

Danny Woodburn, an actor I met while lifeguarding at the Westin Hotel
in Montreal. His Fan Mail inspired a valuable head trip.
Otherwise, besides a few fluffy posts on birth control and funerals, I didn’t put much out there. This became a constant source of low-level grief, but I hoped that leaving my job and going to India might help such things shift. In June, I hired a new psychologist who I called my Expensive Friend. The main purpose of the sessions was so he could sign a form confirming that I wasn’t too crazy to attend a Vipassana meditation retreat in August. It was my third time applying and I’d always struggled to get the I’m Not Crazy form signed, mostly because I haven’t bothered getting a consistent health care provider in years. In addition to signing the form, I thought that maybe my Expensive Friend could help me with my creativity drought and my bewilderment at how to earn money in a way that didn’t result in despair and devastation. My Expensive Friend was very kind. He gave me some writing assignments, meditation exercises and let me talk as much as I wanted. After several sessions, he said that it was wonderful meeting me but that he wasn’t sure he was helping me achieve my objectives. Perhaps my trip to India would work to clarify some of my issues. He didn’t exactly fire me; however, I feel this is the catchiest way of putting it.
My last couple of months at Montessori were more fun than the previous year and a half since I was allowed to speak English and didn’t have to endure the chronic frustration of not being understood. Before I left, my bosses provided me with a raving letter of reference that was meant for hanging on my fridge. They praised my mopping, composting and toileting skills. My toilet conversation with toddlers and bum-wiping skills are apparently “without parallel.” Hit me up if you struggle in any of these areas.

At the end of August, I flew to Montreal to finally attend my first ten-day Vipassana sit. Almost everyone I know was surprised to learn that I made it through the whole thing without breaking the noble silence rules. I cried more than anyone else there and at one point I thought I wasgoing to dislocate my sacrum and/or get a spinal cord injury. When I was finally allowed to talk, I talked so much and so fast that my throat got sore.  After Vipassana, I got back into sharing my writing again without thinking too much about it or worrying that I wasn’t writing something brilliant and literary like a novel.

Then I went to India. This was my first trip off the continent. It is a magical thing to be able to get on a plane and a day later, arrive in a totally different place where the leaves don’t turn brown and fall off the trees in October. Thanks to everyone who helped invent airplanes, and to the people who took the time to learn how to fly them.

On the plane, I wore the pressure socks that my father lovingly bought me, for fear my legs would swell up on the long flight.

Magical Socks
I arrived in Mysore and reunited with my Cool Friend From Belgium (CFFB) and met several other new friends, many of whom appeared on this blog under the guise of some similarly catchy acronym. My Cool Friend From Belgium and I started a Butt Club because my CFFB was concerned her butt was too flat and was causing problems in her pelvis. Another friend, the Queen of Butt Club (QOBC) was instrumental in leading all two of the Butt Club’s sessions. I will always be grateful to the Queen of Butt Club for this, but even more so for the time she took me downtown to a store that sells the most wonderful pants in the world. I call them Spiritual Pants, and I wore them almost every day in Mysore. They would be perfect for pregnancy, and for a brief period in Mysore, I thought that it would be so beautiful and magical to make a baby inside me. Then I changed my mind.
Sharath wasn’t scary at all. I really liked him and practicing in the shala was extraordinary. For me, it was everything it’s cracked up to be. When I told Sharath that my hip was “popping in and out” (not really, but it sounded like it), he told me, “don’t walk too much.” Lucky for me, everywhere I went in Mysore was about ten minutes apart, and anywhere further my Cool Friend From Belgium usually drove me. The various challenges I had on my left side didn’t magically vanish; however, there was definitely a significant and steady improvement that seems to be continuing on back in Canada even though it’s freezing and I’m walking all over the place.

During Vipassana, I wondered if maybe my body and psyche were maxing out after seven years of unbroken Ashtanga practice. Maybe Mysore would be my grande finale and I could move on to some “easier” yoga involving cushions and a lot of ropes. Pretty sure this won’t happen, and I think I’m going to try and stick out Ashtanga for another seven years or so. We’ll see.

The Boatman thinks I’ve grown up quite a bit since I left. Probably this is true, although I did blog about my pubic hair at least twice in three months and I went on and on about humping various kinds of bedding in approximately every other post. Also, in this picture with Sharath, somehow I look so young.

Me and Sharath, so young
From Mysore, I flew to London to meet the Boatman and his family at an extremely fancy hotel where we weren’t allowed to wear Spiritual Pants, Birkenstocks, or eat with our hands. The hotel was way too fancy for me and the Boatman, but thanks to very detailed instructions from the Boatman’s mother on what to wear at what time, we didn’t cause too much shame to the family.
Of course it was delightful to see the Boatman again. No one is as happy as they look on the internet, except for us.

Deep Love

The End.
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Happy, Exuberant 2015!


No comments:

Post a Comment