Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unicorns, patience, and a very long drive down Sepulveda

The strangest aspect of this teacher training process is not encompassed by what goes on within the confines of this hotel over nine weeks.  I have instead noticed that my most introspective and thoughtful moments come when I'm out of the daily routine of class-study-posture clinic-class-study-lecture-movie-sleep-repeat.  Today is a perfect example.

Saturday morning at training is always fantastic.  The buzz during the 8am class is palpable as all of us slap-happy and sleep-deprived yogis and yoginis work to get through the last few minutes that separate us from temporary freedom.  We are all looking forward to remembering what it's like to be outside of this hotel, experience the sunshine and take care of general maintenance like laundry, food shopping, massage (if you're lucky), and everything else that was impossible to get to during the week.  I was no different, somewhat distracted by thoughts of everything I wanted to accomplish and it was hard to keep my head in the game.  But as usual, class began, class ended, and then we were free.  After snapping some posture photos and some miscellaneous goofy shots in the hot room, I gathered my laundry and set off on my errands with the hot tub at my parent’s house as the ultimate destination.

Adrienne and Dia in the Boss' Chair

Kick and stretch!

There were three tasks I needed to complete before I could be on my way to the gorgeous, sumptuous hot tub in the sky (AKA Long Beach): 1. Go to Fry’s Electronics to make a return, 2. Fill up the gas tank, 3. Starbucks caffeine pit stop.  A modest list, but first I had to get out of the parking garage.  Apparently my credit card, which was charged a monthly rate upon arriving in the garage 5 weeks ago, was not automatically charged for the next month as they had indicated so when I tried to exit using my electronic pass, I got the red beep instead of an open gate.  Bollox.  Drove back around to the cashier, had half of a conversation with the woman behind the counter who was simultaneously on her cell phone via earpiece, and drove back to the gate.  Again the red beep.  Drove back again only to have the semi-present employee tell me “oh, you have to use your ticket the first time out.”  What ticket?  I’ve been here for 5 weeks, as I mentioned to you two minutes ago.

Now extrapolate this type of delay, stretch it out throughout all of the tasks I wanted to accomplish today, and that was my entire day.  It seemed as though everywhere I stopped, whatever seemingly small task I wanted to complete, was rife with delays, technical difficulties, and various methods seemingly constructed to try my patience.  But what was remarkable about this experience was not that the delays kept happening.  It was my reaction to these barriers.  I didn’t feel as annoyed or impatient as I normally would.

Blame the yoga, blame sleep deprivation, blame the tunnel-visioned focus we’ve had to cultivate since arriving here.  Even though I was totally conscious of how little free time I had available to me on this beautiful weekend day, I was calm and unhurried.  Instead I had a small epiphany about how much can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time if you are mindful of your actions.  The more thoughtfulness I was able to bring to each moment, the longer it could stretch for me.  Right, we’ve diverted off the path and are now into the more esoteric realm of temporal perception, but that was really my takeaway.  Honestly, events were not unfolding in any sort of practical or logical order for me all day long.  I have to walk away with some kind of lesson or I’m not earning my keep as a yogi-in-training, right?

Lesson #1: Time is kinda stretchy.  Use it mindfully and you will have as much time as you need.

Once I finally made it to my parent’s house, I immediately flipped on the hot tub, threw laundry and yoga mat into the wash, ran out again to go food shopping, came back and spoke to my sweetheart on the phone, and did some Ebay selling maintenance.  Yes, I am still in the process of shedding a number of childhood objects, not the least of which is my extensive collection of unicorn figurines.  It’s like I’m haunted by the damn things!  They keep selling and I keep finding more that need to be sold. 

Lesson #2: Be thoughtful about acquiring material things.  They can be a pain in the ass.

So many unicorns

I should add here that the whole time I was taking care of my various errands I was fooling with the hot tub trying to get it to heat up properly as it seemed not to be heating in the slightest.  By the time 8pm rolled around, my dad confirmed what I had suspected: The hot tub is not working.  Bollox.

Lesson #3: No expectations, no disappointment.  But damn it, I really wanted to soak in that hot tub.

Got myself packed up after hot tub proved to be a non-starter and headed back to the hotel at 10pm. The drive back to the hotel on 405 North started out uneventfully but took a strange turn when I decided to see how much dialogue I could remember from Half Moon (the first posture of class) on.  I was going along nicely, a few hiccups as I struggled to remember various lines, but I got all the way through Eagle when I looked up and saw an exit for Getty Dr.  Hmmm, that’s odd.  Pretty sure that’s farther north than I usually go on the freeway.   Sure enough I had driven completely past my exit and I had no idea how far north I was of LAX.  Bollox. When I exited with the intent to turn around and head back southbound, I saw Sepulveda Dr., the very street my hotel is on.  It was a lovely night so I decided to hop on Sepulveda southbound and drive back to the hotel that way.  Wow, I really must have been into my dialogue because it took me about 30 minutes to get back to the hotel by that route.  And it’s only 30 minutes from my parent’s house to the hotel via the freeway!  The drive was mellow and I was perfectly content to be alone with my thoughts, sans dialogue this time.  I also discovered a fantastic 24 hour Mexican food stand (so cheap!) called Cinco de Mayo where I had a brief pause for veggie tacos.  Yum!

Lesson #4: The shortest way isn’t always the best way.