Dangerous Incantation • 23 August 2009

Last night I lived in a floating bungalo off some wild green islands away in the Tropic of Capricorn.  A dream vivid enough to have its own barometric pressure—dialed up high along with the color saturation—with promising deep blue thunderheads off to the north. Friends were visiting—several of you included. We had Thanksgiving dinner on the lanai and then you drove off over the ocean in trucks I lifted from The Grapes of Wrath. My teacher sailed up and we decided to practice. We spent a long time lolling around, watching the beautiful clouds and feeling their mounting winds, deciding to practice. We were in the water, swimming around in a space enclosed by a little walkway, about to go to the studio and take asana together the same way others take tea. Then the sun came out and we said to each other: Why don’t we just do it here?

So then we were in the water, twisting in to pasasana, becoming compact little weights sinking down to fish-level, where the sunlight filtered around so brightly we could breathe it. Krounchasana was a problem—where is the leverage?—so we released it, tried to catch some other fishes… though none of them really came together until the lord of the fishes halfway through the series. It was all vaguely frustrating—we could not understand why shalabasana just would not work in the water—but we stayed out there because it was so beautiful. The light, shadow, color, fish and happiness were so strong… stronger than if we’d have fronted the cash and the carbon credits to get our incarnate asses to Tulum.

He’s actually moving right now, packing up an apartment after years and heading cross town. And so is my first asana teacher ever, who practices with us and is currently teaching me how to adjust her. And so are my grandparents, who abruptly called the assisted living facility last week and are collapsing their beautiful twelfth-story Denver condo, asking me of all people to take on their antiques. These last two weeks of August, beginning with Thursday’s new moon: I’m calling it a cycle to end a larger cycle: seven years on the ground here coming to a close. My apartment and all the routines and comforts it contains—the base of Maslow’s pyramid and the chakra scale well rooted for years—bam! Disintegrating around me. Movers arrive on Tuesday to pack what’s left across the contintent and from there I turn back from a house dweller to a nomad. Don’t ask me the details: what’s of interest now is the unknown, not the sketches that are known.

I rolled in to the shala late this morning, keys and beloved mat both lost to the black hole that is sucking in my life. (Later, Bad Driste Betty returned the keys I misplaced on Friday: "Sometimes having no driste is good!" I kissed her and agreed.) Between the communal mats laced with hamburger sweat and the hard damn birchwood floor, I chose the floor.

Q: But I can’t do this shit without my mat!…A: What’s easier, birchwood for your ground or the open sea? Recognize a gift when it's right under your nose. I thought of Shinzen—“Equanimity is radical non-interference with your own nervous system”—and set up. A process which entailed folding a sweat towel and taking up 0 position, giving SKPJ a wink, saying my secret thing, and launching in. And it was great. The shalabasana-parsva dhanurasana sequence will leave a mark on the hip points (I suppose dung floors are softer than birch, and 14-year-old boy ilia don’t crest like a woman’s) but otherwise it was just practice, albeit  without clearly demarcated personal space or a soft place to put my head in the inversions. Which is exactly what I am doing in life starting now. Technology and creature comfort are good, but maybe I can keep my shit together and thrive without.

I just flashed on myself at 20, driving a Dodge pickup 17 hours cross country to college, listening to Tricky singing about hydroponics just as the Columbia Gorge opens right up at The Dalles, both it and me barreling down to the Pacific.

Anyway, today is Ganesha Chaturthi, the birthday of the elephant god. I told the Editor some people do a little puja, bring the avatar a flower and ask for some obstacle to be removed. Being actually rational, he finds this and my own daily intention of late—a simple but apparently hazardous saying of I consent or, worse, Bring it on the last outbreath before practice—perfect nonsense.

“So is that why you brought flowers in to our home?” He asked. “You wanted Ganesh to remove the obstacle of this apartment from your path?”

Well, fuck.