Monday, March 28, 2011

Perfect, broken, breaking, perfect.

Caveat, in the interest of not wasting time: from this moment forward, many of my sentences will begin with the words, “Douglas said” or “Douglas says.” If you’re not in the mood for that, it might be a good idea to change channels for a while. Truth is that this weekend I re-confirmed (in my heart, the only place that matters) that Douglas Brooks is my teacher, a formidable wise and funny creature at whose feet I would gladly sit forever just for the chance to learn some tiny fraction of what he knows. Being in his presence makes me jump-around all-out Snoopy-dance with joy.

For me, that’s huge.

OK, it’s also true that I am prone to jump-around Snoopy-dance a lot. Life is delightful and I’m rolling in an abundance of gifts, too long a list to enumerate here.

But seriously, huge for me. I didn’t know I was looking, but I found.

That's right: I'm talking to YOU.

So, in class this weekend, Douglas said a lot of things that made my heart zing, not least of which was that the Honey Badger is the mascot of Rajanaka Yoga. Mascot!  A mustelid, a relative of my favorite creatures -- Badger and Wolverine. Sold!

And why is Honey Badger the mascot? Because the Honey Badger exemplifies the second characteristic required for success, as illustrated by Arjuna in the Mahabharata: temerity. Honey Badgers, like wolverines, are indomitably themselves. They do what they are. As Randall puts it in the video we’ve probably all seen by now (linked below if you haven’t): Honey Badger don’t give a shit. Honey Badger does what it wants.

This is exactly what I was trying to get at in my new year's post on Bay Shakti, in which I wrote about wolverine, "There isn't, can't be, an animal that is more totally an emblem for wildness, for independence, for doing what you want with boldness. I am holding on with all my claws.”

DB at the console

This weekend was devoted to the subject of how to live a Tantric yogic life in the world, receiving all of what life brings, wearing each of your guises (wife, mother, employee, friend, yogi, rocker, farmer, reader, animal-eater) authentically and fully. We, like the universe itself, are imperfect, are unfinished, always in a state of evolution, change, movement. In our imperfection, we are perfect, really, containing in that imperfection the potential for greater insight, growth. We have wiggle room. Nothing is set. It’s not all karma, determined, for a reason. There is also this element of lila, of play, of random mutation, of things that happen for no reason, just like that.

Yesterday was a perfect day, really. I slept for 9 hours, which is unusual for insomniac me, and which was such a relief following weeks of poor sleep as we prepared to and then ultimately lost our sweet Jasper. I woke up on my own, no alarm, at 6:45, plenty of time to make coffee, sit a bit, get ready to go practice with the kula and Douglas. The sky was clear, and so was my mind. No headache. All systems go.

Asana with Abby Tucker was great, as usual. She made me laugh, she was thoughtful and insightful and skillful. She was Abby. The room was packed. I was happy.

We moved next door for class with Douglas, and I was delighted to be in the front row, naturally my favorite spot, next to the lovely Alexandra and with so many delightful members of the larger Bay Area Anusara kula. I had all the stuff I needed: my notebook, writing instruments, coffee, blankets and blocks to stay comfortable, my phone resting upside down, on vibrate, in case I wanted to record or take pictures. Happy.

It was a perfect day and I knew it.

Throughout class, the phone vibrated 5 or 6 times, a bit unusual for a Sunday morning, but Joe wasn’t racing, so I was less antsy about the phone ringing. Still I was aware of it, even as I was delighting in the teachings. I was completely in the room where I was, mind in the same place as body, swept up in the stories and gems of truth. Super-happy.

When I flipped the phone over and saw 5 missed calls, I knew something was up. By the time I was in the hall, the phone rang again, one of Joe’s teammates calling me to ask me if I’d seen Facebook. The irony, of course, being that I, always so wired, unplug for three hours and that’s when people are desperately trying to reach me, so desperate that when their calls to my phone go unanswered, they resort to posting on my Wall. Funny, that is.

Lila happens.
So yeah, the details are that Joe was riding downhill toward Muir Beach. He had completed about 40 miles by this time in a couple of hours. The roads were dry, remarkable given how much it’s been raining. Two of his teammates had sprinted up the hill, so crested before him and were about 100 meters ahead. He came over the top and began his descent. A car turned left directly into his path. He hit the brakes but there was not enough space to stop or avoid the car. Joe hit the car toward the back, taking the force of the impact with his right side, breaking three ribs, his clavicle and scapula in the process, damaging his right lung. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at Kaiser which is where I found him, a few hours later, following my perfect morning, perfect classes, good company.

I walked out of Tantra class and into the emergency room. Again. What was it that Douglas said about the universe being recursive – Lather, Rinse, Repeat? Yep, been here before. Done this before.

And you know what? It was still perfect. In all its broken-ness, absolutely fucking perfect. I mean that with all sincerity.

Of course I wish it were different. I wish my Joe weren’t in pain (again), weren’t now facing months off the bike (again), weren’t confronting that dilemma of giving up the bike for good (again), weren’t worried about making ends meet, what will happen with his business, is his bike totaled, how long will he be fucked up (again, again, again, again). But this is what happened, so this is what we’re doing.  We've had a really hard month and a couple of fairly challenging years, but still we have love and friends and springtime and bees and love and love and love.

It's perfect, it's broken, it's breaking (and keeps breaking), and it's perfect.

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