10 January 2012

child's pose

For all the poses I can do in yoga, there are just as many that I can't. Two in particular that I always have trouble with are:

The Wheel


and Supported Headstand


The thing is, I used to be able to do both of these. I took dance for five years in elementary school and, c'mon, what eight year old girl doesn't love to show off her limited gymnastic skills to friends? Hell, I once got reprimanded in kindergarten for cartwheeling across the classroom floor.

But attempting both of these poses as an adult has proved to be, well, challenging. Backbending up like that when you have virtually no upper arm strength and are rocking a pair of DDs is so not happening and let's not even talk about the whole upside down for twenty-five breaths part of a headstand, supported or not.

It's not just yoga, though. As we move from child to adult, it's not just our bodies that struggle to keep up. The harsh realities of being a grown-up changes us as we move forward, eyes wide open, and I'm seeing this more and more as I've moved out of my twenties and into my thirties. We go from believing in the good of mankind to treating everyone with skepticism. Marriage stops being about using a pillowcase for a veil and pecking the unfortunate friend picked to be your groom when its end becomes a sad statistic. Politicians stop being the people who run the country and, instead, become the men and women who swindled and lied their way into office. Children are taught the importance of tolerance and acceptance but witness the adults around them openly mock the different choices and beliefs in others.

We tell kids that they can be anything they want to be, including President of the United States of America. But would any kid really want to be POTUS if they knew that no matter what they do, no matter what choices they make, at least half of the country will spend four to eight years hating them?

Politics is like high-school all over again. In one ring you have the Romneys, with wife Ann constantly playing up the high-school sweetheart angle, like they are the King and Queen of Prom. By doing so, she's purposely comparing her marriage to that of the Gingrichs, essentially calling Newt that bad boy with the motorcycle who smokes behind the bleachers and making former-mistress-now-third-wife Callista the trashy cheerleader everyone gossips about.

Some of my very good friends are people I ideologically have nothing in common with. I'm a liberal agnostic and my mix of friends is, well, just that: a mix. I believe one thing and they believe another and we all live happily ever after because, when it comes down to it, our differences don't really matter. Granted, I might not agree with them, but it works both ways. My ex in Kentucky was what I like to refer to as an "angry atheist." He's that guy who would go on and on about how atheists are constantly vilified and anyone who subscribes to any kind of religious organization is a right-wing wacko out to get us non-believers. Y'know what? Really kind of arrogant to expect someone to accept and support your beliefs when you aren't willing to do the same for them.

Respect? It's a two-way street.

That being said: as much as I enjoy talking about politics and social and religious issues (I actually surprised Sissy over Christmas with how informed I was on Mormonism), if it turns into a competition of I'm Right and You're Wrong, that's when I turn a little angry myself. Because no matter how strong our convictions, believing in something doesn't automatically make it true or right. For instance, I'm pro-choice. I use Planned Parenthood for my annual exam and support late-term abortions. But why should that particular belief of mine automatically make me superior to someone who is pro-life? Why is my opinion more "correct" than theirs? Because I and everyone who agrees with me says so? Yeah, that doesn't sound biased at all.

This is one reason I went from agnostic to atheist back to agnostic. In Greek, agnostic means without knowledge and, let's face it, while I may not believe in a Higher Power, the fact of the matter is I just really cannot say with absolute guaranteed satisfaction that He or She does not exist. Nobody can. That's why those who do believe or trust in the existence of God call it faith.

But its the perceived differences that can surprise you: Stereotypes and labels are dangerous as well as the assumptions that come with them. And it's hard to avoid the trap of Well, if you identify as X than you must believe Y. Just last week I received a lovely email from a friend about a topic that we had never talked about because I had just naïvely assumed that we were on opposite sides. But it turns out my assumptions were incorrect and she and I have more in common than I had thought.

Don't forget, as much as you can believe in gravity, it is still just a theory. But I have to admit that when I'm on my yoga mat attempting to stick both of my legs up in the air it's sort of hard to remember that little factoid.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

1 comment:

  1. I've always appreciated the fact that you and I can be (good!) friends even though our worldviews are so different. I think that's what makes our friendship unique and I love that about us. :)

    ReplyDelete

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