Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Zen and Beer.

To the two drunk guys who wandered into my gym this morning and harassed the trainer before getting kicked out and proceeding to go through my car, recline my front seats, dump what I assume (and hope!) was water all over my console, and then steal my yoga mat out of my back seat,

First of all, yes, that was the longest open I have ever written in any letter.

Second, there was a time in my life where your little stunt would have pissed me off for days. I have a pathological sort of issue with any of my personal space being invaded in any way by anyone. Throw alcohol, obnoxious behavior, and the fact that I don't even know your names into the mix, and the old me would have been crying "victim" while I hunted you down just so I could have you arrested for what I am sure was way-over-the-legal-limit drunk driving. My only goal: to eff up your day as hard and for as long-term as possible.

But you caught me mid-transformation, you little asshats. (Note: My transformation does not preclude me from calling an asshat an asshat when the label fits), and on this day, at this moment, here is my message to you:

I hate to break it to you, but if selling my stuff for liquor and drug money was your goal, the mat and carrying bag together are probably worth about $20.

So instead of engaging in what I am assuming is your typical "F*%$ the world and everyone in it" mentality (if what I saw of your behavior this morning was any indication) try this:

Remove my cherished yoga mat from it's carrying case. The carrying case I searched for for 8 months, until I finally found one that slung perfectly over my bad shoulder at just the right angle and landed in just the right spot to allow me to lug it from yoga place to yoga place. Once you've removed my mat, unroll it with a quick snap, and listen to the sound it makes as it hits the air and then settles onto the floor. I always loved being in that particular moment, that familiar sound that told me I was about to begin something amazing and necessary.

After you've placed my mat on the floor, look at it. See the words "Peace" and "Joy" and "Love" printed on it. Know that I have been looking down at those words for the past 5 years, every time I've stepped on my mat in search of comfort and in search of some deeper, more loving part of myself. In search of healing and truth. In search of compassion for myself and for others. Next, take off your shoes and socks (this is non-negotiable), then stand on my mat. Picture my bare feet - my little, pale, post-ballet shoes/bunion covered feet, stepping around the words. Or standing on them. Whatever I needed at the time.

Then close your eyes. And breathe deeply. And stop listening to everything around you. Listen only to whatever it is you hear when you go inside yourself. Because in moments like this, you are what you hear. And if you hear nothing, as I suspect is the case, then you, my friends, have a whole lot of work to do. And my mat can help you with that.

Now move your feet until they land on either side of the word that represents the thing thing you most want and need. Is it peace? Or Joy? Or Love? My guess is, you want and need all three. But guess what? So do I. So does everyone. Acting out doesn't make you any different - well, I mean, it makes you dumber, of course. And like ... a walking felony waiting to happen. But inside, we are all the same. We all want and need the same things, and for pretty much the same reasons.

When you open your eyes, know this single truth: You didn't steal anything from me this morning. I certainly have $20. I am not so attached to a piece of rubber and a piece of cloth than I can't easily replace my stuff at Target. And you didn't even steal my belief in humanity, or anything like that. Because I know how dark and ugly the world can be, so crap like this never surprises me any more. Even when it happens inisde my carefully constructed little "personal space bubble." These days, it only unsettles me for a short while, and then I move on. Without anger. Without sadness. WIthout much of anything. Including ... as you well know ... my yoga mat.

What you stole this morning was much bigger than my yoga mat, and cost way more than $20. And you stole it from yourselves. Because when I first saw you from across the gym, you looked to me to be two sad, empty drunk guys without much to look forward to today, other than blowing donuts in the gym parking lot and taking off with a used yoga mat in a faded shoulder bag. I bet no one else on earth even wondered where you were this morning. I suspect no one even cared. And it's possible that I am wrong, but you robbed yourselves and each other of the opportunity to ever prove me wrong. You lived up to my first impression assumptions about who you were. And who you weren't. (I'm guessing you were too smashed to wonder if I was a writer. With a few social media accounts. And clearly a little more work to do with the "letting go of grudges" part of my personal transformation. Yet one more way sobreity could have benefitted you at 4am on a Tuesday morning.)

So, To the two drunk guys who wandered into my gym this morning and harassed the trainer before getting kicked out and proceeding to go through my car, recline my front seats, dump what I assume (and hope!) was water all over my console, and then steal my yoga mat out of my back seat,

My yoga mat is now your yoga mat. Because I have decided to give it to you. Since you won't make any money selling it, maybe you'll take up a daily practice instead. Crazier things have happened. Should you find your way to that path, I would encourage you to wash your mat in warm water on the gentle cycle about every two weeks, and - very important - you must not put it in the dryer or it will melt. Just drape it over a chair, then, when it is dry, roll a Downy dryer sheet inside it before you put it back in its bag - a little yoga mat trick to keep it smelling fresh.

Dukkha muccantu. Namaste.

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