My Bikram Master... somewhere...
If I could have gotten away with jumping into his arms and wrapping my legs around his waist I would have done it and that probably would have been Ok but too many people in a place of business, not so much about too much time passing. I didn’t want to let him go anyway and he wasn’t going to make me. It is nice having your face kissed though after being thoroughly hugged by a very sweaty, very sweet, very good friend. I haven’t been home in 18 months; or something like that. I wanted to get Northern Man situated and I needed to get a mat and some water and I really wanted to stop and talk to my own personal Bikram Master but I *needed* to run into the room as fast as possible, unroll my mat onto the floor in the back left dark corner and fall backward into the cloud.
Northern Man remarked that I didn’t work as hard this week. Not so. I didn’t struggle, shake so much or punish myself. My internal focus was steadier. I was clear in my intention and less frightened. I don’t think I’ll suffer quite so much tomorrow.
There is a significant difference between a basement room without windows and a room with external light. My studio is windowless and therefore dark before the lights come up with the exception of the strings of white Christmas lights around the tops of the mirrors and the light that comes in through the glass doors. This is what I’m used to. I want this darkness before and after. I can settle myself in other studios and I have but it isn’t the quite the same. I hear there’s a good chance I’ll have to give it up entirely when they move upstairs unless the studio is walled in the same way.
Ritual matters; this is the only form of prayer I know. I acknowledge myself in the mirror when I come in and I do this twice more before I leave. My feet never face the mirror at rest. It’s disrespectful. I didn’t know that until Andrew told me, maybe 18 months into being there. It made sense. It makes sense. There are other things that I do, nearly all involve locating myself in my body or finding and bringing to the surface any stray emotion that needs to be scrubbed off or at least cleaned a bit or maybe I just need to be conscious. In some part being conscious keeps me from tossing myself all over the room, up to the ceiling like a water balloon bursting and falling in maybe not so gentle showers or shifting along the ground, weaving through the mats like steam with no business inflicting itself. This all needs to stay in my own space until it’s been processed. It can escape upward as long as it dissipates.
Bikram Master reminds us to say silently Let on the inhale and Go on the exhale in Savasana. Today he explains the mechanics of the breathing; some days he just talks about relaxing. Some days he says nothing at all. Once I told him I called him Bikram Master out here and he laughed his head off and then he said, ‘I like that. That’s good. You’re feeding my ego.’
The carpet was brand new when I was last in the studio. It is still not full of sweat and body feet and it doesn’t smell right. I want the old sweat soaked carpet back; the one that smelled REALLY bad. The carpet designed to send non-Bikram people fleeing from the room at the first opportunity. This won’t weed them out fast enough. I always thought, if the heat and humidity don’t do it, the smell of feet and sweat and whatever else ought to take care of it. Sort of like thinking, one good solid hurricane on the Outer Banks and maybe one or two shark attacks and people will stop building those big monstrosities. Nope. Not so much. They’re coming in droves anyway and they drop their 25 key key rings and slap their mats on the floor and crumple their plastic bags and talk and drop their water bottles and DAMN I’m easy to bother some times. I’m still working on that. I realize it’s my stuff.
Mastery. Here is opportunity.
As it turns out I don’t have near the stuff I thought I did. OR: The stuff I have isn’t near as deep rooted as the stuff I used to have. The stuff I have today doesn’t follow me in the room and lay on my chest like that elephant in the COPD commercials for whatever drug’s meant to open your airways, forgiving the lifetime of smoking or whatever else you’ve done to yourself. The stuff I have today sort of wanders off somewhere or lays down and has its own practice OR it ceases to have much meaning. This has very little bearing on my experience outside the room. I’m still subject to being blindsided by my own emotion, sideswiped by the cross winds of different languages and knocked senseless with confusion and overwhelm. However. If it can’t follow me into the room…
Well that just about means everything.
I didn’t cry coming out of camel this time. I went in, I held, I came out. I went in; I held for 30, I came out. I pushed forward like a wheel…
That just about means everything.