Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bridges to Somewhere...


...been grumpy and miserable...and experiencing moments of peculiar contentment and clarity...

...ran into a friend last week who told me she was going to this weekend yoga thing...with this major yoga celebrity...an hour north of Philly in the post-hippie mecca of New Hope....no, I’m not gonna make some cute inspirational pun about that geographical designation and how appropriate it is for a transformational blah blah blah...did I mention I’ve been grumpy?...

...anyway, decided to go for part of it, friday night...which gave me some focus...woke that morning from dreams of incessant conflict...remembering before and after coffee the so many things I somehow got the idea life was supposed to be, but isn’t right now...so what could be more appropriate than a journey toward new hope?...bleah...got some stuff done, but, still sluggish by late afternoon, could’ve just as easily gone nowhere...had I not already paid fifty bucks for the thing...so went...straight into rush hour and descending dark....scanning the ipod for something mellow and yogic to get me in the mood...before deciding the last thing I wanted to hear was anything mellow or yogic...cranked the Clash...let fury have the hour...which actually had me feeling pretty good for most of the drive...

...'til I missed the exit, crossed the bridge into New Jersey...got off at the first off-ramp, hoping for a corresponding on-ramp...which wasn’t there...so thought I’d stop and ask somebody directions...before realizing, quickly, that I was in a part of Trenton where stopping and asking anybody anything was most likely a really bad idea...

...anyway, after a bunch of turns, made it back across the bridge...bridges...another lameass obvious metaphor...crossing from anger and pain to new hope for...meh...and, with somewhat aggressive driving on two-lane country roads, made it to the thing not quite on time but close enough...

...so...to provide a snidely mocking review of Seane Corn would fit neatly within this grouchy idiom....fulfilling the sacred office of the yoga cynic...going back through the mists of antiquity to the ancient and revered cynical sages...to poke fun of yoga megastars with magazine smiles and near-halos of golden ringlets....but, really, she was cool...and basically welcomed any negative thoughts anybody might be having into the room...which kinda takes the fun outta mockery...and, by the end, though nearly wiped out, I admit to basking in that very un-cynical trippy glowy feeling that comes as misery melts at least momentarily into the floorboards....all the best yoga studios use Karmic Cleanser™ to clean clinging misery out of their floorboards....and, chatting briefly afterwards about working with crack addicts, found her strikingly friendly and unpretentious...able to be refreshingly light and intense at the same time, with little apparent effort...

...which is something I strive for...diverse aspects of personality that can mingle casually over cocktails rather than glaring at one another from opposite sides of the swollen, churning river...finding it generally easier to be like a Lyle Lovett album...or, at least, the one Lyle Lovett album I have...half the songs lighthearted, absurd, about one-eyed girlfriends and cowboy hats...the others deep and intense, about longing, loneliness, and pain...but never both at the same time....which can be kind of a social problem...people who enjoy the irreverent humor and devil-may-care attitude say let’s get coffee, only to find themselves sitting across a table from this intense dude rambling on about the apparent limitlessness of human suffering and how Anne Frank is proof that a positive attitude doesn't guarantee anything....while those impressed by the deep and sensitive monologues don’t know what to think when, after a couple beers, they start hearing jokes about televangelists and sheep...


...much that’s valuable can be lost in the smoothing away of rough edges...bridging gaps effectively can be tricky...the essential difference between a middle way and mediocrity difficult to find...lines between completeness, communion, and confusion rippling like water and light below...but, on bridges worth crossing, the other side is rarely easy to see...

22 comments:

Lydia said...

Needed this post. Been grumpy and miserable living with someone who is even more grumpy and miserable...for good reasons...still, I think my grumpy and miserable followed his. In fact I'm sure of it. I'm at my wit's end. Shoot me if I don't start doing yoga again.

the walking man said...

If there is a bridge it seems that someone has already blazed the path across it and if you encounter no skeleton on the other side the way ahead is clear enough for the time being.

I would have gone with The Cure myself.

Frannie said...

Good interview with Sean Corn interviewed by Krista Tippett on NPR's Speaking of Faith:
http://download.publicradio.org/podcast/speakingoffaith/20080911_yoga_uc-corn.mp3?_kip_ipx=1349988782-1263906626

Frannie said...

Sean Corn interviewed by Krista Tippett on NPR's Speaking of Faith: http://download.publicradio.org/podcast/speakingoffaith/20080911_yoga_uc-corn.mp3?_kip_ipx=1349988782-1263906626

roseanne said...

love it! i especially love the obvious symbols (brides, new hope, etc) which you've acknowledged the significance of, yet rejected. as far as yoga celebs go, seane corn does manage to bridge lightness and intensity, yoga glitz and sincerity... glad to hear you enjoyed her workshop.

Eco Yogini said...

wow- i am so going to act like a groupie and say: "I AM SO EFFING JEALOUS that you got to meet Seane Corn!!!!"
ok- got that out of my system

I listened to a pod cast by her the other day, it was beautiful and exactly as you described. I couldn't "hate" her, or judge her "fame", she is awesome.

I'm glad you cranked the Clash to drive to yoga- I believe that although music can be helpful, sometimes when we're feeling down, we gotta listen to whatever makes us feel better. Which for myself is often heavier-metal stuff. :)

I wonder if the grump-ness has to do with winetr? it's so BLAH right now, and will be (here in NS just a few hours north!) for a few months yet...

Staunchly Cynical said...

From the High Security Mega-Compound of the Staunchly Cynical: 

To The Sacred Office of Yoga Cynic:
Why can't you just stay Cynical? My brain is churning, and I *hate* thinking... Hearing about a guy like you bumbling his way through a day and then actually ENJOYING a famous beautiful teacher. Sup? Play your part, Cynical Yoga Dude. Life sucks, right? C'mon... Rather than lightness and intensity, I prefer a foggy haze of disgust. Where is the bitterness and sneering cynicism that I expect and crave?

Yours truly,
***from an amusing bloggy friend, only a joke... 

Claire said...

Oh I have been to New Hope, it is lovely :)

"...been grumpy and miserable...and experiencing moments of peculiar contentment and clarity..."

That just about sums me up lately, well more clarity than contentment at the mo.

nothingprofound said...

Seems you passed through a maze of dark tunnels before you got to that bridge.

This post inspired me to write a new aphorism:

"Bridges don't guarantee there's something better on the other side."

But one goes ahead and crosses them anyway, as you did.

Brooks Hall said...

I think that's true about the rough edges...

Kavindra said...

Wow, that last paragraph is really beautiful. Definitely worthy of being typed up in elegant font and added to the YC Sutras (or maybe scrawled in graffiti-punk style and added ... depends where you're keeping these sutras...)

sukipoet said...

great that you went to the workshop, even through all the obstacles that arose. I'd love to meet SC also and I heard the Krista Tippet program twice. SC is awesome plus has the benefit of being easy on the eyes.

earthtoholly said...

Hi drjay. Just wondering if your "peculiar contentment" means you're okay with being miserable...for a while, that is. I'm sometimes okay with not being okay and feel a need for the heavier tunes, a beer...or more...and reveling in the off mood. Escapism, I guess. Hmmm, and when I put it that way, it doesn't sound so good. Okay, rambling now...

Anyway, I hope that you get to feeling better...if that's what you want. Otherwise, embrace that misery until you tire of it.

I'm glad that you had an opportunity to meet the yoga celeb, but am sorry she robbed you of the fun of mockery. Hee...I got a giggle outta that.

By the way, I love your photos here...that reflection shot would be an equally gorgeous painting. I love the layers of bridge, water and sky. The shot of that walking bridge is cool, too. Very nice.

Karin Bartimole said...

Can't think of anything to say other than I loved reading this post Dr jay, and am glad for you that you were able to cross the bridges to get where you needed to be, and found it worth the journey.
The photos were beautiful accents for your words!

Bob Weisenberg said...

Great post, YFC (Can I call you YFC? I'm getting tired of typing out YogaforCynics, although I guess it's out that your name is Jay, and that's the same number of letters. Plus "YFC" reminds me of "KFC" and who wants to be reminded about that on a Yoga blog?)

Great comments, too. You get more comments faster than anyone else on the blogosphere (Not that that's going to make you feel good because you're into Yoga and therefore egoless, except you're a cynical yogi, so maybe part of your cynicism is retaining some ego...)

Really, I started this comment just intending to tell you great job on the blog, then it just got out of hand.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

P.S. I know the area of bridges you speak of because my dear recently departed father lived at Pennswood Village in Newtown, run by the Quakers, for several years.

RB said...

The difference between the middle way and mediocrity is that if you think you're mediocre, you'll feel grumpy, and if you think you're taking the middle way, you won't.

Lana Gramlich said...

I hear you about enjoying the company of a wide variety of people. I think my friends represent it very well &, to my delight, they all get along w/one another on those few occasions when bunches of us get together. It makes for interesting & stimulating conversation.

Kim said...

That second bridge scares me...it looks like you're going to fall into oblivion. But that's the point isn't it? Bridges generally scare me to begin with.

Melinda said...

Jay--I am really sorry to hear you have been grumpy and miserable. I think there's plenty of that going around--and I am not sure if it will make you feel better, but it seems that the Holidays just drain people and so many people feel a little dicombobulated after them (in my case, dealing with my insane family during the Holidays can bring on PTSD--I'm not kidding).


Anyway, it sounds as though you got what you needed--and it also seems that is often the case when we simply allow ourselves to drift in the direction life wants to take us (like the friend telling you about the yoga meet).

Anyway--January is more than half finished--and here's to a great February. I still have some awesome feelings about 2010!

Take care,

Melinda

p.s. Your word verification thingy is pissing me off! Now I am getting grumpy! :-/

Bob Weisenberg said...

Hi, Melinda.

I'm so pleased to see someone else use that wonderful word "discombobulated".

It's so rare that I don't know if I've ever seen it in print, It looks as cool as it sounds and I just noticed that my name is embedded in the middle of it.

This was my mother's favorite word. She was a Library Scientist. She passed away in 1994, but I'll never forget how she was discombobulated over this or discombobulated over that. (I spelled one of those wrong and spell-checker found it. How great is that.)

Thanks for the memories.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

Laura Hegfield said...

Dr. Jay, First I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU WERE IN NEW HOPE! My old stomping grounds...my husband played plenty a gig at Havanna's way back when. I always suspected when I read on your bio blurb thingy that West Mt Airy, State of Confusion was the same...Philly Mt Airy where I first learned yoga!!! (With Hari at a really hippy local in someones living room) So Cool. I feel even more connected to you now...And I LIKE THAT-Dr. Grumpy (And hey, there could be another Mt Airy somewhere in the vast possible States of Confusion in this quite baffled nation)...

anyway, I think it's best to associate with people who can go from Clash to healing the world to verbally bashing over the top New Age scary people (with close friends) to believing that we are all ONE...even when we feel grumpy and separate, better than, less than or perfectly ok with all that is in the moment.

ok rambling. Stay out of Trenton...really bad area.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Televangelists and Sheep? That wasn't true?

Sometimes you need to have let your angst up to the surface so some of it can leak out and let some pressure off the rest of you.

I understand about the two sides not necessarily meshing gracefully. I am both the Televangelist and the Sheep.