Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Venomous Spiders, Handstands, Elephants, and Trying Yet Failing to Move With the Peculiar Grace of a Three-Legged Dog


...you’re the blessed, we’re the spiders from mars...
David Bowie

...bourgeois as this might sound, Yoga for Cynics will soon have a second home...as I’ve been asked to write for Elephant Journal...based in Boulder, Colorado...home to Tibetan Buddhists, organic vegan mountain oysters, and ludicrously expensive real estate inhabited by people who wear socks with sandals...(this blog is, as always, best read barefoot)...

...not sure yet how what ends up there’s gonna differ from what’s here...maybe written under my full name...possibly with proper sentences, without ellipses...perhaps a bit less self-indulgent...meaning you’ll still have to come here to find out why I spent all day Monday in bathrobe, fuzzy pajama-type pants, and the ratty t-shirt I’d had on since Saturday’s eleven o’clock yoga class...(featuring my first American handstand)...(as opposed to those laid-back Costa Rican yoga retreat handstands anybody can do)...after which, as rain continued to fall steadily for the second day in a row, decided there was no more optimal use for the day than sitting around drinking coffee...which I did....yeah, I know, there’s much disagreement about coffee amongst the yoga crowd...pure-living non-(as opposed to anti-, since they’re too positive to be against anything)caffeine types on the one hand, irredeemable bean junkies with their steaming mugs filled to the brim with tasty rationalizations on the other....but I’ve got a far more potent and dangerous issue to discuss...we’re talkin’ spiders, people...

...because, that evening, started feeling pain and noticed swelling in my upper foot/lower ankle...which I promptly blamed on yoga...though couldn’t actually think of exactly how, in this instance, yoga could’ve done it...(alright...can feel the eyes rolling from here....change that to how I could’ve done it by bringing a stupidly competitive attitude to yoga and not listening to my body...are ya happy now?)...or why it took all day for the damage to kick in....

...then, as the weekend wore on, pain and swelling steadily increased...compromising my ability to walk...leaving me staggering, limping, hopping, crawling...trying yet failing to move with the peculiar grace of a three legged dog...as well as feeling strange chills...fever...and noticing a little red mark right in the belly of the swollen area...dismissed, at first, as simply one of countless little red marks left over from the Nicoya Peninsula...but, then, remembered this nasty little spider hanging right by my comfortable-yet-stylish IKEA chair earlier in the day...which, out of a deep commitment to ahimsa...or extreme laziness...I left alone...and the realization dawned that this thoroughly non-ahimsa-practicing spider had, in fact, bitten me*...

...now, Tuesday afternoon, I’m on the mend...even changed out of that ratty t-shirt...went to the doctor...who prescribed antibiotics...without bringing up the word amputate even once...though still probably a few days away from doing any more handstands....anyone so inclined is more than welcome to send healing energies...or cash...



* not, actually, the gigantic Costa Rican banana spider in the photo...though thinking that made the story more interesting, didn't it?

19 comments:

meowga said...

Sweetie - be happy it's not a brown-recluse.

Eco Yogini said...

lol, I was WONDERING how you were doing... wasn't sure if there were poisonous spiders where you're at (there were in BC... black widows. ick). Had a moment of over-worry, hoping for another post so you hadn't died.
seriously, the older I get, the more like my mother I am... haha.

also- CONGRATS on Elephant Journal. That's like... BIG blogging stuff. Like you're FAMOUS now. well besides the fact that you've already published as an author, english PhD guy... but ya know. Famous in the blogging sense.

uber cool.

Bob Weisenberg said...

You didn't cover people who hang out all day in socks without sandals. Can we read your blog?

Do whatever you like, of course, but Elephant readers will love your stuff just the way it is. No need to "clean up your act" in any way. Unique voices like yours are much appreciated.

I also urge you to dig up your favorite blogs from the past and reissue them on Elephant. It's mostly a whole new audience.

Otherwise, I don't think it will change anything here. You already have one of the most loyal, active and devoted (for good reason) followings on the Yoga blogosphere.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

ZenYenta said...

Yup, you're A list now. Very cool and well deserved. I do hope you'll still find time to post a little here and share these tidbits.

Healing vibes coming at you. Sorry about the cash.

Jamie said...

Congrats and so sorry to hear about that terrible spider! Yuck!

Bossy Betty said...

A new writing gig! Congratulations. You wrote about the bite with such calmness. I would have been screaming on the screen!

louloulovesbooks said...

I have it on very good authority (I know people & stuff ;-} ) that the great Guruji, Pattabhi Jois himself said "no coffee, no asana"
Good Luck with the gig
{*}

the walking man said...

Me thinks at times that pacifism has no place and had you been non-ahimsa yourself you could have done an American handstand on the little creepy crawly but the question then remains whose non pacifism would have been faster? Your hand stand or his bite.

earthtoholly said...

Drjay, your new gig is so cool and Lucy and I are very happy for you. I'm so glad that your talents are being recognized far and wide. It seems like a perfect fit..can't wait to read you there, too.

I am terrified of spiders--my list of scary things now reads: bears, Chubby Checker, snakes and spiders, not in that order, as it's more likely I'll come across the other three, before Chubby.

And I remember mentioning a while back how it'd be nice if you were to donate that new chair to ETH and now I'm thinkin' that if you had, you wouldn't have gone through all this pain 'n' sufferin'...

And I'm not as worried about you being bitten by that Costa Rican banana spider as I am about you having that orange and yellow rug in your house...not that there's anything wrong with that... *shudder*

Glad you're feeling better and it wasn't the brown recluse!

botheyesshut said...

Dear Dr. Jay,

Foremost, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at your site. I find your attitude friendly and unassuming, and your posts have much one can learn from in them, on the whole.

My comment to the class follows: I, having made a hobby of world religions, have a mild resentment for the Western world's fixation on hatha yoga, and often wonder at it. You, Sir, obviously understand the various yogas and how they may be practiced in order to attain the godhead in Hinduism, and just as obviously, you seem chiefly interested in the physical exercise of American-style hatha yoga, as well.

To be clear, I'm no detractor -- yoga feels fantastic and has many health benefits -- but the favoritism of almost all non-Hindu Americans in the case of hatha yoga truly baffles me, when many practitioners blend Eastern spirituality into their sessions, lifestyles, and beliefs, even to the extremity of indulging in fringe dietetics and converting to a Hindu paradigm which may include beliefs in reincarnation or even chanting.

So that's that, then. It's a comment more than a question, Doc, but I've written on the topic myself, and I suppose I'd be a charlatan if I made no effort to make direct inquiries.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, Sir.

Yours Truly,

-BothEyesShut

Laura Hegfield said...

Ouch...Why is it that not everyone/thing in creation got the "ahimsa" memo? BTW...people in NH have been known to don wool socks and sandals too (people in my own house...even tube socks and sandals...now that is scandalous!!!)

Hope you feel better soon.

The Management said...

Thanks for all the comments and kind words, everybody.

My doctor thought the brown-recluse was a possibility, but, based on symptoms, it's more likely that a common spider bite caused a skin infection. (I continue to improve, by the way...even considered taking a walk this morning...hopefully will be back to yoga classes and biking by the weekend).

Botheyesshut: To me,one of the best things about Western Yoga--which, I realize, many of my yoga blogger friends consider the worst thing about it--is its amorphousness--i.e. you can basically get on or off the bus wherever you want. Wanna attain the Hindu godhead? Yoga can help with that. Wanna tighten up your butt? Yoga can help with that, too. Wanna generally work on improving your mental and physical health while exploring a very vague personal concept of spirituality? You might be me....

Karin Bartimole said...

SO glad amputation didn't make the option list, and very glad you are doing better!

Congrats on the new gig - I do hope I can get away with reading you while barefooted there, though, too. Great work!!

La Gitane said...

My ahimsa approach to spiders usually involves a tupperware, as well as some squeals and dancing around on tiptoes (not effective for catching the spider, but theatrics make the whole thing more satisfying)! Mostly supervised by my cat who indicates with a bored look on her face that she would be far superior at catching said spider if she could be bothered to, but since she can't, she'll just critique my work.

That said, I sometimes give in to non-ahimsa, like yesterday when a 3-legged spider (I don't know what happened to the rest of the legs - maybe the cat has a secret pastime?) crawled out of one of my yoga books. I called a guy with a broom to take care of it. I'm not sure, but I think you probably get double ahimsa demerits for calling someone else to do your dirty work. :(

Melissa said...

Congrats on the new gig. I lived in Boulder a few years ago. You forgot to list the Trust-fund, hippie kids who drive luxury vehicles. a.k.a. the Trustafari

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini said...

Hurrah for Elephant Journal news, shudder at the spider news and hello this is my first comment. Pleased to meet you :D

Kim said...

The photo did make the story more interesting. But it was interesting to begin with. Spider bites suck!

Brooks Hall said...

...be sure to let us know when your post is up at Elephant. I'm sure that it'll be fun to read whatever you decide to write over there!

And I hope you're feeling better since the bite!

Anonymous said...

Handstand pose can be scary and I definitely paid the price of trying it before I was ready. I saw Leeann Carey’s free yoga video with pointers on handstand that really helped & now I can do the handstand pose! I thought your readers might want to check it out: http://planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/index.php/free-yoga-video-adho-mukha-vrksasana-downward-facing-tree-pose-handstand/