The majority of the time I enjoy whatever I’m doing at the moment. Writing, reading, eating, drawing, and watching rabbits play in the yard is easy.
It takes a little more effort to find something positive when getting a colonoscopy, replacing a dental crown, grating cheese, or taking a stand up paddle board yoga class.
The pond was about 3 feet deep so any fear of drowning was minimized. However, I don’t like unexpected falls, and watching others attempt to stand on their heads and then joyously flop into the water was disconcerting.
How am I supposed to know where to put my feet? Doing yoga in a bathing suit is obscene. Does she even see me floating away? Did he just blow his nose into the water?
My discomfort became so out of control that I decided to hate the teacher. I wasn’t going to listen to anything she said. I lay down on my back, under the hot sun and pretended to meditate. It isn’t easy to hang your legs or arms in the water when the damn thing is so wide.
There’s a good possibility that the teacher was ignoring me because I was ignoring her. Yoga is about being present and comfortable with where you are. Maybe she thought I was content and tranquil, spread out on my board like a beach towel.
Eventually I rolled over onto my stomach and sneered and jeered at my reflection “If you are lookin’ for trouble, you’ve come to the right spot”.
It was actually quite alarming to see how unsavory and disagreeable I looked. I was an amalgamation of Captain Hook, Gollum, and Harry Callahan. I’m quite the actor.
Looking for trouble is looking for attention but not knowing how to get it. It’s easier to complain than it is to get down to the crux of the matter, and that’s often unmet needs. When the ego gets in the way, admitting to being “needy” is like choking on a mouthful of pond water.
If I asked for help, I’d appear incompetent or …gasp…needy. She should realize that I’m in panic mode here. What kind of professional fails to notice that a student who is constantly looking at her watch is insecure, embarrassed, and way out of her comfort zone?
We all have a part of us that knows better. It’s the voice of reason, so muffled by self righteous indignation over perceived slights and mistreatment, that all we hear is static in our ears. Or in my case increasingly evident tinnitus. Indignation is rarely righteous. It’s looking for trouble rather than looking for a modicum of help or contentment.
Maybe I don’t have to do what she says, maybe I will be the instructor instead. How would I teach a big baby, scaredy-cat like me?
This is what I would say,
“Are you at ease in water? The first time I did this, I was mortified at my lack of balance. I find the best way to start is just by sitting still and focusing on the movement of the board. Notice how a slight shift of weight affects your breath, in turn notice how your breath affects the board’s movement. You know what? My grandmother had a swim suit very similar to the one you’re wearing. I’m so glad that style has returned! Can I explain what I mean about the angle of the blade again?”
By the time class ended, I glided along effortlessly back to the dock, dry as a bone.
The next time you feel really aggravated, look in the mirror, and in your toughest voice, ask yourself if you are looking for trouble and then channel Clint Eastwood and add “Go ahead, make my day”. The absurdity of your words just might throw you off balance enough to listen to reason.