How you say?

The first time is at MacDonald’s in Greenwich, NY. Dee and I are heading to Saratoga for some higher state taxed shopping. We pull in for a cup of joe.

“You have to use an accent when ordering” she commands. The challenge reaches deep into my soul, the soul of a secret agent.

Quickly I run through possibilities, Miss Jane Hathaway from “The Beverly Hillbillies”, the Swedish chef from the Muppets, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne? So many options. I play it safe as a Pepe Le Peu. “Pleazzze, donnez-moi, Errrrr, how you say coffee garcon.” Mission obviously accomplished as Dee tries not to wet her pants laughing.

A few years later while shopping in a town with lower tax rates, Dee requires a coke with crushed ice. As I pull up to the intercom she instructs, “Use an accent.”

Like Jason Bourne or James Bond, there are some assignments you can’t turn down. It’s in our blood.

My brain goes into tactic mode. A foreign person or tv star? Relative or people we know? I opt for the voice of an Irish woman who spent the last 20 years in the Italian part of Scotland.

Gosh I’m good.

Mission is successful as I notice Dee squirming not to laugh. She presses the dollar bill and dime on my leg.

“You have to keep it going” she says while trying to regain control.

“Hey, I’m a professional” I whisper back.

As we pull up to the window a sweet, cherub faced boy says “Here is your drink”. He gives me a look that says “You don’t sound like me, you are from elsewhere, I’m going to make you feel AOK.” His evident kindness causes me to drop my guard and the dime.

“Ach and begorrah mien leibchen”, I say moving to the German side of my beloved Scotland.

“Just leave it, don’t worry, it happens all the time” he says.

“Nay I’ll find the wee coin” I reply followed by “Ow f*ck”, in an undeniable Vermont accent as I hit my head against the door. Cherub boy looks slightly confused. I should have said “feck”.

“You broke character” Dee says, unnecessarily as we drive away. Like I didn’t know.

Using accents at the drive through is like practicing arm balances in yoga class. It’s setting an intention, focusing, and giving it all you’ve got. It’s accepting a challenge. Sometimes you nail it and sometimes you don’t.

Life is filled with challenges, ones we ask of ourselves, ones asked by others and some that just appear. The remedy is to do our best, be kind to ourselves and to others, be forgiving. Find delight and laughter in all of our experiences.

A botched or aborted mission doesn’t equate to failure. It is a source of information for the next assignment. Focus and attention take practice on and off the mat. Sometimes you need to imagine yourself balancing with ease or speaking in someone else’s native tongue. It’s setting an intention. Keep at it.

Namaste- this post will self destruct in 30 seconds eh?

What’s the buzz?

 

IMG_0703 Dharana

The peepers are out today, chirping away.  Are those crickets too or is it white noise again, the steady buzzing in my head.

I heard this sound 3 years ago and decided it was OM, the sound of the universe talking to me. It wasn’t. It’s tinnitus. I know some people have a terrible time with this condition but I don’t. Most likely because I like pretending that it is indeed the universe talking to me.

Last week I went for my annual ear appointment to see if my mild hearing loss was changing. It’s not like I’m all that concerned nor do I notice.

Me: “I have an audiologist appointment today.”

Honeybun: “When is it?”

Me: “What?”

Getting your hearing tested is fun. You sit in a booth with big headphones and lift a finger every time you hear a sound. I decided that I was going to put all of my yogic powers of concentration towards improving my hearing. I was going to focus.

The “hoot” sound moved from ear to ear.

Me: “Wow, that sounds like an owl. Wouldn’t it be cool if each tone was the start of a bird song. I can name that bird in one note! That would be so impressive. Actually an owl sounds like “who cooks for you”.  Bear hoot.”

I got so involved in my inner dialogue that I ignored the new “ping” sound. I have no idea how many seconds passed before I realized I was no longer lifting my finger at anything. I almost stopped the session and asked for a do-over. My hearing loss is at the same level and so is the white noise. I’m okay with that.

Sometimes we hyper focus and miss all kinds of stuff. Sometimes we don’t focus and miss all kinds of stuff.

I was at the ATM depositing a check thinking about nothing really.

Me: “This is taking forever and what the heck is that beeping sound?”

Was I standing there for seconds? Minutes? I have visions of bank security reviewing video footage wondering why I took so long removing my debit card.

Staying focused isn’t easy. Dharana (dara-na) is the 6th limb of the 8 limb path of yoga. It’s training the mind to concentrate on one thing. The idea is to notice when concentration takes a wander and bring it back. It’s the beginning of meditation.

How often are we hyper focused or lacking focus physically or mentally? What are we missing out on? Can we practice listening to nothing?

Wait, what did I say?  I SAID NAMASTE!