Imagine this: a completely normal situation involving pleasant conversation, everything is running smoothly and then it suddenly explodes in your face as soon as the person you’re talking to, whether it’s your old friend from high school, a family member or a perfect stranger, reacts weirdly when you answer their “So, what do you do for a living?” question.
Because, from that point on, you have the bubonic plague.
In a matter of seconds, your stomach turns upside down and you know this is going to be one of those things. Whether it’s yoga or bellydance (I don’t think they figured out pilates is evil yet), you get accused of things you have nothing to do with, get smirked upon, called stupid, weak or crazy.
And everything that I’m thinking at those moments is, “Wait a second mister, you’re the crazy one here.”
Crazy for judging people, creating an uncomfortable situation where the best defense is just letting the crazy one talk and pretend you’re listening to their opinion as if it’s a conversation with an intellectual equal.
Let them have their stage because they obviously need it more than you. You’ll never convince them in the validity of your point of view anyway.
Do to others as you would do to yourself?
In yoga as in dance and sports in general, your teachers always try to instil into you respect for yourself and respect for others. In doing so, you become more open to the world, to different people and experiences. It makes you grateful, it makes you attentive.
It is a shock, after all this time still, to meet a person – a nice person that is helping you out – who is calling you out on your life mission, your dharma you dedicated years, effort and your whole being, as “STUPID”. That person being old enough to know better than to jump the gun like that before knowing who is he speaking to or anything about the subject he so willfully stomped. Old enough to have learned by now how to read my disgust and old enough to know it’s not nice to insult people you’re helping out because, obviously, they won’t stand up to you. Old enough to get his dance teacher shit together.
Yes, it seems he is a teacher as well.
That is why I always say be careful who you’re learning stuff from, you may just be getting a one sided story full of holes.
I would have stopped that car and got out with all my stuff in the middle of who-knows-where if I was alone and not with another person I would seriously inconvenience that way. That’s how mad I was.
Even when we all said goodbye and thank you, this guy used the opportunity for one last omnious “You have to get out of this stupid yoga business, it’s gonna take you on the wrong path.”
I told him, using wording that he would understand, “Hey man, this is my livelihood, it’s not like you can snap your fingers and leave everything behind.”
But that is not what I wanted to say.
I actually wanted to tell him that I’m sorry for him being so blind and so sorry for him needing to preach his limited viewpoint mapped by unknown terrors from eastern arts that hurt him so. Because I love what I do and take pride in it.
I also wanted to tell him good luck with your spine if all you ever do is one single set of strenuous movements because the boogie man will get you if you reach out to experts in fields other than yours to learn something.
I wanted to tell him that he can hurt people with his destructive behavior.
But I set it all aside. A mask of nothingness on my face, empty thoughts that ward of the hatred of others and the evil from their words that I used so many times before, detaching myself from the here and now but staying present enough just to calmly walk away.
I remember back from my martial arts days when I was young and learning about discipline and respect for the very first time from my Sensei. And a lot of other people after him.
I remembered for a moment what Bruce Lee said in an interview, “Be water my friend.”
And water, I was.
Getting out of the car, I told my boyfriend, “Next time I’m telling them I’m a pilates instructor.”