The Battling Yogi

The most interesting paradigm shift that has occurred in me this last year and possibly the one I am most GRATEFUL for is the removal of resistance to DEALING with the rogues of this world, the feeling of being inclined to say nothing to particular rogues in the hopes THEY WILL just pack up their oddities and GO AWAY and leave us in peace? But in my experience, until dealt with properly, they ~just ~keep ~rearing ~back ~up. They have always created a conflict in me in relation to my Yoga practices and how to deal with these inconvenient devils… ‘Arguing and battling’ a conflict with the Yamas and Niyamas? Arguing is not turning the other cheek, it is not ‘bearing’ insult and injury, arguing is not highest sadhana BUT one must fulfill one’s dharma. When I feel the call, I will not be passive, I will fight for the right.   Bhagavad Gita Ch3 V.35 sample interpretations: “better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit than the duty of another well discharged” or “to perform one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly” “destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties” “it is far better for you to live your own life imperfectly than to live another‘s perfectly” My interpretation: our time is limited, live authentically.

During a ‘battle’ I was having in the last year my sister urged me to read ‘Go Set a Watchman’. I had bought it when it came out but have been too ‘scared’ to read it in case it destroyed my joy of the original story or my love of the characters in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, it being in my top 10 books of all time.  I was afraid I might have to let go of that something special that a book/character can bring to your inner world.  Atticus being the embodiment of integrity and courage for me for the last 35 years (so much so that when we were going over baby names I wanted ‘Atticus’ if it was a boy 🙂 . Darren didn’t 🙂 ) . She wanted me to read it because she said I reminded her strongly of ‘Scout’. I read Watchman to see if I was going to learn anything about myself from my sister’s perspective (i.e. how she/someone else sees me).  The big stuff in this book for me was all in the last chapter. The author doesn’t believe there is a collective conscience only the individual conscience. Everyman’s watchman is his conscience. The protagonist, Scout, has to go through a killing of Self AND a killing of Atticus as she has created him god like in her mind. It is painful. I recognized the pain equivalents from my own processes in recent years.

Just because I am aspiring Yogi does not mean I must be silent or saintly BUT I am not a spiritual warrior or an eco warrior or political warrior (go Extinction Rebellion yay) or ‘Jersey in Transition’ Warrior (hats off to wordsmith Nigel Jones) or a ‘protect our children warrior’ (hats off to Cheyenne O’Connor) BUT when the moment arises that I need to be true to myself, take action and/or speak up against a wrong, when I feel that moved I will not be quiet ~ which means this last year or so I have been particularly ‘loud’ to some ears.  Action from a mediocre person like me is not all headline making kind of stuff. It is on a micro level. It is of the kind when I will challenge a friend where I need to question an action (to get clarity/answers, not just assume the worst and be quiet thinking the worst) or challenge an authority on a one to one basis where I perceive a neglect or a wrongdoing or simply just state the obvious truth that another might be fearful to bring up because of personal repercussions.  Those who know me well know I have never been a fence sitter 🙂 .   ‘Tis amusing to me that I had written this paragraph before I got to the final chapter in the Watchman (LOVE my sister! She is so on it!)

In the last chapter Uncle Jack says of Scout’s turnaround from her existing views which took courage “Oh, not the kind of courage that makes a soldier go across no-man’s-land… this kind is – well, it is part of ones’s will to live, part of one’s instinct for self preservation.  Sometimes we have to kill a little so we can live…” 

My sister! Her way of giving me that gentle reminder not to be rigid but listen and make time and give a little elbow room to people’s opposing views even when “I don’t like the way these people do” because in these people lay my life’s lessons and these people aren’t going away ~ “you’d better take time for ‘em honey, otherwise you’ll never grow…” My reminder that much and all as I aspire to be Yogi I still have to function and contribute in society as constructed not by Yogis and I need to speaka da language, stay connected keep an eye on it all and pick my battles maybe a bit more wisely… Once you have done the battle (win or lose) and you have killed off that fantasy version of the other person in your head it is still possible to have a very good relationship with them, just on different terms. Friendships can recover, hopefully everyone a little bit wiser. Those that don’t, well perhaps its making room for new and better  ~ so, don’t dwell there, time to move on.

Bikram always told us we had to “kill our ‘Selves’”, I knew what it meant, I owned it, I thought I had done it but didn’t quite grasp that it might have to be done more than once! 🙂

IT IS A WONDERFUL AND LIFE AFFIRMING THING TO STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.  Maybe it is only ‘standing up’ if there is opposing force trying to push you down.  Courage isn’t the absence of fear it is the feeling of fear and doing the right thing anyway.  When the ‘stuff’ comes at you from the most unexpected direction it can be a shock and then a pause and then battle commences. 2018/19 again and again. Battle fatiqued and all as I am from this past year right now I will move into the new Yoga year (which ~HAPPILY~ ALWAYS STARTS TODAY 🙂 ) hopefully a better ‘aspiring Yogi’ with clearer vision. I hope I have laid to rest a few of my ‘Selves’ that were making my life hard.


So. I don’t care if another doesn’t understand or recognize my words or actions as coming from love because it doesn’t suit their agenda or sit with their ideas of how a Yogi should be in the world (a Yogi as a passive, ethereal, new agey, permanently mona lisa smiling creature); I am not here to window-dress things up for their recognition purposes.  These last couple of years have not oppressed me or squashed the will out of me.

Practice enables me to ‘move on’ quickly, not feel stuck in a loop and to very quickly turn ‘episodes’ into something to be examined and harvested for the Yogic lessons.  There still so much more of this to be done and I am ready for it. Thank you Bikram Yoga ~ you have never let me down and you help me move into the Change. I don’t know if Bikram Yoga will save the world but it certainly saves me every day.

Om Om Om Shanti y’all


May 2019


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