Go anywhere out for lunch with a yoga buddy and record your conversation, and that of the table next to yours. Now play them back and see if the two conversations sound like they are even happening on the same planet.
“Blame Mercury Retrograde.” You won’t hear that at a Denny’s at 10am on a Thursday morning.
Last week, I made the fated choice of fumigating my house. Seldom, if ever, would I consider this but the moth situation was starting to create significant problems. I removed the dogs, took my daughter to school, and went back to fumigate. Cupboards empty and dishes pulled out, linens stripped, bathroom items tucked away. All of my bases were covered.
I picked up my daughter six hours later, went back to my office (internet was funky, cell wouldn’t open the browser), walked the dogs, and ate dinner. Arriving home late, I realized something was amiss. I returned to both my dishwasher and washing machine not working.
“Blame Mercury Retrograde.” You will hear about that over KeVitas at Whole Foods at 10:00am on a Thursday morning.
The next week, also in Mercury Retrograde, my car started smoking and I got a flat tire. My kid and I both got sick, probably from having tons of linens and dishes marinating in fumes prior to the repair of the appliances. Stuff breaks, things don’t work well. So what can we expect to go right?
Mercury retrograde might cross the wires of communication but, within this fractal relationship of planets and people, it can also teach us something we wouldn’t have otherwise seen on our own.
Fast forward to being in sweats and with a mild fever on a gorgeous sunny day. Here I sit at a pancake house adjacent to the shop repairing my tires. Incidentally, the place is packed. I am flummoxed by this, but no matter.
If you are not overweight, you are over sixty.
Because I am a ‘party top of one’, with a laptop, cell phone and two notebooks, I find myself surrounded by a host of adjacent tables. As I work, sipping my hot water with lemon and wait for my, you know it, gluten free breakfast, I hear the following conversations around me.
There are two older women talking about pre-Diabetes and brainstorming strategies for the necessary step of cutting out sugar. One is electing to go to artificial sweeteners in their coffee; the other has resorted to the green packets, stevia. I almost dropped my fork when one of them said “metabolic syndrome.” I couldn’t help but think God put me here at this place right now (maybe even orchestrated the nail in the road that I drove over) to allow me to experience this symphony of conversations.
The pancake house offers low-glycemic Agave syrup as an option and has added a full set of gluten-free replacements and vegan meat alternatives. Mercury has collided with the real world.
The manager greets a new set of women at a two top, “would you like some coffee ladies, or maybe some soda? Anything?” These ladies want their coffee.
The diagonal table is discussing bloat and the need to start eating gluten- free. One womaen is obstinate against the gluten-free movement, insisting instead that she has cut down and the only gluten she will eat is her one slice of morning toast. “I like my whole grains” she says a bit defiantly to her friend, who holds her coffee mug between her palms like a cherished object.
The table to my left is an older man inquiring about the “veagan” (menu typo) sausage. He turns to his buddy and mentions something about cholesterol.
While I wait for my tire, while I work hard, I see others sitting together, having conversations and enjoying their less-than-healthy foods. Suddenly, it strikes me.
I am the f***ing alien. This IS the real world.
All of my normal conversations, which I love and cherish, fundamentally do not concern the majority of the population. Personally, I am okay with this. Although at this point, I am just dying for the tire company to call me. Why? Because I am the odd man out. Yoga is a beautiful thing; but I think at times we can get a little ahead of ourselves and lose sight of the forest from the trees.
As a practice, my teacher used to say “yoga is like top of pyramid; the one with eye.”
I think of the pyramid and eye on the back of a dollar bill and how it hovers, disconnected from the rest but in essence still very much a part. There seems to be too much focus on the separation of it all. Another popular division right now is that darn Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. Love it or hate it, it’s been polarizing. Whether it’s the sugar content, the fat, the ‘buying one for kids’, or the hypocrisy of the Caramel Frappuccino, this new drink has created a minor chasm in our society.
I don’t want to disconnect even though I don’t always relate.
Recently I have joined an amazing team that focuses on developing programs for disease prevention. This has blessed me with access to research and insights about vast segments of our population that I wouldn’t necessarily see on a yoga retreat I am hosting in Bali, or within the four walls of my studio.
The focus of my work is not on raja yoga or esoteric Tantric philosophy. Now, it’s more about Diabetes prevention, heart health, chronic pain, weight management or, in other words, about every single conversation that I had the privilege of chiming into this morning. Conversations I would normally never hear because I am typically not in this environment.
Half of our population is at risk for pre-Diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Education and programs around food choices, unconscious behaviors, sugars and additives, and resilience will have greater and more far-reaching impacts than a simple down- dog. Our lack of engagement in these meaningful areas of population health, the very baseline of our existence, will lead to higher mortality rates and an increasingly lower quality of living. These are meaningful and important conversations because they are about the wellbeing of my fellow man, the very issues and challenges facing the majority. I care about them, yet I spent the last few years in the yoga bubble forgetting about them.
Everything that went “wrong” this week was validating a big right.
Yoga is great, but I don’t want to forget the ways I might be of service to those for whom a yoga studio might not be an obvious first choice for solutions. We are all in it together; here to help and enable one another to a healthier, happier body, community, and world. I love floating in the eye, but am also willing to work with spackle and brick.
Mercury Retrograde — astrostyle.com/mercery-retrograde