At 7:30 this morning my alarm went off; the song, 7:30 A.M. by Slothrust (great band). I laid around until past 8, and my cat Wheaty scratched me on my head for his own esoteric reasons, and I finally dragged myself up, cut up a banana, had some peanut butter on a spoon, and ate a cup of cereal… Breakfast of Champions.
I drove five minutes to work, and at 9 I slowly dragged my workpants on by the lockers, and can’t explain to you why I did this that slowly, but there I was, barely prepared for the day ahead. I spent a significant portion of the morning at a meat slicer and exchanged Monty Python quotes with our prep cook as another coworker experimented with food up in the kitchen. At 11 I tried my buddy’s food creation—a gruyere crouton—how good it can be. Later, in the walk-in cooler, my boss entered and asked if I had much to do today; it’s always a good sign when they ask rather than tell, and the day shaped up like it was gift wrapped.
At 3 I considered a final cup of coffee at the bar before I split, but opted for the comfort of home, away from the clock, and brewed some of my own coffee; I hung out with Wheaty and got some work done around the house. As I caffeinated and cleaned I listened to Nick Drake, Destroyer, and the entirety of Dark Night of the Soul, a collaborative album featuring the brilliant artists David Lynch, Danger Mouse, and Sparklehorse. By 5 I was at Yoga Squared for Jenny’s midweek Vinyasa class.
The class reminded me of when I first started the Yoga, back in 2010 at Grace church’s Free Akron Yoga, a community class where many Akronites practiced Yoga on Tuesday nights in those days. I’d pedal my bike from my apartment in the Square, a variety of guest teachers came weekly and taught the basics; not just the poses, but some of the methodology of Yoga as well. As part of Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Squared, I’ve challenged myself to recall how I practiced in the beginning, and have been challenged in return by the memories of those times. In my life there are few things I’ve repressed in my memories, but in 2010 when I departed the ridged structure of childhood and education and entered adulthood, uncertain and addicted to drugs and alcohol, the thought of myself as a new Yogi is a dark thought—I had no belief in a power greater than myself, which included the power of community and a disciplined routine.
After practice today, I caught up with some friendly faces, went home and turned on the kitchen light and opened the fridge; the sight was scant but I had what I needed, and I thanked my lucky stars that I had food in the fridge and light to cook it by (the past month the kitchen light had gone out intermittently until I cooked by candlelight for a week straight—an electrician came last weekend and fixed it). Much of my life consists of gratitude for the myriad small victories which add to contentment, sometimes happiness. When I began Teacher Training, I thought some shit might get unearthed, and I was right about that, but I also presumed that the sort of spiritual life I’ve wanted to lead would be nurtured by a deeper practice.
And today, as I cooked by electric light, enjoyed the company of my colleagues and community, created rather than destroyed, and then settled beneath warm, dry blankets in bed—I appreciated certain things that I’d forsaken when I lived as I did before, although that was like another lifetime. It’s true that I’ve transformed over the past year, recovered nearly completely from a broken leg and one of my life’s darkest depressions, long after the events described above which marked the beginning of my practice; but I’ve done so by the light of the resources available to me: I’ve sought help from my family, community, and therapists.
As for spirituality, my mind is as made up on it as a bed could be made up on a raft at sea, feeling in control at times, completely mystified and aghast at others; during my emotional low-point over the past six months I concluded that as willing as I’ve been to end my own life out of depression, I would be just as willing to surrender myself to the benevolent powers that be. I can’t necessarily recommend this type of thinking to anyone, and would instead add the important footnote at the end of this blog to encourage anyone who may have untreated depression to use the resources available like free counseling at Portage Path Behavioral Health.
Another, perhaps equally important footnote, is re the electrician who fixed my kitchen light, a man of about 90 who’d done the job expediently and expertly and as we walked down my steps admitted to me his knees had trouble with steps; I mentioned a fall I’d had a week before in which I injured my back on those same steps. He heard me out sympathetically, and at the bottom of the steps I added “but I’m 27,” because that’s how I talk; we changed the subject back to how old he was. I walked back into my apartment and concluded; life could be really, really long, or I could die accidentally right now…. because that’s how I think.
Namaste, past, Namaste, future.