Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's Something About Mary

I kept telling myself that it didn’t mean anything. It wasn’t what it looked like. But I felt so guilty all week. It was like I cheated on Mary. And after all she’s done for me. She lights candles and plays cool music. She’s soft-spoken when she teaches me about important things like pressure points and power and breathing and my meridians. She even reads me poetry. Here’s the one from last night:


Nothing to wall out

Or hold in.

Open like the

wide sky at twilight.

Open as the ocean

or the reach

of the unknown.

Open as a heart

That chooses

not to close.

~Danna Faulds

Incredible, right? Oh, and did I mention that she's beautiful, too? She looks kind of like Barbara "You Can Eat Crackers In My Bed Anytime" Mandrell.

So, what happened? It’s not like I’m doing yoga every day. It’s not like I can’t wait until her next weekly class. I can’t even remember the last time I actually went two weeks in a row. I get busy. It’s a long drive. It’s sort of on a bad night. And, to tell the truth, maybe the romance faded a bit in the summer. It was so hot and so bright. It required more effort to roll up my mat and trudge out in the afternoon heat, only to finish class and be greeted by the same blaring sun that was there when I went in. I yearned for the old days when we first met. The days when yoga was dark, cool. I kept missing more and more classes. There were vacation days and three day weekends that lopped over on to Tuesdays. And even Mary took some summer time off, just so you know, it wasn't all my fault.

So when I found myself in an everybody-is-still-sleeping-quiet house on Saturday morning and glanced at the gym schedule, I saw it. Gentle Yoga - 8:30. Well, that sounded good. Not too hot. Sort of ease into the weekend. Just down the street. It’s not in the church where Mary teaches. There’s no sanctuary. There’s no actual God involved, but 8:30 Gentle Yoga tempted me.

The minute I sat down, I knew I made a mistake. We were crowded into rows, packed like sardines (sorry for the cliche, but it's what came to mind as my arm had to choose between hitting the hard spinning bike on my left or the softer, but probably more annoyable lady on my right). We were next door to the 8:00 aerobics class for the people who don't seem to get to the gym all week and try to burn all of the calories at once, led by the lady with the headset microphone, screaming and a one...and a two...push it, push it, PUSH IT! So much for the gentle part.

Then the teacher walked in. Her name was Susie. Susie. Little Miss Susie Sunshine with her high-pitched voice and her florescent orange leggings. Her voice was so screeching, I thought way back to another Saturday morning activity. Remember Saturday morning cartoons? Pre-Nickelodeon and the 24/7 Disney Channel when you had to actually wait for the weekend to watch. All the other days you were stuck with Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but come Saturday you could let it rip. You were allowed to sit there for hours. That was Susie's voice.

She led us through a pretty mundane, rote routine, frequently forgetting the name of the body part she was trying to verbalize. I spent a lot of time finishing her sentences in my head "LEG, okay, it's a LEG!" I couldn't wait for the whole thing to be done. I looked up at the clock and it was 9:29 and we were still huffing and puffing. I thought that maybe the schedule was wrong. Maybe the class goes an extra fifteen minutes, giving us a bit of time to cool off, reflect. But right then, Susie Sunshine told us all to lay down, and said, okay, breatheinhaleexhaleloveyourselfloveeachotherpeaceintheworlddon'tforgettovolunteerandstopthinkingnegativethoughtsandwe'redone. Thanks, everybody. No. Thank you, Susie. I want my Mary. I want to hear her little bell at the end of class. So nothing long-term about Susie. It was just a Saturday morning quickie. Next week I'll go back to my regular elliptical machine and just smile at Susie as I walk by.

I hate to be overdramatic, but last night it even seemed like I got a reward for my self-imposed lesson. It felt like the earth shifted a bit since the last class. The sun was going down as I walked outside after an amazing class with Mary and her cool yogis, no more glare. I looked up at Camelback Mountain, gorgeous turning purple Echo Canyon and said, "See you next week."

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