Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let "Them" Be...

I imagined, as I walked there, that yoga might solve all my problems or, at least, give me the presence of mind to focus on solutions to figure how to do all I have to do, to prioritize and put things in their proper place.

When I got there, some women from the morning meditation class were talking as they packed up to leave.

"Well," one said, "they say..."

I don't even know what she said afterward. I was stuck on the "they."

I laughed. "Who are 'they,' anyway?" I recounted a line I had read once from an article about Simpsons writer George Meyer, though, thinking back, I butchered it. What he said was, "If they can kill the Kennedy's, how come they can't make a good cup of coffee?"

The line, one that always makes me chuckle, sparked conversation about why we have to reference others, this nameless, faceless "they" to say what we ourselves think, to make it sound convincing?

As a long-time journalist, I know this. I know it is a common excercise to troll for like-minded sources, experts who you know will agree with the gut instinct that gave you the idea for the story in the first place, that will lend credence to your otherwise crack-pot theory.

Another woman piped in, offering a line from a magazine writer friend who says often, "If you have no clue what you're talking about, you say, 'obviously.'"

Laughter broke out amongst all of us ladies, those coming and going, to or from trying to get centered. We all knew what that felt like, that's why it was funny. So often we are stuck in a place, pretending we know more than we do or not trusting that we have a clue when maybe we really do.

I gave a gold star to the woman with the guffaw-producing line and we discussed at length the value or lack thereof of research, of finding some clues as to real answers. My position? I'm not sure there are any "real" answers. "Research" is something I pointed to a lot with great skepticism: any study seems like it could produce a variety of outcomes, depending on the methods used and who is paying the money to do the research. It is a challenge. Easier, it seems, just to vaguely refer to "they..." or say something you feel with the very convincing "obviously" attached.

In class, trying to quiet the blather in my brain, I listened to the instructor, to Judy, as she posited the reason for a particular position.

"I didn't want to get out of bed, I was laying like this...and then I thought, 'hmmm, I could just do this in class.'" She laughed as she said it, slightly defensively because she was doing something simply because she wanted to. She gave us license, then, to do the same. "Just lay in bed and say, 'I'm doing my yoga. Be sure to say my yoga," she said. "The my makes it sound more important."

I smiled. We are all working so hard to justify ourselves, to justify what we say and do. I wish that wasn't the case. I wish we could just do what felt right and know that it was right, that, even if others disagreed, we could trust our own selves, "they" be damned. Man, I'm trying. I actually gave myself a gold star today just for that reason, for the simple reason that I am trying on so many levels even if, on some mornings, yoga or no, it doesn't seem like those efforts are gaining any traction, like others get it or care, like I even care.

Judy offered up advice on this, too, albeit unwittingly. "As you stand on the edge of your mat, on the precipice of your practice, it seems sometimes like you have to go forward or back. Sometimes, though, you can just be..."

Amen. I have to remember that and remember to remind others of that too. Forget what "they" say or think, and, sometimes, just learn to be.

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