The journey this week was full of potholes and speed bumps. It started with a speeding ticket in the mail, the kind that comes from an overhead radar camera you know is there but forget about one time. Of course I was speeding—I was in a hurry. When I remember that camera and set my cruise control at 60 to go under it, I feel unsafe as the traffic on hurtles by. The day I drove under the camera going 72, admittedly too fast, I was on my way downtown to teach a yoga class. Hurry up and get where you’re going to help people relax. It’s one of the ironies of the work that I do.
The weekend was quite good after that, if a little tiring, with a lovely houseguest and a heap of yoga to teach at the studio: a pose clinic, two regular classes and a workshop. Also an email message from a long lost connection irritated me and took much too much energy and discussion. I wanted my answer to be right. As it was, I wouldn’t answer the email until days later in the week due to all of the unforeseen circumstances.
On Monday morning a regular student injured her foot in my class. In nearly six years of teaching yoga, I have not before had someone obviously injure themselves in my class. This particular student, a middle school teacher I’ll call Maria, knows how to take care of herself. My response to the situation was appropriate—I helped her prop the foot, made sure she could get home, and called her in the afternoon to see how she was doing.
On Tuesday the evening teacher at my studio phoned at 5:15 to say the studio was 64 degrees and the heat wasn’t making it any warmer. This after a programmable thermostat was installed just a few days before. It was raining, the prelude to our first wet snow of the season, and temperatures were falling fast. I got to the studio where she had started class in the space behind reception and verified there was indeed no heat. A series of phone calls and the maintenance man on call summoned the furnace repair truck. The repairman who came and had to go up on the roof in the rain and the dark declared there had been a fire in the unit and there would be no heat that night.
Wednesday was a long day. We woke to three inches of heavy white snow on the ground. It was lovely, and with the forecast calling for fifty degrees and sunny I elected to save my back for another day and let it melt. It was a long wait at the studio for the furnace repairmen to come back. The snow storm had taken down branches and thus power lines. When two men finally arrived to look around, they pronounced the furnace dead—it will be a week before a new one can be installed since it must be ordered.
At the same time I had received that call you don’t want to get—we’re sorry, there’s something on your mammography film the radiologist is concerned about. When can you come back in for more pictures?
Thursday. Thank you.
It was on Friday shortly after a bright yellow van and I nearly collided and didn’t because we each maneuvered our automobiles out of the other’s way, when I took my glasses out of their case to exchange for my sunglasses, a move I make countless times per day, and the temple piece broke. Normally I would say that there’s nothing more likely guaranteed to send me into full-scale panic than an issue with my vision, but I just wore them crooked through lunch and went off to have them repaired, with one temple the original and one the wrong color and fit. It’ll be sometime next week when the replacement will arrive.
It was Friday morning, 11.11.11, and I realized the mantra for my week was, “it could have been worse.” The speeding ticket was from a camera not a policeman, so no points on my license. I answered the email in the thick of everything else going on and that took the sting out of the situation for me. The studio didn’t burn down when the furnace flamed out and maybe it was the cold hard rain that prevented that tragedy. I don’t have breast cancer, but “tissue changes consistent with aging.” I didn’t have a car accident and my glasses are on their way to being fixed. When Maria came by the studio Saturday morning to assure me her foot is healing and she’ll be back in class on Tuesday, I realized that although my thoughts had lit upon her from time to time during the week, I had not obsessed about the incident or driven myself crazy with concern about someone getting injured at the studio. I hadn’t had any available space in my brain.
And that’s when I came to understand something new—sometimes there is so much going on that I cannot think, process, or obsess. It’s all I can do to get through from one thing to the next. All I could manage last week by way of reaction to any of it was to shrug, “it could have been worse.” In the case of each of these episodes, that was a good thing—any one of them could have wrapped me up so totally I wouldn’t have been able to do anything else. Instead I kept going. As I look forward to a new week, I’m inclined to tell myself, “yes, it could have been worse indeed. What now? Now it’s going to get better.”
In between the full moon and the new—checking in with you and wishing that even if all is not well, it’s getting better all the time. Namaste, Rxo