Saturday, January 25, 2014

Victory Dog Breath



My pets aren't lazy. They just meditate a lot. They spend hours in wordless stillness, completely present in every moment, undistracted by past or future.
We do yoga together, the pets and I. Actually, they teach more than they participate. Mostly, they curl up on the mat doing their "ujayi" (victory) breath while I wobble around trying not to fall on them.
Sometimes they lick my feet, which if you've never experienced it, I highly recommend. No, it's not gross. It's not like having my feet licked by strangers. That would be weird.
Perhaps they lick my feet to encourage me, because, after all, they are my little yogis.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Instinct and Archetype


Human beings have been evolving for millennia, and buried under all the modern polish is some pretty powerful atavistic stuff.

Our pre-human ancestors were ruled by instinct, and those automatic responses are still embedded within us. In times of crisis, we still revert to these instinctual behaviors. Sometimes it saves our lives. Sometimes it gets us into trouble. Biting people is one of those things you just can't get away with these days.

Similarly, our minds still hold remnants of our atavistic thought patterns. These are called archetypes. Archetypes are more emotionally loaded, more flexible and more poetic than ordinary thoughts. They blow through the logical brain and go straight to the heart of the matter. Like instincts, they show up in times of crisis. We see them in dreams and hallucinations, and the pull of a self-destructive course of action we can't quite explain.

The problem is that archetypes are not meant to be taken literally. Doing so could lead to strange behaviors, like donning a crown of thorns and hauling a giant cross through the city, ranting at passersby. Or barking like a dog at your neighbors.

To a modern brain, an archetype is a thought in code. Before you act on it, you still have to decipher it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

If You're Going to be Poor, Anyway, You Might as Well Follow Your Dreams


We are all encouraged to fulfill our potential in life, which means we should make a lot of money or provide a valuable service, preferably both.

But what if you don't want to be a surgeon, or mastermind a pyramid scheme? Or what if that seems a little too challenging? Then what do you do? Other than telemarketing, I mean.

Well, if you're going to be poor anyway, you might as well follow your dreams. And for me, the thing that really makes me happy, the thing that I truly believe I was born for, is lifting heavy stuff: furniture, rocks, backpacks.

The problem is, it's a dead-end career track. If you want to advance at lifting heavy stuff, you have to become a supervisor of people who do all the fun work, and then, eventually you get shoved into an office to sit at a computer all day. And that is so unfulfilling.

Therefore, I write.