How many conventional things can one person do and still retain an original streak of thinking?  I was going to say “original mind” but that sounds too  grand. I’m a demographic as much as I am an individual: woman, mother, wife, American, Easterner, academic.  My mediocrity stuns me.  My ordinariness is an object of fascination. (To me, that is, and my self-interest itself is an ordinary preoccupation.)  Do I possess a shred of individual will?  The preachers will say it’s predetermined but I can choose good or evil; the scientists will say I’m hard-wired and it’s all genetic or environmental; the literary scholars will say the culture birthed my mind and everything I write (they like to think that writers just burp out an articulation of the zeitgeist rather than actually being creative).  Yet I retain the illusion of a distinctive self, a snowflake  of a mind.

So, yeah, I do yoga like the other millions. 

My first yoga class was in highschool, and it definitely beat volleyball.  I could wear dance leggings and a t-shirt and lie on a mat in the dark.  I could contemplate the yoga teacher’s personal journey that had led her to  this room of sarcastic teenaged girls,  and questions of the universe like why people become magicians.

I go to one yoga class where my wonderful teacher has us make intentions for our practice, and say Omm at the end.  I go to another yoga class where my wonderful teacher tells us how the body works, and brings out a two-foot-tall skeleton to demonstrate how the poses move our joints.  I like both these classes, the spiritual and the physiological.  I like when Julie picks up her skeleton prop and carries it to the center of the room to shows us how turning the thighbones opens the lower back.  And I like when Lynn tells us to make our hands into a diamond shape and lay them on our pelvises to send the negative energy out of our bodies.  I love systems of meaning.   

Along with yoga,  I have done so many other conventional things!  Like blogging!  And writing screenplays!  And being sent to a mental hospital and then going to grad school for poetry! (I think it was a prereq for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in the ’80s.)  And marrying a man, and having kids, and living in a two-story brick house.  Drinking chardonnay in the winter and sauvignon blanc in the summer.  Planting mums.  Talking about the weather. Coloring my hair.  Wearing a Timex. Liking France, and Spain.  Thank god I didn’t drive a car between the ages of 20 and 35 or I would have not one eccentricity to console myself with!

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