Thursday, September 27, 2007

Anacortes Crossing

This week has been very challenging for me. The details, I think, are beyond the purview of this blog; perhaps it suffices to say that I have been observing the anniversary of a very confusing time. I have a natural tendancy to dwell on the dour; anyone who knows me knows this. Even reflecting on things that turned out well, I focus on what went wrong and why it was my own fault. It's a knee jerk reaction. What I'm reflecting on now was such a hodge-podge of the good, the bad, the wonderful, the painful, the beautiful, the impossible, I scarcely know how to sort it out in my own mind. I look for errors I made, and I find them; but my remorse is tempered by the beauty I experienced. I try to focus (for a change) on amazement and wonder, and these feelings are marbled with regret. This isn't simple. It's not linear. It's not something that I felt even remotely prepared for, yet I found myself in this situation nonetheless, and I had to muddle through as well as I could, trying to minimize damage...

...which brings me to the title of this blog entry. Anacortes Crossing is the name of a peak in the North Cascades of Washington state. I traversed it in July of 2002, with a group of "well-chosen companions," to borrow a few words from Barry Lopez. It was the most difficult hike I've ever done. As happens in any intense situation, all of my shit came up. I had to face my fears, over and over again; and I kept going. I had to deal with my distrust of my own abilities; and I kept going. I had to surrender my ego and rely on others; and I kept going. I cried on that hike, at a time in my life when I never, ever cried. And I kept going. The photo that accompanies my profile on this site is from the morning before that hike. When my yoga teachers advise me, at the beginning of class, to focus on something essential or beautiful to me, as often as not my thoughts are drawn to Anacortes Crossing. This is part of my psyche now; incontravertible proof that even when faced with a difficult situation that I don't think I'm able to handle, committment, good friends, and surrender of ego can ease me through to the other side. So "Anacortes Crossing" has been my mantra recently, a talisman for me to hold when my mind starts travelling down its rougher byways.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cryptofascist mania, silicon deliria

So I started my yoga teacher training program this past weekend. I've been practicing yoga regularly (religiously? ruthlessly?) for about five years, and have been thinking on-and-off about teaching for almost the entire time. About two years back, I dipped my big toe into a different training program, but found the waters therein chilly and unaccomodating. And so here I go again. So far so good. I didn't freak out in weekend one, and there's only nine more to go (once a month till June). Plus homework. Lots and lots of homework. Time to bust out the #2 pencils.

Despite (or perhaps because of) having spent so much time in this yoga/meditation/personal-growth/crystal-light-and-breakfast-cereal-healing-centre community, I am very very skeptical of the motivations of other folks I meet along the way. I think a lot of the people drawn to this sort of practice are trying to salve old wounds (me included). But some are looking for a way to avoid dealing with old wounds, and it's this emotionally dangerous group of folks against which my guard is raised. But how do you know who's who when walking into a new studio with a dozen new faces? Well... you don't. And much to my discredit, I tend to default to believing that everyone is there for the wrong reasons, until they prove themselves otherwise. Guilty until proven innocent. I wasn't concious of it, but that's how I walked into our first teacher training session on Saturday. Closed. Suspicious. Guarded. It wasn't a pleasant way to spend four hours. But I thought about it that night, and I realized what I had done, and I saw that it probably wasn't necessary. I didn't have to take all these people into my heart all at once, but I didn't have to lock them out either. So I walked in on Sunday feeling a bit different; more open and less accusatory. It was a better way to practice.