Primary Friday: A Self-Study, Post Hosting

Primary this morning was a true delight after a long, busy 10-day stretch.  I was blessed with a surprise houseguest for a week, followed by some very early days at work, so it has been a challenge to carve enough time for full practice every morning.

Now that my guest is gone and the apartment is quiet, I am basking in this familiar solitude and reacquainting myself with my beloved routine.

There is nothing like bringing another person into one's own home to reveal the ways in which one has become guarded and stiff.  Cohabitation is without doubt among the most difficult endeavors I have ever undertaken.  Be it for years or just the weekend, the compromises necessary to lubricate the experience into some sort of smoothly working order have never been easy to make.

I am cautious, methodical, and self-assured.  These characteristics that dominate my behavior are the same characteristics that make Ashtanga Vinyasa -- the systematic method -- feel like a perfect fit; however, these are the very same traits that drive me to spend so much time alone.  My sometimes forceful nature serves me well with few exceptions, the formation of close partnerships being a glaring example among them.

I feel a magnetism toward similarly strong-willed, self-assured individuals.  Invariably, this root of attraction is also the root of much conflict.  Put me loose with a kindred spirit whose modus operandi conflicts with my own and there is likely to be much snorting and head butting, punctuated by the occasional aggressive charge.

As a result, I make the strongest bonds in violent bursts.  I am a relationship sprinter.  Run hard, then rest. There is no such thing as moderation.

In the context of Ashtanga, this approach is dangerous.  The body won't allow it, not for long.  The practice must be tended daily.  The space (the link) must be maintained, with even the most subtle of acknowledgements.  Just a breath.  Just a nod.  Just a feeling.

Is the same true of a human bond?  If not a kiss, then a hug.  If not a hug, then a smile.  If not a smile, a nod.  If not a nod, then maybe a kind thought will do, a daily thought sent across distances of all kinds -- emotional, intellectual, philosophical -- as a bow of the head, not to what might be, but to the ridiculous unraveling of what has been and to the exciting strangeness of the now it has birthed.

The space (the separation) is a good thing.  Space is opportunity.  Space is freedom to move and breathe, to be both completely in control and utterly, hopelessly out.  But space is easy.  There is a challenge, a level of observation and adaptability that space neither necessitates nor provides.

Do I long for the challenge of a partnership at the expense of this roomy little life?  Perhaps not, but I am glad for the fresh insight.


  1. Thanks for sharing such intimacy and honesty! Flexibility in mind as well as in body is a quality to be cultivated with care and inquiry just as we begin to learn each new asana.

    I love how you call yourself a relationship sprinter! I can fully relate!

    As we practice daily we become more and more intimate with ourselves, learning that becoming vulnerable is not a negative quality.
    Om Shanti!

    1. Hi Karuna. Absolutely, being okay with my own vulnerability is an important lesson that I continue to struggle with. Thanks for the comment.