I have 2 things I need to do. 1. Hand in some assignments for a course 2. Write this Cheeky Yogi. My first option is so brain numbingly boring that every time my finger hovers over the link to open the ‘tab of tedium’, my finger falls off. In fact, I currently only have 4 fingers. But being a yogi with special siddhis they will grow back by this evening, so I am not too bothered. The second option is just as difficult, I stare at my blank computer screen with my 4 fingers poised over the keyboard, but zilch, zip, nothing comes to mind.
Socrates and I
For the past 3 days I have been staring into space and nothing has inspired me. I feel I haven’t had a single creative idea for eons. This led me to ponder the nature of inspiration. How does it work? How can I get some? Elizabeth Gilbert gave a wonderful Ted talk about creativity. She looks at the idea of inspiration not coming from humans themselves, but what the Greeks called ‘daemons’. People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. Socrates believed that he had a daemon who spoke wisdom to him from afar.
Now please don’t jump the gun. I am not comparing myself to Elizabeth Gilbert, best selling author whose book “Eat, Pray, Love” was made into a blockbuster film with Julia Roberts. Nor am I saying I am Socrates, one of the founders of western philosophy. But in my own little world, here in the leafy suburbs of the UK, I am trying my darndest to put pen to paper and it ain’t happening.
I like the idea of an ethereal spirit popping into my kitchen and guiding my hand as I write. But my daemon is obviously still following government guidelines, because I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him/her/it. I would move to the garden, in case social distancing is a deciding factor for the lack of visitation, but it is snowing. Maybe like migrating birds the spirit got confused and took a wrong turn? Yet another reason, if we needed it, for us to sort global warming. Depending when you are reading this, I feel I should point out that it’s April and just 3 days ago it was sunbathing weather. This is just another example of the whole topsy-turviness of things.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpet
But back to my computer activities. Instead of progress, I have made coffee, made tea, made sweet potato mash, brushed the long-haired cat, brushed the short-haired cat. I have hoovered, made a spider homeless (cleaned the cobwebs from the corners) and chosen my Spotify music. I am currently listening to the Psychedelic Porn Crumpet’s song ‘Found God in a Tomato’. Needless to say, this last item took me on a bizarre and rather dodgy Google search. The Wikipedia page felt the need to explain what a ‘crumpet’ is. Surely knowing more about the tomato is more pertinent? I could continue my long list of distractions, but you get the gist. The most I have written are 3 items on the shopping list: coffee, tea and sweet potato.
I don’t want to blame lockdown, but I think that it can take some responsibility for my ever-expanding waistline and lack of impetus. Once upon a time I was driven. I was curious. I could hold court for hours about any random topic. Walking down the street and bumping into an old lady would have me writing tomes about the interconnectivity of life. Going to a BBQ and watching a veggie burger cook on the grill and I’d scribble an opus questioning whether vegetables have feelings. But none of these delights are dancing in my brain. They probably won’t, until after the 12th of this month, when I get to experience some of the real world again and lockdown rules ease up. Commuters. Rush hour. Clothes. Upper face to upper face conversations. Gossip. Yes. Light-hearted frivolous gossip.
Accepting my inner weeble
Mind you, there was a moment this last month where something happened, and all thanks to my fellow colleague who is an ‘intense Ashtangi’ (Is there any other type?). Her practice is beautiful, and she makes everything look so breezy. She’s the type of person who sits at her desk in lotus… hovering 3inches off the chair. She brushes her teeth with the toothbrush held in her left toes, because she wants to ensure she is ambidextrous in both feet. Her cues are minimal yet epic.
I decided to join one of her online classes and she was cueing Archer’s Pose (Akarna Dhanurasana). This seated pose was one I hadn’t knowingly done before. The idea is to press one foot to your ear as though it were a telephone, then wrap your fingers around the other foot which is extended away from you. Your feet are pulled away from each other, like a bow and arrow.
Of course, she demo’d this with such elegance and ease, it was wonderful to watch. I tried my very best to remove my femur bone from the hip socket, but it seems that skin and muscles and other bits of body hold it in place. I tried to breath and “not to focus on the outer appearance of the pose but the inner experience”. But I got miffed. I just couldn’t use my foot as a phone. As I teetered and seesawed, I began to giggle in the middle of my living room floor. Eventually laughter took over, realising the absurdity of the movement and the acceptance that I was more like a floundering weeble than poised archer. In that one movement, I reconnected with a sense of lightness and wonder that I had forgotten over the past few weeks with all the heaviness of the world around me. Here I am, a grown woman trying not to get miffed as I work out a way to balance, whilst pretending to use my foot as a phone in the middle of a global pandemic. I don’t even know what the pandemic has to do with anything anyway, but it does.
The Daemon flick
This seemed to have shifted something inside of me as for the rest of the week, all the classes I taught were- dare I boast? – really good. They seemed to be what people needed and there was that little ineffable magic that yoga has and does. I felt it and they felt it. It was just enough to keep us on the path for a little longer.
I wonder whether a passing daemon on their way to inspire some great writer took take pity on me and flicked their magic on my yoga teaching for that week, reminding me why I do what I do and to keep doing it, whatever the weather.