Last week, my yoga practice brought me back to the moment with farts. Lots of farts in a classroom of farters, including me. It was a difficult week of decisions and what I call 'adult living'. Having received a phone call in the middle of the night that my mom-in-love had called the police to report 'a man under her bed'. A wake up call about death or illness would have been more in line with an 'adult living' decision. But my dream state barely cleared and gave way to another dream-state, and trying to make sense of someone else's dream state. It woke up my Monkey Mind. Swinging from branch to branch, my monkey mind kept me awake and on high alert, as I continued swinging in the jungle of dark thoughts.
And the bizarreness continued with another message, later in the day, about an elderly aunt who had a stroke and seemed caught in her own dementia. A adult decision had to made about her care facility and insurance papers. My older sister had flown across the country to access the situation. She texted over a picture of our aunt. Her eyes were blank of recognition, orientation and will. More branches appeared my jungle, and they were beginning to snap with strain.
My own decisions for some health challenges are in the adult living mix. Scar tissue from several surgeries, one for colon cancer, seemed to have pinched off a part of my small bowels. Two days in the hospital and many doses of narcotics later, I was told to eat a low fiber diet. " What about the possibility of a cancerous tumor causing the blockage?" I queried. You'll have to see a G.I. specialist. It began to pour rain in my jungle.
What's a yogini to do? I decided to go to a yoga class. Yoga has the wonderful side benefit of having me focus so intently on my postures, that I generally forget anything else, and it is a freedom from self which I value. I took a place in the back of room in case tears flowed, I could hide in relative seclusion. My teacher is a cancer warrior. She has battled for 15 years. Cancer is in her bones, brain and lungs. Yet she isn't on chemo this time because her doctor said that as long as she feels fine, which she does, she isn't going to make her miserable by more chemo. Although the doctor wondered why she wasn't short of breath, stumbling around, and in excrutiating bone pain. Yoga? My teacher can go from fish pose to V-pose in one breath. She is close to 70! I have been inspired by her for over twenty years.
The class begins slowly enough, but before long we in downward facing dog and the farts started. They weren't long, loud farts. Just puffs of air that sounded like a finger snap. In the back of the room, that a lot of butts in downward dog. Then we moved to three legged dog, and puffs started coming from everywhere. My own butt was squeezing tight to contain a gurgly rumble. Too late, those little puffs and snaps are hard to hold back. I joined the chorus of farters! We continued moving, snapping and popping. These were professional farters, like me. We are capable of holding back a rip-roaring fart but at a price. The little ones shoot out like popcorn being air popped.
I started to smile to myself. Farts are funny. A delightful moment of real people doing real yoga. Gratitude washed over me. I was living in the moment. This moment brought to you by...farts.
Rumi has a story about a flute player who was being heckled by a crowd. The flute player toots some notes, then swings his flute to his buttocks and farts saying, "Well, can you do that?"