Category Archives: friends

Valentine’s Day Yoga

partneryoga seated

I’m a little ancy about the yoga class I planned for Valentine’s Day. Actually, I’m still in pre-planning. I wanted to integrate Partner Yoga and Thai Yoga Massage into the practice. The problem is that it is actually a hot yoga class and the room is somewhat small. So the logistics of doing that is difficult.

I still think I can partner people up and find some fun ways to open up. If we start with gentle warming and partner assisted work before we get sweaty, it will be nice. And then some passive movements involving Thai Yoga Massage. I’m not planning anything where we are flying or balancing or staring into each other’s eyes. It will assume that partners aren’t necessarily “partners”. But it embraces the idea of Valentine’s Day.

I’m hoping for the best. Things usually turn out well no matter what I do.

[In]tolerance, which shoe do you wear?

When you put the shoe on the other foot The circumstances have reversed, the participants have changed places, as in “I was one of his research assistants, subject to his orders, but now that I’m his department head, the shoe is on the other foot.” This metaphoric term first appeared in the mid-1800s as the boot is on the other leg.

Do you ever have friends who you thought you knew well, only to find they completely cry foul at the core of your beliefs? How can you look them in the face knowing they have such darkness in their hearts? It isn’t easy.

I was once at a party with friends. And I don’t mean JUST friends, I mean soul-mates. We were bantering about, laughing, enjoying each others company. Then all the sudden, one person makes a racist statement that shocks you down to your toes. Then others join in. And it wasn’t something that just affected a 3rd party. It affected me directly being a minority. But they’re friends right? You give them the benefit of the doubt. So you let it slide off your back. You give them grace. But then they push more. They keep talking about it. And as someone who stands up for himself, I finally burst and said something. Well, they didn’t care for what I said because of their equally deep felt beliefs. It took me a couple months before I could love that person again. I don’t think I ever swayed their intolerant thinking. And it makes me sad.

I had a similar thing the other day. A good friend of mine posted something and I saw a comment directly below. Sometimes, curiosity gets the best of you and you take a tangent you should have never taken. I click on this person and I see vile statements against my own beliefs. I know life histories of several friends who have had poor experiences in childhood with their religious upbringing. Unfortunately, this came out very blatantly with this person. And then a couple of other friends “liked” and made statements to the same. I should have never traveled down that path. In fact, I’m trying to forget I ever saw what I saw. I won’t be able to look into their eyes the same again.

I do understand that we live in a mix of religious and secular society. And I strongly believe that anti-religion is a religion unto itself. Its much akin to many other isms (racism, sexism, capitalism, communism, vegetarianism). Many evangelize their disbelief in God or a higher power. They are so blatant in their memes and cartoons. They are SO blinded by their hatred. Yet I see the same people standing up strongly for their -ISM of choice. They protest and post things in support of this or that -ISM. They are strongly affected by the slightest micro-aggression against the little guy. Yet its quite alright to openly bash my beliefs. I am very amazed by their heartless attitudes. But I’m even more amazed by their hypocrisy.

saint – (sānt)noun
Def. – a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death. A pervasive concept in Catholicism and other beliefs.
So many of my non-religious friends push away religion, but still adopt religious traditions. I would think if you were so against something, that you would refrain from celebrating something religious with us. St. Valentine, St. Patrick, St. Nicholas, even Mardi Gras…these all have religious connotations. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, even our calendar reflects religious views.
The terms anno Domini  (AD) and before Christ (BC) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The term anno Domini is Medieval Latin, which means in the year of the Lord.
Yet, in my social circles, this anti-religious fervor focuses primarily on Western Culture. Anything Western, whether politics, religion, or other stalwarts of society, are frowned upon. But anything different from us is accepted. Counter-cultural beliefs, often embraced in the halls of academia and founded during the civil rights era and Vietnam War protests, are what is pervasive in my social media feeds. Its like playing “opposite day” when we were kids. Its cool to be rebellious like that. The same anti-Judeo-Christian friends readily post quotes from Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. I appreciate their naivete in accepting the good in those beliefs. But what they don’t know is if they really studied and followed those beliefs, they may find them even more restrictive to Western Culture than what they hate about Judeo-Christian beliefs. And as whacky as they think Christians are, they readily accept what Taro cards, astrology, and the Universe tells them. They are as superstitious and ephemeral in their beliefs as I am. Yet they easily condemn me for what I believe.
Tolerance is a difficult concept to grasp. Does being tolerant only mean “for those who believe the same way as I do?” That isn’t tolerance.
If someone asks, I may share what I believe. If someone goes against my beliefs, I may tell them why I don’t believe that way. And I am definitely going to celebrate my traditions. You can’t take my Christ-mas from me nor its true meaning. I will give thanks during Thanksgiving. I will celebrate the New Year as 2017 A.D., the year of our Lord. My country is founded on “In God We Trust.” And if you are so intolerant that you want to rain on my parade, I suppose its your right to do so. We are all hypocrites in some way. Its because I believe we all have flaws. Nobody is perfect. But I would hope when you are bashing someone, that you would walk in their shoes and see clearly what you are doing.

People I Like

I was kind of a jock as a kid. A quiet one. If I wanted to be popular, I could have been. If I wanted to beat my chest and say how good I was, I probably had at least a little right to do so. But I am inherently shy. Even an introvert by choice.

So when it came to making friends, I was the one who stood next to the kid who was by himself at the wall during recess. I was the one who sat with the lonely kid at lunchtime. I am still the one who walks over and shakes the hands of the elderly couple who are sitting alone during greeting time at church.

In turn, I’m also the guy who waves back at someone when they were waving at someone behind me. I am the guy who says “Good Morning” to someone on the street and they ignore me. I am the guy who attends all my friends workshops and they don’t go to mine.

But its ok. I’m the kind of guy who lives a simple life. If I lived in a cabin among the aspen trees, far removed from the posh environs of Breckenridge or Vail, I’d be a happy man. If I was mowing my lawn and a Tour Bus stops across the street with some [insert celebrity] sign on the side, I’d just mow my lawn.

My friends are real. They don’t have a weak handshake and give a fake smile. They have electricity in their grasp. And their eyes warm your heart. I am drawn to the unpopular. They have the best stories to tell.

Not Even There

big little dog

This is what I’m putting behind me with this writing.

There is an old cartoon. As I recall, it was a little toy breed of dog who would jump around all excited around his much larger friend, I think his name was Gus. Little dog was like “whatta we gonna do Gus?!!!” “What should we do today!!” This little guy was so excited and fawned over his friend. And the big guy was mostly apathetic toward it all. In fact, he probably wished that little dog wasn’t even there. What a nuisance, right?

Sometimes, friendships are like that. Some people light up your life. They walk in the room and their smile infects everyone to smile too. They have a charisma or a sweetness that melts your heart. Yet, you stand there like the Invisible Man. You may as well not even exist.

I often feel like that little dog. I can go head over heels in supporting my friends. They may be offering a “macrame workshop” and I don’t have a lot of interest in macrame. Or maybe I want to find interest in macrame just because I want to support my friend. I’ve set up events and workshops where a handful or less showed up. I’ll admit it made me sad. Not even my friends showed up. You thought that at least your friends would be there for you. So then, you become guarded and no longer set up events. Nobody likes to fail. And nobody wants to be disregarded by friends.

There is a song by James Taylor that goes:

Shower the people you love with love,
show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine,
if you only will.

I would love to be this way all the time. Realistically, I would say I am that person 80% of the time. But the other 20%…well that’s where I’ve been lately. Its when you feel invisible…disregarded…alone. You feel like you are on a one-way street. A street that you travel to be there for people. But they don’t travel the other way to you. Is it selfish to seek goodness in everyone and not get it in return? To give compliments, empathy, and compassion, and not receive anything back? Maybe. But we can’t control other people.

So, I will take control. I will be the Master of my domain. I will probably not change my 80% as a giver. I need to do a cost/benefit analysis of my stocks. I will put all I have into investments that give good returns. And I won’t invest in stocks that give nothing.

To those I love…well, the showers of goodness they’ll get will overflow with richness, so much that they will have no choice but to share it with others.

Much love to you my friends.

This Ole Friend

I walked in the room and it was like his face was in a tunnel. All I could see was his gleaming smile. He smiled and I smiled back. All the others in the room were ghosts. The yoga mats and props riddling my path were passed without a thought. Without thinking, we connected in a manly hug that meant so much. We are the kind of friends that go well beyond shaking hands. He is like a brother to me. He was sorely missed.

Truth be told. We ARE like brothers. While we are connected by yoga and many of its ideals, we are probably socially, politically, and ideologically opposites. But yoga is stronger than all of those -ologies.

We did our 200 hour yoga teacher training together. We’ve laid hands on each other and the dozen or so others in the class as well. We instructed each other and adjusted our positions. We are a band of brothers and sisters. We’ve seen tears, heartache, and deep bonding through our trials. Most of us showed hearts outside of the skin, while others were more guarded. I was probably the latter. It seems the younger you are, the more outspoken you are. Old, wise people like me often sat and pondered quietly.

The past few months, my brother in yoga took a long, many day adventure by bicycle. Having participated in backpacking adventures and ultramarathons myself, I knew of the travails of such escapades. I thought about him and even worried for him at times. It only takes one person texting while driving to end a life. But it was his journey to take and I admire him for it. While I wouldn’t have the courage to do such a thing, I’m thankful for his bravery now that he is safe.

Now that I write this, if someone saw us from afar they’d think we were strangers. But we have this magnetic resonance that can’t be severed. Everybody needs people like this in your life. It is something special.