Last night, while teaching a small portion of a fundraiser yoga class for one of our teacher trainers, three of the cars in the parking lot were broken into. Windows were smashed, purses were removed, and cash stolen. Tears were shed, police were called and the evening dragged on later than planned, turning into an extended period of melancholy.
Two weeks ago, during my Tuesday morning private yoga session, I tore my right LCL while pulling too hard on a strap around my foot in half lotus forward fold. I felt the knee pop as it happened and knew it wasn't the right kind of sensation. I also knew as I was pulling on the strap that I was trying too hard and I knew the risks involved with pushing the limits of flexibility, particularly with respect to joints. Shane constantly reminds me to balance my effort and power with acceptance and ease and yet my DNA perpetually wills me to override and to push harder. Watching an experienced dancer or yogi, I can't help but admire their delicate balance of muscular and organic energy because I find this aspect of movement, and actually of life, to be such an incredible challenge.
On Saturday I took Hunter to the vet and then gave him a bath. While bathing him I noticed the many skin lesions he has developed, under his thick fur, and felt sad as he winced while I sprayed him down and soaped him up. I can tell this will be his last 12 months, that his final birthday is coming up. I will be devastated when he leaves me, but I have had ample warning and I think that helps. My responsibility is to make his last days as gentle and peaceful as possible. Old dogs are expensive and while he is as sweet as he ever was, losing his mobility is a stark reminder of just how fragile all of our lives are.
These three events, random burglary, an unfortunate sports injury, and the health deterioration of my most loyal friend over the past decade, all highlight the power of destructive force when compared to constructive force. It took hours of preparation and effort to organize the series of donation yoga classes. It took less than a minute for someone to smash three windows and take what they did not earn. Within the context of Hinduism, these simple facts illustrate the power of Shiva, the destroyer. It will probably take me 8-12 weeks to heal my LCL tear, and since the injury is on the same knee as my MCL tear from March, it adds some real trickery to my half pigeon and lotus efforts in the meantime. I had intended to work hard to open up my hip flexibility as that is one of my biggest limiters, so now that plan will have to be postponed or diverted. However, perhaps the most striking example of the power of destruction is watching my dog fade before my eyes, watching him reduced to a slow hobble and dosed up with medication when I still remember him leaping with joy through the sand on dog beach. Hunter's eventual departure will be a permanent life change for me, and watching it happening is further reminder of the tremendous impact of destruction.
Lest this sound too depressing, let me mention that Shiva is balanced by Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu the preserver. Or, for the western mind, when one door closes, another opens. I have no lack of new in my life, in fact I think I have too many new experiences, new friends, new jobs, etc and that I could and should try to be more devout with the ones I already have established. I still remember all of the demolition I did on the house I live in, and how much joy came from the carcass after all of the demo was complete.
I think that what has me momentarily shifted more towards "bummed out" than "stoked," is how much more powerful destruction seems than construction. It takes only a few words to destroy a friendship that was built over years. It takes a mere handful of minutes to destroy a building that has stood for decades. Removing entropy always takes energy and comes with a cost. Once a life ends, once a soul has exited our reality, they are instantly and forever missing from our interactions.
I'm a little sad today, but I think that is OK. I'm sure I'll feel different as the week rolls on.