Your doctor would like you to take a pill because you go too far up and too low down. He promises that if you take this pill you could stay on a nice even keel. But maybe life is not about even keel. Maybe life is about spinning madly in circles, whipping around the world, going over the falls, and then coming back to rest in the Yo Yo Master’s hand.
Here are some exercises to help you cope with the modern world, whether you are frantically in motion, or lying in a heap on the floor, tangled in impossible knots.
Walking The Downward Dog
You come home after a full day of work, completely exhausted, wrung out, tense and stretched to the limit at the same time. All you want to do is grab a beer and veg out. But first you are greeted by your ecstatic best friend who has been alternately resting and scratching at fleas all day long, anxiously awaiting your return. This is the moment of ultimate release, fresh air, sunshine, and best of all, a chance to pee and poop to his heart’s content. Yes, before you can do anything else, you must walk the dog. Learn to be at one with the tugging of the leash; watch how fruitlessly every command that you give goes unheeded by your disobedient obedience school graduate, as he focuses on chasing everything that moves, smelling every foul object that’s been deposited on the ground, and sniffing the crotch of any person who foolishly comes within a leash length. Practice humbly apologizing for your failure to ever establish authority over a mutt who weighs less than your thigh. Realize the insubstantial nature of importance. You are no more important than a dead bird, a live squirrel, or an old hamburger wrapper. Try to be at peace with your place in the universe, as the official cleaner upper of dog poop, and the barker of dog signals.
Take the escalator up a few floors to where the boss’s secretary directs you to sit on the little bench until you are summoned before the main man. Feel your heart beating rapidly in your chest as you try not to hyperventilate. Was it something you said? Maybe that wisecrack to Charlie in accounting about how the boss must know every way imaginable to pad an expense account and should give the staff a few pointers. Are you completely panicked? Good, now imagine that you’ve finally been recognized for your true genius and he’s going to offer you a big promotion, complete with your own key to the executive washroom. (It is troubling having to ask Kelly, the receptionist, for the bathroom key every time you need to pee and wondering if she keeps a chart of bathroom breaks like Mrs. Sullivan in the 4th grade.) What’s taking the boss so long? He’d never keep you waiting like this if he had good news to tell you. Maybe he found out that you were the one who spiked the punch at the luncheon for the visiting trade delegation from China. Does this make you miserable? Good, now imagine he wants you to give a pep talk at the sales convention in Hawaii next month. Honolulu, here you come! Ride’s over, be sure to take all your baggage with you and watch your step as you exit the waiting area and enter the corner office.
Not enough sleep, not enough coffee, and somehow you’re still running 10 minutes late. You’re going to have to make up the time on the road, because there’s a big staff meeting that starts at nine sharp. This morning you need to become the jerk that cuts off every old lady, comes dangerously close to running red lights, honks your horn indiscriminately at jaywalking pedestrians and weaves in and out of traffic like a Nascar driver in pursuit of a Viagra sponsorship.
Feel the fiery flame of your heart chakra burn as you shake your fist and swear at the idiot trying to make a left turn from the right lane. Tailgate the girl yakking on her cellphone to her boyfriend while going 55 in the passing lane, flash your high beams until she finally picks up on your powerful mindwaves and swerves out of the way.
Your mind is tuned to the resonant speedway paths of the Universal Driver. Get into the flow and traffic will part before you like the Red Sea before the Hebrew Children. You are perfectly balanced and have gained supersight and superspeed. Yes, you can drive with one hand while unwrapping an Egg McMuffin with the other. Yes, you can create and practice a perfect one-minute presentation at the traffic light. The smoothly paved path toward success and promotion lies ahead. But what the hell are those flashing lights in your rearview mirror?
Lord Of Loaves And Fishes
You have a list of 27 items, each one possibly the key ingredient to some gourmet dish you’ve never heard of. There is no margin for error. Every item must be found, purchased, and delivered at least an hour before the guests arrive. Choose your path wisely; first the produce: cilantro, shitake, bok choy. Then the oils. So many choices, but only one will bring a peaceful smile to the face of the chef, who wields a sharp knife and a biting tongue. Don’t mess this up again like you did last week when you were reduced to arguing, “Safflower oil or sesame oil, what’s the difference?” You were not chosen for this task to think, but only to mindlessly hunt and gather.
So empty your mind of thoughts of beer and brats, or Cheetos and chocolate chip cookies, and find the rosemary-garlic focaccia, choose the nicest looking piece of fresh, sustainably-produced, wild-line-caught salmon, check and double-check every item on the list and don’t forget to give the checkout girl all your coupons. You may never be the bringer of bacon, but you can aspire to become the Lord of Loaves and Fishes.