having a thick skull never let me down when i was a child.
for example, when i was in second grade (or grade 2 for any of the canadians reading along) i ran head first into the metal gymnasium shaped like a bug on the playground during a highly competitive game of red rover, and thanks to a thick skull, i walked away dazed, but fairly unscathed.
or, that one time, in high school when my brother decided it'd be a good idea to start practicing his wrestling take-down maneuvers on an innocent and unsuspecting me, i never once had to cover my head fetal position style and could focus on more important body parts, like all of them.
that said, my thick skull still comes in handy every time i stand up on an airplane, inevitably misjudging the amount of space between the floor and over head bin in coach.
it's actually amazing how often someone of near-legal midget status can hit their head in any given day.
taken less literally and more metaphorically (because that's what we're all about now-a-days, hidden meanings and metaphors, right?) a thick skull hasn't always come in handy during my adult life.
arguments i insist on winning are usually not based on fact but rather than my ever-present ego. and my thick skull is what keeps that little voice whipsering 'my way or the straight flat highway' rather than 'hm....perhaps a curve might be a good thing....'
this brief history of my thick-skulled nature is merely a long-winded way of announcing that after practicing yoga for the last 4 years of my life, finally what my teachers have talked about is starting to sink in.
don't worry ma, i'm not turning buddhist, but merely opening my mind to another way of thinking, and slowing down in the crazy 'get out of my way buddy' lifestyle i've created for myself.
like landmark, there's been a series of 'a-ha' moments along the way, and the already slow nature of vancouver has helped, but the big a-ha came during my last trip to hong kong, in a hot class at pure yoga. the teacher, janet (who's awesome, ps) started off her class with a story about one of her students. he'd been practicing with her for a couple years and while his poses were flawless and beautiful, every muscle of his body would be soooo tense and he'd be trying soooo hard to get it right. (for those that don't practice, the challenge of yoga is not to hold the poses, but to find relaxation in them) when she finally had the opportunity to talk to him, he explained that in his life he was very stressed out and he was inevitably bringing this to his mat each day.
so she asked us: is your mat a mirror--is your practice a reflection of how you live your life?
a loaded question for this girl...completely contradictory to the principles of yoga, on my mat i'm competitive (there's this one girl in class i refused to sit next to because her wheel was out of control. i finally sat next to her one day, and turns out she's actually quite cool. go figure), i'm super critical about how the teacher structures her flow (i hate repetitive salutations) and i have to sweat (i refuse to go to hatha because it conjures up visions of way too much stretching and 'hippy' yoga speak).
this is inherent to my personality, and to who i am...it's not going to change over night. but what i can work on, is who i am in my day-to-day life. sure i'm a wound-up type A overacheiver who hates waiting in line at starbucks because there's always that one person who can't make up their mind and it will inevitably drive me nuts. and that doesn't have to change overnight. but what i can change is my attitude toward that person in line. rather than letting my ego take over and think to myself 'it's coffee, not brain surgery' i can remove the bitter judgement and instead compassionately wonder 'maybe they just don't know what coffee they want? or english is their second language?'
the same goes with my attitude about vancouver. for the longest time (i.e. all last year) i resisted vancouver and it's slow ways, shorter work days, and generally laid back lifestyle...arguing (in my head, of course) that i'm this seasoned east-coaster, transplanted from new york and i don't do slow.
the reality is, what's so bad about getting into work at 9:15? walking home to watch the sun set? taking in a yoga class instead of a meeting?
and it's this attitude of acceptance i intend to keep working on.