Thursday, September 14, 2006

Compassion

I just finished this book by a fallen nun who left the Catholic church and religion all together only to study it as an academic and come back to believing, years later, on a higher plane than she was before. I liked what she had to say about God and religion but I won't go into that here other than to say that for her, experience of the Divine comes from compassionate acts. So she gives of herself, and that diminishes her ego, and takes her outside of herself, and she experiences ecstasy.

Anyhoo. I thought, why not apply this compassion to the Indian man for whom I am currently working? Because he, let me tell you, drives me up one wall and down another and then I run screaming out the plate-glass window, leaving a McPolack-shaped hole in my wake. So instead of getting frustrated I tried to be compassionate -- really feel what he was feeling -- and to be kind to him.

I've been riding the edge of compassion and pity with him and I must say that both feelings are preferable to the white-hot rage I was starting to feel.

Then I went to yoga. Ah, further destressing. And my favorite teacher, who left the Tuesday class to teach on Sundays, is for some reason teaching the Thursday class. And she is having us do this pose where you extend one leg and pull the other, knee up and sole of the foot down, in towards your hips. Then you lean forward with a flat back and grab the extended foot.

Then you attempt a bind, by pushing your shoulder past your knee and wrapping your arm around that knee and around your back. Then you wrap your other arm around and reach for the hand.

Well today my yoga teacher came over to help me out. To help someone out in this position involves essentially wrapping your entire body around said person and trying to smoosh them, so that the hands that are not meeting meet.

My teacher did this for me. "You're almost there, McP!," she said, using a shortened version of my name that folks who find me endearing sometimes used. And I realized that she was quite possibly feeling compassion/pity for me as I think the reason I can't bind is because there is just too much of me to wrap my arms around, and also because I am sweaty and my yoga clothes smell like dirty feet because I wash them in a broken washine machine and hang them to dry and instead of drying they sort of just smell.

So that's compassion/pity for you. I share my time and my chocolate truffles with the annoying Indian man, and my yoga teacher gives a big stinky stretchy pant-wearing elephant a tight squeeze.

And the wheel goes 'round.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Teri said...

The last bit actually brought me to tears!

You have a big heart, McP.
xo

9:56 AM, September 15, 2006

 
Blogger nonsequitur said...

May I know what the book was called? It sounds interesting :) The world certainly needs more compassion and understanding.

1:31 AM, September 17, 2006

 
Blogger McPolack said...

Sure thing...it's called The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong. I think you in particular would like it.

And Teri, right back atcha.

6:00 PM, September 18, 2006

 

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