I returned from Tulum high on life. My plan following the Live Love Teach training was to swoop in on my magic yoga mat like a benevolent yogi superhero, saving the world one Sun Salutation at a time. I had spent 5 days teaching yoga on the beach, laughing with a group of incredible yogis, eating lots of guacamole and meditating at sunrise. Infused with a new sense of energy and purpose, my Master Plan was beginning to take shape in my mind: “I am going to meditate everyday! Yoga –everyday! Sex with my husband –every other day! This is the new me: Goodbye Clenchy Clencherton, Hello Joyful Jessie! I embrace life with ease, I go with the flow!”
As soon as I stepped on the plane, things started to flow alright. Right into the toilet. Like, 10 times. I was a popular passenger.
Phil picked me up in Philly and we drove straight to New Jersey for my aunt’s memorial service. Between bathroom breaks on the NJ Turnpike, I geared myself up for the emotional event that I had managed to block out of my mind for the past five days. My expectation was that I would be strong and composed during the mass. The reality was that I blubbered from the minute I stepped foot in the church until the moment I went to bed that night. Maybe my chakras were all loosey goosey after a week of yoga, because I was a hot mess.
In fact, a lot of things throughout the week continued to be loose: my bowels, my housekeeping, my schedule, my level of parental responsibility or standards for television programming. It turns out that I brought more than big plans back from Mexico; I brought a big parasite back as well. My expectation of a week of living life with a new sense of passion and presence quickly gave way to my reality of shitting my brains out in between episodes of Dance Moms (a show that may actually kill brain cells).
As the week progressed, nothing turned out as planned. I stayed up late gluing glitter and feathers on what was supposed to be Emma’s Princess-Ballerina Turkey, only to send her to school with something resembling a Drag Queen Mummer Turkey. Because diarrhea without a colon ultimately yields extreme dehydration, I was unable to teach my first yoga class since returning from Mexico. I started to feel really bad about things- that I was letting everyone down, I couldn’t do anything right, everything I touched turned to shit. My attitude began to deteriorate as my image of this began to fade: and all I could see was this:
But then something weird happened. I caught myself.
I caught myself mid-judgment and realized that the only thing worse than the parasitic pooping was my mental diarrhea. I suddenly recognized what a train wreck self-judgment is; how one judgment leads to another judgment until it becomes one big giant pileup of neurosis.
Byron Katie says, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon or too late. You don’t have to like it- it’s just easier if you do.” Move with the tide or fight the current, either way the river is going to keep on flowing. When I feel myself thrashing around like a drowning chicken, it usually means I am judging myself for things not being the way I think they are supposed to be, rather than simply surrendering to reality. When I take out the judgment, when I just take a breath and say to myself:
it actually leaves a little crack in the craziness for sanity to enter.
Stacy Dockins, a yogi with a heart as big as her home state of Texas and co-founder of Live Love Teach, made a case for teaching yoga passionately when she said, “I’m here, you’re here, we might as well make a big freaking deal about it.” Of course, by “here” Stacy meant a yoga class.
Or did she?
Maybe when she said “here,” she meant wherever you are RIGHT NOW…
…which is on the couch, sick. So I might as well make a big freaking deal about it .
So maybe this wasn’t the week for teaching yoga passionately, but it was the week of being sick with a parasite passionately. I snuggled with the girls on the couch, where we watched the original Annie (with Carol Burnett)…twice. I beat Phil’s highest score on Angry Birds, nibbled salty pretzels and sipped ginger ale. I caught up on my DVR episodes of Oprah’s Lifeclass, which filled me with gratitude –because while I may have a parasite, at least my husband doesn’t put rat poison on the condom before having sex with me. Now that’s a SITUATION.
Life is what it is, there’s a lot we can’t control. Being pissed about that doesn’t really help. So this week I slowed down. I allowed others to take care of me. I had the choice to say “F@#* it” to the laundry, or, “F@#*!! I need to do the laundry!” So I just said “F@#* It,” because either way, the laundry was still not getting done.
It’s easier to admit it than fight it. Plus it frees up time to watch movies and have snacks.
When life hands you a parasite, just say “bring it on.” And, “pass the remote.”