Thursday, April 15, 2010
Less late than usual, she slipped into the room right behind the teacher. There were a dozen or so of us spread around the room, and the back of the room was almost empty. I was a little left of center, in the middle row – my friend and counselor, Pat, on one side, lots of open space on the other. We stood to begin the breathing exercises while Late Woman, after a quick survey of the room, put herself exactly between Pat and me.
I did a quick inner check to see if I'd be spending class fighting internal drama dragons, and was pleased to discover a light and laughing calmness at my center. Grateful for the reprieve from my shadow self, I focused on my forehead in the mirror and entered into the flow. Then during the third warmup pose I discovered myself far to the right of my mat – crowding Late Woman's space. Hmmm. Maybe not so centered after all.
As I pondered how I'd gotten myself there, a question rolled through my head, like a banner flying behind an airplane, "How would you handle this if you liked her?"
My answer, "I'd smile at her, we'd each adjust our position a little, then I'd forget she was there."
But I don't like her. Besides she's careful to not make eye contact with anyone, including the teachers. And I'm done moving to make room for her. So that left me with one option. I decided to practice as though she wasn't Late Woman, but Diana, another regular in the studio I might not want to be friends with but who shares this desire for healing with me. I did move myself back to the center of my mat where I belonged, but beyond that did the poses as though I had all the space I had created for myself before class started.
I did sort of forget about her for a while. Until we came to the first pose that requires straddling our mats with our arms outstretched. I considered the possibility that when I extended my arms, my right arm might run into her extended left arm, and decided not to worry about it. I did do a small inner check to make sure the part of me that had decided to crowd her earlier didn't decide now that smacking her "accidentally" would be a good idea. I practiced as though she wasn't there.
And she moved back. At first she just stepped farther back on her mat, but then she pulled her mat back – twice, far enough that we would be out of each other's way for the rest of class. She was aware she was too close, and adjusted herself.
I didn't have to be mad, or make a big deal, or even say anything. I just had to stay focused on taking care of myself, which in this case included not giving way. I don't know what I would have done if we'd actually made contact. I hope I would have smiled at her and kept going. There's a good chance I'll get to find out before the Late Woman lessons are over.
Picture from Flickr