"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Late Woman Lessons Continue

Since Thursday I've done everything short of an exorcism to get Late Woman out of my mind. I've prayed and meditated and sought advice from cooler heads than mine. But then I seemed to keep inviting her back in. Not on purpose, but my brain had decided this was a problem that needed solving–by me, and fast–and was not willing to let go.

I have lots of knowledge and I've listened to much wisdom. I could easily explain her presence in my life with every single one of my recent (and even not-so-recent) spiritual lessons. I tried to apply them all, from looking for my shadow in her to offering her compassion and forgiveness. And yet I woke up this morning (way earlier than I wanted) with the she's-messing-with-my-practice-I-know-it's-not-her-I'm-too-pissed-to-do-anything-that-would-help-heal-please-tell-me-what-to-do-and-how-to-do-it loop filling my brain.

If there's one thing I've learned in the last few years, it's that until my feelings quiet, it's best for me to wait before taking action. So I went to yoga this morning, praying she wouldn't be there on a Sunday (it's starting to look like she goes every day, or maybe she just has this crazy radar that sends her there only on the days I go). And if the answer to that prayer was no, sending a backup prayer that the Divine would create a miracle in which I became Mother Mary when Late Woman invaded my space again.

Then I rehearsed what it would look like, and what I would say, if I picked up my mat and walked out of class when she got too close to me again. Mature. Healed. Divine. The story loop in my head was not concerned with any of those things. Making her stop. Being right. Anger gone. That's what my brain was going for.

I was the second one in the studio this morning (and no, I didn't go early, thank you for asking). My favorite spot in the right front corner was open. Late Woman almost always goes for the middle, so I felt like I'd created a reprieve for myself.  The heat felt just right, the teacher was Eric who always makes us laugh, and I settled in to savasana happily to wait for the start of class.

I felt her energy the minute she opened the door, although I didn't believe at first it was her. She walked in with a smile, left over from the laugh she and the teacher had just shared in the lobby. Made her way front and center, plopped down her mat, forcing the woman on her right to shift toward me, and lay down in savasana. On time. Still no sense of personal space (the entire back of the room was empty). But on time. And not on top of me.

Lying there stunned, I found myself wanting to laugh, really laugh, for the first time in days. Just that fast, I had clarity and peace. Her coming late is not a campaign to drive me crazy, any more than her lack of personal space radar is. It's probable I'm not the only person who had problems with her behavior. She's not my problem to solve, or even my enemy. She's just a woman, like me, trying to find her way in the world.

During class she cracked a joke with the teacher that I appreciated and laughed at, even knowing it was her joke. 

I felt, maybe for the first time ever, that I was being offered a new way of learning. That perhaps the lessons I'm always looking for in life's events don't have to involve pain and suffering and huge gut-wrenching cold-sweat-inducing actions on my part. Maybe, just maybe, doing or being enough is way way less than I ever imagined.

I can't tell you for sure what I'll do Tuesday when she comes in late and sets up way too close to me, but I'm pretty sure I can promise the event won't hijack the entirety of my focus for the days that follow. Progress. Slowly. Slowly. 

Picture from Flickr. 
"Slowly. Slowly." from Carrie


Carrie Wilson Link said...

OMHOG, you've got all the good ones in here: Mother Mary, slowly, slowly, and ENOUGH! I'm so in love with this post I want to marry it.

She Writes said...

Progress is always slow, huh? Ugh! But discovering how to be okay with that is half the battle. I would go crazy from Late Woman too!

Anonymous said...

"Progress. Slowly. Slowly."
At TJ's, we call this 'Kaizen'.

Beautiful learning and sharing, as always.

Thanx, Deb!

-M in Vancouver

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with things like this.

Yesterday was a hard day but I need to remember to take it slow, small steps. Thank you.

patti said...

Deb, what MARVELOUS writing.
You make me want to come back again.

Kinda feelin' like Carrie!!!


Amber said...

I'm pretty sure she is just a pain in the ass. But leave it to you to try to open your heart to any lesson that may be hidden in it...
I don't think your progress is as slow as you think.


scarlethue said...

I think you and I must process things in very similar ways. If something disquiets my feelings, it takes me a while to put my thoughts in order and come to decision as to what to do as well, always looking for the lesson to be learned along the way. Thanks for posting this, it made me feel not so crazy. :) (And lateness drives me crazy too!)

Wanda said...

Don't know what I would do, but I am thinking I might not be as gracious as I would like to be. Boundaries...boundaries.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

What a powerful realization. When I'm able to look past things that irk me like that, it's definitely hard fought!

Janna Qualman said...

Slow progress? But look how much you learned, and how you taught us.

I'm learning, too, not to let others bother me so much. What's the point?

fullsoulahead.com said...

I love how you call her Late Woman. I'm betting you'll find out her real name though. Maybe you'll even be friends.

A Course in Miracles says the holiest place on earth is where an ancient hatred becomes a present love.

Perhaps too dramatic for the scene you describe, perhaps not.

: )

Pam said...

Had the experience of a woman like that in a general fitness class but she was very loud and effusive and had "her" spot directly in front of the teacher.Drove me crazy.Love your posts Deb.

Suzy said...

Maybe she's attracted to postive energy and learning- and that would be you.

I would certainly want to soak up all the amazing juju you got going.

Love you.


Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Progress. Slowly. Slowly."

I guess we can't hope for better than that.

Jerri said...

Blessings for class today. Can't wait to hear the story.

M said...

I have a "late woman" in my life as well, only he is an "obnoxious man" instead. Every week, he sits right next to me and always manages to say the most off the wall things. Sometimes, they just stick to me like duct tape on paint. Even after you pull the tape off, there seems to be some residue left.

I'm glad that you have reconciled that "late woman" doesn't intentionally make your life miserable...it's just who she is. I think when we all get to that point of not allowing others to control our emotions, we find ourselves in a much greater state of peace. I'm glad you're there.

I love you

patricia said...

Wow. I know a late woman, and she derails my life every SINGLE TIME I come into contact with her. I love how you articulated the internal in this.