The Monkey and the Fish


We had 4 books in teacher training that were required reading, all amazing in different ways.  If you ever find yourself in a mood for learning about yoga philosophy, which is incredibly deep and wide, I can refer you to at least 6 books I’ve read, all amazing.  I would love to lend you any of the books I bought in the hopes you might find even a small fraction of what they have helped me find.  In one book called The Art of Communicating, the author says that when we listen to someone who has something meaningful to them to express, we offer a homeless part of that person a home.  If you are in fact reading this, thank you for doing that for me.


Another one of them is Yamas & Niyamas, which are 10 observances and practices within yoga philosophy on how to live towards the ultimate goal of yoga, to eliminate suffering within ourselves and find our true self.  The book in one passage describes an Indian story about a monkey that removes a fish from the water and takes it up into a tree, where the fish dies.  The meaning of this story is that the monkey thought the fish was drowning and so was trying to save the fish according to what the monkey thought was necessary to live.  The moral taught is that we should not wish for others happiness as we know it, instead we should want happiness for others in whatever ways others find happiness.  Yoga has profoundly changed my life in too many ways to communicate here and now, but whether you ever actually read this or not I need to express it.  If you do read this I hope you’ll understand why it’s important for me to offer this by the time you finish reading.  I want happiness for you in whatever way you find it.  I have always been in awe of your love for your daughters and for your tireless (and tired) routine providing for them with so little apparent help.  I’m sure that I never told you that, or if I did it was probably in a very clumsy way.  I always admired you for that whether you ever knew it or not.  You deserve happiness, I very deeply hope you believe that so that you can have it or find it.


I came to see you last night for two reasons, neither being to drink tequila.  I think the first time, or one of the first times I met you I had 2 shots of Cabo, and it came to be one of my favorite ways to spend time, enjoying the tequila, but more importantly to talk to a beautiful woman who I felt something warm for almost from the start.  I’ll get to why I’m writing, honest.  Stay with me I have a lot on my mind and didn’t sleep last night so I’m sort of rambling.


Somewhere at around 4 or 5 months into practicing yoga it migrated from a physical workout into an amazing experience for my mind, for me physically, and for me.… for my self.   I began to really notice myself and I began to feel stillness and serenity.  I began to tune into my thoughts, feelings, and body in a way I had never done before and find clarity that allows me to trust in what I feel, knowing what I need and trusting that when I leave behind what doesn’t serve me, whatever that is at that time, it allows me space to be in that moment.  I became better able every day as I continued to practice to really listen to the voice we all hear as we narrate our story each waking moment.  Even now, approaching 2 years after I first unrolled a mat under my feet, I can feel the enormous power of the connection I’ve found with my real, true self becoming more vivid and focused each and every time I come home to my mat.  Our most important relationship is the one we have with our self, and it’s the one most of us spend the least time cultivating and nurturing.  Our relationship to self is what makes possilbe every other relationship we have in our world.  Unless and until we clearly hear and understand ourselves, we can’t hear and understand others.  When we see and hear ourselves clearly without labels and without attachments to ego or to a need to be part of something temporary we bring that out in others too.


I want to try to offer you 2 sentiments which I hope you can take from my words here.  The first is that our relationship was, and even though we don’t see each other and don’t exchange texts or thoughts much now, still is profoundly meaningful to me.  I still care about you because I believe I could and still can see you as you are:  real and genuine, beautiful and full of love which I see you give your girls every chance you get.  I hope these words don’t make you uncomfortable, I really mean that.  I am not trying to bring you back into my life, I don’t write in an effort to get something from you, I truly, honestly just want to express to you what is in my heart.  It’s a little bit selfish of me, because it gives my heart space when I allow what I feel to be somewhere you can see it and hear it for yourself.  I went to see you last night to check my feelings as I was seeing you for the first time in many months, now with much greater stillness and a much better dialog with myself.  I am interviewing Monday morning for a job which I think might be the most awesome experience in my working life, and as a sort of a bookend to balance the bookend that was formed when we met years ago, just before I began 6 years of a very heavy unhappiness in my work life which suffocated my personal life.  I regret that the person you knew in me was during that period, before I learned how to be present and to believe in myself and know myself in a way that directly lead to the opportunity I now have.  In the time you knew me I was preoccupied and confused with my life, not able to understand or cope with changes at work that seemed to come from nowhere and which were so intensely negative and unexpected.  I now understand that I was led to that work experience because I had come to take everything in my life for granted, and didn’t appreciate even things that most people are never fortunate enough to experience. 


It takes sorrow to let you feel the joy

It takes poverty to let you love the toy :)


I regret that I pushed you away, even though it was never intentional.  I need you to know I understand how impossilble it was for you to be with me then.  Whether it makes sense to you or not, it really wasn’t all that great to be with myself.  In fact my self was lost somewhere, looking for the comfort of familiarity in the work life I had come to use as a replacement for my real feelings and for what actually makes me happy.  I truly think that I do understand from your perspective then as much as I can, without having children of my own, how there wasn’t a chance for us to be happy because I never fully showed up in our relationship.  I clung to labels I hung on myself as a sad substitute for simply being myself.  I’ve wandered quite a bit in writing this, but please also know that in the year after you left I was honest with you when I said that the reason I never tried to talk to you about us was simply because I was so scared of saying the wrong thing and driving you away forever.  I wrongly felt that maybe if I said little or nothing, I could avoid saying the wrong thing.  It’s horrifying to me now to think that anyone can believe that a person who can’t or won’t express himself to someone he feels so much for would be anyone worth being in a relationship with.  I had no real relationship with myself.  I don’t hang on to these thoughts, it makes me sad, but I do recognize they are true.  Even our breath that gives us life will suffocate us if we hold onto it, so to be healthy and happy I let go of regrets and can’t live in the past, just like no one can ever be happy holding on to regret, sadness, or yesterday.


I know full well how busy your life is, and so understand how impossible it would be for you, but if you ever would like to take a class, I practice at midtown all the time and would love to buy you a class.  No weirdness, no motives, I just love what yoga has done for me and probably irritate most everyone around me encouraging people to practice for themselves.  I hope with all of my heart it isn’t irritating you reading this.  I know sometimes it’s annoying listening to someone who sounds as if they are preaching.  I promise you I’m not preaching.  I’m expressing six years, if not more, of thoughts and feelings which were never in balance.  Yoga has taught me to stretch, both physically and mentally, it has taught me to take balance with me in everything I do, mentally and physically, and it has made a believer of me in perseverence.  We really do have everything we need within ourselves, and when we listen clearly to what we need, we can find it when we try.  I hope for you that if you don’t know the truth of what I’m saying that you can come to find it, understand it, and believe it in a way that you need to find happiness and rid yourself of suffering.  We all suffer.  I still suffer and I don’t pretend I’ve achieved nirvana or an end to my own suffering, but I know how and where to find stillness and I know that with practice I am closer each day.  It’s practice, so we never will be entirely without struggles, but if we stop trying to control and manage our lives we can start to actually live our lives one breath and one moment at a time.  It’s very beautiful to have been led to Midtown Yoga knowing it was no accident and having been taught the wisdom of letting go with trust in each moment.  I’m so grateful.  One of my favorite passages in my readings during training helps me every day:


When it rains, let it rain.


The brilliant light in me, that is me, sees loves and feels all of the awesome light that is in you!  namaste.




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