So we moved to Bali.
Greetings friends and well-wishers.
This is my new website. I’m trying to design it myself but I’m both technologically challenged and don’t really like working very hard so it’ll have to be a work in progress. I managed to get the blog working so here it is.
I’m generally more predisposed to rambling self-reflection then I am to self-promotion anyways. That’s probably why I’m broke, but I might as well play to my strengths.
Anyone who knows me will hardly be surprised that this “yoga blog” isn’t really going to be about like…how to do yoga poses. It might be a sort of travel blog, but I’m not the sort to brag about how amazing this or that place is or how amazing my life is because I’m in this or that place.
I don’t want to make you jealous, and that shit’s boring anyways. What’s really and truly fascinating is my uncanny ability to be grumpy in paradise. “Paradise.” We’ll throw some quotation marks around that one I think. Cause… you know… most people who come from “paradise” think that where they’re from stinks and Canada sounds like paradise. I guess that pretty much sums up the human condition.
In Buddhism they call that Dukkha.
So I figure a yogi’s got 2 choices with respect to the social media thing.
They can take a picture of themselves on a beautiful beach in the one yoga pose they’re better than other people at, caption it with some warm and fuzzy spiritual wisdom and then proceed to fight with their boyfriend or girlfriend off camera because they didn’t frame the picture right and they never… fucking… listen.
Or…They can talk about the fight. Because that’s what their life is actually like, and that’s where the actual yoga happens.
Or maybe they have the self-control not to fight with people. People who do a lot of yoga are sometimes marvels of self-control.
Maybe beneath that dreamy smile they’re just quietly terrified of death.
No amount of sun salutations are going to fix that shit. Not unless you can download your practice into daily life. Traditionally step one of that process is to not hurt others. Step two is to be honest.
So that’s what I’m doing here. Trying to peel away the layers of self-deception and self-aggrandizement that keep me from being honest. Because of course the archetypal Instagram yogi I’m so obviously frustrated by is really just an aspect of myself that I’m having trouble coming to terms with.
Hmmm…I guess one of the ways I protect myself is by being sardonic and critical and downplaying the good things in my life. So let’s forget that for a moment. I want to talk about something I’m truly grateful for.
Two years ago Mary and I met in the back of an autorickshaw in Rishikesh, India. We had what one might call a “brief encounter,” while we were both busy studying yoga and after a couple months of what I call a whirlwind romance and Mary calls sleeping together we parted ways. I assumed I’d never see her again.
When I returned to Canada last April I was feeling bored and depressed. I wound up having to move to Ottawa to be close to my parents. In other words I had no money and no job and they had the generosity and kindness to take me in.
I could teach yoga, but let’s just say the close-knit local yoga scene in Ottawa has no shortage of new teachers trained in the local yoga studios. It took some time to find work. Life was kind of a bummer.
On a whim I sent Mary a message asking where she was in the world. Turns out she was in Pennsylvania, staying with her parents and in a similar situation, albeit not quite as broke. Mary does most of her work on-line and can comfortably work anywhere in the world so we decided it would be fun for her to come up to Canada for a while and see what happens.
On June 7th of last year she arrived at my parents’ front door and over the next couple months we made several trips back and forth between Ottawa and Pennsylvania, another whirlwind romance. The trouble was Mary, a dedicated nomad, really never intended to be in North America for very long and had booked a plane ticket to Portugal and Israel and then back to India for September. Again, I assumed I’d never see her again.
A few days before she was set to leave we had an argument about some bullshit. In the middle of the argument she announced that she had cancelled her plane tickets and wanted to come stay in Ottawa because she was in love with me. I spat out my coffee and, after taking a second to switch gears, said I would like that. We never did resolve that argument…
I was eventually able to find enough work teaching yoga to make a living but after braving the truly intense Ottawa winter Asia was calling us back. I squirreled away just enough money and found a bit of writing work I could do remotely and we booked 2 one-way tickets to Bali, the land of digital nomads, Instagram yogis, surf bums and uhhh… Balinese culture.
Our plan was to go full nomad, live together on the road, staying in one place until we felt like going somewhere else and then live there.
That’s the dream life for a lot of people. But the thing is there’s always a catch.
In the months leading up to my trip I had a bunch of work fall through and wasn’t able to bank any of the money I made. Some of the preparations wound up costing more then I intended and an expected tax return wound up getting audited and is still pending. I had less money then I thought I would but we decided to just go for it and make it work.
Then, a week before our flight we found out that one of Mary’s parents was going into the hospital to get tests for a potentially serious health issue. They’d find out the results on June 5th. The day of our flight.
So basically, after all this planning, all this excitement and all this build-up… After quitting my job and saying good-bye to my friends (I eventually made some)… After buying travel insurance, booster vaccinations and paying for a side-trip to Australia…
I was going to find out, about 6 hours before my non-refundable flight, whether we were going to have to postpone our trip.
Thing is, it’s not like I have an extra thousand dollars lying around for another flight to Bali. I barely had enough to go in the first place.
Of course, all of my anxiety about money and plans is meaningless compared to Mary’s worries about her parent’s health. The worst part was that we weren’t even in the same city during all of this. She had gone back to America for the week before the trip to spend time with them Mary was literally going to find out in the departure lounge at JFK.
I spent the day I had looked forward to for months sitting on my brother’s couch with my phone in my hand; beside myself with anxiety; waiting; quietly terrified of death. I can’t imagine what Mary must have been going through. I just wanted to hold her and I couldn’t. It was fucking terrible.
We’re in Bali now.
We fucking made it.
I get to be in this beautiful place with this beautiful woman and I am so fucking happy.
Life is tough and I’m still a grump and I’m still terrified but I can be happy and hopeful and in love too. It took me 10 years of yoga to learn I could be all of that at the same time.
That’s life. It’s all of it. The whole thing. There it is. It’s all there.
Here’s a picture of me exercising.