I’m having one of those truly overwhelming months of work. Twist Yoga launched our Shoreline location in September, and since then I’ve spent no less than 14 hours a day, every day, either on my laptop or on hold with various customer service situations. My brain is fried.
Plus, my old lady eyes need reading glasses, but my ego is holding off. So: headaches.
Last Wednesday I could stand not one more minute on the computer. I needed some mindless work that day, so I ran an errand…. Even though every time I leave this place, I swear I will never go back.
Much like the pain of childbirth, though, one tends to forget.
I went with a strict list and a plan for a commando-style, no distractions mission. I was there for one thing only – I would NOT be sidetracked by tea light candles or yet another sheepskin mini rug.
…. So, after filling my gas tank and stocking up on road trip snacks, 45 minutes later I pulled my car into one of the few parking spaces left at IKEA in Renton.
Initial conundrum: Shall I consult the store map for a series of maddening shortcuts to procure my LACK shelves? Or shall I go with the flow and eventually arrive where I need?
Former. Although should’ve chosen the later to save my sanity.
I wasn’t five minutes through the doors when I witnessed my first marital meltdown. It was over a sofa….she wanted an Ektorp; he, a mid-century model.
Two hours later, in the self serve area, I discovered they “compromised” on the Ektorp. I know this because I spotted them near the empty shelf where the sofa was supposed to be, but there wasn’t one. The look on the husband’s face told me he was on the verge of screaming, “IF SOMEONE DOESN’T GET ME AN EKTORP, I WILL BURN THIS MOTHER F’N PLACE DOWN!”
One of my favorite pastimes is to observe human behavior. And nowhere is this more interesting than Ikea. It surprises me that no one has written a sociology dissertation on this.
What happens to normal, well-adjusted people when dropped into the bowels of this store? The Dalai Lama himself would crack under the pressure of the slow-moving crowds stuck in a labyrinth layout and the lack of natural light. Throw in those stupid wonky shopping carts that have a mind of their own and the low blood sugar that occurs when it takes two hours to buy two shelves, and you’ve got a petri dish to grow your relationship strife.
It’s fascinating to watch.
While waiting the 15 minutes for a salesperson to check stock, I had a front row seat in a series of arguments between another couple: It started with a miscommunication over coffee mugs, escalated quickly, and came to blows over a curtain panels.
As a casual observer, it is abundantly clear how a series of communication disconnects can send a couple into a knock-down-drag-out. How many times have you watched your friends and family – or your own – exchanges where a benign remark turns into a train wreck?
Being an unattached observer is the key to maintain a balanced, easy (sattvic, in sanskrit) way of being. And, while this concept is simple when watching others, it can be pretty difficult when dealing with our own thoughts and emotions.
This is where yoga comes in. I love yogi Jason Crandell’s assessment of the practice: “Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about how you are.”
The time we spend on the mat — watching our breath, our thoughts and reaction to sensation – helps us to revolutionize our relationship to things that suck.
This yoga mat, our “laboratory”, helps us to develop our observer “muscles” so that later on, in your daily life, the observer is strong enough to stay outside the feelings and skip the train wreck.
So why not come to the studio and practice flexing your powers of observation?
You can do it.
Because when you become the observer, you become free. You own your thoughts, they do not own you….
….Which will totally come in handy when you and your partner attempt to assemble your IKEA purchase together. 🙂