Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love

An excerpt:

".....I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than i care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then i have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance i have been a victim of my own optimism."

I think that is the best expressed written paragraph i have ever read.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I do yoga.
I do it twice a week religiously.
I do it even if i am sick, or have to reschedule work.
I do yoga.
My yoga instructor, my teacher, says that everyone does yoga for their own reasons, the only important thing is that you know why you do yoga, so that you can find what you seek.
Let me think.
I do yoga because i like the feeling of pushing myself farther than i can go, and getting there.
Because i like how it feels when i am finally comfortable with a very uncomfortable position.
Because i like feeling the pain of muscles i didn't know i had.
I do yoga because i get to lie on the ground in the middle of the room.
I do yoga because i get to sit still, and switch off my phone, and forget about the world.
I do yoga because it is the only discipline i practice in my life, and it's good to know that i am capable of discipline.
I do yoga because i get to listen to my body, and i get my body to listen to me.
I do yoga because i get to get my mind to shut up.
I do yoga because ever since i started my neck and back stopped hurting, and i can bend and squat without thinking.
I do yoga because i like chanting in a group, and i like that the words i chant mean nothing to me.
I do yoga because it's self indulgent, and because the more i do it, the better things are.
I do yoga to get better, in whatever sense of the word.

At the beginning of every class my teacher talks to us about something, today she talked about having our hearts not too closed, and not too open, having our hearts in balance. In case you didn't know, yoga is all about balance. Then she talked about forgiveness, "forgive the person, but not the act", she talked about forgiveness for a while and then proceeded with the chant that starts our class.

I can't forgive. I want to, but i can't. All through today's class i tried to forgive, i tried to separate myself from the past, separate my experience from the person, separate the person from the act. With every movement and impossible stretch and hold i tried to will my body to let go of it all, "it doesn't matter" i told my body, "you're wasting life" i told my mind. It had been a very long time since i felt myself struggle like that.

My class ended, and as i was tying my shoe laces my teacher sought me out with her eyes and asked me if i was better. It is common practice for a class member to hang back after the rest had left to consult with my teacher on one thing or the other, but i never had.
I sat at her desk, and told her my thoughts without filtering.

"I can't forgive."

"It isn't easy."

"But I know i must, in my mind i have, but in my heart i can't."

"It takes time, it will happen on it's own"

"But in my mind i believe that i must, i want to, for me, i can't bear it, i have never not forgiven anyone, no matter."

"Do you want revenge?"


"Do you feel self pity?"


"Then what do you think is stopping you?"


"What was done to you was no about you, you do see."

"In my mind i know that, but a part of me just can't accept that this was done to me."

"You will get there, so long as you keep wanting to."

I do yoga because in the world of yoga this language is normal and unpretentious.

I do yoga because it is the embodiment of the belief of yoga that i can make myself get better, in whatever sense of the word, and nothing is better than that feeling of power over me.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

F You! (or it's equivalent in arabic)

I did something today that i never ever thought i would do, could do; i gave a man the finger while driving. He did nothing that is exceptional to Cairo driving etiquette, he was coming onto the mansoureya road from a side road too fast and was about to cut me off had i not swerved to the left and insisted on reserving my right to keep going as i was on the main road. But for some odd reason, i was in such a foul mood that i actually did what i have so often resisted doing, after he started cursing and throwing his hands around in protesting gestures, i looked him straight in the eye through my rear view mirror, and gave him the finger while mouthing profanities at him.
I felt a surge of liberation that lasted about ten seconds, after which i realized that i am on the mansoureya road, that this guy could very well jam his old car into my semi-new baby and attempt to scare me off the road into the horrendous ter3a bellow. I locked my doors and pressed on the gas, in what resulted in him lighting a cigarette and engaging me in a car chase that lasted all of 15 minutes where i displayed unbelievable driving skills that even i didn't know i had. I swerved between tractors, karetas and vespas which such smoothness watching him getting repeatedly frustrated as he kept getting stuck behind annoying obstacles with every "stitch" i took. My fear augmented with every near escape, as i was sure that if he caught up with me now he would surely screw me over. After fifteen minutes of this fear driven mania, i reached the highway where my baby gave me an easy outlet as his car is minimum 15 years older. As i unclenched my shoulders, I had to ask myself; was it really worth it? Was giving him the finger and the satisfaction it entailed worth the fifteen minutes of tension?

I dare say it was.