Monday, August 21, 2006

the balance of nature


“… the balance of nature decrees that a super-abundance of dreams is paid for by a growing potential for nightmares.” - peter ustinov

the dreams started started friday night, after i’d registered for the workshop. i have been worrying about my purely physical responses to the instructor – they’re not exactly appropriate, to say the least, and i don’t think i’ll go into detail. you can probably imagine for yourself.

i realized i was projecting all this Stuff onto mr. kest, who actually is, as i’ve been reminding myself, a real person – and who i will actually meet in real life in just over a month. they are completely unfair to him. these reactions will do nothing but block my ability to learn.

friday night i dreamed that i was at the workshop, met him, and that he was a total jerk. the kind of guy who talks about Old Souls, meaning, in essence, that he is one, and you’re not. (i knew one of these in college and damn was it degrading.)

i had a similar experience when i met patrick stewart. my then-boyfriend had gotten tickets to see stewart’s one-man version of a christmas carol on broadway. we stood outside the stage door in the cold for about two hours, waiting for an autograph. when he came out, i barged forward like a complete dork and shoved my program at him. it’s no wonder he wasn’t exactly impressed with me. it was enough to kill that crush in all of thirty seconds.

that happened in the dream on friday night – i met my rock star and he was an asshole. and you know what? it completely released me from any kind of expectations i had been harboring about him. so i’m very grateful for it.

that was the first dream.

the second dream was triggered by the class i took saturday. i got there a little too early this time, and the morning workshop hadn’t yet finished up. i found myself chatting inanely with whomever was there and finally decided that a wee ten-minute silent retreat was in order. the folks in the workshop started filtering out and you could tell it was a hell of a class – something like a four-hour master class with a visiting teacher that had everyone covered in sweat with that unmistakeable savasana stare that means, “shit, i really didn’t want to have to come back to the world yet.”

to say i felt out of place is something of an understatement. one girl looked at me and i could have sworn she was glaring – but you know, i really think she was looking right through me. my paranoid self was screaming, though, so it was hard to listen to the voice of truth underneath the hysteria. then the owner of the studio came out and i was completely star-struck. totally nervous, trying to stay cool, it’s not like she’s natalie merchant.

tried to get a spot in the empty studio close to the back. but they were mopping up after the last class. wound my way back towards the door through the crowd and resolved to be as unobtrusive as possible. no eye contact, no words, no movement. kinda like a mouse trying not to attract the notice of an owl.

i still don’t know the rules there, the etiquette. but i know it’s worth the anxiety at the beginning to go to the saturday class. the teacher is wonderful, the class is challenging, and i was sore enough the next day to know i had worked my ass off – and had somehow remained calm in the midst of it.

my second dream: i'm at the workshop with thirty or forty other students, mostly women. we’re hanging out at the friday night session, waiting to see what’s going to happen, waiting for kest to show up. the owner of the studio comes through and talks to us, i’m listening but fiddling with my mat, nervous, no surprise.

she comes right up in front of me and looks me straight in the eye. “you just cannot focus, can you?” she barks, reminding me more than anything of R. Lee Ermey. “i don’t even know what you’re doing here. total waste of time. you might not even be worth a spot on the floor.”

terror. she sees what a novice (wannabe, dilettante) i am. even though her comment is unfair, i actually was listening, but her point is still valid. i shouldn’t even be here.

cut to more waiting. rumor has it that kest won’t show up until the next day, and we’ll only have two-hour sessions with him, in smaller groups, if you make the cut. so i might not get to work with him at all. given the owner’s rather negative first impression of me, it’s doubtful i’ll make the cut.

to make matters worse, the workshop is being held in a nasty, waterlogged ramada inn. smells of mildew, water stains on the ceiling, the occasional puddle on the floor. it reflects badly on me, because i’m the only local – everyone else traveled to get here.

i woke up this morning to the sound of my cell phone alarm in the other room. stunned and heartbroken. then, as recognition kicked in (hey, it was a dream!) a profound sense of relief washed over me. it’s about the worst that could happen. and i’ve already been there, in my dream. so now i can let go of another aspect of the anxiety and move back into practice with a somewhat clearer head and calmer heart.

bad dreams aren’t always bad.

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