Dear Slider and Ava,
Earlier this morning, my yoga instructor told me to “melt into timelessness.” That sounds beautiful doesn’t it? Leads to all sorts of meditative ideas. What is timelessness? How does one melt into anything? There is so much peace and joy in yoga, something prescribed to me by every doctor and therapist in my life.
And you two allow me to experience so much whatthehell during yoga that it is almost like its own form of meditation.
For instance, instead of melting into timelessness, you licked my elbow.
There is no good reason to do so. Just seconds before, the two of you were ripping apart a chew toy shaped like a giant frog. You willfully and joyously spit the frog’s fuzzy innards about the basement, grunting and taking turns like it was a buffet that everyone must stand over to eat. I ignored this. I did triangle pose in spite of your furry dissection, tilting my head just so and lowering my shoulder blades away from my ears.
I could really feel the pull in my hamstrings right before one of you belly crawled your way between my legs and laid down, suddenly bored with our search for transcendence. Indeed, the standing poses don’t interest you quite as much as the ground poses. The sitting poses are when you really get going with your participation.
Today, during one particular twisting stretch, you wrestled so emphatically against my hip that you knocked me off my folded pillow that I sit on because my hips are inflexible beams of steel. So I tried to balance and stretch and then boom – off I rolled right onto my mat. This encouraged you both as though you were suddenly winning a game I wasn’t playing.
Then we get to the poses when we are lying on the mat. These seem to confuse you at first. Lotus really gets you kicking as I lie on my stomach and arch my chest up, the head following the natural arc of the spine just like my yoga instructor tells me to do.
This is when you sniff my eyeball.
I don’t know what smell my eyeball gives off to you or why you seek enlightenment by inhaling it rapidly at that moment in time. Then you like to give me kisses. Eyeball. Lick cheek. Eyeball. Lick chin. “Mom! Mom! Mom! What’re you doing? What are you thinking? Are you thinking about us? We’re thinking about you! MOM THIS IS FUN!”
“Keep a steady breath throughout your practice,” the master says. Screw that. I will breathe when my dogs get their sniffers out of my face.
The next part isn’t your fault, Slider. We have trained you to jump on my back and sit patiently for petting. I don’t know why we did that really. It’s an odd trick. You do not “stay” or “come” or “stop losing your everloving mind over the cat over there.” But sit perfectly still on my back while I lie on the ground on my stomach? At that, you’re a master.
But again, not conducive to good poses designed to bring peace and positive mental health to my life. Instead it makes me giggle. It is hard to do the cobra pose when laughing. It is hard to “push up into child’s pose” when your 19.7 pound dog is sniffing your ear while standing on your back.
All of this is doable, my little white messes. You love each other – we get it. You may even be dating. Still. At the end of the practice, when I am meditating, when I am trying to align my chi by alternating which nostril I inhale through, I could do without the penis licking. I could do without the paw scratching. I could really do without the small grunts designed to continue the wrestling or the toy masticating.
To think – when I was hospitalized, one of the first things we did was get your vet records faxed so that you could visit me on the ward. They do this because dogs are supposed to bring peace and comfort, but all evidence is to the contrary with these practices, children.
You and I have very very different ideas of how to melt into timelessness. Something tells me you’re better at it than I am. Because at the very end of the session, Ava, as I sit cross legged with my eyes closed, hands resting on my knees, you climb gently onto my lap, curl up, and fall asleep like you’ve been there for hours. You melt just fine, don’t you? And Slider, you can’t possibly “melt” without “down” attached and yet, we firmly believe you were a Buddhist monk in a former life in your ability to let it all just roll right off your perfect specimen of a dog back.
You will always be timeless, though. I’ll give you that. So I love doing yoga with both of you around. Namaste.