Monday, July 07, 2008

Don't Panic

One of my favorite pieces of advice ever given to me by my yoga guru, David Garrigues, was “don’t panic.”

This was in reference to my behavior in urdhva dhanuranasana, the “upward bow” pose, where my tendency is to grit my teeth and lose all control of my breath, huffing and puffing in pain until such time as I can plop back down and lie in a quivering heap on my mat.

David’s advice was intended to have me notice that in spite of how painful and difficult back-bending is for me, it’s not likely to be my demise; I might want to die in the pose, but I’m not going to, in other words.

That’s sort of how I feel about the world in general today. It’s all going to hell in a handbasket, but this is no time to freak out about it. I’m an old guy, after all; it’s important to take the long view; I may feel like I’m going to—or want to—die, but chances are good things will generally take care of themselves if I just calm down and breathe.

Of course, I could be fooling myself horribly; this might be just the time to go raging around, selling everything, casting caution to the wind, and changing everything all at once. But I guess if it IS that time, then it doesn’t really matter all that much what I do; all is lost, anyway.

DON’T PANIC is the core advice of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, too; and insofar as it worked for dear old Arthur Dent as he bounced around the universe, I take it as a pretty good admonition for my own adventures here and there. It’s pretty obvious to me, anyway, that all the times I have panicked in my life—that that time I freaked on ‘shrooms and called my parents in Pittsburgh at 2:00 in the morning from San Francisco—it’s been a mistake.

So, don’t panic, indeed.


Blogger derrickito said...

how well did your parents enjoy that phone call?

3:10 PM  
Blogger dashap said...

Eh, they were used to that kind of stuff from me by then; they just figuratively rolled their eyes when I called them to explain the next day and said I had had too many beers.

4:32 PM  

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