Monday, June 10, 2013

1100 Dandelions


A few weeks ago on a gorgeous sunny Seattle afternoon, I was sitting on my front stoop. I have a pretty great view of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains. I was basking in all that splendor and the warmth of the sun, but my view was obstructed by the distracting yellow dandelions that covered my yard at the bottom of my sight line. My 8-year-old daughter Lucia, sad little only child, was mulling around claiming boredom. "Pick all the dandelions" I heard myself say. "I'll give you a penny for each dandelion you pick." Lucia, a big-time money saver, ran inside and grabbed an Easter basket and proceeded to pick. She first picked by the tens "Fifty cents!" she'd cry after picking 50 ugly yellow poofs. Then by the 100s "Two Dollars!!!" she'd yell. Afer every 100 dandelions, she'd make a run to the yard waste bin, dump her load and start again. After about an hour and completely yellow fingers, Lucia had collected 1100 dandelions. The afternoon had faded to dusk. I forked over her eleven bucks, poured myself a glass of wine, and enjoyed my now perfect view. We were both happy. Lucia was rich and I had a dandelion free yard and a near perfect sunset view.

The next morning I woke up to see that my yard looked exactly the same as it had before I shelled over the big bucks. Dandelions everywhere. At first I was pissed. What a waste, I thought to myself. All that dough, all Lucia's hard work, and nothing to show for it! My yard had looked pristine the night before, but it was all an illusion. The dandelions had disappeared for just those fleeting moments.

The next day I was doing yoga. Frankie was teaching. She tells me every single time I practice with her (for the last 13 years!), to lock my standing knee "a little bit more" in Standing Head to Knee Pose. I know I have to lock my knee and keep it locked during this pose so that I have the physical framework to move forward in the posture. As I summoned the energy and determination to lock my knee "a little bit more", I thought about those damn dandelions. If I don't lock my knee today, correctly, it will be just the same tomorrow, just like the dandelions that came back when I had them sloppily removed by a money-hungry 8-year-old.

It's a life lesson, the idea to do things the right way. Maybe it is human nature (it's definitely often my nature) to take the path of least resistance. But the message is always clear. I've seen it in my yoga practice and I've seen it in my life. In Standing Bow Pulling Pose, I always make sure my foot is straight. Always. And that posture is a good one for me, a strong one. And in my regular life, I notice little things that I make sure to do the right way-- like making a key rack with all of my keys and always putting them back after I use them. I actually do this. I stick with it and I know where ALL of my keys are. All the time.

The truth is, I will probably never control my dandelions, but I can work harder at using a better technique to remove them. I also know I'm in a rut with Standing Head to Knee, much like with the dandelions. It will likely never be my favorite posture or one of my strongest postures. But I can work on it. I have work to do with my dandelions and with my Standing Head to Knee Pose. I can work a little bit harder. I can dig a little bit deeper.