Two days ago I entered the Bikram studio just moments after witnessing one of the purest of pure New York moments it is possible to encounter: a man in a Santa costume expressing his road rage over a minor fender bender by beating a wooden baseball bat into the hood of another car. Only here can you pack that much crazy into a regular Wednesday evening in September, so I paused to join the little crowd of people who had gathered on the sidewalk. It just so happened that at that moment I was FaceTiming with my best friend who lives in Australia, and I flipped the screen around so she could check it out as well. You’re welcome, by the way, Sarah! Think of that as a gift from me to ease your homesickness! But the very best part was when the little boy next to me looked up at his dad and said, “Santa’s angry.” I actually had to bend over and catch my breath from laughing.
It turns out that when you stop to watch Santa lose his shit, you arrive at Bikram after all the good spots are taken, and so I put my mat down in the front of the crowded room and lay down in savasanah, trying really hard not to think, Why was he dressed like Santa? It’s September!
Being that I only arrived about a minute before class, I didn’t have a lot of time to clear my head before we were beginning the first asana of the session. But something funny happened when I stood on the mat and looked at myself in the mirror- my head cleared itself. It was the first time I was practicing right in front of the mirror; generally I avoid it and leave those spots for the advanced students who actually want them. But seeing myself doing the poses so clearly honed my focus. Not only was I able to do all the poses, but for the very first time I actually felt stronger. I was so focused, in fact, that I completely forgot about the Santa incident until the next night when a friend asked how the yoga was going. I decided to skip yesterday due to being pretty fried after work, so I had to think about the previous day’s session, and Santa’s road rage came flashing back to me.
It occurred to me that if I hadn’t been late, I wouldn’t have been so close to the mirror, and wouldn’t have had such clarity in my practice. If you think about it, Santa inadvertently gave me a gift of sorts; well, you come to this conclusion if you do some mental gymnastics around the facts that:
1. Santa isn’t real; he’s somebody’s embarrassing uncle in a costume
2. that particular Santa had probably just drank a bottle of Jäger when I encountered him
3. his road rage had nothing to do with my special snowflake Millennial existence
4.I actually hate the phrase “everything happens for a reason” because… no. Sometimes shit just happens.
Anyway if you ignore all that cynicism you get serendipity. So I’m going to go with the serendipitous view of the whole thing.
Namaste, Santa! I hope you get into AA and Anger Management and that everything works out for you!