Altruism: Dead or Revived?

“Where are all the hero lawyers launching class action lawsuits?”

The one thing that dealing with ICBC, the insurance industry and the legal system taught me is that rulings are not up to fact, but rather personal opinion. It’s like that time the mom called the cops on a friend and I for sun tanning topless on the Gorge near a park. Although it is indeed legal to strut the streets tits out in BC, that legality is subject to public opinion. Did it matter that a stranger was photographing us naked?

To his credit, he asked us for our permission.

“See I was gonna photograph you ladies anyways,” the man said, “so I thought I would ask for your permission first. I can email you the photos when I’m done?”

To my credit, it was an excellent exercise for my self-esteem. I never gave the man my email, but my friend did, and she also forwarded an email from the man asking me if I’d like to do a private photo shoot in his home. I still remember the man’s name. I never responded to his email.

Still, a woman calling the cops on other topless women? Something tells me that woman hadn’t learned the art of minding her own business yet.

For me that lesson hit home near settlement. For some reason, I thought that it was my business to know what my passenger and the reckless driver who hit me received for their settlements. Then I realized the weight of letting their business off my shoulders.

“It’s none of my business!” I cried to my lawyer, who readily agreed.

Some people must think I’m so unreasonable because I can throw a fit on the one hand while exercising extreme indifference on the other, yet a little communication goes a long way. People who can’t communicate confound me.

I found myself talking up a stranger at the park near where I live recently—a female Aquarius—and I heard myself saying that I didn’t know how to reach people who couldn’t handle direct communication. Nonviolent communication isn’t a synthetic fragrance you wear to be more palatable. You don’t have to dress up your truth with someone else’s less abrasive personality and decorate it with smiley faces to get your point across. Instead, you speak your peace, however you’re feeling inspired to speak it, with dignity and grace (if you can). How the other party, or parties, handles your truth is none of your business. Likewise, how the universe whoops your ass for being tactless is none of theirs.

I used to work for a woman who had a problem with me saying the word “fuse,” and she also didn’t like it that I wore revealing—second hand—clothing. Eventually I told her that was her problem, and promptly she terminated me.

It reminds me of that song Lena Horne sang: “I’m flat,” she sang, “and that’s that.”

I also heard this woman utter the words, women who dress like sluts deserve to be raped.

I can’t help but wonder, how in blue perfect hell do people learn to think like that?

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Man did Val Kilmer ever win my heart over in that movie. The gay private investigator who could talk my panties off in five seconds. I’ll never let that go. When is his birthday? Oh shit, son; he’s a Capricorn! That would explain the bulge.

You know what I’d like to do with hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars? I’d create affordable housing. I dream of owning a high rise near downtown Vancouver, fully renovated or brand spanking new, where the one condition for eligibility is that the tenant does what he or she loves for a living. Also, the building would be 420-friendly, while smoking cigarettes strictly prohibited. I’d rent out bachelors for $450, 1-bedrooms for $650, 2-bedrooms for $850, and 3-bedrooms for $1,050. Since there would be no debt because I expensed the project on my over occurring millions, rent would cover: building-wide high speed internet service; free community laundry rooms, including machines and detergent; one full-time superintendent and one full-time building manager, along with (of course) sufficient relief staff; utilities, gardening and maintenance. If excess income did squeak through the cracks, it would be cool if I donated it.

Then there’s the food forest, the luxury condos (where I will live in Vantacular), and I’d love to buy an enormous piece of land somewhere beautiful, then give it back to the Indigenous people who rightfully own it. God, then I would fund them to do whatever they wanted to do with their land.

In my perfect world, however, we wouldn’t be raped by electricity, telecommunications and other utility companies. The rock star government wouldn’t allow it. Rent increases would fade into the abyss along with the people who upheld them. In Swami Satchidananda’s translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he mentioned how uncooperative cells spoil and eventually die. Some people would call this cancer.

Darwin wasn’t totally right, and his work was also misinterpreted. Evolution is based, not on competition, but on cooperation. Apparently cooperation is the theme song of Saturn in Scorpio. I was born with Saturn in Scorpio in the twelfth house, at a degree exactly trining my north node (destiny). Cooperation hasn’t always been easy for me, but I’ve learned that fighting with or against anyone or anything serves only to challenge my health. My cells can’t cooperate (or function optimally) if my vibration is out of sync.

Resistance.

That’s all yoga does is release resistance so that the cells can function optimally. Feeling good is your job.

The body is intelligent. Cells are intelligent. It’s cool when science can explain the body, the planet or the universe, but science can be abused and manipulated. Unfortunately inquiry stops there. People who dismiss nature and spirituality don’t realize that science separated the body from the mind during the renaissance, leaving the Church with the jurisdiction to remain in control of the mind. In truth, the body and mind aren’t separate, and our souls use our bodies to get our attention.

Thanks to Darwin and the Victorian era, the Church relinquished some control to science, but now we’re being controlled as a society by science in much the same way that we used to be controlled by the Church. And I think the Roman Catholic Church remains one of the wealthiest empires on the planet?

Personally I would like to see more discussion in the yoga, spiritual and health communities about the power of the mind—because that’s what yoga is, and a healthy body is indisputably contingent upon a healthy mind. But let’s toss the cookie cutter model. No two snowflakes are alike. We’ve been sloppy creators living in a world of everyone else’s mess. We didn’t always have the cosmic support we do now.

I’ve learned that openness depends upon two factors: education and interest, the latter consideration inextricably linked to purpose.

The key to cooperation?

Namaste: The light in me honours and salutes the light in you, while you are free to roam your path, not mine.

Throwing Bones

“Sifting through the sands of men.” – Abraham

“Excuse me, miss, but can I help you?”

The man must have walked for a couple of blocks before turning around and walking back towards me. By this point, I had walked on from the bench where I had first smiled at him.

“Uh, yeah,” I responded, then quickly added, “I mean, no. Did you just walk past me a bit ago, like did you turn around and walk back for me?”

“Yeah,” he said. “You looked so peaceful, and pretty. Then you smiled at me. You shouldn’t have done that.”

“What do you do?” He continued.

“Like for a living?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“I’m a yoga teacher,” I said.

“When’s your birthday?” I not surprisingly asked. I figured at this point since we were getting so personal that it was a pertinent question.

Aquarius, the stranger answered.

“Yay!” I exclaimed. “I love Aquarius! Aquarius is my favourite sign.”

They never know what to say when you compliment them off guard, but I’m convinced that they like it all the same. We agreed to walk over to the park and sit on a different bench to continue talking. Aquarius had the same birthday as a former lover who happens to be my best audience yet. Because of that Aquarius, I want more.

I didn’t mean to grill Aquarius, but it came out that he lives with his girlfriend. I could handle the two divorces and two children, I told him, but I couldn’t handle the girlfriend.

“I’m impressed,” he said as I picked myself up from our platonic affair and walked off into the night. I think he may have even liked me more than my pink, crushed velvet sneakers. We agreed to be friendly in the event we ever run into each other again.

In 2011, 28-year-old Jill collected unsolicited dick pics—I had a library full of them on my Blackberry—while six years later, 34-year-old Jill is collecting business cards. I think we’re growing up. Now to meet an Aquarius who’s single, unmarried and prefers monogamy.

Recently I received a business card from a Leo who wanted to talk about feelings and sex, naturally of course, moments after meeting him. He asked me for coffee; I asked him for a business card, and told him that I might actually call him. Afterwards I felt skeptical because he talked about sex. Then in contemplation it occurred to me that it would be okay for an Aquarius to mention sex during a first encounter, but not for a Leo. Leos, as it stands, happen to be great in bed. Generous lovers to say the least, those lions like going down.

Movement, I tell my friends, is movement.

I can’t help but desire, however, a man closer to my age. A man in his thirties would be nice, the logician tells me, because then we could die together in each other’s arms. That way our donkeys wouldn’t have to spend a moment apart. I can think of only one man on my bucket list who’s fifteen years older than me. Okay. Fourteen-and-a-half, because sometimes a girl needs a half.

Cancer runs a close second. In fact, at one point I wouldn’t consider Aquarius because Aquarius doesn’t need anyone. Then a Cancer trampled all over my heart, and I figured as long as I’m good to my Aquarius (which I will be), he’ll be devoted to me for life.

Monogamy isn’t slavery in a healthy relationship, not that I’m against polyamory; I’m simply not into it.

I suspect many people turn poly in much the same way that many women turn to women after having their hearts broken by one too many a man: because (in theory) one person can’t hurt us when we’re dipping our parts into many (or, satisfaction eludes us and we won’t grow bored). Or, for whatever reason, we think that women aren’t bitches who can hurt us. I’ve only witnessed the first line of logic bypass one human being who happened to be a woman who co-related with multiple men. The only bona fide polyamorist I’ve ever met. A beautiful, blonde Aries, she claimed that she never experienced jealousy, yet all of her male partners did. Open relationships, from what I gather, are slightly different. And then there are extended relationships.

Sexual energy, when not properly harnessed and channeled, can be dirty and chaotic—and you absorb and distribute that low-vibrating energy from and to all active, concurrent partners when you’re mindlessly (or desperately!) sleeping around. Two words: No thanks. Been there, done that. Got the T-shirt.

Yet, a whisper of jealousy (in my opinion) never hurt anyone. Although, in my inexperienced black and white picture, jealousy only makes sense in monogamy. In yoga, we would call that whisper information. What is that information telling us? To fly off the handle? No. Remember we’re collecting business cards and growing up now. When I experience jealousy with respect to a man, that tells Capricorn (who may acknowledge her vagina but unlikely her feelings) that we may have a heart on for him. It happens occasionally, and that information is also enough to keep me from knocking boots with a man who wants me solely for sex.

So, because I’m not personally interested in polyamory, does that make polyamory or exploring polyamory wrong? No. I admittedly can’t speak experientially about it either. Monogamy and polyamory are preferences—sexuality is a freedom, a privilege and a preference. In a world of contrast, we are entitled to our preferences.

I attempted to commingle in an open relationship dynamic with aforementioned Aquarius, but I wasn’t his No. 1, and the experience taught me that I didn’t share lovers well. Does that mean I can’t leave a man to his devices? I wouldn’t be surprised if my ex in that respect is kicking himself.

This brings me to the reason that I’m not interested in Vipassanā—that is, organized silence—retreats. I spend enough time silent and alone in contemplation without paying money for it. I like my own company.

Why, then, do I want a man in my life? Because when I live with my love and do what I love for a living, I do have it all.