Serving the People Yoga

“Money doesn’t change you; money magnifies who you are.” – Tony Robbins

I frequent the beaches around Victoria during the summers, and one summer I kept spotting a gentleman (who used to attend the occasional yoga class of mine), on the pebbled beach near where Dallas Road and Cook Street meet, walking his dog. Eventually one day he stopped and sat down on my Mexican blanket to visit with me.

“Can you talk about astrology with people from Saskatchewan?” he asked, rhetorically, after I inquired about his birth date and we discovered that we were both born in Saskatchewan.

“No,” I responded.

When I reflect back upon my life, 2011—despite its heartaches and hardships—has been my best year on planet Earth yet. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate current and growing levels of clarity; but in 2011, I was healthy. I can say now, that even though I was learning how to love and honour my body then, I took my good health for granted. I didn’t have a legitimate perspective of the opposite.

If I only knew in my early twenties when I struggled with oscillating body weights that at least I could lose the excess, though I think I experienced glimpses of immaculate perspective then, too. I knew at age 24 that I couldn’t work for newspapers with their insistence on sensationalism and framing, and I knew by age 26 (no matter how difficult or unlucrative) that I had to do what I loved for a living. I didn’t understand why so many people on income assistance seemingly lost their minds, but I knew my sanity depended upon meaningful work. I didn’t know then, though, that my affinity for astrology could be anything more than a pony trick, or that writing and teaching yoga weren’t considered real jobs.

At the dawn of 2012, I found myself on Main Street in Vancouver ringing in the New Year with friends. I wasn’t drinking heavily but smoking predominantly weed, so I had my wits about me. At the time I thought my husband would be either a Cancer or a Scorpio. The two men after me in the bar that night? A Cancer and a Scorpio. Long story short, I ended up dating the Scorpio for less than a month, so I obviously remember his name. The Cancer? I remember his birth date, but not his name.

I don’t remember who approached who at the London on December 31, 2011. He may have been buying me beers, but the Cancer refused to divulge his exact birthday, or even Sun sign, when I probed.

“Guess,” he taunted, unaware of what he was walking himself into.

“You need to give me three questions,” I pressed.

“One,” he snapped with the conviction of a weak yet aggressive man.

We settled on three. I won.

I can only logically deduce the questions at this point, but I remember asking only two of them.

I have admittedly dropped a lot of jaws in my life, so I wasn’t surprised when his jaw dropped to the bar after I guessed his exact birth date. June 25. He wanted more, but the Scorpio won because he wasn’t engaged to be married. The Cancer tried to convince me to date him under his fiancé’s nose, so that he could have a chance to assess his options. He even chased me and my plume of friends out of the bar and down Main Street, only to find me walking next to the Scorpio.

Or what about the time in, or on the way to, the elevators? I had been visiting with a guy born on the 15th of a month, talking about a woman he was interested in born on the 15th of the polar opposite month. Astrology piqued his interest, but he mostly thought it was horseshit. So, we finished our business on the heated, harbour-front patio of the Steamship in Victoria, and at the elevator on the way to the restrooms stood a man. I poked the man mildly, then asked (after I can’t remember if it was a glass or two of Prosecco), are you a Cancer? The man stood back. All three of us boarded the elevator. Not only was he a Cancer, but he was my polar opposite. The two men’s hair blew back. The nonbeliever’s jaw hit the floor. Like I said, it wasn’t the first time.

Several years earlier in 2008, I had a friend tell me I wasn’t pretty enough for a guy I had met at a climbing gym who was born on Earth Day. I’m thinking in hindsight that having sex with him may have been an immature act of rebellion… Regardless, both times I slept with him, he told me he would sleep over but snuck out in the middle of the night instead.

And then in 2010, a relative convinced me to try dating online. I experimented with four different profiles. With the first profile, I didn’t post a profile picture. I remember some guy in his early twenties (I was 27 at the time), haranguing me to see a pic. When I finally PM’d him a picture, he blocked me—I’m thinking, because, he didn’t think I was pretty enough for him.

Then I can’t remember if it was the second or third profile where the guy born on Earth Day—his brother (whom I had met briefly in 2008), PM’d me and asked me out on a date. Okay, maybe I browsed his profile first and he swallowed the bait. Either way, we carried on for a bit before he asked me out on a live date. After exchanging information, I couldn’t hold up the edifice of the lie. You’re (that guy’s) brother? I asked, incredulously.

We hung out once, at Spinnaker’s, and it obviously amounted to nothing (I drew the line at making out with brothers in junior high school), but he did tell me that every prospective woman he had met had already had sex with his brother.

I realize now that women who lock down husbands plan for it their entire lives.

Now, in 2018, I just counted 9 bodily conditions that impinge upon my physical health and require attention daily—ranging in severity from pesky to permanent—thus (and understandably) taxing me psycho-emotionally.

Out of necessity, I’ve learned to pay attention to what comes easy: yoga, astrology, quantum thinking—the latter of which reminds me to affirm improving health. To distract myself, I get lost in my work and focus upon my personal legacy.

Legacy, in my opinion, paramount. I admittedly have a penchant for mischief, but it was Wayne Dyer who strongly advised against dying with our music still in us. He left a tenured position at St. John’s University in New York City to pursue a writing career and apparently invented the author tour. If I can heed Maya Angelou’s advice and live until I’m 88, then that gives me approximately 53 years to deliver. Unfortunately the federal government isn’t offering me a one billion dollar bailout in the event I don’t.

As it stands, the collective legacy western civilization is leaving on planet Earth looks something like this: Many of the common people of the time who worked in societally acceptable roles—government, military, petroleum, law enforcement, pharmaceuticals, medicine, law, etc.—weren’t able to acknowledge Nikola Tesla (all these years later…), or the great Indigenous genocides of North America that are still happening today. Apparently, the Indian Act was as invisible as Nikola Tesla. “We’re not willing to give up our lifestyles or our toys, and I mean come on guys; we have families to feed!” they cried. Yet these same people didn’t seem to care that their ancestors ripped family and lifestyle out from underneath the Indigenous peoples—first on the land—who actually cared about future generations. Consequences? “What are those?” it didn’t occur to them to ask. That information was invisible, like the Indian Act and Tesla.

Go us. We could rewrite the story, but cleaning house is key to unlocking the gates of appreciation. Denial only causes further division. I’m looking forward to the day we can all agree on, and subsequently correct, corrupt taxation.

On the one hand, the system is designed to help people in need; while on the other hand, the people who forget the point of altruism forget that their tax dollars also pay for obscenely expensive war, unnecessary bureaucracy, and deceitful, ineffective politicians. Shall we compare head to dollar figures? Many corporations (not necessarily the groundlings who work for the corporations), evade their taxes—legally. Why haven’t the groundlings’ tax dollars been used to pay for advances in education, health care, affordable housing, retirement, and sustainable technology for the last twenty years? People are homeless and hungry. I lived in Calgary in 2001 when gas prices were 46 cents. Industry “boomed” and no one complained about job loss then. Why does no one question the elusive concepts of market value and inflation now? Has it not occurred to anybody that social assistance would be a lot less necessary if basic living costs were a lot more affordable?

Little to no foresight has been exercised in the last twenty years, marijuana won’t be out of prohibition confinement anytime soon, and Team Earth is being asked to take Big Oil’s word for it that Big Brother is covering everyone’s future asses. Yet, we seem to be pioneering conflicting futures.

Anyone who makes life more expensive for people, and consequently more difficult, is a psychopath, and current political systems are normalizing psychopathic behaviour. Gas wars? Really? Vampires. There’s obviously no congenial way to stand up for yourself when you’re being crushed by dead horses with money.

Ego, according to Anita Moorjani (who wrote a book called Dying to Be Me), is the part of us that speaks up for ourselves. Ego can be vampiric or evolutionary. Humans can be manipulative and play dirty, or we can subdue and transform undesirable realities. The game is mental, though both our thoughts and actions bind us.

These people, and in many cases, vampires, are fighting for their incomes, not their jobs (with the exception of some engineers who love what they do for a living)—and the only way they’ll ever truly understand social assistance is if they legitimately qualify for it themselves. People think it requires strength to do what they loathe for a living? I’ve been told by insurance companies, social workers, and all manner of corporate and blue-collar blowhards that what I do for a living isn’t real work. That conversation is barking up the wrong tree.

You give up a lot more than your lifestyle on basic social assistance, and you must qualify for disability to receive it. Unless you’re resourceful on disability assistance, you’re often forced to choose between medical or paramedical attention and nutrition, which is merely one disparity. You’re not likely to be nourished on basic welfare. People who love slinging the “tax burden” insults couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine the deficit.

Disability would be a vacation only if you could relinquish your lifestyle and your toys and didn’t actually need the support. In which case, you would be an actor and an asshole. Otherwise, if you legitimately required the help of social assistance, you would likely want to be compensated for all the time you’d spend attending meetings where you’re told that you don’t qualify for supports that could help you reach financial independence. Working in the petroleum industry isn’t a viable or reasonable option for everybody.

“The best help is that which eliminates the need for help,” Deepak Chopra said during the 2017 Hay House World Summit. Hay House is the largest self-empowerment publishing company in the world. Louise Hay, a high school dropout and former model, founded the publishing house at age 60.

Interestingly yoga encourages people to use supports when we need them and leave them when we don’t. Yoga also urges us to clean up our karma.

We could likely unanimously agree that I’m neither nor meant to be a model during this incarnation, which is maybe why I’m blessed with the fortitude of a writer and thinker (although Louise Hay was blessed with both). Nonetheless, the idea of cause and effect makes sense to me. Apparently, it’s a universal law, and I’m thinking it’s somehow tied up in this notion of karma (or, bondage). Perhaps it’s not unfathomable to think that we tote our unresolved ignorances around with us from lifetime to lifetime—like telling people that what they do for a living isn’t real work. Then it would be up to a higher order to qualify each individual’s path, but none of us knows what that higher order looks like. We do certainly think, however, that our systems and structures are original. Few of us ask, who and what do we emulate?

Consider for a moment the movie Sausage Party, starring Edward Norton and Seth Rogan: “A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.” It’s a terribly relevant movie. I don’t mean to spoil the ending, but… everybody wants to experience some degree of hedonism, whether we’re willing to admit it or not.

Thanks to that guy born on Earth Day, though, I do what I love for a living. He called me jaded while making out with me on the pebbled beach near where Dallas Road and Cook Street meet, for hating seagulls (or rather, shit hawks). Then he came to my home and slept with me, but he was right. I was jaded. He and his friends all did what they loved for a living, and I didn’t. None of them know it, but they inspired me. Within a month of seeing him the last time, I signed up for my first yoga teacher training. And now, whether those who hump the backside of capitalism with their constricted thinking acknowledge it or not, I specialize in astrology and serve the people yoga for a living.