Flayla was asleep, sprawled out like she normally is, horizontally across the entire width of the bed, all four paws stretched out as far as they reach. Somewhere in some branch of Yoga, there is the long lost puppy pose that looks exactly like that.
Flayla isn’t good at language, although she does know “sit,” “wait” and “kisses” in English, French and sign language. Instead, Flayla communicates through presence.
She was sleeping now, out like a frickin’ light really, but if I moved so her paws weren’t touching my leg anymore, she’d wake up just long enough to move so she was touching me again. She has to be touching me – her paw on my lap, her snout on my feet, often her butt in my face. She has to know I’m there and she needs me to know she’s there.
In the same way, I have learned to communicate back with her. I feel calmer when she’s beside me, even if it looks like I’m ignoring her. That’s consciousness, right?
I have another name for it. “I never knew it was possible to love something so much, until we got Flayla,” I’ve told my sister more than once.
I love that little monster.
I wanted to recreate that feeling of being liquid that I had in the first yoga class, the feeling of being a ripple or a wave, part of something much bigger than just my body sitting in a storage closet. Twenty minutes of savasana is God’s gift of an assignment – or at least it would have been if Flayla hadn’t decided she was done with savasana and ready for “bum-licking, puppy booty shaking pose” (forgive me, I don’t know the Sanskrit for that one), which she proceeded to do right on top of my yoga mat, er sorry, her yoga mat.
“Out!” I said. “I can’t do corpse pose with your heavy rear end on my head.” I swear she sauntered out of the room, purposely flaunting her rump as she left.
Okay, finally, I would now have twenty minutes of peace and quiet.
Except there was no peace and if the room was quiet I didn’t notice for all the shouting that went on inside my head. I started off okay, counting up and down from 5 and then casually pushing aside the planets that were my thoughts to find the emptiness of the universe I was floating through. For several seconds, I did it. And I felt like water. When the thoughts were at bay, I felt like water, but I couldn’t keep it. They kept coming in, attacking my inner tranquility with randomness and variety. They played out like a confusing soap opera: remember I have to do these 18 things tomorrow. What am I going to make for supper? I should plan my trip to Italy. I need to go pick up my car.
I couldn’t stop them. Pretty soon the entire universe was covered up. I couldn’t see the blackness anymore. I did the only thing I knew how to to escape: I fell asleep.
The next thing I knew, my alarm clock was sounding. Shit. Forget this; I’m switching to puppy pose. I called Flayla back in the room and we had a ten-minute nap. When I woke up, I learned what had kept Flayla pre-occupied during the time I was doing inter-galactic battle with my thought planets. Tiny pieces of yellow book spine were scattered across my living room: the little monster had done real down-to-earth battle with my yoga book – and the little monster had won.
Is this a message from the universe? I kicked the only thing I have in my life which anchors me, keeps me present in the moment and teaches me consciousness out of the room, while I hopelessly tried practicing presence without her according to the fundamentals of that book – so she ate it.
Then again, Flayla eats everything. She is a dog, after all. My yoga master is a dog.
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