words will never hurt me

I believe in words. I believe that words have meaning. Not just implied or assumed, but actual standardized definitions.

Imagine my surprise when I rushed from my house, where I had just prepared supper for my family, in my jeans and loose top to attend an “Intro to Meditation” class, only to find that it was a yoga class. The class was full, and many seemed like they had been there before. Clearly, in my jeans and bangle bracelets, I was not expecting to move very much.

Everyone in class was sporting the appropriate yoga garments. I texted my husband before I silenced my phone, “this looks like a yoga class.”

The teacher herded us cattle to make space for the last arrivals and dove into class. We angled our bolsters on a block, sat on our blankets and mats and began. The teacher guided us through our bodies in a “noticing” exercise. I couldn’t relax, because I didn’t know who she was.

Maybe I’m old school or just needy, but as a newbie to the class, I would have appreciated an introduction. That’s on me. I’ll let that slide. Though I will say that I’ve never been to a yoga class where the teacher didn’t introduce herself to unfamiliar faces. Okay, now I’m done.

When we were getting into tabletop pose, and away from the comfortable reclined position I thought we were going to meditate in, I asked my neighbor, “Do we meditate in this class?” “No, we do a lot of poses.” She said. I think I snorted out loud.

In my jeans, I flowed into downward dog and child’s pose. Because of the misleading title of the class, and because I didn’t expect to be doing yoga, I was so frustrated. I couldn’t close my eyes during shavasana. I spent my time thinking about the meaning of words.

I tend to take people at their word. If they say they’ll call on Saturday, I actually think that they will call on Saturday. I had a friend who talked and talked about all these plans, and then didn’t follow through: not with me or her kids. I learned to navigate that relationship by setting my expectations to zero.

I get it, people value their word differently. That’s going deep, which is what one does during that time of the yoga practice. At least I do.

Confession: my mind is never blank during yoga. Ever. I can’t let my thoughts float away.

Words have meanings. They rightfully lead to expectations. How can we grow and thrive if we each assume deviated definitions of the words we speak. I may just be a woman in jeans on a yoga mat, but I think I raise a point that goes beyond the studio.

I love words. My head swirls with words. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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