Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21: Vaporous Goodness, Yoga, Visions of Goodness

Once, when his son was only five or six and they were sitting on a beach by Lake Sebago, watching the water, Robert asked [Ives] what God looked like.  It was that time of day when the changing light and wind had made the water choppy and mysterious, when the silt had risen like clouds of dark milk from the lake bed to just below the surface.  In those moments, when Ives told Robert, "God is a spirit," he imagined Him as a vaporous  goodness inside people's being.

Much of Mr. Ives' Christmas concerns goodness inside people's being.  There is no real bad guy in the novel.  There are flawed people.  Ives' best friend physically assaults his own son, has an affair on his wife, and worries that his son is "a fairy."  Then there's the teenager who kills Ives' son.  For decades, Ives is tormented by his inability to forgive Danny Gomez.  Yet, Gomez repents, turns his life around, and for years tries to meet Ives to apologize for his stupid, violent act.  Eventually, Ives and Gomez meet, and Ives sees the goodness in Gomez's being.  Nobody is beyond redemption in Ives' world.  I think that's why I love the book so much.  It is laced with darkness and tragedy, but, in the end, it embraces a vision of a broken world populated by good people.

I went to a yoga class this evening at the gym at which I'm a member.  It's the first time I've sat in on the class.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  All those positions like Downward Dog and The Swan and Cradle the Elephant.  (OK, I made that last one up.)  You get the idea.  My body did things this evening that it hasn't done since my junior prom.  I barely walked five steps during the whole hour, but, by the time I was done, I was drenched in sweat.

At the end of the class, the lights were turned down in the class area, and one of the trainers did a relaxation exercise.  It was lovely.  We got down on our back on the floor, closed our eyes, and let all of the day's anxieties and pressures and problems sort of melt away.  By the time it was over, I really did feel more centered and positive.

Positivity does not come naturally to me.  I don't often focus on the goodness of people.  Generally, I distrust people.  Nobody really is completely good all the time.  That's an impossibility, unless you're Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama.  So, I'm always on my guard.  I try to be positive and happy at work, but I've had cranky patients call me fat and bald.  I try to be supportive of my coworkers and colleagues, but I've suffered tremendous bouts of jealousy when somebody gets a literary award or a promotion.

Goodness is all around me.  I know that.  It might be vaporous, or it might be a sense of well-being after a yoga class that kicks my ass.  I wish I could remain in that state a little longer.  But life happens.

For now, though, Saint Marty is one with goodness.  Namaste.

I'm going to have one sore namaste tomorrow

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