I wish this was a metaphor. Sadly, it seems that overtime I step onto the streets of this city, Murphy's law applies to how much I can embarrass myself in any given situation.
Lying in bed that morning, I listened to the beat of my alarm without moving. "Go to class," I said to myself. "You will feel better if you go. You have to go. Being in bed feels good too but probably has less of the physical and mental benefits a consistent yoga practice will give you." And more of the same pep talks I give myself in those moments of half-wake to convince myself to not hide from the day.
When I finally muster up the energy to leave my bed, I realize I only have ten minutes to change and run to class before being late. It's not too far, but a quick subway ride should do it. If the train leaves on time...
I quickly jump into my yoga shorts. That day, the New York City heat was such that one feels like they are walking through a sauna or practicing Bikram just by crossing the street, so I decided that practicing in the tiniest clothes I could find would be appropriate. However, walking down the block probably wouldn't be. I jumped into some short sweats and was on my way.
Frantically rushing into a yoga class is an art that I've perfected. I'm always almost late. But hey, if I'm going to practice being zen, I might as well get my stress up to optimum levels in order to see the contrast. Right?
The teacher is at the front of the class asking everyone to turn to him. I lay my mat down. In this classroom, there are cubbies in the back to throw your stuff. I toss my bag in whichever one I can find, turn to the teacher, and pull my sweatpants down.
Or at least I thought I did. It dawned on me, when I was staring down at the stripey underwear I, for some reason, own (and thinking to myself "my shorts aren't that color, are they?"), that I had in fact pulled both my sweatpants and shorts down. After a second of realizing my mistake, I quickly corrected it.
"Of course I just did that." I thought to myself. "Why am I always rushing? This wouldn't happen if I was less klutzy, careless, more refined, etc."
But somehow, throughout the class, the dialogue in my head shifted. I began to laugh at myself. I realized that if I hadn't been late, I probably would have put my mat in front of the class like the teacher's pet I am. If I hadn't been late, people would have been milling about instead of facing the teacher at attention. Basically, at the point my pants were down, everyone's back was to me. The only real consequence seemed to be a slight pause I heard in the instructor's voice as he went down the alignment cues for tadasana. Most likely, he, and only he, was the one that saw my stripe underwear (they were on sale!).
Looking at the situation like this gave me a new perspective and a new story to tell in my head. The event doesn't define me. It is just something that happened. It is good to notice them, just as we notice sounds and thoughts during meditation, and perhaps learn from them (maybe those shorts are for home practice only). But, in the end, we let them go.
Perhaps, the next morning, my inner monologue will change the story. Perhaps I will tell myself "I get to practice yoga." rather than "I have to." Perhaps. Maybe. It may take a long practice to be able to get out of bed easily, but I will try to reserve judgement on myself.