Have you ever tried to kill a cockroach? They do this thing that I call the crazy-run. When they are under threat of death by large shoe, they don’t bee-line for cover, they scurry about in a really unpredictable and disorienting way, making circles and zig-zags across the floor until they find a dark, quiet place to freeze and hide. Apparently it isn’t disorienting to them. There is survival embedded in that response to threat. The disorientation I’m referring to happens to the human who wants to rid their house of the supposed pests. I know this because I had an experience with a cockroach in my house the other day.
The insect was hanging out by my door handle and though I tolerate a lot of insect life in my casita, I do not like the cockroach. I decided to kill it with my flip-flop but it was chillin’ in the safety of the recessed space between door jamb and door handle so I couldn’t just swat at it. I had to take the tip of my shoe and stab at the cucaracha like a fencer might with their pointy fencing sword-thing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a foil, I had a shoe, and the cockroach saw it coming from what must be the equivalent of a mile away in cockroach length measurements. It flitted down to the tile floor landing right by my bare foot. (Texas cockroaches can fly.) Now it’s on the floor in plain sight… no problem, right? He’s in the open and I can just take the shoe and do the deed. But there’s at least one reason cockroaches have survived since prehistory: crazy-run. First, he darts to the left and then hairpin turn back toward me. That totally freaks me out and I can’t think clearly so I swat at the huge cockroach, but I swat at the tile where he might have been a second ago and then CRAZY-RUN continues and the little dude stumps me again as he darts away with a little waggle to the right and left. He looks frantic which makes me also feel very frantic (I guess all my yogini energy reading/empathizing can be detrimental…) and I slap swap and try my best to smash the cockroach but crazy-run prevails. I couldn’t do it. The cockroach got away, though it did lose a leg in the process. I saw one barbed leg on the tile when I finally calmed down. I wasn’t sure if I felt a tinge of vindication or just admiration for that chaotic survival technique that totally worked. Cockroach 1, Amanda 0.
Then, two days later, I swept my floor and I found the 5-legged cockroach. Dead.
Sometimes I feel like I must look like I’m doing the crazy-run. I go in one direction and then turn around and go directly at the thing I was just running from. I might look frantic as I dart from right to left, just trying to figure out where to go, and you know what? That is what my life looks like sometimes. I really like the Steady Eddie, “one foot in front of the other” approach. You head in one direction and you work and learn and take your time to get there, enjoying things along the way. It’s what we all want to portray in the best of our resumes. “Yes, Ma’am. My whole life has been leading up to this moment. I am an expert at this thing and you can see that every decision along my life’s path has made me the perfect candidate for this position.” But actual life isn’t like that and there are times when the best you can do is crazy-run until you either lose a leg or manage to hide out under a couch somewhere until circumstances shift and the shoe is no longer out there hovering.
I sort of hate to admit it, but yoga can sometimes be my crazy run. A lot of the time, I go to the mat and I’m working on something. I am studying the alignment of a pose or I’m enjoying a sequence that activates a particular chakra. There is purpose. There is direction. Then there are times that I have a whole lot of shit going on and I come to the mat and I move in a much more instinctual, crazy-run kind of way. In those times, yoga offers an hour of escape. I don’t have to be in my head or make that phone call or feel a complicated emotion for a little while. Now, don’t get me wrong. Escapist, crazy-run yoga isn’t what I’m selling, but I ain’t knockin’ it either. It can be just what I need to get through a stressful situation and it’s pretty cool that it’s part of what yoga can offer. It bought Mr. cockroach two more days of casita paradise. Turns out, there was purpose and real survival-brilliance to what seemed like frantic, aimless and disorienting escape.
Sometimes I feel like all I can do is stay really busy, scurry about and avoid smashing by shoe. It isn’t the way I want to live all the time, but it comes in handy. I get through a dire situation and then I can rest and recover on (or under) a couch somewhere. Sometimes the appreciation of what my body and instincts and life experience offer can bubble up and I realize that I don’t always have to rely on my thinking brain to get me out of a tight spot. I’ve got other resources. Sometimes, I just have to give into my really helpful and wise self and crazy run (or yoga or dance) my way through a situation and later, in calmer times, the panic or the method or the result can become something to look back on and admire.
craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. whoop, whoop.