I like a good laugh. Actually, I love to laugh. I love things that are gross and things that are silly. I love intelligent and clever. I especially love to laugh at things that are gross, silly intelligent and clever all at the same time. This explains the big love I have for my husband and for select videos on you tube. The other day, Dave shared a video remake of a song entitled “Michael McDonald – What a fool Will Eat (An ode to Nachos)” and it hit the funny bone, real hard.
Dave watched the video and laughed out loud. Then, he shared it with me and I listened once and I laughed. A few minutes later we were back on YouTube listening and laughing again, harder. The girls heard the hullabaloo and then all four of us were there, hovering around the tiny screen leaning on the kitchen island, singing along and laughing and being silly. The song made it’s way into our collective brain and for the rest of the afternoon, if it got quiet, one of us would sing, beeeeans, had their place from the start… and by the time we got to that third “e” in beans, the rest of us were singing along.
The next morning, I had a short list of tasks to accomplish before leaving to teach. I really had to get some shit done. But then I heard Dave singing in the kitchen, The meeeeat found a way to their heart and I was right back there, laughing, singing along, and scooching up next to Dave to watch the silly video. The song was running through my mind again taking up all sorts of space. The tasks? They slipped away.
Driving to class, the unfinished business flashed before my eyes. I realized that I hadn’t responded to the emails or put the doctor’s note into Nora’s backpack and I felt that squirt of stress that makes my shoulders tense up and my “I’m so flaky” self-talk kick in. But then I remembered a line from the song, the wise man chooses Nachos, and I laughed again. This time I was laughing not only at the cleverness of the song, but also at my mind, so delighted by a low-budget video and silly song that I could forget all sort of important work. For those moments that I was thinking ‘nachos,’ the tasks weren’t even there.
If we aren’t consciously directing our minds, choosing where we want to put our attention, then something else will. Usually it’s our well-established patterns and habits that determine what and how we are thinking. Sometimes, it’s our senses, reaching out for something that makes us feel good. The thing that attracts our attention and feels good can take us along for the ride. I didn’t choose to spend several hours memorizing the nacho song, but I was attracted to it… to the way it made me feel, to the little screen I’m so conditioned to turn to, to laughing with my family. I wasn’t consciously choosing how my morning was going. The nacho song, and my mind, chose my morning for me.
When I got to class, I was glad to be there, in front of a group of cherished and dedicated students. Unlike little computer tasks, I can’t be in front of a group of people singing a song and laughing to myself and ignoring them. Teaching requires presence and an attentive mind. So I taught the class, and afterwards, I just sat for a while, so honored that the students are willing to let me lead them and grateful for what I get out of the deal. I get that feeling of being really present. I have a whole lot of gratitude for this yoga practice. It gives me a way to catch a glimpse of what it is my mind does and to start to understand it. Yoga also gives me ways to influence how my mind operates and to improve my attention, and maybe… some years down the line, I’ll be able to hear the nacho song, or whatever song it is that moment, enjoy it and laugh, and then when it’s time, I’ll be able to turn off the radio in my head so I can get stuff done.