Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Gambler

"On a warm summer's eve
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, and he began to speak

He said, "Son, I've made my life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind my sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice"

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

-The Gambler
The Gambler has been stuck in my head this morning. I don't know why, but am throwing it out there. We might as well all be humming it together.
I know it's not the Yoga Sutra or anything, but really, if it came down to it, I think Patanjali and The Gambler could hang out.

I spent a really amazing week with my teacher doing morning Mysore with a small group of 3 or 4 people a couple weeks ago. For a change, I wasn't injured or grieving or sleep deprived. For 5 days I really worked at practice and it was wonderful. I returned home and promptly got sick...woke up with a fever on Monday morning and it stuck around for the next 5 days...yuck.

While sulking over a "bad" week last week and a not especially stellar start to this one, I've caught myself labeling them. After all this time and practice still labeling them as good weeks and bad weeks as if I really have any idea what the broader repercussions of the decisions I make will be.

We never really even know which cards we're holding let alone how they'll play out in the big game. I make my best guess based on what I think I know and am wrong again and again.

"Now every gambler knows the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep
Or maybe the best that I can hope for is to learn to stop fighting it, to reach back into the time that I spend on the mat and pull out the practice of leaning into the honesty of discomfort. I can lean into the act of playing the best hand I think I have always knowing I will never hold all cards.