KINKAJOUS, HANNAH THE BREATH GIRL, AND THE 1,000 OTHER THINGS THAT DON'T MATTER (BUT ACTUALLY DO)

Yesterday I drove two hours west to John’s Creek, GA for the final Thai Massage training weekend. I did everything I usually do from 5:30-7:30am. Wash face, pee, feed dog, brew coffee, walk dog, fry bacon, then fry eggs, then write write write. Yesterday was different because I took the cooler down from the closet and stuffed it with 4 bananas and 2 apples and 2 oranges and an unopened bag of pistachios and an unopened container of full fat Greek Yogurt and a little Tupperware of granola and a jar of almond butter and the rest of the carrots and a glass jar of water kefir and finally a Corona leftover from Thanksgiving.

The list of cooler items should be cut. No one gives a damn. This is the editorial voice in my head. 

I drove fast and took exits faster than speed limit, so the glass bottle of fermenting water kefir kept sliding across the Honda Element’s rubber floor liner. Some spilled out. I tightened the cap. Some more still spilled out. 

Thai Massage trainings are retreats, in some ways. The opening ring of a bell, the moment of silence, the circle, the sharing or ‘checking in’ with the group, the attention to detail, the physical contact with a stranger who consequently becomes less strange, the emphasis on intentional touch over technique . . .  The mindful practice of Thai Massage takes on a life of it’s own, becoming a wolf that wants to stay in the wild, after the 5pm training ends, rather than return to the hum dum of city. 

Even now, writing this. The exhale slides out of me—like have somehow forgotten to breathe for the last four paragraphs. I’ve managed to sip my Holiday Inn Keurig coffee and I’ve managed to write these paragraphs but I’ve some forgotten to let go of my inhale. Of course, I haven’t. Our bodies breathe for us. But sometimes the breathe is so shallow and constricted, it feels as if we’re under-oxygenated. Yesterday at lunch I met a girl named who told ujiayi breath changed her life and I said really and she said yeah when I went to yoga teacher training I introduced myself to the group by saying Hey I’m Hannah and I’m here to learn to breathe.

On the drive west yesterday morning, it was early and traffic was thin. I recorded a Facebook Live audio podcast on spirit animals and Carl Jung and whether psychologists are overplaying the trauma card. I think sometimes it’s therapeutic to list everything we have going on in our head…just rumble rant rave. That’s why probably why I feel it important to spit out the insignificant cooler items. Not only because we are what we eat. But because details matter. The details guide us. These fragmented grey feelings might be teachers, guides….maybe spirit animals. This perpetually spilling beverage, that conversation with a brand new person about a rogue school named Primo….is this the spirit snake shedding it’s skin?

Maybe spirit animals are like the weather. The weather here yesterday afternoon: 80 degrees and sunny. And in Minneapolis, MN: 15 degrees and snowing. The simultaneous existence of drastically different weather conditions is striking. Maybe not if you study meteorology. But for a guy like me, getting a text message picture from my uncle and blizzard report phone convo from my dad. How is it possible for two different realities to coexist? One person can be hot, another can be cold. And even that can change…

I need to study more biology. Yesterday morning, I listened to Joe Rogan speak with evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying on the subject of human sexuality, gender and the #metoo movement. Last night, I went to Bret’s Patreon page and clicked a link for YouTube lecture. Exhausted, most of it just blah blah blah. But I perked up and did get this. Someone asked him why some plants have thorns, like how are thorns medicinal for surrounding animals…they seem like a nuisance and literal pain in the ass. He said well…thorns prevent access to plant fruit for some species, but permit access for others. He mentioned a tropical palm. How the tree trunk is covered in extremely dangerous thorns preventing access up the trunk, but allowing access to kinkajous for example, who might swing from canopy to canopy. This is “medicinal” to the animals with the tree-swinging capacity but also to the palm itself, because kinkajous have much wider distribution capacity for the palm—they travel much further than the average consumer, and therefore increase the prevalence and presence of the palm, spreading its seed. Whattt...

I need to study more biology, and especially evolutionary biology, not only to fill out my rather crude spirit animal story—if I’m going to understand the wolf inside me, I better understand wolves and the animals and plants which interact with the wolf. But also, on an even more basic level—we’re all animals. If we want to “know thyself,” we should understand what Freakonomics says about the modern economy, but we should also understand what Bret Weinstein says about kinkajous. 

 

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