I found it best to cultivate nonchalance in the face of the turmoil that accompanies the end of a marriage. Cool composure and an apparent lack of concern were the best way to handle the brickbats and questions that rained on me in the aftermath. They seemed to be designed to activate nervousness, guilt or shame. They aren’t of course. Most people don’t set out to deliberately upset you but are just distressed themselves by the crumbling of an edifice they thought was stable, even if that structure is someone else’s marriage. Seeing what looks like chaos, unable to cope with change themselves they say and do things that can be incredibly offensive.
Cultivating nonchalant isn’t exactly like growing mung sprouts partly because sprouts are much easier to grow and they show their shoots a good deal sooner than a nonchalant attitude. Even so while the changes are happening at a deep level and the little shoots of tranquillity are pushing their way out we can put on a good show of not getting our feathers ruffled. After all, we aren’t parrots who screech with rage or joy but human beings, who also screech but can learn not to.
I found my ongoing yoga practice very helpful for pursuing the attitude of nonchalance. Yoga isn’t after all only about stretching your body into unthinkable contours, nor is it about deep belly breathing or alternate nostril. More than anything else its our attitude to life. A true yogi is more than a human pretzel with long slender limbs. A true yogi has an attitude of nonchalance that translates into positivity because our calm surface may be stirred but it’s certainly never shaken.
What I relish about yoga is that the positive feelings are a very desirable side effect of the asanas we contort ourselves into, revelling in the stretching of the body we also enjoy the extension of our equilibrium. I find that the self control required to hold the pose just a little bit longer translates into self restraint of my mind as does the regulated breathing and the ultimate relaxation of meditation. I feel so much more capable of facing the day when I do yoga, which sadly isn’t as often as I want to or for as long as I would like. Even the nincompoop ( we can call a spade a spade, even if we’re a yogi) on the road who cuts across my path, stopping his car dead centre, disembarking, striding across, demanding I step out of my car (for what? did he want to wrestle with me?) can be met with firm resistance rather than invective-hurling, mouth frothing anger. I have exhibited both these behaviours on different days. I’ve been both firmly resistant – nonchalant to a T on yoga days and a foul mouthed monster, on non-yoga days. Non yoga coupled with many other stress factors can make me distinctly non-nonchalant. I even forget to pretend nonchalance.
Yoga helps make me appear sane as does my Buddhist chanting – which is another N word – Nam myoho renge kyo is the mantra and it’s also incredibly calming. Praying is a fantastic way to put things in perspective so you don’t zoom in on every frustrating detail but zoom out and up like a falcon circling high over the earth. You’re up in the sky taking in the vastness of the landscape and immensity of life. My problem which for now is the aggressive jerk on the road becomes as tiny as an ant from up there. “This too shall pass,” I smile to myself. Nonchalantly. It seems to further annoy the street fighter, but that isn’t what I intended. I simply take a detour around his ridiculously placed vehicle and that is the end of that.
Real nonchalance means I don’t really care, I am composed and I tackle most things with equanimity. Today.
This is the N post for the A to Z Challenge. You can click the link in the badge above to find out more. My theme for the Challenge is the Lexicon of Leaving