I had dinner with some politicians on
Friday. It was more fun than it sounds.
I am so unpolitical that when a man
came over to our table to shake my hand and say he’d heard me speak
before, I smiled blankly and said, ‘hehehehhe” or something
equally charming and profound. I asked, afterward, who he was. Turns
out he’s our mayor.
I was giving a keynote talk to
celebrate a wonderful organization that offers literacy training to
anyone who wants it. All kinds of politicians attended, some of whom
are engaged in an election campaign right now.
One of them had his Blackberry going
all through dinner. I asked him whether he ever takes a day off. “I
can’t afford to at this point,” he said. I asked about a typical
campaigning day and he reviewed the day he’d just had: something
like 12 events, many of them involving cutting cakes, wearing party hats, and making
I asked how he maintains his physical energy during these campaigns. He mentioned
several things. He rarely eat the cake at the events. He keeps all kinds of clothes in their car, changing five or six times
each day to suit the events and in order to feel fresh.
And three times a week he visits his
personal trainer at a gym. He’s convinced this increases his
I wanted to weep for him. First,
because I’d go mad, having to shake thousands of hands, remember
hundreds of names, and incur the wrath of the unhappy while smiling for the cake-makers. I’d be in a heap in the back seat of my car,
doing a month-long Savasana.
That was the other thing that made me
want to weep.
I’m all for gyms, and trainers, and
elliptical machines. But hearing very busy people talk about their
very busy lives makes me wish I were an even better ambassador for
Because these people need Savasana,
don’t they? And a daily practice that looks inward, that teaches
them they’re beautiful, a regular hour or two that plunks them in a
quiet room full of peaceful, generous, smiling yogis.
I asked whether he’d tried yoga. No
time at this point, he said.
I believe I have affected friends and
family (about my enthusiasm, my sister always says, thank god it
isn’t heroin you’re into, or we’d all be doing it), but I’m
no good with strangers.
It made me wonder whether any of you
have developed a kind of sound bite, some wonderful description of
yoga that you use to invite people like this to yoga class. I’d
love to hear it.
And they could use it.
Many thanks to our politicians for
caring enough to put in these enormous cake days. Thanks to the party-hat guy pictured above at the Kensington Market. Thanks to yoga for
being so wonderful that we’d love to pass it along.
Thanks to you, always, for the