Finding Your Hippie, Finding Your Space

When was the last time you spoke to your hippie?

Humans have many layers of sub-personalities that we store within, and bring out in different quantities and at different times, sometimes out of idiocy, and sometimes, out of embarrassment. Of course, we live with our main, public personality most of the time, but it is influenced by our counterparts that are stored or revealed as needed, which I of course like to categorize:

Your Stunt Double: This is the you that comes out, typically, when drugs or alcohol are involved. Need I say more? Some of us even have double-stunt names like Sally to distinguish and clearly separate him/her from our true selves. My friends’ double stunts are slowly becoming a thing of the past, but in a blink of an eye, this one can rise from the ashes!

Your Martha: This is the you that is crafty, or has talents in the areas of gardening, cooking, creating, building, etc. Some of us have major Martha tendencies and some of us are lucky if just one of those areas go right in a day. If you’re like me, my Martha is easily pleased with simple creative or mechanical accomplishments because I’m challenged in that department. I have to lean on the cooking side to bring out my Martha, most of the time.

Your Rock Star: This is the part of you that comes out when your burliness or genius is required, and because of your dedication and execution to the task at hand, you are brilliant, even if for only a moment. Or, it’s when you smack an idiot upside the head with your knowledge on a subject that they should not have brought up with you. I don’t usually need the validation or the need to compete in that sense, but internally, it still feels good to know that I could take the idiot down if I wanted to spare the time.

Some of us also have a Yuppie, but let’s just move on.

I’m here to talk about Your Hippie: I’m using the term hippie loosely here of course, but for the peaceful layer, I call it my hippie. And again, how much hippie is in our hippie varies across personalities, but outside of those that are self-proclaimed practicing hippies, I do believe that all of us have a hippie within, and for some, it is way deep down and hidden from the rest of the world all of the time, but it’s there. It’s that side of you where calmness and peace have finally won and you’ve surrendered to that magic.

Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama

After all, according to the Dalai Lama, master of peacefulness, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” As a collective unit, I doubt he would agree that happiness can exist during times of war, chaos, stress, and just your general lack of peace.

When it comes to my hippie, I usually spit out something like this: I’m not a hippie, but I’ve got hippie tendencies. This is because I don’t want to be labeled a hippie, and like many people, I don’t necessarily agree with the hippie subculture. Several of my friends, especially the males, have a hard time with that label, but that’s for another post. Concerning me however….

you could argue that with my peace education studies, my participation in protests and activism, that period where I really didn’t shower ever, my love for poetry, Allen Ginsberg, recycling and localvorism, my both random and purposeful attention to music, enjoyment when I live like a minimalist, my hatred for shopping, those days when despite my well-endowed chest, I went bra free as much as possible and how I still miss that a whole lot, my severe desire to not ever have to wear shoes, but how my wimpy feet won’t allow it….I could go on. Deep down, I could have lived in Greenwich Village with all of the Beats and would have been pretty happy and satisfied. At least for a bit.

But, the other side of me isn’t one at all and pretty much conflicts with the hippie within. She wants to work hard in the education field, own land and own it with not a whole lot of other people, do more expensive types of travel like most middle class people, work out, recreate for both pleasure and fitness, save for retirement. She wants to be present and doesn’t really dig (any longer) being on drugs that give her a lack of reality. She battles with not buying too much gear. She embraces the dominant culture with things such as soccer. She loves to eat meat, and not just the local, organic kind either.

I’m playing on the stereotype of course, but you get my point.

And of course, I continue to have this battle with Yoga. Now, dedicated practitioners would probably take offense to me aligning yoga with being a hippie, but when I’m successful at it, I do find a level of peace and my hippie awakens. It may not align to the correct yoga philosophy, but the purpose of yoga, after all, is to calm and connect your mental and physical states-whatever those might be. And besides, I’m not trying to be a yogi or some master in yoga; I’m just trying to meditate with my peaceful self on occasion, and that in my book equates to finding my hippie. Most of us suck at finding peace or tranquility so it’s good that there are those times.

Kenai River
Kenai River

The last time I wrote about Yoga, it was all about achieving a yogasm, but getting up on this particular morning, I knew that I probably wasn’t going to have a yogasm in class; I just wanted to stay in bed, but, yoga is better for me in the mornings. I’ve come to realize that if and when I want to go to yoga class, I should go first thing, or at least as early as I can get there so that I have a chance at beating my busy mind.

When I walked into class late and I really, really hate being late, I was scanning the room for a spot and I was already distracted by all of the beautiful people in the room, and about 5,000 other things swimming in my mind. They just move around with no direction. Do you have that problem? I don’t pretend to be an intelligent being in all subjects; in fact, I’ll pull my space card whenever I feel like it, but lately, I just find all of my thoughts in this somewhat chaotic sort of state. The bonus on that is this causes me to want to write more, whether it’s good or not, just get them out! I wonder if they’ve always been doing that? I also fear that I’ve only just begun to really pay attention.

In any case, as I was sneaking into my position, my teacher was talking about the space that is just above your inhale, and just below your exhale. At first, all of the parts of me that aren’t hippie were thinking, “O, brother…here we go….”. She made us stay there, and work on our breathing for longer than we usually do in this particular type of class, but I was willing to roll with it because deep down, that was a few more minutes before I had to exert real energy. Focus.

Susitna River
Susitna River

You see, my non-hippie self can’t handle the weird thumb to nose breathing exercises that some Vinyasa teachers have you do. It’s just too….hippie for me and I can’t take it seriously-I’ve been known to laugh during those sessions so if they do weird breathing, I have to avoid them out of respect. But, I can manage to get through just paying attention to breathing. They make you sit and breathe a lot, and listen to your breathing. And think about your breathing. What? Really? I have to think about it, but honestly, when I do actually do what they tell me to do, it feels really good.

Throughout the class, my teacher kept referring us back to our space, whether it was with our breath, within the stretch or pose we were working on, within our minds. The purpose of yoga is to find space she kept saying-find it in your body. Find it in your mind. Find it around you. She, more so than I’ve noticed in any other yoga class I’ve taken, was really hammering on the message.

View from room, Talkeetna, AK
View from room, Talkeetna, AK

Maybe it was the repetition of her statements. Maybe it was because it was morning and I was better able to absorb what my teacher was saying. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had any coffee yet (I’m wondering if I should quit that addiction). I’m not sure, but I felt like I was learning, and learning….well that just turns me on. When I’m slightly uncomfortable and am being challenged, I’m learning and I think this is why I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I’m not always get out of it what I should so frustration comes out more so than not.

Towards the end of class, she threw out something that resonated with me. After all of that space finding, she knew that she could. She said that there are two goals with yoga class:

1. Making the effort to get to class. Just getting to the mat is the first step.

2. Feeling. Being open to feeling what you feel. You are creating more space to feel what your physical and mental states are, whatever those might be.

When she said that, it just smacked me and my hippie just burst out of me. I was laying on my back with what I felt like was a lot of space, and a few tears just welled up out of me. My entire body even shivered. I don’t know if anyone else out there experiences tears when their body is overwhelmed, but it happens to me on occasion. I think those times represent my private, guarded self-ahh, yet another layer, when I’ve created such a grand moment of release for my emotions. They aren’t necessarily sad tears. I suppose they can be at times, but more often, they are a combination of emotional energy, and I don’t know about you, but regardless of what causes it, I’ll take that kind of peace any day.

I don’t think the message of space was different, but it was how she taught it that made the difference so that a true combination of physical and mental clarity was achieved, which is what everyone is always talking about when it comes to yoga. Everyone is talking about it, but I rarely seem to get it. I got it this time! No laughter. No defense. I was just right there, with my hippie  skipping all over the room.

Now, how is that for too much hippie in one post?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that on this Friday evening, you nourish the hippie within you in some way.

Talkeetna River
Talkeetna River

7 thoughts on “Finding Your Hippie, Finding Your Space

    1. Mom, that makes total sense, believe me-I don’t mind it because what you’re trying to describe to them with ease is a large portion of who I am.

  1. Sometimes the fun begins when you sit them all down around a table. For me, that started with Ohio Boy, Electric Blue, Swami, and Jacob. They gave me an earful, indeed.

  2. I actually don’t have a stunt double…but there’s a part of me that’s always in touch with my inner hippie (although it’s more conservative than other “hippies” I know).

    1. I know what you mean! I think as I get older, my hippie is growing again or maybe it’s just returning in a bigger, louder way! I’m appreciating the calmer side of myself these daysThanks for stopping by Kitt-hope you’re doing well.

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