Friday, February 15, 2008

Most Of You Who Read This Blog Practice Yoga (Or You're Probably My Parents).

You're a cadre of health-conscious people who appreciate informed yogic insight, effective workout tips, easy and nutritious recipe options, and creative lifestyle advice. Some of you run races, hike mountains, scale rock faces, meditate regularly, or all of the above. The rest of you feel an energetic pull toward these topics. You'd do these things if you could or envision that someday you will.

Then, there's my friend NYC Gal who reads this blog simply because it gives her more fodder to poke fun at the endlessly entertaining chasm between our lives, despite the fact that she is my closest college friend. To illustrate this point, she once juxtaposed the image on this site (of me in an arm balance) beside one of her doing a keg stand. NYC Gal's recreational activities of choice do not include yoga but rather beer pong and tailgating. The only thing she'd do with a vegan apple muffin would be to chuck it at my head for insulting Bon Jovi. She's a Yankees fan, a republican, and, as the name indicates, a bona fide New Yorker. When I visit her (which is far less than she visits me because I have more tolerance for paper cuts doused in lemonade than I do New York City), I pack as if for a camping trip. My species can't subsist on what her species calls sustenance (mainly alcohol, hummus, and frozen yogurt), so I've learned to pack provisions like miso soup, trail mix, and protein bars. You think I am kidding? It's an Acela expedition into the concrete jungle that I need to take seriously, or else I could end up hightailing it to her parents' manse in the Jersey 'burbs, begging for asylum, where, at least, I can find a fridge that contains produce. I knit on the train to settle my nerves, plan at least one yoga class while she hits the nail salon, and do visualization exercises to prepare for sitting across the breakfast table from someone wearing a Yankees cap and reading the Post.

Yet, she is one of my nearest and dearest. We disagree on just about everything under the sun- except one really important thing. Our friendship matters more. I might question NYC Gal's stance on rudimentary things like music and politics, but her loyalty, heart, and humor are unquestionably constant. It should go without saying that friends value each other's happiness as much as their own, but in an age of Facebook friends, "frenemies," and friends you text versus friends you call, I can't overlook her genuine knowledge and support of who I am. In moments of personal triumph, she's the first person to offer congratulations followed by a near instantaneous phone tree to spread the news to her vast social network. During low moments, she's been known to take painstaking care of preserving my ability to smile through sharing the most disastrous dating stories ever imagined, recruiting cute sounding nieces and nephews to leave comical voicemails, and up-to-the-minute celebrity sighting information long before the era of Perez.

My point is this . . . Compassion is what makes our lives bearable; contradiction makes them interesting, and, in the case of my college pal and I, fun. Like-minded people make us feel safe, and they create the core of our personal lives; however, be mindful not to overlook someone who just might be the ever-important yin to your yang. Remember that doing yoga doesn't make us good people; "living" it does. My friend is a living example of Buddhist compassion . . . you know, if the Buddha lived on the upper west side of Manhattan, listened to ACDC, and read Page Six religiously.

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