'Whether' the Storm

I recently learned that the wind doesn't blow -- the wind is drawn. It is drawn from a high pressure system to a low pressure system. How incredible that all these years our culture had me believing that nature, feminine in her ways, was thrusting herself into things, when actually, in keeping with the feminine, receptive, yin energy, the wind is pulled.

But last Sunday night at the Golden Globes, the wind had no yin feel about it. Los Angeles absolutely shuts down in the rain and everywhere you look you can see native Angelenos panicking and running for cover. Maybe this was the Golden Globes "Recession Version," but for some reason the Hollywood Foreign Press decided not to spring for a tent this year. This translated into an afternoon game of red carpet umbrella jostling, with managers and publicists doing their best to get their starlets in front of key press outlets, while also keeping them covered from hairdo curdling rain, all the while trying not to anger co-workers or poke out any eyes! My friend Perrey Reeves, who plays Jeremy Pivin's wife in Entourage, brought me to the event as her guest and, with her manager lost in the fray of the storm, I ended up juggling her phone, her wrap, my bag and the umbrella and, as any good friend would do, I managed to keep her covered and let my hair frizzle.

It turned into a wonderful evening. At the end of the night, when Perrey was picking up her gift bag, she handed it to me and said, "you've been my sherpa all night. I can't thank you enough! I wish I had a whole set of luggage to give you, but please at least take this gift bag. A good sherpa deserves a good bag." This one was soft natural leather, brought to me by Dooney and Burke. I was thrilled to finally see what they get in those celebrity gift bags, and as I was finally driving home at about 1:30 in the morning, the suspense was killing me.

I have to pause here to explain that home for me is actually beyond Topanga Canyon. Once at the top of Topanga Canyon, you then veer up Tuna Canyon for another 7 minutes almost to the top of Saddle Peak. In layman's terms, what does that mean? It means that I live a full 7 minutes outside cell phone range. That's right, no signal. It's hard to imagine such a world, especially in LA. You might ask, why would I live so far away? Well, the simple answer is that I'm a yoga teacher, and it almost feels like a right of passage for all good yoga teachers to live in Topanga Canyon and drive a Prius. However, my new truth is, I'm moving - because I just can't take it anymore.

Okay, so back to my drive home from the Golden Globes... about three quarters of the way up that godforsaken hill, I got a flat tire. Seriously. The most torrential storm Southern California has seen in years and all of a sudden I feel a thud, thud, thud and the car starts going lower and lower. Om Namah Shivaya! ("Oh my God" in yoga-speak) What can I do? I can't pull over, it's a narrow windy road that of course has no soft shoulder, and I can't call for help because, of course, I'm beyond cell phone range and, of course, it is pouring! Considering I only had bad options, the least of the bad to me (and my prized 5" platform heels) was to drive slowly and hope to make it up the rest of the hill without causing horrible damage to the rim.

So the next morning, waking up with just a tiny Golden Hangover, it dawned on me that it was pouring rain and somehow I had to handle my tire. I called AAA, gave them my remote location and made some coffee (please don't tell the yoga police I drink coffee instead of tea). After about an hour a guy shows up and, to put it kindly, he was just kind of a jerk. It was pouring out and somehow he had me standing outside at his car window while he sat comfortably dry inside taking my information. Finally, he ventured out and fixed the tire, all the while complaining about the weather and about where I live and really about anything in his view. It was about then I began playing out in my head the angry phone call I was going to make to the guy's supervisor, and I dashed back inside. But the gift bag caught my eye. Huh, maybe... and I started rummaging though it to see what was in there. I found a beautiful box of artisan chocolates, made for a star. "That's it" I thought to myself, put my rain hat back on and ran back outside.

"Here," I said breathlessly to him handing him the celebrity chocolates. "You've probably had the worst day trying to help people in this weather. Thank you so much for all you do!" The guy looked at me and, flashing me his crooked smile and missing teeth, his mouth dropped open. "Um, thanks. Yeah, It's been tough, we're so busy, everyone breaking down. This is really nice." And, finally, "No, I don't need you to sign anything, I'll take care of it. You go back inside and get dry!"

I had gone into the house with the intention of getting him fired, and instead ended up giving him chocolates. I figured I had a choice and wondered when the last time someone had been nice to him was. With his demeanor, I'm sure it had been some time. In that moment of frustration, I hit a crossroads we all often face. Whether to weather the storm with anger and aggression, or with kindness and compassion. Which course would truly give me the result I was looking for? Whether to fight or love? Whether to defend or console? Whether to get someone fired or give them chocolates? The choice is always ours. We each decide how to "whether" the storm.