There’s just something about a nine story robot putting some kung fu on a Decepticon. For those of you who don’t know anything about Transformers, the Decepticons are the bad guys. Optimus Prime is the leader of the good guys, the Autobots. I just love me some Autobots.
I saw Transformers 3 tonight. This is not a review of the movie, but I would give it like seven stars if you asked me. When I sat down, I couldn’t tell you what this post was gonna be about, just that it isn’t a review. When I begin a blog, I don’t really know where it’s going. There is just this intangible thing one might mistake for an idea. There’s something that I want to say. So I make a pot of coffee and sit with this iridescence until something begins to gel. There, now my secret is out. Now maybe the publishers of “How Authors Write” will solicit me for my genuine and unique approach to writing. My essay for the anthology on where I get writing ideas would be concise; I don’t know.
In yoga a couple of weeks ago, I was rolling around on the floor, much like we do in yoga. I wrangle myself into a close approximation of Pigeon pose wherein I extend one leg directly behind me with the shin of the other leg cutting a right angle between itself and my thigh on which I sit, sort of. My right hip is pretty savvy with this pose. The left one is ornery like a dug in mule. While striking this pose on the right side, Ed, my teacher for the evening, asks, “Hey, Nickie, what’s going on over there with that left hip?”
My hands are helping me balance above my shin and my body is ambling over in the wrong direction. I have managed not to fall. I look up and in the direction from which Ed spoke. There is desperation in my neck muscles. Of course when all else fails, scrunch up your face and neck and this will help. I reply, “I don’t know.”
“Ah, good, that’s good.”
Once I confessed I had no idea why my hip was doing that weird thing there in this Pigeon pose, I sort of settled down in it. I worked on that pose specifically for about a week. This pose isn’t my strongest one, so it deserved a little attention. I am still not so strong in this yoga pose, but not knowing why allows me space to work in. In this space I realize it’s not strength this pose requires of my body; it needs flexibility.
Now I have to confess that every time I see a new Transformers movie, muscle memory makes my quads twitch whenever an Autobot throws a round-house into a Decepticon’s midsection. I bite down into my cheek and think that I’m gonna sign up for kickboxing just as soon as the movie is over. I just love all that action. Sometimes I think that when I grow up I’d like to be an Autobot, or at least have one as a friend. They’re the good guys.
That’s the lovable thing about ‘em. Transformers, Hasboro born toys brought live onto the big screen, are the perpetual good guys. The tension is between them and the bad guys. What’s funny is there’s no difference between the good guys and the bad guys as far as what they are goes. Intelligent machines from outer space. Typical, right? Massive, hydraulic, strong and metallic; the hero and villain are made of the same stuff.
The difference is that the Decepticons are cold and calculating. They have no feelings and are incapable of friendship with humanity. They want to harvest resources from the Earth, a great big bunch of users they are. They are just as strong and massive as the good guys. Their gears are just as oiled. It is their intelligence that is inflexible. The Autobots, well, they just seem to care about things. Compassion transmutes the most rigid material into more flexible stuff. Compassion gives the scrap heap humanity.
My example for this is in that Pigeon pose, but I think this concept can be applied to anything. If my mind were so rigid that I sat right on down in Pigeon pose, demanding strength where I needed flexibility and softness I’d probably be sleeping face down on a heating pad by now. When I let the intelligence of not knowing into that space in my hip that felt knotted and tangled, I began to ask questions. Moving around this pose, sliding in and out of it on my mat at home, experiencing it for all it can be and what isn’t available to me right now, I learned that it seemed to be something as simple as an over tight tendon on that side. Attention will foster flexibility that I need.
There are times we all try to be over tight and too strong in situations that require softness and flexibility. Sometimes it is in moving out of a pose that isn’t available to me that ends up being the most intelligent thing I can do. I can go back to it another day after the tendon has released or the muscle has warmed more. But this sort of flexibility doesn’t begin in the muscles and tendons, it is born in the mind. The mind is a powerful thing that can create great suffering or can offer deep compassion. It’s not the hero versus the villain in Transformers, it’s the rigid “them” versus the faith and compassion of the “other”.
We all have a little Decepticon in us. We can all access our own inner Optimus Prime. It all depends on which gears you oil.