July 4, 2013

True Confessions: I Am in An Unhealthy Relationship with New York City. ~ Be Shakti

I fell for her like most teeny bopper girls fell for the boy band heart throbs of the 90’s; hard and fast and through shiny pictures in magazines and glamorized scenes on television and movies.

I knew it would be love before we first met; she even blew the reputation away of celebrities and artists being shorter in real life. She was magnificent, tall, and stunning—even in her tangent scent of summer.

But when we did first meet, I remember the adrenaline that shot through my veins, the twirling dance my stomach did, and the sparkle in my eye. It was as if we were both already in love. As soon as we met I packed the UHaul and drove right into the heart of her, hard and fast and pulsing with infatuation, excitement, love—and hope in form of innocence.

I did not know then that she would break my heart.

No, not break—shatter, destroy.

I did not know that she would leave me always wanting a cigarette (no, Mom, I don’t actually smoke—it’s a metaphor) after I caressed her with my feet on her cold surface.

I did not know that she would be the most unhealthy relationship I would have—leaving me to feel, think—and believe psychologically that I was dependent on her, needed her to survive, to thrive.

I always knew she would cheat on me with others of the same fate. Because unlike me, monogamy is not her nature. She has never sustained a single relationship devotingly and without its highs and lows.

In fact, she is out falling in love with probably a thousand people just today, and it is only just past noon.

Damn you, New York; you not only took me for a ride and still have me hanging on the tails of your pretty stained dress. (Cue Melissa Ferrick’s song “Little Love.”)

The truth is, I am the 99% of New York(ers). The 1% come and go, pass through the streets like a summer love you know will come and pass like a breeze. Leftovers of memories, sleepless nights, sweaty dances at dive bars, but no scars. No psychological, emotional scars which the residents have from her patterns of dependency, her silent whispers of “You can’t leave me.”

Because, really, where are you going to go once you lived in New York, the metropolitan of all metropolitans. On the rocks, for real. There are no jobs elsewhere, no community, no streets to call your own.

That is what she wants you to think, at least.

Oh New York, how manipulative you are. They say if you can make it here, then you can make it anywhere—or was that just Jay-Z?

After a few years, you will have a tumultuous break up with her, leave her in a cold winter blizzard to fly to California where you will wear flowers in your hair because that is what you will be craving after years in the city—nature, nurture, grass, water, flowers and a jungle made up of things other than concrete, cement and Wall Street.

Of course, after a short but not long enough time you will come running back, asking for forgiveness. And she will accept you again, as she always does with open arms in form of higher rents, higher cost of pints of ice cream, yoga classes and just about everything for that matter.

But that is the price you have to pay, the consequences she will lay your way. And you will oblige, like a good wife.

The flicker of open air and meadow, of forest and hot spring will remain pulsing in your veins. The more you practice yoga the more you will question your commitment to the city and urban living. You will question and ask yourself intimately within the confines of your box-sized apartment (truth: my dog’s crate is larger than most studio apartments) is this life here in the city sustainable—and is it the highest quality of life you can be living?

Does it serve your soul?

Or is this city just making it harder for you to follow your yamas and niyamas? Is it straining your pranayama practice? (It is awfully hard to maintain ujjayi breath on trash days and it just so happens that every day is a trash day in the city.) Overloading your senses and over stimulating all five? Or making you unconsciously withdraw your senses without even the smallest strain or actual real awareness, making Pratyahara more of a shutting down then a turning in?

She will surround you with beautiful people, allow you to cultivate a real and true sangha.

She will ask you ‘How could you ever leave these people, students, teachers, friends, you have come to love and learn from, be inspired by, create with?’ And yet, you will still yearn for something other than the apple of what is a truly awesome concrete garden.

You will crave sustainability for those layers that require not only great inquiry, but great penetration through the soils of the soul.

Many will get caught in her trap and add to her history of abusive relationships fueled by feeling of dependency, need.

Others will move to Brooklyn—and the great few will move within.


Spiritually athletic in nature and practice, Be Shakti finds gratitude in movement, stillness and transition. She grew up not far from Amish Country in Pennsylvania and traded in the moo’ing cows for beeping taxis when she moved to NYC. Be is a registered ERYT, Lululemon Ambassador in Brooklyn and graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School. Her teaching is influenced by her studies in addiction, Tibetan Buddhism and her pet-family. Check out her website.




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Ed: Bryonie Wise


{Image: via Pinterest}

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