So I swore off yoga. It didn't make that much difference in my life, really, but things were a little duller and lonelier. I missed the feeling of belonging, the high you get after a really good class. After drinking too much one night and waking up sorrowful, I ended up back at Jivamukti: Masochistic or not, I just couldn't stay away. I stopped my five-days-a-week practice, however, and began dropping in a few times a month. My body returned to a size 8. Then, a couple weeks ago, I asked Kelly out to dinner.
She ordered two salads, saying that she'd spent the night before with a "new guy" and they'd gone out for a breakfast of pancakes and eggs, so she was now trying to skimp. She sipped a glass of white wine and looked as gorgeous as usual in a pair of cork platform sandals and a tight black dress. She told me a story about a designer who wanted to trade clothes for yoga classes, and how some teachers at Jivamukti had faulted her for taking him up on it. "I said to them, 'If you can't see God in a pair of Manolo Blahniks, then you either haven't looked hard enough or you can't afford them,' " she said, laughing.
But when we began to talk more seriously, and Kelly was no longer acting so cool, she became docile and wise, which I have no question is her true nature. "You know, some students want to be friends -- they project so much of their own goodness onto you, and it's like in order to have a relationship with that side of themselves, they seek a relationship with you," she said, circling the rim of her wine with her finger. "But I have so many more shortcomings than most of my students! You might not see it in class: I'm flying in there. But when it's over, I'm back to the same struggle. Yes. The same struggle."
It was then that I accepted her as my teacher.