I dislike going to the dentist, probably about as much as any other individual. This morning, after a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend traveling with the Mathematician and the Artist for a show and before setting foot in the office, I sat down in the dentist's chair for my 6 month check-up. My cleaning was proceeding as normal and then the dreaded question cheerfully popped - the question that strikes fear into the hearts of many patients:
"Have you been flossing daily?"
I'm reminded at this point of the bright red Lululemon shopping bags with their manifestoDance, Sing, Floss, and Travel and my heart sank. "Honestly," I replied, "not recently."
As the thin bundle of nylon fibers scraped down the sides of my teeth and snapped under the gum, I realized, that flossing is comparable to tending to the Self, the Soul; things that should be done to some extent every day. Even when the day isn't quite going right or you just done feel like it or there's another voice telling you there's something else you should be doing.
I came so close to heading directly back to my apartment after work, but a couple coworkers and friends reminded me about my practice - which is sort of like metal/physical/spiritual dental floss. At 6:10 or so this morning, on the drive back into DC I decided that I needed to go to practice. In class, I set myself in the far back corner and had probably one of my best practices. The first couple down dogs were a little difficult and I certainly considered throwing the "floss" away for the evening. But I diligently worked my way though the flow, not forcing myself into a pose that I couldn't fall into. In turn other poses opened up with fuller expression than I have achieved previously. Holding two sets of Bakasana, Crow Pose (if you remember, my nemesis from earlier this summer) for a total of 16 seconds!
Floss really isn't just a piece of nylon thread that your dentist asks you about every visit. It is an action that needs to be tended to every day. For the teeth. For the Self.