Never is Never Right

Never is never right

I love this koan from Bernie Clark, the grand shepherd of Yin Yoga. He said it over and over again in our training, “Always is always wrong, never is never right.”

My mind still says it in his voice.

I disliked it at the time, from my high horse of self righteous thirtysomethingness, and I like it less now from the front porch of 40 where the truth of it singes the air. 

Today I insulated my meditation perch from sound so that I can record myself teaching. Recorded teaching feels as ridiculous as compressed air and also as necessary. As I’ve learned recently, there are good reasons to concentrate oxygen and bottle it up for a difficult moment.

And this is a difficult moment.

In this moment, my teaching cannot be planned for an impossible future, and so I have considered the warm breeze of rogue and spontaneous teaching, and the concentrated and distilled form of recorded fade ins and outs, with image cards and title cards and digital handouts. It’s not different from writing books, I suppose, but it feels different, as it requires acoustic tiles and adequate lighting. It’s harder to blame the editor or the publisher for mincing or embellishing when it’s just words from my mouth hole pressed into the canister that exists somewhere in cyberspace.

For every hour of video and audio I record, I spend eight editing. Part of this is because I’m new and not terribly nimble and part of it is that my perfectionism likes to drag her feet. Also exhaustion bears some of the burden, but it feels banal to blame her eleven months into a pandemic. She’s there, with her chorus of worry and anxiety, the baritones of grief and depression trying to sing tenor or bass and ending up squarely nowhere. I’m six weeks behind on my ambition, and I’m embracing the possible while slowly and steadily recording six minutes at a time. Just six minutes.


It’s good.

If I’m honest, my perfectionism will ultimately serve those who learn from me, as well as the beings at the outer edges of the cosmos who watch and wonder at our ridiculous species and culture and time. The Yin yoga and the ‘Airstream hacks’ and the ‘ICU how to’ will hopefully balance out. And who knows what may come next?

As it seems, Bernie was right.

Never, never is.

Sat nam.

black and white image of kari with her hands in front of her face

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