Ego in the Park.


My favorite thing about Portland is that whenever blog days come around and I have no idea what to write about, I just have to step outside for a while and wait.

Inevitably, inspiration will strike me, like a lightning bolt, a falling tree branch, or an engagement announcement.

While I was sitting beside my bike in the park, the wheel still spinning slowly because I’d crashed it down unceremoniously, I happened to glance up from my new book. And there, right in front of me, a couple had arrived and were doing yoga.

Now I’m not opposed to outdoor yoga, or even in some circumstances yoga in the park. But unfortunately, these two weren’t politely minding their own business, going through a flow together for fitness or meditation.

Nay, this couple featured the male half guiding the female half through some poses which she obviously already knew, which seemed to me to just be a ruse on both their parts to get physical in public.

But I digress.

The point is, these two got me thinking about our society’s penchant for display.

Examples! Everybody loves examples!

Firstly, fashion. The apparent point of most trends is to simply give the wearer reason to strut about like a peacock with its feathers out, courting a mate. Of course our fashion trends aren’t exclusively for the purpose of mating (although that has a lot more to do with it than I think most people will admit.) But still, we prance around, hoping that the feathers in our hair, the lens-less glasses framing our eyes, and the super-high platforms beneath our feet will make more people look at us with jealousy, attract people similar to us, and project a particular image that is very different from the image we project when we’re wearing our yoga pants and old sweater.

A second example is our stuff. American culture in particular is completely obsessed with stuff– both having the most of it, and having the nicest stuff. Most of it, we don’t even use. We just have it so that other people can see that we have it.

Another example is the people we surround ourselves with– it is unfortunate, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people simply surround themselves with people they want to be associated with instead of people they actually enjoy and appreciate.

Even activities– people do or say they do a particular activity just because it makes them seem cool to whomever they’re talking with. That’s why I rarely tell people that I play any instruments. I don’t want people to think that I’m THAT douchebag, who has a guitar sitting in their room but doesn’t know what to do with it besides a few beginner chords.

I don’t understand why people are so fixated on what people think of them instead of just being themselves and doing what they love.

It boils down to an unhealthy perspective of ego.

All of these things have to do with people wanting people to think good things about them, which flatter’s one’s ego. Pride, basically.

I hope that the people doing yoga in the park feel good and flattered by the way I watched them for a minute, scribbled a note, and biked away.

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  1. Ha..ha, and that’s the challenge of this world – the battle between the Ego and our Higher Self. Have a wonderful day observing! :)

    • Pat Schmidt
    • June 14th, 2012

    When I was in Boulder, CO recently, I witnesses a couple in the park doing what could only be described as “pairs yoga.”

    • Jeff
    • June 14th, 2012

    Flattered by the way you watched them for a minute, scribbled a note, went home, and wrote a whole blog about it? The evil yoga plot seems pretty effective to me.

    • Haha, good point. I secretly hope they don’t know that I wrote a blog about it. How creepy would that be to read a blog and be like “Oh my gosh, that random girl in the park was totally watching us and wrote about us.”

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