I am still thinking about yoga teacher Joe Naudzunas‘s split from the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, which I discussed in a prior post. It must be tough, leaving your yoga “home” of 20 years. I’m just an onlooker and lack the full story, so I’m not taking sides. Rather, I am thinking about my own dislike of tension or “bad blood” with others.
I’m not talking about legitimate arguments with someone close. Being furious to the point of rage with those you love, letting your anger and vulnerability show: that is part of the deal in close relationships. If two people fight, but then reach an understanding, they can still be friends. In fact, they are probably better friends, having pushed each other beyond their comfort zones.
Rather, I’m talking about situations where you just can’t see eye to eye with someone and issues are never resolved. I hate unfinished business with people.
Once, in my mid 20s, I lived in an apartment above a university student named Stacy. She made little impression on me, and we maintained a polite “hello” interaction if we bumped into each other outside. The one singular thing about this altogether average white girl: the pet albino snake she kept in an aquarium.
A short while after she moved in, her mother came to visit, bringing more of her stuff. That night, I could hear a loud radio droning the news from her bedroom directly below mine. All night.
The next morning, I knocked on her door. Both Stacy and her mother seemed surprised that I was bothered by the noise.
“I’m sorry but I can’t sleep with the radio on,” I said.
“She can’t sleep without it,” the mother replied. “It wasn’t that loud.”
“I could hear it clearly. Do you need it on all night?”
“This is an apartment building. Maybe you could try earplugs.”
Eventually the mother left. The radio continued. It wasn’t blaring but, prior to her arrival, I’d enjoyed the luxury of a vacant unit beneath mine. I started wearing earplugs. I was still annoyed but, moreover, I felt uneasy about our interaction.
One day, I knocked on Stacy’s door. “I just want to acknowledge the whole radio thing,” I said. “I don’t want there to be any bad blood between us.”
She gazed at me, neither smiling nor hostile. “Oh, there isn’t any bad blood,” she said. “There’s just nothing more to say.”
I had to hand it to her, this girl several years younger than I. She nailed it, the hard truth. Sometimes there will never be agreement. Even if you avoid grudges or regret, sometimes there is simply nothing more to say.
Perhaps that is the case with Joe. So he left.