I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours in a leather chair with my tattoo artist- a 26 year old man with surprising depth, maturity and emotional intelligence.
Maybe it stems from being captive for 2-3 hours during the intimate act of having an artist draw on my skin with an instrument that dances between pleasure and pain, or maybe it’s the excitement of committing to a permanent external scar that represents a deeply personal internal experience; whatever the reason, being in the tattoo chair, for me, is never less than therapeutic.
During this particular session, receiving a lacy, swirly, playful but bold garder belt on my right thigh to detract from a rather unslightly scar from a dog bite, I experienced several of what I can best describe as magical moments.
First of all, this tattoo took place on Halloween, so each of the 5 artists in the shop donned spectacular costumes and were in playful moods. One of the artists, the shop’s owner who dressed as Muriel from Courage the Cowardly Dog, had brought her pup in to the shop for a visit, spray painted pink for the holiday to look like Courage. This melds into the second magical moment: the very fact that as I cover a dog bite with art, a dog was in the room, also covered in art.
The fourth magical moment occurred just before I left the shop when a passer by came in to say hello, dressed from head to toe in Tim Burton attire, her Halloween makeup creating a Nightmare Before Christmas skeleton face. I mentioned to the kind stranger that I dug her outfit and that my name was Sally, like the Burton character tattooed on her right deltoid. Beneath the skeleton makeup her eyes grew wide as we shared an excited eye conversation.
Sandwiched between these moments, however, was the Magic Royale, the peak of the magical moments, when José the tattooist spoke about his distain for TV and movies. He didn’t feel that watching a show was worth his time unless it was a documentary or informative program where he could learn something. He went on to say that often when his girlfriend watches Netflix, he sits beside her with his headphones in, drawing and jotting ideas in his notebook. It was as if he was speaking from my own internal experience, and when he added “I love working. My job is awesome and I want to be working as much as possible- it’s going home and doing nothing that stresses me out.” I knew that I was talking to a kindred spirit.
I’ve worked hard to create niches that combine all that I have to offer the world. I’m
Fortunate to have artistic expression, spirituality, playfulness and physical movement as major components of my career as a yoga teacher trainer and a summer time preschool teacher. I enjoy working and want to live in it! My way of relaxing is to work more! I dream of class solutions, I hold my students with me wherever I go and with all things I experience I look through a lens of how it can inspire and inform their practices. Taking in live music, hiking through the forest, spending time playing with children and animals- these are all seemingly non-related to my work, when deep down, it fuels my lesson plans and introduces dimensionality into my class structure and function. The world deepens my insight. In that sense, I’m working all the time, even when I sleep and eat, even when in conflict and resolution with my teenage daughter. On Halloween 2019, in the most unlikely of places, I found a soul in a different walk of life who shares my passionate sentiment that when you love your work, and work is your life, then Love is your life.