Last week, despatching a lovely picture of my little yoga space to my internet soulmate Françoise, I captioned the image with, “Practicing by the window today:).” Françoise replied, “Love the industrial, pure, minimal feel of this so much! Does not get much more basic than that! And the nakedness of yoga.”

Industrial. Pure. Minimal. And the nakedness of yoga.

How very Atlas Shrugged.

I’m well into my third read of the most glorious book on Earth, and it’s completely mesmerising because each read seems like the first time. And, it’s interesting to realise of exactly how much I’ve changed and of how each reading experience has triggered different reaction. The first time, aged 28, it blew me away to learn that other people in the world thought like I thought. Others existed who interpreted A as A.

The second time around, aged 32, Atlas Shrugged again blew me away because in the four years since my first read, I lived completely, unequivocally, unapologetically according to my value system for the first time ever, and to see myself in retrospect through the characters truly astounded me!

On this third read, aged 33, I’m noticing different things, yet again! First off, instead of being super serious and awestruck, I am completely laughing so hard because not only do I exist as more relaxed in my skin than ever before, but everything simply hits too close to home, from Hank Rearden’s mother citing him as “the most conceited brat you ever saw…” to James Taggart citing Dagny as having “no sense of the human element.” Ha ha ha! And, of course, I’m laughing to both characters showing no reaction whatsoever because they’re too concerned with their own agenda, completely disregarding the socialist mopey dopey nature of the majority of society.

So me. 🙂

The other thing that I’m noticing is Ayn Rand’s delicious attention to description of physical bodies. I’d like to use this post to highlight just a few of the early-on descriptors because they relate to my ideal; and Françoise’s observations of my yoga space whisper to me, “Dagny Taggart would practice yoga here.” Note: Françoise has not yet read Atlas Shrugged, so she’ll be getting an early Christmas pressie from Gwendolyn.

“She sat at the window of the train, her head thrown back, one leg stretched across to the empty seat before her. The window frame trembled with the speed of the motion, the pane hung over empty darkness, and dots of light slashed across the glass as luminous streaks, once in a while.

Her leg, sculptured by the tight sheen of the stocking, its long line running straight, over an arched instep, to the tip of a foot in a high-heeled pump, had a feminine elegance that seemed out of place in the dusty train car and oddly incongruous with the rest of her. She wore a battered camel’s hair coat that had been expensive, wrapped shapelessly about her slender, nervous body. The coat collar was raised to the slanting brim of her hat. A sweep of brown hair fell back, almost touching the line of her shoulders. Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision. She kept her hands in the coat pockets, her posture taut, as if she resented immobility, and unfeminine, as if she were unconscious of her own body and that it was a woman’s body.” (p. 12).

“With the first whistling rush of air, as the Comet plunged into the tunnels of the Taggart Terminal under the city of New York, Dagny Taggart sat up straight. She always felt it when the train went underground – this sense of eagerness, of hope and of secret excitement. It was as if normal existence were a photograph of shapeless things in badly printed colors, but this was a sketch done in a few sharp strokes that made things seem clean, important – worth doing.” (p. 17 – 18).

“Swinging through the darkness of the shed, the red glare kept slashing the ace of a man who stood in a distant corner; he stood leaning against a column, watching. The glare cut a moment’s wedge across his eyes, which had the color and quality of pale blue ice – then across the black web of the metal column and the ash-blond strands of his hair – then across the belt of his trenchcoat and the pockets where he held his hands. His body was tall and gaunt; he had always been too tall for those around him. His face was cut by prominent cheekbones and by a few sharp lines; they were not the lines of age, he had always had them: this had made him look old at twenty, and young now, at forty-five. Ever since he could remember, he had been told that his face was ugly, because it was unyielding, and cruel, because it was expressionless. It remained expressionless now, as he looked at the metal. He was Hank Rearden.” (p. 28).

Industrial. Pure. Minimal. And the nakedness of yoga.

Have a good day, and namaste.