I don't mean that I enjoyed a nice pork chop, or that I wrapped filet mignon in bacon. I literally took a baby pig, sliced it open with a knife, and poked and marveled its insides.
I guess the knife part gives it all away. It was a biology lab I took my first semester of college, and the one dissection we had to do was of a fetal pig.
I remember the first day of class, when the instructor announced that we'd be doing the fetal pig dissection. "No fucking way," I thought to myself.
I was young, high on Ani Difranco and burgeoning liberal beliefs, and there was no way I would let this injustice stand. I discussed this with my mother, who encouraged me to abstain and to bring a brochure from AAVS to the instructor. I put the brochure in my bag, and on the second day the class met, I had fortified myself, ready to broach the topic with the instructor.
"Don't trip," my lab partner (and former McDonald's coworker) said. "I'll dissect it when the day comes. And you get to miss one lab per semester; you can just be absent that day." My political standpoint crumpled in the face of this opportunity for laziness. Plus, the instructor was kind of scary, and I didn't want to get into it with an instructor my first semester of college.
Inevitably, the day to dissect the pig arrived. My lab partner's one absence coincided with D-Day. My last-minute protestations to the instructor fell on deaf ears, of course, and the pig was placed in front of me. Bigger, pinker, and waaay cuter than I expected, the pig lay tragically on the tray, scalpel neatly placed beside it. I didn't know what I was going to do. As the only person without a lab partner, I felt the victim of some great injustice. I was an English major, for Chrissakes. In what possible context would I need to know what the insides of a dead pig look like?
To say that making the first incision was the hardest part would be an understatement. I couldn't have felt more dread and disgust as I would walking toward a pile of writhing caterpillars (of which I am intensely afraid). I understood that I was most definitely not going to take a stand, that I was going to participate in what I thought was a strange and unnecessary process. But once the skin gave way to the blade, once it pulled away to reveal the tiny, compact organs, the resistance dropped away. There was the pale heart, the maroon liver; there were the daffodil-colored intestines that could be unraveled like a ball of yarn. Not only was it not as bad as I thought it would have been, it was actually kind of cool.
I thought of that pig yesterday as my mind mapped out brilliant excuses to skip out on yoga (these scalpel moments present themselves all the time, don't they?). This time, the pig was far too cute, and I talked myself out of a Bikram class. How many wonderful experiences do we miss out on because we resist and fight? As Jack Kornfield says, "This resistance is a pushing away or closing off to the experience, just the opposite of opening to it."
I'm not really sure what the "takeaway" for this piece is, exactly, but maybe we can take a page out of Kornfield's book and just keep opening to experience. Pick up that blade and get to work! :-)