Friday, June 10, 2011

Kirtan - Chanting

I was skeptical but it is my sister's birthday and she wanted  go chant with Krishna Das so I went with. She had told me that she had an amazing spiritual experience attending one of his concerts and that there was an incredible energy and power in this chanting. I thought she "drank the Kool-Aid." I went. And I waited. Ready to be wowed. And here comes a guy, plaid shirt, glasses who sits down on the floor behind a harmonium, a woman with a violin, guy on drums, guy on bass and a woman with small symbols, all just sitting there... and I waited...I was holding this paper I was handed entering the room with all these words that I wasn't even sure I could pronounce let alone have any idea what they mean. Sanskrit? My mind is going in all sorts of negative directions, wondering how long this whole chanting thing could last anyway... And then after some silence there's sounds from the harmonium and an "om" rising... the call and repetition for a response begins and I struggle to look at my sheet and figure out where we are and what I'm supposed to be saying... 

I started singing along with everyone and it was ok but I kept finding myself waiting for this great spiritual breakthrough or something to happen... and then it did... for me, there was something about this song - My Foolish Heart/Bhaja Govinda - that I felt deeply connected to and I felt the energy in myself change and became in touch with the energy in the room, everyone chanting together like a unified heartbeat which resonated in the building and every inanimate object in the building seemed to take on this pulse too, everything together, connected, pulsing, connected down into the earth and up into the sky, beauty and light pouring out from everyone and back the universe... and I was full, my heart was open and my light was shining...

When Krishna Das sang 'Hare Krishna' it seemed like the building may explode from all the energy pulsing through it. I remember when I was younger seeing people with shaved heads and dressed in draped robes dancing around on street corners and in airports singing 'Hare Krishna' and thinking they must be part of some crazy religious cult. I remember thinking they always seemed really happy but also thinking there must be something 'funny' going on. I hope that I have learned better than that. I hope I can move beyond those callous judgments and truly be a better, more loving and open person. The practice of love is so much more powerful than the practice of hate and it serves us all  instead of serving the ignorance of a few.

I drank the Kool-Aid. 
Krishna Das is in San Francisco for 2 nights so we will see him again tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friendly Yoga

 The founder of Anusara Yoga, John Friend, was teaching a few classes at a studio near here. I am going to Wanderlust in Vermont with my sister and signed up for some of John Friend's classes there but those will be huge amounts of people so the opportunity to participate in a class in a smaller setting was really appealing and absolutely terrifying - I've had 3 individual classes, I don't know what I'm doing and to then be in front of the founder of the method... 

The classes sold out quickly but the universe conspired, a class was added so my sister and I registered. What a wonderful experience. There were about 40 people filling this studio with their love, beauty and grace. John Friend welcomed every level of ability and participation and valued each person. When we entered the studio we were given name tags to put on our mats, so when people came by to offer adjustments they were able to talk to students by name. As John moved through the space directing these eager pupils he walked by my mat and said "Good job, Angela." My teacher in Boston had said that John Friend can get you to do things you never thought possible. She was right. My fourth yoga class and I was standing on my hands - with some assistance. 

What beautiful experience. It feels like the beginning of transformation. 
When's the next class?

suburban splendor

It's such an interesting experience coming back to the suburbs now that I've been living in a city and haven't had a car in about 5 years. I do miss driving at times, particularly around here - San Francisco Bay Area - where it's a quick trip over the hills to the ocean or up to San Francisco or East to the Bay or numerous hiking trails... I used to just go for drives... but being a more urban dweller now I'm used to walking everywhere, even with great public transportation in Boston if I can walk there instead of taking transit I probably will. We all need the exercise and I take transit too to keep up with the transit culture which is a brilliant eclectic mix. Here although it's less than 2 miles to the grocery store I take the car... but when I go "downtown" I tried to find a central place to park and walk around. In between buildings and on sprawling sidewalks are planters and courtyards perhaps so you don't feel disconnected from your own yards when you're out in the world. It's almost like a competition to see who has the prettiest planters. My nomination today goes to the Wells Fargo bank in Palo Alto with their beautiful poppies and snap dragons. If I'd done drive-thru banking I would have missed it entirely.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

parenting curve

When first learning abou the "bell curve" in school you think about grades. You look around the classroom, trying to rank people's braininess and see where you'll fall in this curve and hope it's not toward the low end so you stay out of trouble with your parents for getting bad grades... as I've gotten older I've realized that this bell curve can be applied in many different areas including the child parent relationship. 

Every relationship is unique particularly between parents and children - even in the same household the relationship between children and parents is different. There is an overall similar trajectory, child needs diapers and lots of attention, gains independence, moves out, parents regain their independence and then they begin to need diapers and lots of attention... in the middle somewhere there's an evening out for a little where there is more of an equality and both parent and child are teacher and student and respected for both these roles. There is a challenging shift when the child's role transforms into that of parenting - of teacher and care taker.

After about 3 years of muscle deterioration my dad has received a diagnosis of amyloidosis. After various doctor visits in multiple states he's made the decision to have a stem cell transplant. My sister and I have traveled out to California to be with our parents during this time and to help care for both our parents during this time. We are feeling out this curve, this shift in relationships, resistance and release as we begin this journey with our dad.

I anticipate many lessons from time spent "at home" and this new navigation in our family dynamics and hope to also take time to do more self exploration and personal growth as a result of this experience.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flying Gnomes

It was a mad dash to the finish but tomorrow all these gnomes will be on their way to Ohio. Hopefully they'll be a hit and none of them will end up coming back here... they're being sold at the Holden Arboretum during their Gnome & Garden instillation which sounds like it would be really fun to go and see. 

Here's a sampling of the gnome items

sketched cards, photo cards & wanted postcards



3 sizes of screen printed bags 

Whatever comes back will end up in my etsy store... but if you see something you're interested in let me know, I'm always happy to do a custom order!