Monday, April 30, 2007

Rough month 

Ready to see April on his way out. The same weekend Guruji was hospitalized, got quite sick with this cold/bronchial/walking pneumonia-type-thing that still lingers. Even through the euphoria of Easter week and the bonus vacation time in the city, the seventy-degree first days of summer, the beauty of spring’s first flowers, I’ve pretty much felt like crap. Then, coupla days ago, took a major fall at work, slipped down the stairs, landing squarely on my butt, sending a jolt up my spine and snapping my head back. Had it not been so scary, it would've been funny, like You Tube funny. As it was, felt a little out of it (which is pretty normal for me, so ignored it), then my brain started pushing against my right eye making things really scary. And the neck was also a question mark- you say whiplash can take a few days to set in? I am taking rest and being cared for, and if things are outta whack tomorrow will seek out the onsite chiropractor.

Also in the Not Helping column: ashram crush hooked up and is smitten- with someone other than me. And: the GM at work gave me grief for taking those two weeks off and hired several new people, playing the “I can’t promise you your old schedule but let me see what I can do card”. I’d say, not knowing if I need to look for another job, something to tide me over for the next couple of months, yeah, that was a little stressful. Probably not best for the old immune system.

But even doing everything right, the yoga, the supplements, the rest, the ease of heart if not mind, none of it helped. I’d get better, then come to the ashram where people are still coughing away also and get more sick. It’s a running joke, how guests see our vibrant shining faces and mellow meals when we are in fact feverish and exhausted.

On the Things to Look Forward to list, added a bit of a bombshell. So inspired was I by the extended time spent here, the ten days of space and practice I got to enjoy over my holiday, that I toyed with coming here for longer. This was not the first time I’ve fantasized about it. Held back. That little house on the lake calls to me every summer. Realized the one thing holding me back from quitting the job a little earlier and taking off a little sooner than planned was fear. My little room is overcrowded, as it is, thanks. Trying to clear stuff out, as it is.

Submitted my request for full work study, early June through late August. Then Greece to see the folks and friends and buy my ticket to Delhi for mid September. Fear visits, sometimes. His partner doubt pops his head through the door, also. I gently but firmly shoo them away. Go calling somewhere else, guys- I have some temples to check out. Chants to learn. People to meet.

So, I guess it hasn't been such a rough month, after all. Just going through a few muddy patches, is all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring cleaning 

After all the planning and anticipating and re-planning re-anticipating, first for Florida with Guruji, then Boulder with Richard, ended up exactly where I needed to be. As we always do, anyway.

When I found out, about a week after Guruji had gotten sick-then-better, that he was back in hospital and that Eddie had taken off for Mysore, I didn’t know for about a day if I was to take a flight to Colorado for a week, transferring my non-refundable Miami ticket, or if I was going to go to India to say goodbye. Not ready to say goodbye, not anytime soon.

Packed and ready to spend a week of practice, rest, exploration, new horizons, new people, reading, writing- to just be, for a little while. Was so proud of how organized I was, by my standards- actually packed some stuff a whole day prior, made my lists and kept ‘em… no drama there. Was downstairs waiting for the airport pick-up- which was such a First I had to call my dad and let him know! Breeze through mid-morning traffic, get to the aiport with spades of time to spare- what will I ever do with two-and-a-half hours before flight-time? Get to check in, brandishing passport, people-watch as the counterperson processes my ticket. “there is one small problem, ms. Zym”, he says. “Your flight was yesterday”.

In my head, I was always traveling on Thursday. On paper, I missed my flight by a day. Swaha- the money was already gone when Florida was cancelled, anyway.

The initial doubletake was quickly replaced by a deep sense that everything was as it should be. That I should stay on the East Coast, closer to Eddie’s and India. That I should be around for my best friend's baby shower, after all. That I should be at the ashram and help prepare for the new season, our biggest weekend coming up- and also for my new season, a big year.

Where I come to terms with the fact that my trip to India in the fall will be less about the yoga (although there will be that, too), whereas last trip was pretty much all about the yoga. Last trip was the pilgrimage to Guruji’s, the surrendering at his feet, the practice. India was there too, but in the small bubble of my neighborhood in Gokulam near the school, the neighborhood near the old school in Laxmipuram, the excursions on the moped, the local temples. I am surrendering to the fact that this will be more of a faith-propelled trip. I want to go to Krishna’s playground and Shiva’s mountain and Kali’s town. I want to live simply and lovingly on an ashram. I want to see Ganga-ma in early morning and late afternoon. I want to check out Maharaji’s temple at Kainchi, where I might be allowed to take darshan of Hanuman-ji. I want to go to Ganapatipule on the West Coast, where there is a beach temple and a naturally-formed Ganesha. I want to be in Varanasi. To not go and travel, but to go and stay. To be. Learn. Chant. Practice. And yes, to pray.

For the second time that week, was filled with gratitude that I have a place I can just call from the taxi en route back to the City: I am jumping on the bus and will be there this afternoon and I am staying for a while. To come and find friends and space and laughter and family and ritual, here. Space-swap: stayed in my friend Nicole’s room, palatial by ashram standards and bigger than the great NYC euphemism known as a studio “apartment”, where she stayed. Cleaned some windows, blessed some badges. Learned a couple of bhajans (devotional chants) on the harmonium. Sang a lot. Practiced, long and sweet. Two firsts, of several at this place: led a Krishna/Ram chant at kirtan, and performed the fire ceremony one evening the day after I was shown how to. The latter involves offering ghee into the dung fire during morning or evening chants. Chanted the Hanuman Chaleesa in the temple for more hours than I can count (six?) on his birthday last week. Watched the light dance on the lake and the geese squabble over nothing much. Fed the deer apples. Chanted Rama on hillside sunshine in a circle of friends. Wrote, more than I have since India. Where I claimed the same kind of space and time to allow for unstructured, free-flowing being. After all this sweetness, and seeing how one can really get into such a good groove being here, the hoards descended for the Krishna Das/Dharma Mittra devotional weekend. Worked in the office, on the front lines, welcoming, reassuring, hand-holding. I was ready to offer it all back and be there for the guests. Chanted my little heart out. Absorbed some words and stories.

The mud is mostly dry, lake shining green and abundant; even as the last snowflakes chased each other on their descent, yesterday afternoon. This morning, realized that the only thing stopping me from being here for six or eight weeks before Greece-and-India is fear. Fear of being away from my little place, the cat, for too long. Fear of too much space, too much quiet. Of being too close to here, to people. To me. Of committing to any one place or thing too fully. And I ain’t having none-a-that, not now. Not anymore.

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