Monday, September 20, 2010

Life. The way it is. The way it isn't.

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I returned from yoga teacher training at Kripalu. It feels like three YEARS, and that can, at times, feel disheartening. I think back with such a sense of bittersweet longing to waiting at the Albany airport on August 1st and meeting the sweet Kelly ("Are you doing yoga teacher training?" "YES! Are you?" "Yes! Are you SO excited!?" "Yes." -pause- "I'm also SO NERVOUS." "ME TOOOOO!!") who in many respects may as well be me 14 years ago. I think we were both so relieved to make a connection with someone else in the program right away, and specifically with someone with whom we could RELATE. We sat next to each other on the shuttle from the airport to Kripalu and exchanged stories, and I had that funny feeling that in four short weeks this slightly uncomfortable small talk would be replaced by a deep and abiding connection. (I was very, very right.) We checked in together, chose our bunk together in the huge dorm room with 20 other bunk beds and explored the building together. We met Pam, who had been a volunteer at Kripalu previously, and as such seemed to have lots of good inside information (for example - even if the doors to the dining hall are closed, you can still go in and get tea! Anytime!!) and went to a gentle afternoon yoga class taught by Grace, who would end up being our Anatomy and Physiology teacher. I will never forget how nauseated and nervous I felt during that class. It may as well have been a super advanced vigorous class because it was destroying me, probably because I had gone to bed (on an air-mattress at a wonderful friend's house) at 1am the night before, gotten up at 4am to be at the airport for a 7am flight, had traveled all day and was embarking on a whole month that was really a complete unknown, except for the vague notion of supposedly coming out the other end a yoga teacher. Hello, nerves! I remember meeting Launa (with her amazing British accent, her intimidatingly powerful and yet kind presence) outside of our program room. She told me immediately that she was petrified that she wasn't ready for teacher training, but that she was convincing herself it was just a journey. That made me feel SO much better, especially coming from someone who looked the part of Yoga Goddess already. And, of course, I met Murphy that night at the opening session. I had no idea we had already chosen top bunks right next to each other or that I would eventually be her visual alarm clock in the morning (I would always see her wake up with a start and check if I was still in bed around 5:45am. If I was, she promptly went right back to sleep. I'm guessing if I wasn't she either checked the time and/or got up herself. Ha!) She sat on a cushion next to me and just seemed READY. TO. GO. She was emanating so much energy that she may as well have been vibrating. I told her, much later, (in the sauna, which became our nightly ritual - The Sauna Situation, it's called) that she had seemed so front-bodied that I wasn't convinced she might not propel herself forward at the speed of light and crash through the wall on the other side of the room before the program even started.

And these are just a few details of day one that I think back on with fondness and longing. 27 sixteen hour days equal an INFINITE number of details, a lot of fondness, and a ton of longing.

I always find it so tempting to try to hold on really, really, really, REALLY tight to experiences and people that make me feel good, and while understandable, it's no good to get so caught up in the past that I'm living in it and/or mourning it ALL OF THE TIME, right? I'm reading a book that another Kripalu friend, the lovely and talented Julia, suggested: Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. Were the battery in my Kindle not low and were I not feeling too comfy in this big blue chair to get up and find the charger, I'd quote a few passages from the first chapter that deal with exactly this phenomenon: the intrinsic suffering of being human that is essentially not seeing life as it is in the present moment. Ah ha! And there it is. I think this was one of the stairwell signs I saw most often at Kripalu.

I suppose I wonder how we remember, celebrate and learn from the past AND plan for the future, all the while living squarely and fully in the NOW. I have a few ideas and theories, but I'm curious, does anyone know THE answer?!? Or have AN answer? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful that I should I arise this morning to the litany of breathe, relax, feel, watch, allow, BRFWA. And as it repeated itself in my mind I found myself in an ocean of steadiness. Then, to discover this beautiful forum that you have created Hilary. It is so synchronistic as life often can be. BRFWA, may be a tiny clue to the mystery of living in the Now. It came to me unbidden, and I realized that since my departure from Kripalu I have quite simply forgotten to breathe. So just for today , whilst I have awareness, I will anchor myself in breathe!

    Thank you Hilary for creating this space and for allowing me to journey along with you through the corridors of fond memories of Kripalu .