Tonight's class was a live music vinyasa. That's a thing! How cool. The local band The Muteflutes crowded into a corner of the studio and filled the room with their beautiful songs—how very, very cool! Perusing the band's website after class, I’m excited all over again. It’s so invigorating to bump into like-minded people (and in a full class like tonight's, I do mean that literally), and so inspiring to get to hear what they’re thinking. And there’s not a grand enough word, really, for the feeling of breathing and moving in harmony with a room full of yogis—some on their mats, some with instruments in their hands, some belting out a musical poetry.
In the day to day business of life, whether I'm tucked away in the noise of my funny frenzied brain, cozied up behind a book, bowed with hands at heart center, or even swapping chit chat over coffees or beers, I can forget sometimes that I’m part of a larger community--one whose members are often strangers. Of
Like tonight: a full bloom of solitude's studied poetry. When I heard the words of Hafiz sprinkled into the lyrics of one of The Muteflutes' songs (aptly titled, it turns out, "Hafiz"), I almost fell right over. I couldn't help grinning like an idiot through the rest of the vinyasa; it was all I could do not to hoot or holler or flash some kind of mystic poet gang sign. Yes! My people! Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.
It's easy for me to see God in a group of good-looking musicians, wearing flannel, strumming strings. Or in a row of reaching arms, capturing the sky and pulling it down to heart's center. It's easy for me to hear God in Hafiz's poetry and in songs that ask the same questions I do. It's easy for me to feel God in the aliveness of my quaking quads, crescent after crescent after crescent. It's absolutely effortless to feel God and feel connected when a lovely melody is playing and so many buzzing bodies are adding their ujjayi harmonies.
But it's not always easy, at least not for me. After savasana, when silence had returned to the room, my brain rose to fill it as it tends to--with good intentions and terrible timing, per usual. The still, quiet part of me--the part that expands and wants to hold hands with the whole world when it hears a compelling song or moves through a sweaty vinyasa--remained sure that Hafiz was right and my soul had indeed played footsie in God's womb with all the other souls in the room. The neurotic, self-conscious part of me, however, felt like an anxious groupie. I know it sounds silly, but I had to talk myself into walking up to the band, my kinfolk, my Sufi mystic homies, to pay them a compliment and awkwardly exclaim something like Hafiz! how cool!
Near the beginning of this yoga journey, Seva offered a different live music vinyasa and I was too afraid to go--too self conscious, too green, worried about taking up one of the limited spots, something like that, probably all of that. This time, I didn't think twice. I felt excited instead of nervous. Progress! While I wasn't looking, my growing edge crept past the studio threshold and around the corner to some basic level of confidence in my ability to move my body in public. Hooray! Forming my mouth into smart words in front of smart people is apparently my new growing edge. As is sending this blog further into cyberspace, making it Facebook official as it were and effectively dissolving my brave-making mantra: only three people read these posts.
The new fear is just the old fear in new clothes, though: will I fit in, will I know what I'm doing, will I look foolish, will I fart in down dog? Well, okay, maybe not that last one. The groupie fear of approaching the band and sharing a moment of Hafiz connection, the literal panic of inviting people to read these words I'm typing now--it's all the same old fear. Centuries old, in fact, and yet still completely modern. Elizabeth Lesser calls it the "open secret" in her great book Broken Open--the fear we all share that we'll be found out--that everyone will suddenly notice that we're messy as hell, we've completely lost our shit and we have no effing clue what we're doing. Hafiz said something similar way back in the 14th century (see below). It's kind of funny, right? We separate ourselves and walk around trying to hide this thing we all share, which could be our greatest source of connection if we were willing to feel as exposed and vulnerable as authenticity sometimes requires. It's so human: we all want to be loved and we're all scared to death we won't be.
So that's the new trick I guess, the even sharper growing edge. On the other side of effortless, sweet, silent breath connection, to walk up and say something, maybe, or to hang it all out there in cyberspace. To make a little offering of language to the unspoken history we all share and then to try not to feel like it's too little or lame or naked. There's safety in staying in the back row, soaking up the sweetness and traveling out the door with it locked up for later. There's risk in opening ourselves up to rejection or acceptance, even in small ways, even with strangers. But as Anais Nin said, the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Today's that day for me. Facebook official, proud (and equally embarrassed) blogging groupie. Are you feeling brave? Head to the forum and say something about your teachers--fear, yoga, music, or otherwise--or anything else that's on your mind!
Everyone you see, you say to them
Of course you do not do this out loud:
Someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to
Check out The Muteflutes! Word on the street is they're heading back into the studio soon, with another album on the way.