It’s been a while since I thought about her, but the colors I have been weaving brought back the memory of a chance encounter from many years ago.
As an empath, I am hyper-sensitive to the emotional states of others in close proximity. Sometimes it feels like my own thoughts and memories get flooded away by theirs. You can imagine the kinds of thoughts flying around in a broken-down subway car during the morning rush.
Except the woman in grey and violet. She was wearing lagenlook, comfortable, wrinkled linen. She was stunningly beautiful with her tumble of grey curls, minimal makeup, and calm smile. Such a contrast from the aggressive suits and heels that most of the women were wearing.
I smiled back, and let her thoughts wash over me, relaxed, ego-less and practical.
Over the years, I’ve tried to become the person I think she is.
Soon, I will be weaving a figure that represents the wiser self. I think I know who she will look like.
As I start my second journey through Zati: The Art of Weaving a Life, I can’t help but notice how that childhood rhyme, used for counting magpies, ravens or crows, describes the journey. The first time I worked through the small and intensely thoughtful keyforms outlined in the book, I was mourning my mother’s passing. I never quite finished the projects, and am in fact, still weaving the shawl. It’s coming to an end. Finally.
Along the way, I’ve woven the occasional amulet when invoking something new into my life, and have woven the receiving bowl as both a chance to receive life’s blessings and also as an opportunity to share them with someone else.
Now, I am weaving from a place of joy, bouncing through the keyforms, not necessarily in sequence. This is my first chance to enjoy and embrace the spring season at Buttonwood. Last spring, everything was mud outside and unpacked boxes inside. My mother always said that the snow should go off with the wind and sun rather than rain. While the snow is by no means gone, the March wind blows with vigor and enthusiasm.
Spring in the hilltowns is only a promise in March. I celebrated the equinox in blowing snow. Yet, I know it is spring because the snow melted from the paths and deck railings within a day. I also know that this is spring because of the light. The days are long now. I’m filled with energy, and the house is filled with sunlight and the sounds of chanting. In the garden, under the frozen soil, the spring bulbs must be getting impatient. “When, when?” they ask. “Soon, soon,” I whisper. The magic for awakening the earth must wait a bit. I will not rap on the frozen ground and ask them to awaken in bloom. Not yet.
I did weave that promise into an amulet, along with the intention to question less, and do more (such as going to kirtan last Wednesday on an absolute whim), and to trust my instincts and go where they lead me.
Once I finished writing my previous post, I realized that I didn’t have an ounce of outrage left in me. Things change, and sometimes it just doesn’t matter. What I have learned about yoga, both on and off the mat, is not made greater or lesser by anything that happens on the periphery. One door closes, long after the right ones have opened.
Swami Kripalvananda taught, “Truly, the wise proclaim that love is the only path … and the only scripture.”
It’s easy to be distracted from the path. Weaving keeps me centered. There’s an entire universe of time and space between each thread, and an open invitation to just be.
My disenchantment with Kripalu had been growing steadily over the past years. There was a time I looked forward to becoming a seva* volunteer there. It was close to being the first thing I would do upon my retirement.
Amber cat and I had discussed it, with me assuring her that I would not leave her for three months. I promised to be there for her as long as she needed me, and that’s what I did.
Then, Indigo cat came into my life and needed me, and so now do Edelweiss and Magic. I then chose to extend my career for several more years to come. How did I find myself not free to drop everything and go offer my service to the place where I had found such peace?
Because the place as I knew it is just a memory. Even in Amber cat’s lifetime, it was slipping quickly away. The current Kripalu is a shadow of it’s former self. It’s a resort now, not a place of simple practice and contemplation. The spiritual dimension is missing. It’s not really a place for an old mystic like me to feel at home, though I still spend some time there each year. It has become a temple of fitness with very little of the spiritual practice of yoga. There are still some good people there, on staff and among the guests, but for how much longer when there is little to reflect their interests?
And now, the seva volunteer program has been terminated. The door has closed very quietly, in the distance. For, no one waits to serve an ideal that is gone.
*the Sanskrit word for service.
There are days where I cannot sit at the loom and throw the shuttle on it’s fixed path. It’s just too linear and predictable for the wilder energy that I am feeling. I have to grab a simple frame loom, some expressive yarn, and experience all the sensations of weaving through my fingertips.
It was snowing gently but persistently when I wove this, but my heart was attuned to the chatter of the finches. Now? Now? They are asking in excited and buzzing tones.
I can weave my nest now because dreams can be nurtured in any season. They hatch when they are ready.
Alas, dear finches, you must wait.