"We can't help being thirsty — moving toward the voice of Water." — Rumi
"I want to stand in the center of drums."
And so she does.
The pinnacle point of our patchwork-triangle.
Gathered on an off-handed Thursday night to piece together an auditory feast.
It's a potluck of love and of sound.
He sits, his body framed by the crescent-moon spread of the twelve or so instruments he so easily plays - ready to pick up whatever might be needed to let the motley symphony unfurl.
I am watching close at hand - a super-charged dose of eyes and ears - listening for the rhythm, the timbre, the play as it mounts into being. And waiting for those few moments, when it is time to open my mouth and drop my humble offering into the pot of sound now mounting to a boil.
At one point, the thought collects somewhere inside of me -- How I could live inside this thing we three of us have crafted - the words, the music, the sheer rush and beauty of Creation -- there is so much nourishment here.
She summoned us here with her handicrafts - her verve and her words.
Which she's lovingly stitched together to form an intricate web, a tapestry, a blanket we can curl up into and a sturdy magic carpet on which she’s invited us all to ride.
A book of poems - brought forth from the best of what’s in her - a slim tome that represents her years of devotion, craft and care. A worthy offering.
This friend of mine, who time & conversation took to move into that comfy sphere.
We did not begin from there.
Some people you meet instantly and you know -- there is the glimmer and deep, belly-laugh exhale of recognition as you fall so easily into the rhythm of camraderie and play.
Other folks you meet along the way and think just:
"Well. Fine. Some women are just better than others, I guess."
Better Designers of a Life.
They have read the Manual and are out there in the world Adulting on a level which you, yourself just, well, can't.
And so you hold your breath and swallow that tiny, little knot of pride now lumping at your throat and you prepare to keep this glittering Beacon of Womanhood at a comfortable arm's length.
Until something cracks inside of you.
And you realize you need the water that this woman carries.
That there is something thirsty inside of you, a space you didn't even know you had - and she is waking you up to the tiny chasm somewhere inside of you - that is calling to be filled.
She has water.
And you lack.
And she offers it freely, if you can temporarily set down your judgments, release your pride, and Ask.
Please - my cup is empty.
I did not even know it until you arrived.
May I have a drink?
And you find that the quality of Water is so generous - it does not belong to one.
It flows .
Into wherever It's needed or called.
Summoned or prayed for.
Wherever the barriers that keep the River damned - are being gently & steadily stripped down.
Sometimes the mighty River finds a way all its own to our doorstep - bursting through the seems of our carefully-constructed Lives.
Because the River has gifts to impart.
If we can open our hands...
Whenever I step out into the precipice of some new Offering - when I begin to show up and do the work of really attuning to the deeper rhythms that I carry and being wiling to step out, launch - and Act! - according to the messages I find transcribed inside...
there is that moment...
the Oh shit.
The "What have I done?"
the "What am I doing?"
the "What will others think?" and "How will this be received?" and the ever-so-cunning, "Yup. Today's the day. This one's the clincher. The moment where people will know that I am just a humble hack."
Ira Glass talks about the curse of the Beginner. And why people are scared to make or reveal their art. We've been watching from the sidelines, watching the Masters work their Craft. The finished products, the end results and the glorious reviews and fanfare and applause.
In a modern world, for any one thing we want to put forth, there is someone on view, there to show us 500 examples of someone already doing it. doing it bigger. doing it better.
and so we are so tempted to give up before the Magic or the Muse has had her way.
Before we can truly begin to hear her speak.
Comparing our first timid steps out with the polished footwork of a master, or just someone a little further down the path.
We are so thirsty...
and yet, we are willing to talk ourselves out of taking a humble drink...
convinced that the Water we've been given cannot be carried by these too-small hands...
Upon encountering the invitation of the River...
the question that always seems to linger is:
Who am I?
Who are any of us?
Who up and proclaimed me the king, the queen, the messenger, the water-bearer, the prophet, the seer, the priestess, the architect, the clown, the sage, the siren, the white-hot bearer of a sacred Flame?
Who am I to shine forth?
Who am I to carry the water?
Who am to hold the cup?
I am a woman sprung from an ancient line of peasants and poets and drunks and scrappers and bards….
pale people who spent too much time eating potatoes and wandering inside the fog and endless tropes of green...
My “indigenous” heritage contains no sacred human architecture…
no bandhas or vrittis or drishti or sutras or sankalpa nor any size collection of little , rubber sticky mats…
and yet these are the tools which i carry.
because they’ve come to me - and given me what i so achingly needed to walk into this world.
to inhabit this body and breath and synapse and skin with a modicum of grace and gratitude.
it’s a gift. that came into my open palms at a moment when I was ready to receive.
Who am I - a soft-bodied, white woman with a shaky grasp of Sanskrit translations and an under-evolved arm-balancing practice to stand in front of a room and preach the good word of Yoga to the assembled stretchy-pants tribe?
And the only answer that comes back to me is -
Who am I not?
Who are we not?
When people are thirsty - and you hold some water in your hand - you offer up a drink.
When the world is hungry for some deep, soul nourishment that you’ve been gifted you dig into your bag of bread and offer up a bite.
You don’t hold back.
You don’t retreat to the corner and stay silent while the tribe goes hungry or the thirst persists - complaining that what you have to bring will not suffice or lacks the right amount of salt or yeast or sweetener. That it did not rise just right. Or that the damn thing’s storebought. Or that you stole the recipe from your great-aunt Ella…
You cast it forth anyway Offer your people a bite. or More…
If the people in your midst are thirsty, and the water you carry is clean and sweet - you do not worry whether there be enough to go around… Or if it will be to another’s liking or whether it is yours’ to give…
Because your feet have touched the River - and you know there’s much, much more to go around…
Because you’ve been granted access to a deep and nourishing stream and the only way to offer proper homage is to fill your humble vessel and bring it back to the Village.
You give thanks to the River and draw the world a little hand-scribbled Map. You point them to the Source…
You pour your Tribe a Drink...
May these words offer your nourishment.
May they quench a bit of thirst.
May these words conduit healing and joy.
May the River start to speak to you - like she does to my friend.
Like she has slowly begun to for me.
May you be carried.
May you be swept up into a great, holy current - and may it take you Everywhere you want to go.
yours, in Light...
If you are in the Arcata area tonight, please consider joining us for a Full Moon flow and celebration. An ecstatic-dance inspired offering combining fluid & expressive movement, Intention-setting-circle, a fabulous, bumpin' playlist and a long, sweet Savasana. More info here.