My mother’s birthday was last week. Last year she went to Kripalu with her best friend from high school for a weekend of yoga and whatnot. This year, her bff was unable to attend. Daughter is semi-equivalent to bff, so I got to go.
I had no expectations. Well, almost none. I was told the food is delicious. What I was told is correct. Though, really, I could have been eating dog food all weekend and still had a fulfilling 3 days.
[Yes, that is a flower on my butt in a field of flowers.]
Thursday and Friday I had many hours of yoga and a kayak outing on the lake. Over the weekend I took a mindfulness seminar with Dr. Ronald Siegel. It was actually called “This Very Moment” which ironically, I kept forgetting the name of and had to refer to the paper handout with my schedule on it. In short, the workshop was about being more mindful and present of both the mundane and more significant moments in life. It also used a lot of meditation. There was some sitting on the floor and meditating, but we also did an eating meditation and a walking meditation. Seeing as just a few weeks ago I started to meditate to start getting better sleep, doing this workshop was like amphetamine meditation. Dr. Siegel is the shit, and by that I mean, he lectured for something close to 12 hours and never strayed or lost his place. He could be serious, but injected the perfect balance of humor. I also enjoyed that he looked like Mark Twain. There’s not much I can say to properly describe my experience at Kripalu. But, I am best at making lists, so I can tell you what I learned.
1. We would all be better off if we would just emulate our child-selves a little bit more First yoga class upon arrival: instructor instructs “now, let’s try to put our foot behind our head.” It is doubtful that anyone actually did this, but we were instructed to “try” and to sort of roll around on the ground trying to make it happen. The mindfulness workshop also encouraged us to play with our food in order to fully experience it.
Last week I watched kids at the country club pool run back and forth between the grass and the lawn chairs. What they were running to and from, I have no idea. But, as I was lethargically draped over my own chair I thought “Jesus, I wonder how many calories they’re burning.” Then I envied them for a while, thinking about how pathologic I would look if I were just to get up and start running to and fro for absolutely no reason.
2. Everything changes. This is self evident, no? I guess I knew this before, I just never focused on it. Or maybe I just needed a PsyD to bring it to light.
3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I am half Asian, therefore, I am hard on myself 50% of the time. I plan on improving this, in the direction of not being so ridiculously rigid and anal retentive all of the goddamn time. After eating vegetables for so many days and sitting with our eyes closed, we stopped at Jacob’s Pillow to see Luna Negra in the Doris Duke Theatre on the way home yesterday. I wore a romper. My mom and I enjoyed each other’s company in the real world, and then we both really enjoyed the show. I tried to explain to her how the last piece performed, Requiem, reminded me of Max Ernst’s Two Children are Threatened By A Nightingale. Maybe you just had to be there, but the dancers were all wearing khaki and various colors that are reminiscent of the colors in the painting/object. Plus, there was rope strung across the stage that converged on one point somewhere in the wing. Maybe all that yoga and meditating made my mind more pliable. Or not, because I couldn’t remember the name of the painting or Max Ernst when I tried to explain it after the show. Meditating for 3 days may have made me more in touch with my thoughts, but distanced me from actually having a brain. We drove back to Connecticut on back roads and it was sunny and lovely and summery and I managed to not think about mortality or being distrustful of other drivers who drive too fast on winding country roads. I’m making meditative progress!