i am dusting my keyboard as i wonder how to begin talking about this incredible sense of community i have been feeling lately. it has been coming to me in intense and beautiful bursts. gorgeous and visceral. in between this clarity of knowing i might feel lonely, sad. i might fight with myself or see what i think i don’t have. but for short periods of time something in me opens to see clearly how blessed i am to be a part of this community. the local community of guelph AND the whole earth community. and sometimes, even larger still, to the cosmic community. and then i almost always forget. until i remember.
sunday afternoon was one of those moments of deep connection and holy knowing. i put the word out that i wanted to do 108 sun salutations in the park as a fundraiser for my friend jerome. he is in silent solitary retreat in arizona for three years, three months, and three days. i wanted to buy him some food; send him some love. i wanted to offer him the benefits of our salutations. i thought this might reach him somehow, and that our support would help his journey.
so we gathered. a sweet small group. the sun was shining. the trees beginning to glow red with the colour of fall. the afternoon hot. i watched people’s faces as i spoke about why i wanted to come together like this. i looked at them after i read hafez and while i smudged. i saw their beauty, their sweetness, their love. i looked to them as we moved through the 108 sun salutations. i watched their effort; felt my own. i listened to the drumming. made silly jokes to move us along. stuck my tongue out. grunted. we breathed in and out. our faces shifted red with moving. we became sweaty. and i could see that it wasn’t just me anymore. i wasn’t doing this alone. i wouldn’t want to. we were doing this together. i watched the numbers drawn on a chalkboard: counting us along. we were we. a group thing. we were seemingly on our own mats. that might be what you see when you look at the photographs or if you saw us there sunday beneath the trees. or maybe you can see that the green grass contained us all. just like the earth holds us. and it is a matter of seeing. of feeling. the oneness. maybe we weren’t breathing our own breath. maybe we were breathing each other. and i find that really comforting.
after the 108 sun salutations were complete we rested against the earth in silence listening to the drum, to the birds, and the beating of our own fast hearts. we put our hands to our hearts in gratitude. thankful for our practice together. aware, i think, of the gift we are to each other. and then we circled in and ate raw chocolate- carob balls, grapes from my neighbours’ backyard and delicious orange slices. we gathered in closer for a group photograph.
and then it was time to part. i watched everyone roll up their mats. hug their friends. and wander off to other parts of their lives. and i noticed this part of me that wasn’t ready for it to be over. i wanted to stay close longer.
i realized now that that is how it goes. coming together. parting. coming together again. a pulsing rhythm of life.
i had arrived alone. and left alone yet full and not lonely. i was full of our moving. full of our closeness. full of the joy of doing something together. and especially the dedicated joy of gifting our love to our sweet friend who is alone and yet not at all alone.
i am grateful for both the surges of coming together and the wildness of parting. they compliment me and each other. they are certainly not always easy or joyful like this past sunday. sometimes both being with others and with myself is staggering difficult and painful. sometimes i avoid both the coming and the going and get stuck in stuckness.
somehow though i find my way back to the music of our dance here. and find great pleasure in all the ways that we sing to each other. all the ways we are opening into our hearts.