Monday, September 20, 2010

My during and after Bhakti Fest newsletter notes.....

As I write this, it’s 1 A.M. and I can hear Bhagavan Das chanting off in the distance, the echo of mantra is carried along the just-past-the-new-moon night air. After delivering Joni Allen, one of Dave Stringer’s bandmates just in time for sound check, dancing through their set and then marveling at the divine storytelling of MC Yogi’s raps, I’m sitting next to Kasey Luber as she completes the editing of the Give Love Tour video for the opening day of Bhakti Fest.

It can be a challenge to bring together all the things that need to happen in order to leave the routine, confines, spontaneity, freedom, restrictions and familiarity of our everyday life in order to engage in an experience beyond the everyday. When we do, whether it is for the timespan of a Yoga class, the commitment of a retreat or the exploration of deeper study, it offers us the potential for transformation that we can then integrate back into the sacred dance of our everyday life. In the friendly festival atmosphere of Bhakti Fest, we have the opportunity to remember the joy that comes from participating in community, in fellowship. It’s a joy that reverberated amidst the Joshua tree sentinels throughout the desert as MC Yogi exhorted everyone to refrain, “Ganesh is Fresh.”

What is fresh and never goes stale is the mantra of friendship, the repetition of what it really means to support each other, to have each others’ backs, to smile and laugh and giggle and know that even amidst the angst, the mistakes, the stress, the misanthropy, the glitches, the missed turns, we have the opportunity to relax into shared space. In moments of extraordinary gathering, we recognize the transcendent in the ordinary.

Jai Joy,

And Written after Bhakti Fest.....

“I love you more than I can Tweet.”

I said these words backstage at Bhakti Fest to MoMo Loudiyi in moments of laughter and embraces, while thousands of people’s voices were raised in chant and musicians harmonized chords and progressions. In all of the ways that we express the multitude of flavors of love to each other throughout our days—through words and actions, through speaking and listening and eye contact and holding hands and sharing food—we have the opportunity to embody the gratitude that is inherent in this life, this breath, this community. The gratitude that is also part and parcel of this joy and this sorrow, the sun rising over and through the convoluted branches of the Joshua Trees in the high desert and the moon’s luminosity dancing among the stars in the midnight sky.

My quip has sparked an ongoing exchange, reminiscent of childhood challenges and whispered confessions of love more than we can speak, can say, love for which there are no words, love for which gestures even fall short. A Tweet, a Facebook posting, a text message, phone call, a letter, answering a plea for help from a friend whose back has given out, these only scratch the surface of how we express our love if we dare.
Whether we are living in the temporary magic of a festival like Bhakti Fest, or the far-from-ordinary alchemy of our everyday lives, each day and each breath is an opportunity to find more ways to share our love, to express it in every possible posture, even when it challenges us.

And for this, I am grateful.

No comments: