The sun is just beginning to set on the first full day I spent in my new community of Falls Village, and I already feel a substantial shift in my mind and heart. The program will commence tomorrow; however, for today- as well as yesterday evening- it was time to acclimate to a completely new and open environment in woods surrounded by fields, where nature is simultaneously deafening or silent depending on one's perspective. It took only a day for me, now reclining comfortably in the living room of the house I will share with five others this summer, to go from a stressful and hung over morning preparation in New York to a state of complete bliss. Perhaps it's the morning I spent cooking fresh eggs whose yolks held the deep, orange hue of setting suns, or spending the early part of my morning looking into the forest and playing guitar, focusing on arpeggios in different tunings and repeating improvised phrases along with the singing birds and humming insects. And then sitting on a white tree branch extending over the placid lake, trying to ignore the flies as I continued.
Eventually, I took a long bike ride alone and got a feel for the world outside of the center: neighboring farms and colorful homes, with bicycles left lazily in their yards, winding all along roads bordered by green and topped with clear blue (aside from the occasional cloud or jet stream unzipping the sky). My thighs were burning from a lack of practice, but my curiosity kept me pedaling until the pain turned to warmth, and I allowed the breeze to cool me down.
Returning to my home, Jeanette and Abby arrived with produce from a nearby market, and we drove the half-mile up the road for yoga held in a wooden gazebo facing the lake. During savasana I drifted into outer space, hardly able to focus on my breath any longer because the images in my mind were so sharp. It's fascinating how being in such an open space- away from the claustrophobia of the city- allows your mind to breathe so much more, leaving you safe from the inevitable transfer of psychic energy from everyone else... The schizophrenic feeling you have riding the subway and watching your thoughts accelerate to the point of a confused blur, all from tuning in to everyone else's noise. But now with some tea, I feel so absolutely slowed that I've reached nearly a dead stop, and I am present to observe my molecules frozen in space as I inhale almost in between them.
Last night, after unpacking and cleaning up my bedroom, I joined a group of about 15 seated in a circle around the oriental rug on our living room floor and, in the flickering glow of a pair of candles, we introduced ourselves for the first time (only four of the fourteen in our fellowship were present- the rest were staff and their visiting friends). Conversation quickly turned into song while claps, stomping feet, and a drum I found in the meditation room maintained a steady rhythm. We danced together- new friends made from complete strangers- and then enjoyed our meal with wine and coffee-flavored vodka until the timers switched off the lights....
Now, It's pitch-dark outside, and the silhouettes of trees barely stood out against the horizon on our walk home following dinner. Four of us- Naomi, Abby, Jeanette and me- are back in the soft light of our house, eagerly anticipating a tomorrow we can't even imagine... Goodnight friends, goodnight angels.