My father in law Kevin is in the process of leaving his body today. Things went thankfully fast from feeling weak and out of sorts to getting a really bad diagnosis. We just came back from Atlanta where he has been living to say our farewells. While there, we bought him every flavor of Jeni’s ice cream which was the only thing he could keep down and it was a tie between brambleberry and salted caramel. He could only handle a spoonful at the most. Kevin did not marry until well into his 40’s. Before that, he had an apartment in Turtle Bay which was covered in white shag carpet. He lived across the street for Katherine Hepburn’s town house and in the same building as Paul Newman’s pied de terre at the time. He had a penchant for dating Braniff flight attendants and many of them came to his wedding when he married Ray’s mom Jane. Jane was a neighbor of Kevin’s brother John (a pilot who married a TWA flight attendant) in Rowayton CT. She was a young widow with seven children. They hit it off got married, had two more kids and he put them all through college. Kevin taught all his grandkids very early on to like stilton cheese and to compete for the olive of his martini. He made all his daughters in law believe she was his favorite.
I acknowledge that I am not taking this title as seriously as a devout religious person would. I would not say that it is a promotion, like from VP to CEO all though I do like to refer to Sharath as the Boss but with affection and respect. Not like the reverence given to let’s say archbishops promoted to cardinals or whatever, I don’t know. All I want to say is that this honorary title was given with affection and gratitude by some well meaning members of a relieved and pleased community. If you are not familiar with the T shirts that come out of the former Broome Street Temple and have not seen the beautiful ones designed for Sharath’s tour, you are missing out on owning one which comes along with a sense of humor. There is no one less interested in pomp and fancy titles than Eddie Stern. I missed out on collecting T shirts from meaningful concert venues in my youth, but am catching up on collecting swag from memorable moments shared among people who spend their mornings sweating in silence like I do and we celebrate the occasions when we sweat together with memorabilia. In this particular instance the lion you see printed on the ones from the NYC venue was drawn/designed by Sharath who also inked it onto his right shoulder. Life can be fun while you do your job, yes? Ashtanga is serious business but it is taught best by people with a light heart and a sense of humor.
Let’s start with perfect weather, zero humidity high seventies and cloudless skies. Let’s follow with my favorite count, which is Sharath’s clip (except Navasana and Utpluti of course) which leaves you wiped out drenched and scrubs your mind clean. Was in need but did not give in, of a nap because I also clocked in 7 and 8 mile walks every day according to my phone’s step tracker. Nice to see friends from far away and enjoy meals together both in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Nice to meet new people too. Eddie and the people at Brooklyn Yoga Club were such graceful and laid back hosts. An entire brownstone with a back yard, and cafe where you can hang out as long as you want. I bought the tour shirt, did other venues have a tour shirt? but I will not slow the line to take a photo with the boss. I understand if you know it’s your only chance, and do not know if you will ever get to see him again, otherwise just thank the boss and move it along so the next class can start on time. I heard the pranayama classes were a tad short for the $55 that they cost. Nice to see David Swenson practicing close by. Final tour etiquette tip: If you just had surgery, are hearing impaired, are prone to anxiety attacks (all three cases made a bee line to my spot) please make the effort I made to show up at least half an hour ahead, instead of just walking in and asking me if I would mind giving them my corner spot ( one yes and two nope sorry). I also got a pretty great hair cut nearby waay under Manhattan or New Canaan prices. Had to leave one day early because Mag had to come back for an unexpected gig but I do welcome this day as a day off, although I will take the train in tonight to say goodbye to the Mexican and Venezuelan delegation as they get ready to fly to Miami! These ashtangis decided that if they were going to come to the USA they might as well follow the tour.
Contaminates and ruins the most safe and consoling places in one’s life. Yesterday I found out that it has contaminated the two communities in my life that I thought were the most protected from this type of violence: My yoga community and My Alma Mater’s Alumni Association. One of them already failed in being on the side of justice and I am hoping the other one does not act like nothing happened. I was all pumped up about practicing in community during the next few days and now I am dragging my feet in packing my bag. ugh.
…I should be thrilled about the outcome of the primaries. I am so sad that I am not. A plutocrat is not good for a democracy no matter what gender. Is it better than a deranged, petulant and vain toddler in a man’s body? Yep.
This is day three of no coffee for me. I have been drinking coffee since I was 8 or 9 years old. I think I’m going to make it. Here is a tip: if you get up at 5 AM, go to bed at 9:30PM and quit coffee, your Savasana /Sukhasana is long and heavenly. The rest of your day though, is mix of fog and stupor (for now anyway).
Highly recommend checking out Dr. Sumit Kesarkar. We were lucky enough to have him at our shala this past weekend since he was going to be in the tri-state area and one of the members of our community had a connection to him from having interviewed him for a documentary called Healing the Mind-The Synthesis of Ayurved and Western Psychiatry. At some point there will be a lot of rice slurry and papaya in my future 🙂
I am completely aware that I am about to make a generalization, but it is not too far fetched. I am hearing a lot of “I don’t know if I’m ready” for Sharath’s visit to NYC both in person and online. It references all sorts of things such as: My asanas are not in top form, I still cannot nail xyz ( yours truly here, got asked by the boss “still not coming all the way up?” last October, with a friendly giggle at the end so I get it), to I have gotten pudgy and my tops or my pants are a bit ragged and I want new spiffy ones. It is like a HS/ College reunion or a family celebration where you want to look good while seeing people you enjoy. I am happily convinced that all that melts away when we all hear Samasthiti. So in the words of many poets both ancient and modern:
“Come as you are”