Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthday Kula Rejoicing

The best gift of yoga in my life, truly, is the kula, this community of delightful yogis I find myself a part of now.  Little did I know when I started practicing 8+ years ago that I would find this enormous many-armed embrace.  These new friendships have brought so, so much to this decade, to my dotage as I like to call it.  My teacher calls me AriAnanda, naming with the Ananda the deep joy that is in my heart and busting out all over when I'm on my mat and in the glow of the practice.  A volcano of Ananda!

AriAnanda totally fits me.  Totally.  It reminds me that my parents named me this too, waaaaaay back when, when they invented my middle name Felisa from the word "feliz" in Spanish, meaning "happy."  Coincidence?  Nope. I do think in the practice I have been able to connect to who I truly am (and always have been) -- a happy, happy person interested in the happy-happy of others, eager to spread more of this good feeling (naturally, without being a total freak about it).

AriAnanda is why I was able to leave my last job, finally.  The contrast between who I know myself to be in class and with my friends and on the weekends and what I had become in order to survive on that job became too sharp, too false.  Thank goodness I got out of there, so now I can be Ananda all the time.  Oh, fuck yes.

The kula is so much a part of how I able to maintain this Ananda 24/7.  OK, sure, I have my ananda-free moments like everyone else -- frustration, sorrow, anger -- but so quickly I am able to come back to this wellspring of bliss, of just feeling like everything is right and better-than-OK, awesome in fact.  Because I have these amazing people in my life who keep reminding me.  Who keep the truth front-and-center for me.

Because, in short, to steal a line from a (now-dated) movie, I see good people.

At no time is this more clear than on birthdays.  The rejoicing starts early, on Facebook.  It's always a delight to see the messages come pouring in from all parts of the country and globe.  On Nancy's birthday yesterday, it made ME so happy to see how much love was pouring in, so very many sweet heartfelt messages.  Then in class, to feel how much love was pouring from us to her and back again the whole time, so much celebration of how precious she is to us all.  Crazy-powerful!

In last night's class, in honor of Nancy's birthday, Laura woven Nancy's sutra for the year, believe, into the practice.  It occurred to me that believing in each other is what allows us to better believe in ourselves. When I look out, even just in my mind's eye, and scan the smiling faces of the kula, my belief in their goodness is so unwavering that I feel it refracted back to me and I remember that that same brightness that animates them is in me, too.  All the time.

The intensity of it sometimes makes me feel like I've become a crazy lady in this-here-my-dotage.  But if you're gonna be crazy, might as well be crazy-in-love, right?

Sending a shout-out to all of my friends, yogis and not, for all the love year-round, birthdays and not-birthdays.  You make it all possible, people.  You keep it all good.


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