Thursday, January 13, 2011
Shots from that last Anouki's farewell breakfast, with the October-Novemebr-December peeps!
Today's practice was bittersweet. Never have I been more tuned in to the sights and sounds of the shala. Never have I been more conscious that it would be a while before I would experience them again. It would be my last here at Mysore for a while.
I wasn't alone. The knowing smiles at the gate, the sympathetic squeezes from friends at the ladies locker room, Pedro--who I have been consistently in the row behind me most of the trip--saying goodbye. I had to face it. My time was up!
There was nothing left to do but simply enjoy it despite being so tired.
I was utterly pooped from the long goodbye. Ursula and I started it off with a joint casual farewell breaky at Anouki's garden on Saturday. A head start, we thought. And it just never stopped. The days since were filled with little gatherings and intimate get-togethers, solidifying the bonds formed over the last 2 and a half months. Then Ursula left. I was next in line.
I looked around me before I started practicing. I saw the familiar faces of now friends who are near my own mat, each beautifully focused on his or her own practice. I thought about what a wonderful support they have been, whether they know it or not. How amazing it was to be in their presence, each having something spectacular to share about themselves. How inspiring they are to me, their love and their commitment.
As I practiced, I listened to the cumulative breath, the whole room in continuous motion, inhaling and exhaling. Though not in unison, the discord in breath reminded me of the ocean. I imagined letting the waves of breath wash over me. I was soaking in it.
I dove in, tired or not, trying to enjoy the presentness of the practice. I fetl alive when I practiced. And connected. Connected to myself. To the shala. To the people sharing the room. To the practice itself.
I broke from this amazing flow as I neared backbends. I wondered who would drop me back on my last day at the shala. Would it be an assistant? And if so, would I have the hutzpa to hold out? Would it be Saraswathi, who has ceased to scare me? Or would it be Sharath. I really hoped for Sharath.
And there he was as I came up from my last backbend.
"Last day?" he asked and grinned as I nod and say yes.
He gently bobbed me up and down, encouraged my hands to my heels, then hoisted them around my ankles. It all went by so quickly. Before I knew it, I was tugged back up. He said "Good" quietly before pressing me into paschimatanasana.
"One more," he said.
It was over. I felt a cloud of emotions filming over my eyes. I choked back tears and took myself to the ladies locker room where I sniffled through a longer lingering paschimatanasana.
That's was when it hit me: I would miss my teacher. For that is what Sharath is to me now. I wanted to cry because I am going to miss him, his steady presence and gentle but confident assistance. I'm going to miss his subtle, quiet guidance. I am going to miss Mysore. The practice, the fellow practitioners, the cows, everything.
Still all good things must come to the end. And it's no small comfort knowing that all ends are beginnings.
I have left Gokulam now. And am making my way slowly to the little island where I live in the Philippines. However, this process, what I call "Realizing Mysore" is far from over. It continues to work beneath the surface and it's surprises, I feel, will continue to bubble forth. In this respect, I will continue to write this blog. Plus, there are somethings about Mysore I still haven't been able to share. I hope all who read this will indulge me further as I continue to share my observations. Namaste!