In cleaning up my room and putting away some sheet music in my guitar case I notice the symbolic placement of it in this four-walled haven I call my own. Upon entering the door of my room, looking just to the left will find a bookshelf with the middle shelf holding many things which are dear to me in the form of books and the top shelf holding my even dearer altar. I’ve situated the shelf at a distance away from the corner so that there is a triangle of space behind it. That triangle of space holds, when I’ve not forgotten in Mandala House after band practice, my guitar.
It’s no coincidence that I’ve found my spiritual home in a place that traces its lineage to the Goddess Saraswati. In ancient India a long-dried up river was the Divine manifestation of this Goddess of music, the arts, and wisdom. This fluid, dynamic embodiment of the Divine represented the Goddess who rides a swan and plays, with two of her arms, the Veena, an instrument whose emanations correspond to each of the chakras. Of the ten lineages in India Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh is part of this one, with Swami Radha and now Swami Radhananda continuing in that tradition.
Saraswati: the Goddess of music and the arts. How fitting that I would house my guitar just behind my altar, nestled in with other sacred objects, other manifestations of the Divine.
I’ve been creating a victory board recently. It’s me keeping track of my accomplishments and otherwise noting tangible ways I show transformation. Singing in public is one of them. It’s hard to remember exactly when I became confident enough to sing in public but somewhere along the way I got over my shyness enough to share my joy in music with people through my voice. So I tracked it on my little victory chart, a sun with words and phrases for its rays, another creative expression. Oh Saraswati, you really are everywhere.
I haven’t been feeling particularly confident lately, though. In music yes, but in other ways old fears and judgments sprung up with a vengeance last weekend for some reason. I seem to get so far in building my confidence and then to fall back into old patterns, forgetting the movement I’ve made on this front. Even in my language now there is inherent judgment that I attain a certain level of confidence and then not falter from it.
All movement has cyclical ebbs and flows. My victory board, with its shining emanating light and colourful, manifestations of my own light reminds me that I’m actually pretty fabulous. Plus I get another excuse to be creative.
It would be impossible to count the amount of times I stood in the downstairs bathroom of Judy and Perry’s house looking into the two mirrors that faced one another. I have so many memories of staring into the successively smaller and smaller images of myself as they bounced back and forth between those two mirrors. Intellectually I knew that they went on into infinity. Infinity being a concept explained to me presumably by my brothers and particularly used to one-up each other in childhood: “I want the cake infinity more times than you!” “Well I want it infinity times infinity times more than you!” “Well, I want it infinity times infinity infinity times more than you!” etc. There I would stand, moving my arms and watching infinite replications of me make the same movement. It was fascinating. It was unexplainable. It was infinity.
Tonight I walked into the Temple corridor and flipped on the lights. I love having the honour of being one of the first to enter the Temple and walk through that corridor, opening the lotus doors and standing in the vast and, at this time of year, dark empty/fullness of the Temple. Playing in the band every weekend offers me this moment whenever I’m early for pre-Satsang practice but tonight I didn’t bring my guitar, preferring instead the stirring vibrations of mantra to accompany my offering of satsang.
As I walked through that corridor I stopped as I often do and was struck with a memory of standing in Judy’s basement bathroom. I gazed into the soft, warm eyes of the large portrait of Swami Radha. Turning, I gave a silent acknowledgment to the equally large picture of her guru, Swami Sivananda. These two spiritual teachers face one another, charging the air between them for all who enter the Temple. It reminded me of those mirrors. Like something magical and divine was being passed between them. Two manifestations of one who has tapped into the true Infinity were depicted there and that energy was somehow being bounced back and forth between them. An opportunity to experience infinity lay present in their eyes. I walked through and knew it was as if infinite replications of me made the same movement.
In the Meadow You Can Build a Snowman
It snowed last week. The first real, accumulating snow-fall. Or was it only a few days ago? I can’t really keep track of that crazy time thing. All I know is that there has been a layer on top of the ground that reached up into my socks before the paths became trodden over. This marks the commencement of one of my most favourite winter traditions, now in its second year: running down Water-Fall Road. This spectacular track boasts sharp turns, steep grades, and drainage ditches which can be really shocking when a thick enough layer of snow hides them from view. I won’t exactly call it a reckless forest adventure but my goodness running down a hill of snow sure is fun. This year a new accessory brings a higher level of confidence: rubber slip guards that stretch over my shoes with metal points sticking out of them. They were a July boutique find that got me pretty excited, I’ve been saving them for this very moment ever since I laid eyes on them in the summer.
The snow did its usual Kootenay thing of melting into a slight rain and evaporating much of itself in the warm sun. There’s still a good amount of snow on the ground though. The sudden turn from green to white was utterly shocking. I was under this delusion that winter was some far off occurrence and even the advancing snow line on the mountains couldn’t convince me otherwise. That faulty theory had to fail eventually and now it’s officially Winter. I even put on my winter jacket for the first time tonight.
I’m in the mood to curl up on the couch with a good book, sipping warm beverages and to enjoy the soft glow of candles and acoustic music, live or otherwise. Hibernation has its allure. I’ve also been feeling a lack of willingness to help. There was a 7-Day Yoga course this week and I still haven’t mastered the art of being helpful without it taking anything from me. Especially with longer courses I find people get more familiar with being here and want to therefore know even more. I love sharing but I’m still trying to find the balance between sharing and letting information flow through me rather than out of me. It’s really a blessing to sit at the front desk and be able to interact with people that come through, for however long be it half an hour or their entire lives. It seems all paths converge at the office ad bookstore.