Last Friday evening, I had the unique opportunity to be a part of a Kirtan -- the ancient yogic art of mantra chanting -- through the local yoga center where I study. I have had some exposure to chanting in various yoga classes over the past couple months and I've been enthralled and intrigued. When I heard about this event, I knew without a doubt I needed to be a part of it.
Music and singing were formative for me, some core of who I was coming into this world. All the years of my childhood and into college, singing was my thing -- a part of choirs, singing solos, a memeber of acapella groups, dancing around the house belting out the soundtracks to Fame or Grease. Something in me settles to feel my own voice vibrating in my chest. And I haven't sung beyond the safe enclosure of my car in years.
As the hour of the Kirtan approached, as I did the dishes and then got ready to go, I was sick with apprehension. My mind bobbed and weaved through all the possible excuses I could come up with for not going. Not going?! I tuned into the stream of consciousness, the flurry of madness rampaging through my brain. At first, my intent was to shut it up, to reason with it, to turn it off. Then, in the spirit of the yogini I am becoming, my intent shifted to bearing witness, with interest, to what was attempting to hijack me, pleading with me to tuck tail and run, and why.
Snow was lightly beginning to fall as I pulled out of our drive. I was able to acknowledge that I wasn't nervous going to the yoga center; I practically live there these days. Still, my heart raced. I knew I wanted to go and knew that, for whatever reason, I needed to be there. So what was the problem? I sat momentarily in the car once I arrived, watching the snow drift and melt on the windshield before mustering the courage to go in.
As I settled myself onto my bolster and into my comfortable mediation position, as the music and chanting began, as my voice blended effortlessly into the chorus joined together that evening, my heart welled up with gratitude. With gratitude and relief. As we sang of Shanti (peace) and began to split into spontaneous rounds and harmonies, tears sprang from my eyes and the death-grip in my chest began to give way. It occured to me that this was what my soul longed for, and what my ego had simultaneously feared: Power born of my own voice, of my own willingness to take a risk and try something new. I showed up to myself, to the calling, and chose to participate fully in my life in that moment.
Isn't this all the Universe really asks of us? To participate in the divine creative partnership we were born into, manage to forget, and then spend the bulk of our lives trying to reconnect with?
This night was a homecoming that I can only believe my ego feared I could never find...or feared for its future ruling the roost when I did. Despite the fear, we owe it to ourselves to dive headlong into the water of our lives -- and trust that the rest will take care of itself.//