Five years ago on this day, I sat outside on the Kripalu front lawn during my lunch break, soaking up the deliciously unseasonable spring-like weather. I open my journal and free write:

I am a deer in the field, my wide-eyed head emerging from the Kripalu knoll. Me, on the hillside, one small deer hidden among many, playing with a rotting, dead leaf. A sad deer, a confused deer. A once sprite and lively deer gradually becoming road kill. Venison.

Suddenly, a movement (a threat or a helping hand?). A purple pixie bounding into the field, a purple pixie so lively and light coming to pet the deer and make it feel special. The purple pixie, coming directly to the lone deer. A mystical, magnetic draw.

What had happened was that as I was drifting off into la-la land with my thoughts of self-doubt, Megha had come outside during her lunch too and scampered toward me as though I were emitting a silent SOS. She was dressed head-to-toe in purple and looked like such a cute little pixie. I blabbered on about not feeling good enough to carry the Kripalu torch, and of course her reassurances were as gracious as always.

***

After a morning session based around assisting, some of us get to use those skills later during a 4:15 public gentle class held in the Main Hall. Megha teaches, and it is a delight to witness her gentle personality emerge after seeing so much of her “bouncy, lively” side. Assisting during savasana was profound and beautiful. I found myself crying as the sun set and the stained glass Om symbol shined brightly. Between Megha’s voice, the people in the room, the stillness…I cried, and I couldn’t find tissues, an oddity in a Kripalu classroom. Rudy put his hand on my back and I felt warm again. There is something deep about the touches here. The vibrations are high. I feel extremely cared for. This is my womb, my village, my safe house.

Later that afternoon, our group stands in a compassion circle. We look everyone in the eye as Megha repeats a mantra about everyone wanting to be loved, everyone feeling hurt, everyone just wanting to be happy. It brought us all to tears. It was very difficult to look other people in the eyes and not feel anything. It drew us together once again, even stronger.

***

In the evening, Shadowbrook vibrates with “Seasons of Love,” “Footloose,” “I Need to Know,” and “New York, New York.” I enter at 7:20, and at first it’s just Megha, Jurian, J and I dancing. DANCING! I feel like it’s my birthday. I am ever so grateful for to dance with these movers and shakers, overwhelmed with gratitude. I want to smile, laugh, dance, cry, and hug at the same time. As a group, we all do a kickline to “New York, New York,” singing and dancing. We are sweating, smelling, laughing. Exhilarated. Breathless. Joyful. Connected. Family. We gather in a group huddle at the end and pound the floor and scream our asses off. Release.

YTT's dancing fools, courtesy of Molly.

***

Shadowbrook calls me after my evening breakdown (everyone has them at Kripalu, it’s totally normal) and shower. I enter the double doors and realize it’s really quiet, so much different than the other night with the howling wind and shaking walls. It is beyond still, so empty and eerie. It smells vaguely of dirty feet, the leftover of our evening hoedown.

I light Shiva’s hand candle and dance, first wildly then refined. I find myself sitting in vajrasana in front of Shiva, moving slowly and intentionally to my Indian music. It’s prayerful and comes from a deep place inside of me. I wonder what I look like to someone watching, unable to hear my music. I wonder if it looks as profound as it feels to me. Then, silence. I try to chant Om but feel so alone. It is unsettling.

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