Five years ago on this day, I wake up to a non-YTT guest in our dorm room, right above me. Her name is Donna, and she is fine. She woke up at 6 this morning, but after she crept down the bunk ladder and hit the floor I was already asleep again. I woke up at 7 to the sun bright as all heck shining in, a huge cloud of mist hanging over the lake like I was in Narnia. I noticed that the bright yellow and red trees outside our window are almost completely bare. Their once luscious, vibrant leaves of fire now make a huge puddle around their bases.

***
I am sick. I could feel the congestion building up over the past 2-3 days, and last night I went to bed with a sore throat. All during the night I kept waking up, trying to swallow. I wonder how often Kripalu cleans those purple and white blankets and yoga mats. :-/

***

I look at myself partially naked in the bathroom mirror and notice although I think my butt has gotten bigger, everything in that area is more toned and muscular, especially my thighs. My inner thighs are solid, and stuff doesn’t jiggle as much. My abs are more defined. I have the biggest sleepy circles under my eyes, but my face feels glowing, flushed, radiant.

***

I realize how much of an impact music has on my memory. In the cafeteria this morning, a song was playing, the techno/dance version of “Simple Gifts” that Megha and Rudy played on opening night. A sudden feeling of love and warmth wash over me.

***

After breakfast, I hope to catch the “walking train” of people that decided to head into Lenox, but I apparently missed the group by 10 minutes. That’s OK. I went off by myself, backpack in tow, and set off past the gates of Kripalu. Real World. The sign at the entrance of Kripalu is so small and humble, our little safe haven. Our little secret.

There is a “Welcome to Lenox” sign, and now I’m on the open road. I notice lots of noise, cars, trucks…it’s loud. I realize I haven’t truly been “on the open road” in about 3 weeks, and hearing the sounds of speeding cars is a little bit of a shock. I walk and walk, uphill, downhill, kind of knowing where I’m going but also not. Where is the monument [in the center of town]? How far ahead are the other girls? Will I see society soon? I walk past houses, some with pumpkins on their front steps, some with Christmas wreaths hanging on the doors. Christmas. Holy crap, it’s November 11, and that means the stores are probably bursting with Christmas stuff. Where have I been? What a time warp.

Where am I?, I think, continuing with my walk. It’s so much different than walking around my hometown or other familiar places, when I know precisely where I am in relation to the county, state, and country. But where am I now? I have a vague feeling of it being in Massachusetts, but it feels like a different planet. I know nothing around me, and in a way it feels good. Not knowing. Living in the inquiry. I feel like my trek on this foreign road is like the journey of a college student–I know I want to do something in communications, but what? TV? Radio? Film? Print? No idea where to go or what the destination is, but enjoying the journey, the walk, the various classes and lectures and teachers and books and friends. Being OK with not knowing the destination.

When I reach downtown Lenox about 45 minutes later, it feels like Disney World. There is a bank, a pharmacy, a book store, a health food store, cute little shops, a gas station. I’m tickled with delight but also worried. Choices. Decisions. Learning to control the urge to hoard and want and possess. I find the Lenox coffeeshop, and D. and M. are inside. Soy hot chocolate. We talk a lot about Kripalu, the people, our staff, how we are overcome with gratitude and love when someone reaches out to us. I am not the only one falling in love with love.

***

Twenty minutes after returning to Planet K, it’s DansKinetics time. I try not to think about how this may be my last DansKinetics class with Megha, to just be there in the Main Hall, in front of the stained glass Om symbol, to enjoy and participate, to dance and just let go. It works, because I see the transformation around me. I see people around me smiling and singing and laughing and sweating, and I know it is partially Megha’s influence that has made everyone open up this way. Her energy is boundless, and it is fascinating to see how it rubs off on one, two, three, four people, and how that energy rubs off on more people, spreading until the whole room is ALIVE, like really ALIVE…living. How one person and five drummers can create that openness is a marvel to witness, and I knew then that (for the 1,000th time) that is was my duty to take this energy, cultivate it in myself, and spread it to people in my life.

I keep telling myself to remember, remember, remember. It is my new mantra. I remember the wood-paneled ceiling, I remember smiling at my fellow classmates, I remember standing next to the drummers and hearing their beats, moving my feet to their sound. I remember standing at the edge of the circle, letting my body succumb to Stage 4 (another dimension), my hair loose and all over my face, thrashing on the floor, dying, dying, alive, alive, a birth and death cycle over and over again. I was 150 different Jens that afternoon, coming and going. I was a banshee wild woman, raw, terrifying, peaceful, sexual, dying, breathing, living. A tiger and a dove. Sweaty. Gross. Sweet. Sweat. Remember.

During class I realized that what A.M. said about silence is right–you can’t have music without it. There were times during KDZ’s intense drumming songs when they threw in a pause–and the release, the notes that followed that hold, were thrilling, wild. You could see the effect on us; everyone loved it. Those short little pauses that gave us two seconds of craving, anticipation, mystery–then gaining it all back again. You can’t have music without silence.

We trickled to the floor as the music slowed, a graceful surrender and death. The musicians padded around us, their delicate music lulling us into relaxation. A little blonde girl named Roberta played her rain stick over my head, and I smiled. I felt emotion, tears. Grateful. I Jai Bhagwan’ed with appreciation and rested. When I saw Megha in the doorway, I immediately zeroed in to hug her, even though she and I were both saturated. I did not care. I embraced her and my voice trembled, and I thanked her. She called me “My dancing sister,” something she’s probably said to thousands of other women, but that melted my heart then and there.

***

Mexican for lunch, and I overeat again. Burritos, tacos, beans, rice, salad, corn soup. I go overboard and now my tummy is not so flat anymore.

***

I shop in the Kripalu Store of Doom for over 2 hours, buying more than $150 worth of lovely yoga stuff. 2+ hours. M. and I are practically employees in there, listening to CDs, looking at clothes, yadda yadda. Dinner in the cafe, then an in-depth discussion with E. about her talk with Angela Farmer, who talked with her for 45 minutes about how yoga is meant for men, how it’s angular and rigid and masculine. The story, says Angela Farmer, is that Shivo witnessed his wife Parvati bathing while doing really graceful, flowing, organic postures. Fascinated, Shivo went into the woods to mimic her postures but ended up doing very rigid forms, militaristic. His followers copied his movement and thus yoga became a “movement.” So, what was “supposed” to be fluid, feminine movement was transformed into masculine warrior postures. So Angela Farmer is all about bringing the feminine quality back to yoga, and E. was purely fascinated. And it was fascinating to listen to her fascination!

***

Where did learning about yoga go? I’m so concerned about dancing and poetry and woman issues that I’m completely forgetting about Practice Teach #3, anatomy, and our test, whatever that may be. But I’ll never forget that sitz bones = ischial tuberosities and that the digestive system–sing it with me now!–“Digests, Absorbs, and Eliminates!”

***

Two nights ago, I crept into bed and was able to see the new moon from my pillow. I stretched out in my bunk, watching the clouds cover and expose the moon, and I was completely content. I shower in flip-flops every night, smell like cafeteria food all the time, get 6 hours of sleep, but I am content. So f***ing happy.

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