I think this is what friendships do. They create conversations - not just between yourself and the other, but between yourself and your multiple selves till you've become so porous that all kinds of people live "under your skin." Sure, people move on... yet you keep talking to them out there on the fringe, hearing their voices. Maybe that's what the man from Galilee meant when he apparently said, "Wherever two or more are gathered, I am there?" Or, perhaps Raman Maharshi's words are useful here, "there are no others." And so it is, that I remember a conversation I recently shared with my dear friend Linda McLean.
Our conversation happened on one of those unusually warm first days of spring that turns the streets of Toronto into a frantic parade of flip-flops and daisy-dukes. (We in the northern climes seem to lose it at the first sight of the sun). That day Linda had come to take the yoga class I teach on Tuesday mornings; as we crossed the street wondering whether we could abandon boots for sandals, she said with unusual prescience:
"We will still get another snow. We always do."
I suppose Linda would know. She leads at least half her life up in the north country and she speaks as if she's long known the panorama of Ontario's protean seasons and its transitional storms. Speaking likewise in rural swells and intuitive horizontals, Linda happened to mention that she would be doing a Kripalu retreat the following week and I jumped on the opportunity to have her blog about it. As you will see, her guest post for this blog takes you where all conversations with friends lead: to those places you couldn't or wouldn't journey alone.
In Search of Kripalu: A Yogi’s Journey to Find the Heart of Perennial Wisdomby Linda McLean, M Ed, Songwriter and Yoga Teacher
I ’ve been reading Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga and find myself practicing pranayama continuously as I wind my way along the Mass Pike through the Berkshire mountains to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. “Follow the movement of the breath in the body, feeling the inhalation from the center of the collarbone, down through the rib cage to the diaphragm, and following the exhale upward from the abdomen.” The attention on breathing brings me perpetually to a still and grounded place in my body, even as I’m hurtling along a major US Interstate highway. The technique neutralizes for a time the endless mind chatter, and my thinking becomes like a translucent line flapping across a screen, until, forgetting my breath, the thoughts resume, and I’m once again preoccupied with trying to figure out what I’m hoping to ‘get’ during my stay at Kripalu.