Praying with my fingers
I didn’t go to India like Elizabeth Gilbert, but I did spend quite a bit of time at an Ashram of sorts, just like her. Three years, to be exact, at Kripalu Center in the Berkshires after it was no longer officially an ashram, but before it tragically became the NYC spa escape that it is today.
And I had all kinds of crazy out of body and mind experiences there – just like Elizabeth did. I, too, felt like I was sitting in the palm of God’s hand – a few times. I thought I found my religion, my faith, my practice, my place, my people, my community at least 100 times. Oh, how I wanted it to be so.
But the thing was this: it was fleeting.
Even while I was in it, I couldn’t keep the intensity or the practice up. My mind would literally have blown if I’d tried. So these AHA moments were saved for intensive retreats and programs – with time to just be live like a yogini in between (with smaller aha’s sprinkled about). And the people I was surrounded by, it turns out, were not really my people (honestly, they were too busy searching for themselves to be anyone’s people). It was a case of sole soul searchers in community’s clothing.
When I left Kripalu and the dizzying amount of yoga, meditation and pranayama that I was doing, those experiences, their impact, the lessons, my practices (which will be forever a part of me – and my DNA) faded. Perceptibly.
This was especially true of the spiritual practice side of things. I’d hear a dharma talk about self-acceptance or read a book about loving kindness – and for a day or a week or a month, put it into fervent practice. But something was missing. The sustenance, the stickiness, the sticktoitedness. No matter how exciting and deeply felt, these things always slipped away.
And, I blamed myself. I thought I must not have the drive or will power to stay with this! I should have tried harder, studied more, found my guru, been a better person, blah, blah, blahbbity, blah.
The truth was, I was just in the wrong church, balancing on the wrong parts of my body, talking to the wrong ‘God’.
I know this because two and a half years ago, I walked into this place: my Writing. (Well, I’d been writing all along, but I walked into this blog 2.5 years ago). As if it were my temple. It had been there all along, my writing, but I wasn’t using it the way I am now. Like the old woman who sweeps her floor for 100 years with an old broom, only to discover one random day in her 101st year that it can help her fly.
Here, in this Writing:
- I lean, in equal parts, on my heart, my brain, my gut and my fingertips.
- There is a community of friends and beloveds (that would be you) that share my faith and exalt my prayers – and display their own – in unique, overlapping, vibrant ways.
- My practice feeds me and makes me swell and expand.
- Everything is built to share.
- I am called to practice, repeat and find routine.
- I get better everyday.
- Even on the days when none of us can tell.
- IT stays with me all day and all night.
- Even when I’m not actually writing.
- I don’t have to make myself do it – it is as natural as my breath.
When I write, I’m tapped into something bigger than me.
Though some yogi’s maintain that this is impossible – because they believe that we ourselves are god. They trust that we are everything and everything is us, that there is no separation.
And that may be true, you know? Because most days I can’t tell where my fingers end, and my keyboard begins.
Wait! There’s MORE!!!
Here’s how this went down:
- My dear friend Andi and I were doing some work on her blog…via Skype – when we came upon the trailer for Eat, Pray, Love – the MOVIE. We both gasped and hit play at the same time.
- Then, we realized that combined with Alisa Bowman, we actually formed the trifecta. Alisa writes about marriage, love and sex; Andi writes about travel and food; and I write about writing, life, what it all means – and I’m a Yogini (over 500 hours certified, thank you very much) – so that apparently qualifies me for PRAY.
- Then, we decided that just because Elizabeth Gilbert forgot about the drinking, we didn’t need to – so we invited Anne Fitten, who is searching for the ultimate Brewgasm, to join the fray.
- Long story short – we’re quad-blogging this puppy, and Andi generously offered a giveaway for our readers: copies of Eat, Pray, Love and Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Committed.
- To win, you must comment on all 4 posts, then submit your name in this Google form for one chance to win. There will be 4 winners selected.
- SO: tell us your version of LOVE on Alisa’s blog, your version of EAT on Andi’s blog, your version of DRINK on Anne Fitten’s blog and your version of PRAY down below in my comments. And you could win good books from a fabulous writer, one who made the dream come true.
Your turn…tell me your version of PRAY.
Image credit: romana klee