As our traveling trio arrived Wednesday at Wanderlust, the welcoming by our Slacker family was nothing less than I expected -- hugs filled with so much excitement and love that they were almost violent, knocking us into an instant Slacker Stack (aka: dog pile). The fun and love that radiated from the little grassy knoll, filled with slacklines, was almost hypnotic as it drew us into the folds. Ah, we were home.
We got to work immediately, spelling those who had been teaching in the hot sun for the past several days without rest. The "work" was so fun that it was hard to call it work. Our energy drew people in as we played and experimented on the line, cheering each other on, marveling at how our skills had increased. As the lines filled with interested beginners, we found there were enough of us to teach now that some of us could sit in the shade until the next rotation. Sitting there in the shade with my friend, TigerEye, we dug into each others personal life in a conversation so deep and urgent that it was almost as if we had agreed to meet there, in the shade of a ski-ticket building, to have an important meeting. The rest of the festival faded into the background for me as we connected over similarities and differences in our separate-yet-so-similar internal processes over the past few months.
Now, for those of you who know me, you know that I in no way resemble the energy of a butterfly -- a person who can flit about from different groups of friends, touching lots of lives lightly and having connections with lots and lots of people. I don't do it well, and to be honest, I'm just not interested in living that way. My personality requires deep connections with others, and so, naturally, I don't have as many friends, but those I do have know me and vice versa. It's taken me a while to realize how intense I must feel to others. I recently asked three of my friends if they find me intense. Two of them laughed, as if they were amazed I hadn't yet realized it, and the other said, "Yes, but that's okay. I'm used to it now."
So it was nice that TigerEye didn't seem to have a problem relating on this level. To be honest, I felt that if I didn't keep talking, keep processing, keep working with all these things coming up for me, I might internally combust. On the forefront of my mind were: do I have let go of my relationship completely in order to heal my body, or can I just let go of the parts that aren't working anymore; what are the logistical ramifications of the former; I've heard what my back is saying, but does my heart have to say?
Thursday on the mountain was hot and sunny, and we started getting people on the lines as early as eight in the morning. Again, I just can't iterate enough how amazing it felt to be surrounded by such happy, healthy people who had their hearts open to love (thank you, Anusara) -- both the students who tried the line, and again, my Slacker family. I realized that another great yogini friend of mine, Calm, was also at the event, working a separate booth, and I was looking forward to reconnect with her. As fate would have it, we both showed up to take Sean Corn's "Detox Flow" class Thursday afternoon, and practiced together.
I hadn't yet had the opportunity to work with Sean Corn, and I'm so glad that I chose her class that afternoon. I went into it with the intention of uncovering more my own answers, specifically what it was my heart wanted. Sean's class was focused around detoxing the body from all the toxins we are exposed to everyday, taking root in our tissues when we don't take the time or care to cleanse our bodies and minds. The environmental message of her class resonated strongly with me (M.S. Environmental Science; past life at the University of Montana), but the message that went along side of it was what coaxed information out of my heart. Sean spoke without apology about Truth: that we spirits having a human experience, and that we are are children of Spirit, whatever Spirit means to you (God, Goddess, Nature, etc). She said that when we don't align our spirits with Truth, or God, or the Universe, then we're creating more toxins in our bodies by denying our soul the only thing it craves -- connection with Spirit.
According to Ayurveda, all disease occurs because we forget this truth. Disease occurs because we forget that our true nature is spirit, and that our spirit is connected to higher Spirit. When we forget this truth, we are subject to the dramas that our senses create for us. The spirit is vital, and it will always crave connection, but if we only listening to the needs of our senses, then they will find something else in which to fill the void -- things like sugar, alcohol, sex, drugs, violence, habits or even over-exercising. These things may not seem bad at first, and they do their job -- filling the void and numbing the cry of the soul. The problem is that they can start to drown out the cry of the soul altogether as we become stuck in patterns, lifestyles or relationships that draw us further from our Truth, until one day we wake up with a master's degree in environmental science and say, "Why am I still unhappy after all that I've 'achieved'?" Simple. Because that wasn't what my soul wanted. It's what my rational brain told me I should have.
So as we sweated and twisted ourselves clean in Sean's class (me modifying poses too advanced for my sensitive back), she asked us to look inside at our Truth -- at what our spirit needed, and to look at where we might be stuck in achieving that. I immediately noticed a stuck energy between my third and fourth chakras, where I was currently processing my relationship and what to do about it. Sean then said something like, "Can you be brave enough to live in Truth and let fall away those things that don't support it, because those things will act as toxins in your body." This relationship energy lit up inside me like a torch, and I immediately started crying. It was clear that my heart also felt the need to let go of some part of my relationship, but I wasn't sure how large that part was, and I was afraid to look any deeper.
After the practice, Calm looked over at me and said, "I wanted so badly to put my hand on your back!" as she had noticed the energy moving there. Later, when we talked more deeply about the internal connections, she admitted to having channeled my relationship info while practicing next to me. What a beautiful and evolved spirit she is!
Friday was more of the same: being loved, sharing love, slacklining, sun bathing, meeting new friends and spending time with TigerEye. Michael Franti played that night, and a group of us went to the concert together. I love Franti, and as he sang "Hey World (Don't Give Up Version)," I was sure he was singing to me. I was tired from the long day, from my emotional processes, and hadn't payed much attention to my back throughout the day. Near the end of the concert, I started to realize that my back muscles were becoming very tight. Too tight. As I got in the car to drive home, I could barely sit for the pain. I eased myself into my tent and onto my very bumpy outdoor bed, and curled my knees toward my chest. My back muscles spasmed with every movement. Each time I moved in the night, the pain woke me up. Saturday morning, still in pain, I thought, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I just got healed enough to enjoy being in my physical body again. This can't happy now!" And then, more gently, "I'm sorry body, I'm sorry for not listening. I'll fix this, I promise."
So I prepared for Saturday like any other day at the Festival. Although I knew, and so did my body, that it would be different. Somehow, I didn't find any comfort in that thought.