I know that it's sad to follow someone out of yoga class when, even after 90 minutes on the mat, their shoulders remain visibly tense, their necks strained. I know that sometimes I can see that pain, even though they smile and talk more loudly at my look of concern. Those times, seeing people in such deep struggle, I want to touch their arms and say, "You can stop. You can release completely and the world will still go on. Nothing is going to crash onto your shoulders." And I know I want to do this because sometimes I need someone to do it for me.
I know that listening to live music gives me a sense of community. It takes me back to Sunday nights in State College, to a monthly singer/songwriter series that brought the likes of John Gorka, Dar Williams and Catie Curtis to town. What I loved about those nights - what remains with me even now, as I listen to recorded music on a rainy night in a city far away from State College - was that everyone's hearts were in the same place. Everyone in that beautiful room - all exposed beams and floor to ceiling windows and the Rothrock State Forest beyond - was smiling and warm, and everyone left those shows intending to pour light into the world*.
*The idea of pouring light into the world is something I can't claim but keep close. It came to me from Rumi's One Song, which I've heard and seen on the radio, in yoga class, on a friend's website and in an old birthday card in the past few days. Thank you, universe. I got your message, and now I'm passing it on.
One Song, written in the mid-13th century, is so appropriate for our time that reading it stops my breath, even though I know it by heart, even though I know what's coming. It's so simple, to praise, without the stigma of Prayer as we see it now, political and inaccessible. But to praise - to honor and thank and recognize...why are we not doing that all the time? Why am I not doing that all the time?
What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured
into a huge basin. All religions, all this singing,
The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight
looks slightly different
on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different
on this other one, but
it is still one light. We have borrowed these clothes, these
from a light, and when we praise, we pour them back in.