MESSY PERFECTION



When the wind stopped, the mosquitos came. At a little past nine in the evening I was sitting in a wooden chair, in a small house by the sea in Mykonos. Across from me sat my teacher. Across from this little house, the sea shimmered with a moon lit path towards the mystical island of Delos.

My eyes were closed and the persistent hum of the mosquito was by my ear. I was meditating with my teacher. I had learned how to cool my attention towards the buzzing sound, the itch, and the anticipation of waiting for a bite. Instead, I became the light meeting the sea and the hush of the moon. Never seen before colors surrounded my teacher and I, it felt like gentle, understanding love. An invisible hand rested on my shoulder, it was familiar to me, as if some part of me knew this energy from some other life time. As if this camaraderie existed just beyond human comprehension.

In this little room on wooden chairs, with mosquitoes and sweat, we met with angels and insights.

Above the honking horns and touristy sounds of Plaka, Athens, we are practicing yoga. Each day we Bhakti in a small, sweaty room above a curving marble staircase. Today, once again my heart is reverberating fear in my ears, because we are singing, chanting. My gaze is downward and I can see my teachers long legs walking towards me. In his hands is a tambourine, jingling a beat and his deep velvety voice is becoming louder. I know what he is going to do, the other students know what he is going to do, even the walls of the room know and lean in. The air is thick with my excruciating shyness. With resignation I look up and see his smile. He is still singing, and he is holding out his hand for me to stand. I want to cry, it’s right there in my throat, I am so angry with him and love him all at once. I stand up. He stands beside me, holding my hand and tells the class to be quiet and asks me to sing with him. I begin singing but I am crying, because the sound of me can’t come out the way I want it to. It’s soft and wrong and my whole body is shaking. He is steady in his belief of the rightness of me, as we begin to walk in front of each student in a circle, he encourages eye contact. He stops singing and I must continue alone. I almost shrug my shoulders in apology to each person, for my squeaky voice as I sing to them. But as I continue around the circle, I find the eyes of students tearful. They are crying with me, proud of me, touched. I think I am almost sounding pretty now. After some silence my teacher sighs, this small room glows with realness, as do I. God gave you that. Use it.

Outside of the hotel in Milos, gale force winds are howling. The sea roars and shows her dark side and small trees lean to the left like an Alvin Ailey dance. Above, clouds scramble across the sky. Every once in a while the sun splashes warmth on the island, and with a smirk disappears. I am teaching a yoga class on retreat and the weather has taken a turn, we have moved into the breakfast room. In this smaller space mats move closer to each other, like puzzle pieces just about to be connected, and the smell of a chocolate cake makes our mouths water. I laugh. Have you ever practiced with chocolate cake right next to you? Some practitioners laugh, others raise eyebrows and look down. I am reminded how much we can receive when we accept. I recall the mosquito in my ear, I recall using my shaking voice and feel elated. This is practice. This. Witness what feels messy or uncomfortable, and then witness the perfection of the moment given.