"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people that have come alive."
I read these words this morning at the bottom of an email and they were just what I needed. I read them just before I sat down to meditate for an hour. During my meditation my mind was busy (processing what a very productive and uplifting, but still challenging, day was yesterday).
Yesterday I went to a Kundalini yoga class in the morning, taught in a smallish room that we had to get to by going through a lovely garden and taught by a beautiful woman with an English accent. As we practiced the sky went from early morning light to the full, deep, epic blue that I've only seen in the Rockies (mind you, there are plenty of places I haven't been yet in this life, so I'm not saying it only exists here). At noon I did a Bikram yoga class, a series of asanas in a hot, hot room with lots of mirrors, taught by a beautiful woman who knows a lot of ways to make a person smile, even while they are wondering if they will survive the hour. In the evening I went to another Kundalini class, this one was taught in a huge room with tons of windows, at the community college, by a woman who speaks very quietly and is one of the sweetest people I have met in this life. She had chosen a kria (yoga set that I don't really know how to spell) to enhance creativity and that was JUST what I needed at the time. I love how Kundalini yoga classes often end with "The Longtime Sun Song" which goes like this:
May the longtime sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within in you,
Guide your way on.
Sometimes I sing it round and round and round on my way home from the yoga class. Last night I was on a very crowded bus coming home after yoga and I didn't sing.
But this morning I got to wondering what makes me come alive. And yoga does, for sure. And meditation, done regularly, with love, does too. And song--music of all kinds. And during my meditation this morning I just started singing as I sat there. I sang those 4 lines of the longtime sun song over and over. I sang it to the little girl in me. I sang it to the big girl who is still sometimes quite afraid of having her wild ideas rejected. I sang it to my husband (and tears came out of my eyes then.) I sang it to every person I remembered having come into contact with during my long day out yesterday. I sang it to my son. I sang it to my mom, my sister. I sang it to my niece, my nephew, my other nephew. I sang it to my sister's husband's brother and his whole family. I sang it to Michelle Obama and her whole family. Then I sang it to Sarah Palin and her family and THEN I sang it to the Dalia Llama. I sang to the kids whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS and I sang it to the people who are taking care of all those orphans now. I sang it to everyone I could think of during that meditative hour.
I don't know how many times around I sang those 4 lines, sitting alone in my bedroom with my legs crossed, this morning. But I do know that each time I sang it, it was slightly different. and I do know that as I sang, my heart softened and my judgments, of myself AND others, softened. and it felt really, really good. and I lengthened the syllables and sang softer sometimes and louder other times. and I cried and smiled too. and I think I came more alive. and so I think I'll do that again sometime.
below is a photograph from my last birthday -- my friends made my favorite breakfast and they had all the materials ready for us to make an Avalon cookbook. then we went for a walk together. that was a very alive day.
what makes YOU come alive?