Please forgive my lack of posting this week - it's been a busy one!
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to a Kirtan. Coming in, I didn't know what it was, and my sister wouldn't tell me because she wanted me to find out for myself. Even though we were a little late, we still stayed for what seemed like an hour and a half. There were a few musicians playing guitars and a drum, and for a few songs they played a harmonium, an instrument used in extended chanting. I actually got to play one when I visited the Yogi Center last time I was in San Diego! It's kind of like playing an accordion that stands like a piano. Anyway, back to the Kirtan. For a while I was just taking all of the sound in, then it started coming in and out, exactly like the waves at the beach. People would sing in harmony, improvise, and crescendo/decrescendo with the sound of the music. It seemed like the songs weaved in and out of one another. Eventually, the sound became overwhelming and I responded in the most natural way I could: I meditated. This was the first experience that I would deem "overwhelming and therapeutic." The sound created was so overtaking that I only could close my eyes and breathe in the sound waves. I also felt movement, opened my eyes and saw people dancing to the music. It was a celebration of love, life, and the energy of being together. When it was over, I was disappointed I hadn't been there earlier! I've made it a point to try to learn some basic Sanskrit so I can chant along with everyone else, maybe play along! At the end of the night, I felt like my day had made a complete circle, having started off with yoga and ended with this Kirtan.
Sunday, instead of walking to the usual Solana Beach farmer's market, I hitched a ride to Leucadia for the Encinitas Farmers market. It was there that I bought this week's kale (of course), but more importantly, I spent a few hours with friends! Afterwards, I spent another few hours walking on the beach (and catching some, well... many waves) with one of those friends, and she actually lives just a walk away from my house! At the office, the week has been spent preparing for Eat 4 Justice, where J4J paired up with Healthy Top Chef Anna Allen to put on a night of great food, organic wine, live music and dancing, and great company! In a matter of just 36 hours (Tuesday to the start of the event last night), over $1700 was raised to benefit Jeans 4 Justice. The power of support and energy was so present last night. The food was hands down the best vegetarian food I've had in my life. I also got to be a server (dressed in black & white, of course), where I carried a tray of vegan paté, chips, carrots and napkins around for about 20 minutes. Even though my wrists hurt, it felt really cool to be an intimate part of the event. The next course of the menu was a "super slaw" with avocado-lemon-basil dressing. If there weren't two more courses, I would have had more than the two servings I had. It was fantastic! Next up was paella (which was incredible) and dessert was strawberry/blueberry/peach cobbler, which was a perfect ending. The amazing thing is that every course was completely gluten-free and/or dairy-free. I decided last night that I would eat that food all the time if it tasted that great.
The final part of the night was a drum circle that I didn't think I would get to be a part of, but all I had to do was get to a drum and I was at one before it started, playing along with a couple singing with a guitar. Gradually, 6 or 7 more drummers had gathered in a semi-circle. The leader stopped the spontaneous playing to give a brief introduction on the rhythm we would start off with, and the rest is history. I honestly can't tell you how long we played, but I do know that my hands were throbbing afterwards. I hadn't played like that in a very long time, and it gave me the greatest feeling. I hadn't only played a drum, either. I also had a tambourine and used one of the metal serving trays for a cowbell-type instrument (re: STOMP).
Tonight I am returning to yoga, and Friday night there's a possibility that I might attend a Shabbat dinner, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.