The Hudson reminded me of the Ganges last night.
Last night I arrived in NYC again, skimming over the Hudson at sunset to touch down in the city once more.
I've been saying my mantra 'I'm trying not to travel - it just keeps happening!' Needless to say, I must not be trying very hard, because my wheels keep turning. This month I came from England straight to LA, to Joshua Tree, to Santa Barbara, to Laguna Beach, to Florida, and now back in the Big Apple. It's all connected in an attempt to take kirtan wherever there is an enthusiasm for it, but it can sometimes feel like living in a series of trailers. Movie trailers that is, not Winnebagos. The people around me are changing all the time - the places, the pillows, the temperature. I try and stay as adaptable as I can, but it can be overwhelming at times. As soon as you adjust, you're changing again. There are only a few constants in the midst of it all.
One is my personal sadhana - my japa meditation that I do every day. Though I sometimes struggle with time zone changes to get up early and do it first thing, and doing it on the plane is an exercise in fighting every kind of distraction possible, if I give it priority, it gives focus and spiritual strength to my life on a daily basis. The other is unfortunately, my laptop. Staying connected with the world through email, Skype, and though I hate to say it, Facebook, gives some continuity. It's alright I suppose - a symptom of our modern age. But sometimes I worry that looking at a screen becomes easier than interacting with those around me. Sometimes you just don't want to answer the same old questions again, or tell your life history to yet another new set of perfectly well intentioned people.
I've always been shy, so this is something I've thought about a lot in my life. What is the value of making the endeavour to connect personally? In gaining confidence, and trying to remember that my laptop and phone are just tools for genuine human exchange, it's getting easier to realise that the true and deep connection between people is magical. Closing the email inbox and opening myself to an unexpected conversation in person has often had the most extraordinary consequences, within and without. It's common sense, but sometimes that's not so common.
I attribute so much of anything going right in my life to encouragement and love from others. There is a quality of energy exchange that seems to be able to transform, from the inside out. All the more so in person, as I have been experiencing lately. Though there are all too many people whose kind words are only niceties, there are also an equal amount who really mean what they say. If words took physical shape and form as they emerged, perhaps they'd be jewels.
Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true. - Charles Dickens