My parents divorced at the beginning of my kindergarten year. It was somewhere around the time we were being introduced to Mister B of the Letter People.
And years later, right around my 10th birthday (I think), my dad married a woman who took me aside privately and told me on their wedding day that things were going to change--that I had no place in their family--that my father would be adopting her daughter and one daughter is all that they needed.
A hellish year later--poof!--my dad vanished from my life and I never saw him again till I was 25 years old. One long visit is all I needed to make amends with years of pain. And my life changed drastically from that moment on.
Same year I was sitting in a train station in Rome for Milan when I wrote a letter to my old self--the troubled girl who carried the burden of his abandonment for so many years--I wrote a letter to her saying goodbye--adios--ciao--and I left it under a bench in a dirty old train station in Rome, Italy.
And somewhere between Mister B Beautiful Buttons and my father walking down the wedding aisle--he gave me a paperback book on yoga. It was the size of those trashy romance novels--and it was packed full of black and white photos of women and men in leotards doing silly poses. He told me to study it--and sometimes at night before I would go to bed I would twist and turn myself into the shapes in those pages.
Lion. Tree. Warrior. Fish. Bridge.
Ten years later since my visit to Rome--this past Friday night, I went to my very first Kirtan concert with Jai Uttal. There was probably fifty people barefoot, sitting cross legged on the studio floor when Jai walked in the room. Immediately I could see his radiance--I could feel joy emanating from his pores. He embodied Bhakti--great love--devotion.
My favorite part of his singing is when he would burst into a guttural moan that seemed to spin around the globe picking up particles of pain, suffering, joy, and bliss before it made it's way to my ears. I could feel it seep into my own skin and begin to pulsate to the center of my mind.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived that night.
I've done Kirtan before--but never for two hours straight. And never with such a large group or a grammy award winner.
It took me a little while to surrender. To finally close my eyes, go inward, and give myself over to the flow of the sanskrit and the magic of the melody. I finally let go. I finally felt it.
Free and joyous.
And the strangest thing happened.
I saw myself in sepia tone dancing in a temple. And as I saw myself--I was that self--and I completely let go of my present reality of sitting barefoot, cross legged on the studio floor in Phoenix, Arizona.
I started to dance wildly in that temple. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning. Until I found myself--and saw myself dancing down the street of my childhood home. I made my way into my sepia tone childhood kitchen and danced on the dinner table as my mother, stepfather, brother, and my childhood self ate together--I danced my way down the hall to my childhood bedroom where my little body laid crying in bed. I danced on top of her--my feet moving wildly--over her toes, across her torso, and like a mad tap dancer all over her head. And I made my way out the window and into the sepia tone street again. All the way across Ohio till I found myself in the front yard of my father's home.
And I danced. And I danced. And I danced.
I danced around his house and I danced on top of his roof. I danced my way through a window and danced up and down his stairs. I saw my father laying there in bed looking ill and I danced on top of him like I did to my childhood self.
I danced so hard that laughter poured out of me like rain. And I danced in his room until it became full of sepia tone flowers and I opened my eyes to silence.
To a beautiful pause at the end of a chant.
To sitting barefoot, cross legged, in a sea of yogis, in a studio in Phoenix, Arizona.
To a life I created.
To a life I now dance in,
on the roof of my dreams,
through the window of my deep expanding heart.
I went to a Jai Uttal concert on Friday night.
And I left there--
From wounds I forgotten about.