Thursday, June 23, 2011

Saturated in Greatness

Before I left for the Grand Circle I was literally instructed to "Hang out with Greatness" while I was there. (As if it were possible not to hang out with greatness at an Anusara event.) I feel exceptionally lucky to have been able to attend and I extend gratitude to my mother for keeping my daughter so I could come. But soon after arrival on Sunday night, I realized just how auspicious it was to be there. This first Grand Circle was surprisingly intimate. Maybe 250 or 300 total people were in attendance. With such a small number of participants I literally bumped into greatness at every turn.

First, of course, there was the accessibility of John himself. Aside from the mind-blowing and wildly inspirational 3 hour morning sessions, there were times when he was just hanging out. You know,"like a normal person" one of my friends said. That, in and of itself was incredible because whenever I've practiced with him at workshops I've always only seen him whooshed in and out of the practice space, never simply hanging out among friends.

But also, the schedule provided opportunities to practice and learn from great teachers in the tradition. Each day, philosophy talks were offered by Hareesh, John, or Bill Mahoney. Then there were the break out classes with Certified teachers (I practiced with Elena Brower, Desiree Rumbaugh, and The Carolina girls Stacy Milner-Collins and Sara Faircloth with Bill). In the evening, fireside Satsang with John, Hareesh, and Bill again. And I didn't even have time to take part in class with Kenny Graham, Sianna Sherman, Naime Jezzeny, Deb Neubauer, or Zhenja LaRosa. Everyone I knew commented on how it was a problem of abundance, the perfect problem to have.

And those were just the scheduled events. On the lawn of Village Anusara was an air of a relaxed family reunion -- no drama attached. With the help of the ever so fabulous Certified Teacher Lila Pierce Brown of Raleigh, NC, I was introduced to great beings, in the form of Anusara yogis, and tons of Certified teachers including Bernadette Birney and Desiree Rumbaugh. One afternoon I looked around and found myself in the writers' group in the company of Elena, Bernadette, Sue Elkin (author of the Anusara prenatal manual), Ellen Saltonstall, Susanna Harwood Rubin, Elizabeth Goodman, and many others just like myself. Another moment I looked around and found myself sharing a picnic blanket with all Certified teachers: Sue Elkin and Naime Jezzeny, Sarah Faircloth, Lila, and Susanna Harwood Rubin. I stopped to chat with Christopher, the installation artist as he created his art on the lawn of the village. More than once I found myself in the company of the incredibly talented musician Todd Boston. I even spoke a few times to the Grammy Winning percussionist Jeff Haynes (who appeared totally stoked to be participating in an Anusara event with John for the first time).

Each one was as gracious as the next. Welcoming, genuinely interested in myself and the others around. Normal. But at a higher level of normal - normal without all the anxiety and self-limitation. Normal in the way that people who are seated in their hearts are normal. Sweet, kind, loving even. I found this across the board. All the greats were great. And I say this not to name drop, but to illustrate just how welcoming everyone was, and how available to us (the normal peeps).

But also, the Anusara practitioners in attendance were so beautiful and sweet. Many of those I met were new to Anusara or new to events with John. To see them transform over the three days and get super shiny was incredibly inspiring. Some students who attend my own class ROCKED Urdhva D for the first time at this event. And, I can tell you, they walked through the Village like a new people. It was total auspicious magic.

On Wednesday afternoon I stood in the middle of Village Anusara as the Solstice sun was setting and looked around. Folks around me were hooping, slack lining, dancing, chatting, eating, and listening to awesome music by dj leif... and I thought "These are my people". As in, THIS is my tribe. I belong here.

On Thursday morning as the rains came and mats and bodies were drenched through during John's practice I couldn't help but realize we, the lucky ones to be present at such an auspicious moment as this first Anusara Grand Circle, were truly Saturated in Greatness.

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