Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tuesday: The Four Questions

Last night, at yoga class, I was handed yet another moment of enlightenment, for about eleven dollars. And, very sore shoulders. But I've always wanted toned arms, and I much prefer this method to the one where you wave some weights around and stare at all the people with awkward gym clothing.

In order to basically take our minds off the fact that we were in agony, our amazing teacher adds chanting, singing, and lots of scientific and spiritual information in to the class. Last night's were especially thought provoking. She introduced each of the Four Questions of the Shaman, as we held another pose that was related to it. By the end of the first, there were tears rolling down my cheeks, partly because of the question, partly because of the PAIN! Good thing it was dark! Or everyone would know just how much of a basket case I really am.

First question:
When did you stop singing?
Not art for art's sake, not a highly refined discipline. Singing as a pure expression of exuberant joy. This really made me think.

Second question:
When did you stop dancing?
I haven't done any actual dancing since...well...a long time. It was something that used to make me feel light and happy and beautiful. Did you ever stop to think that dancing could actually be the solution to all of our problems with ourselves? Maybe it's time for an actual solo living room rock out dance party. Let yourself dance. If you can't bring yourself do dance in a public setting, do it alone in your room at home, but do it.

Third question:
When did you forget the power of stories?
In other words, when did you stop believing that miracles could happen? When did you become cynical? When did you stop really listening when people tell their stories, and stop sharing yours? Stories, like those in the bible, the ones your grandmother tells you about the old days, the one about the singer who worked her tail off and one day really got the big opportunity she had been unknowingly, but arduously preparing herself to be ready for all that time?

Fourth question:
When did you stop finding comfort in silence?
I always liked crowds, and the energy of a crowded room. But it can feel like I'm being overwhelmed by the energy that's coming at me from every side. It is an interesting thing to listen to the silence within yourself even when you are in a loud place, like New York at Nola Studios with jaded singers all around you, for instance. Some people call it listening to the listener. I find that it is easiest to connect with that silence when I am paying attention to my breath. Which couldn't hurt your singing, either.

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