#1 – This is an email I sent today –
I suck at small talk. Usually this is not a problem as I have no interest. However, there are occasional circumstances when it would really come in handy. I used to judge myself in those situations, try to force myself to be someone that I am not. Eventually I softened and also came to understand I excel at deep conversations. These two things may not be mutually exclusive for everybody, but they are for me. And maybe also the fact that I have difficulty with idle chatter is part of the reason I can write, make a story, or the beginning of one, whether there is really a story there or not.
Last summer I went to kirtan with the Wild Moon Bhaktas at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis. It was one of a handful of times I saw them last year. This particular gathering was pretty small – maybe 10-15 people and I noticed that there was a very attractive man there. As I’m sure you are aware, there are usually more women than men at kirtan, and many of the men are either of an older generation or accompanied by a woman. Neither was the case in this situation. Despite my ineptitude at small talk I specifically stayed for the light meal afterwards to try and talk to this guy. However, he left. When I told someone about this, her reaction was what I used to say to myself. I needed to put myself out there, make a greater effort to talk to him! I didn’t feel supported by this reaction and decided not to mention such things in the future. I can be hard enough on myself, I’m not looking for reinforcement.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve- I’m headed to a kirtan event at a yoga studio by myself. I am perfectly content with this plan and grateful to feel this way. The room is pretty packed when I arrive. I head to the front corner where there is a bit of space and this guy gives me a look that says, “Don’t take this cushion,” (which he appears to be saving for someone else). I wasn’t after the cushion though, I’m perfectly content to sit on the floor. I was just looking for a space. Looking around I could see the room was mostly a sea of beautiful women, deciding to spend an evening in a beautiful way.
I dove into kirtan, started having a lovely vision. Afterwards I wanted to save a few of those thoughts for my journal, but had neither pen nor paper. By this point I had placed the initial recognition I had of you and figured if I could find some scratch paper that you would lend me a pen. So I get the paper, you lend the pen and I write.
Soon they are passing out paper for the next kirtan group and the guy that originally looked a little annoyed at me asked if I want one. “I just like to listen.” I respond. He then asks if I was taking notes. “No I had some thoughts during kirtan that I wanted to write down.”
I don’t know when it occurred to me, it wasn’t a moment, it was more like a gradual realization - that guy might be the same guy I wanted to talk to a few months ago. From then on I’m more conscious of him through the evening. I’m still happy/content in my own space, but I pay him a little more attention than the rest of the people in the room. I say a little prayer/request that if we are meant to speak it will happy naturally.
When it’s time to go I think about this as I’m getting my jacket, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I head to the front to put on my shoes and think, “Oh well,” grateful regardless. Then he is leaving too, without his friends, and I ask if he was at the meditation center this summer when Wild Moon Bhaktas played. He said yes and asked how I knew you… Well life helped, but I still suck at small talk so we said, “Happy New Year,” and I left. I left thinking however, that this time I had you. Someone who knew the both of us, and that I may still have your email address, and regardless of anything it would be my first writing exercise of the New Year (which you would be supportive of :). And if it happened to feel appropriate to you to pass this on to him it should at least be a complimentary beginning to his New Year (well minus the annoyed look part I guess :).
So I have no idea if that guy is single, or how you know him, but I DO know that you are welcome to pass this on to him if it feels appropriate.
Thanks much, best wishes for your writing life and all your life in 2014!
#2 – The woman this email was addressed to was the instructor of an intuitive writing class I enjoyed a few years ago. I did not still have her email, but I was able to find it.
#3 – After midnight, after kirtan (call and response chanting performed in India's bhakti devotional traditions), we did a ritual to ring in the New Year. A room full of people singing and circling to the music, while one at a time we walked a lighted path on the floor and released something no longer needed.
#4 –I went to a 10:30 AM yoga class which was followed by a 12:00 PM restorative class. Restorative yoga does not yet have a Wikipedia page (where I just went for a succinct description). It’s basically relaxation yoga/rest yoga. Anyway, I didn’t need the restorative class necessarily, I just went to a class on Sunday, but it was convenient and I had the time so I decided to stay. Well as often happens, but still can be a surprise, lots of new people showed up since it was the New Year. We were running out of supplies and there were a lot of people who didn’t know what to do. (Restorative yoga involves a bunch of blankets, blocks etc. to prop people up into relaxing positions.) I jumped right in to help the instructor and then switched from a participant to an assistant in the class. The best part was I didn’t need the class. I was “giving from a full cup”. And it was simply a moment of immense beauty to observe a room full of “busy Americans” all silent and resting. It touched me.
#5 – Finally one of those new yogis was a highly attractive man who I briefly directed (as he looked lost). I hope he comes back! I don’t have to be good at small talk to ask how he liked his yoga class (or if he has done yoga anywhere else). We’ll see.