Monday, April 24, 2006

Om Shanti

Saturday night, instead of coming back to an emptier apartment, I went with a friend to see/hear/chant with Krishna Das. I'd never been to a kirtan before, and I had no clue what to expect, but I like his CDs very much and I figured I should take advantage of his presence in my city. He was very personable; I liked his warm stage presence, and his voice is lovely. The venue was a church, which was a little strange, in that we were basically trying to fit an Indian worship form into a European setting. This was notable in two regards. First, though I've never been to a kirtan, my impression was that it wasn't set up in an audience-facing-performer kind of way (and, when you think about it, it's interesting that a church is set up that way, too). The fact that the venue imposed this arrangement meant that we couldn't hear our own voices quite so well and also meant that movement was constricted, perhaps even moreso than at a concert of some other kind. The other notable part, though, is that this form of worship is explicitly both interactive and responsive: Krishna Das said right up front (jokingly but seriously, too) that if we didn't respond, he was outta there. That is, he would sing/chant a line, and we were to sing/chant it in response. I'm no expert on western religious forms, but I don't think that that's how most worship services go. (Someone who knows more about gospel singing could perhaps compare the two.)

I did, in fact, enjoy it; his voice is very rich, and the interactive nature of the event is pretty cool. I don't know that I'd go to another kirtan on purpose, but I wouldn't run screaming if I found myself in the middle of one somehow, and I'd particularly like to see KD in a different venue. Some of the participants were a little . . . off the beaten path, not surprisingly, most notably the two males and one female dressed all in white, with white gauze turbans wrapped around their heads. That always seems odd to me, but I suppose it isn't that much more odd than Krishna Das himself, who's a basic middle-class American guy by birth, I believe. It does raise the question of an authentic self and how one knows one's own, but I think judging someone else's enlightenment is a risky business at best.

In any case, I managed to avoid returning home until this afternoon, and the time away included, in addition to the kirtan, two delicious dinners (one at a restaurant, one some homemade lasagna), wine, chocolate, good company, and not one but two lovely walks in the woods and sun. The original walks in those woods were in the fall and winter when the leaves had pretty much gone completely--now everything is GREEN and blooming, and it was really, really nice. This afternoon's walk reminded me that getting outside, and getting outside my head, is important. In those and many other ways, it was a really nice weekend. Every so often I'd remember that my husband was moving out of our apartment, and it would feel less nice, and then I'd just move on. Why dwell on things outside my control? Which is most of life, so far as I can tell.

I still need to find a place to live, but I've decided to put that on hold for a little while. This lease isn't up until the end of July, and I just need to chill a bit. I want to sort and pack my things properly, I want to find a good place to live, and I want to make sure that Craw and I have a financial arrangement that works before I sign a lease. He has been extremely reassuring verbally, and his actions have, so far, lived up to his assurances, so I'm not as uneasy as I could be, but I still want to see how it plays out, especially once he's no longer getting severance pay (which has given us a cushion). When I think about the various bits of things going on in my life, I can manage any given bit; when all the bits converge, it's kind of disconcerting: a lot has changed dramatically in less than four months. So I go back to dealing with whatever bit is in front of me right this minute and focus on that in whatever way makes sense. There isn't much else I can do, really.

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