We have been receiving lots of wonderful feedback from the participants in the Confluence. This is very gratifying since we had no idea going in how it was all going to work out. Speaking for the teachers, the consensus was that we all enjoyed working together, had a lot of fun in the process, and came away feeling inspired. All of us have very different personalities and teaching styles, but somehow it all seemed to work. One of the most important criteria for me in selecting the teachers was—do they have a sense of humor? Guruji had a great sense of humor, which always made being around him a lot of fun. It seemed that an important part of his teaching was—take the practice seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously (don’t become a legend in your own mind). The different panel discussions certainly demonstrated that we all have a sense of humor (they say it is a sign of intelligence). A few people came up to me and commented that they were a little surprised to discover that Eddie was so funny. Having known Eddie for a long time, I assured them that the whole “Stern” thing was just a facade. Speaking of Eddie, my student, Michelle Haymoz, just sent me some beautiful pictures that she took during the Ganesh puja on Thursday. During the puja I was freezing my ass off up on the stage and, perhaps, can only appreciate it fully in retrospect. My deep thanks to Eddie for such a beautiful and authentic ceremony to get the ball rolling and to remove any potential obstacles during the course of the Confluence—it seemed to work. I remember someone asking Guruji once what he thought of the western students’ pronunciation of Sanskrit. His reply was, “Eddie’s is correct.”
Back in the nineties I used to go to Boulder every year and teach for a week at Richard’s studio. During that week I was always a guest in the Freeman’s home and got to know Richard and Mary well, and to appreciate their depth and intelligence, as well as their warmth and hospitality (not to mention being able to enjoy Mary’s wonderful cooking). Richard tells the story of their first “date”, when Mary invited him over for dinner. It was a spectacular meal, which led Richard to think, “I should marry this woman.” It was great to hang with them again and watch Richard lift that one eyebrow as he begins to expound on some deep philosophical subject. Nancy used to invite me to come and teach in her studio in Maui back in the nineties as well. It was great fun teaching all those crazy hippies in the tomato fields of Makawo, and also a wonderful opportunity to get to know Nancy. She is a warm, wise, compassionate and down to earth person who brings a wealth of experience and a distinctively feminine perspective to her teaching. Her daughter Vanessa and my son Eli are the same age so we could always commiserate about the trials and tribulations of parenthood, particularly during their teenage years. David and Shelley are two of my favorite people, very entertaining, generous, and energetic, and gifted teachers. We don’t get a chance to spend time together often, but I always cherish that time, whether it is in Mysore, Encinitas, or Austin. David is one of the funniest people I know, and a gifted storyteller. If he ever gets tired of teaching yoga, I’m sure he could make it as a standup comic.
I just had a nice visit with Nancy, who is leaving for Miami tomorrow. David and Richard left yesterday morning and Eddie flew the redeye home on Sunday night. When I was driving Eddie to the airport we were sharing our experience of the Confluence. We agreed that Guruji was represented with great love, respect, and gratitude, and that he would have been pleased with it all. That, after all, was our primary intention.