I’m still basking in the afterglow of the confluence. Had lunch today with Dena and Jack, who stopped in Encinitas on their way to LAX and a late night departure to Australia. They had a great time at the confluence and were touched by the special nature of the event. I’m so pleased that they could come and share some light form “down under” with you.
Through my long and treasured association with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, I had the great pleasure to meet and form friendships with all of my fellow presenters at the confluence. I have known them all for more than twenty years, long enough that they feel like family. It was such fun for me to be able to work and hang out with my dear friends for a few days. I don’t get a chance to see them very often and almost never get a chance to work with them, so it is a rare treat for me. My sense is that the other teachers felt the same way. Hopefully, we were able to convey that to the students.
In my opinion some of the events of the confluence surpassed last year. Eddie did a great job once again with the Ganesha Puja—I managed to screw up again in my brief participation. Last year I waved the lights counterclockwise instead of clockwise. This year my job was to toss a flower to Ganesha every time Eddie said “namah” while he chanted the 108 names of Ganesha. Eddie was chanting so fast that when I finally tossed the first flower Eddie turned to me and said, “That was, like, the eighth namah.” One big difference was that we were not freezing our butts like last year. Also, we started earlier so at the end of the puja when it was time to eat, the food was still visible. The Mysore classes were a bit smaller this year because more students were taking the guided class. That situation made it possible for every one to get a little more attention. I thought that all the teachers worked well as a team. There is a lot of energy flying around in a Mysore class with 100 students and ten teachers. I loved teaching the “Roots and Wings” class on Friday and singing the Hanuman Chalisa with 200 people. Maybe next year I’ll be brave enough to open my eyes and sing into the microphone.
The panels were an opportunity for the audience to get a good sense of the personalities of the presenters. Dominic did a good job as moderator, making sure everyone’s voice was heard and keeping things moving. David once again demonstrated his uncanny ability to tell funny, but poignant stories, Eddie enlightened us with his vast knowledge of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy, Nancy provided the wise perspective that only comes through a wealth of experience, and Dena showed us a bit of her beautiful and tender heart. I’m not sure if the panels were quite as funny as last year, but they were pretty funny.
My only disappointment with the Saturday evening kirtan was that more people didn’t turn up to hear the beautiful music and singing performed by my friends Naren and Janzel. It was just what I needed after an exhausting day to recharge my battery. Those that did come recognized that the key to good kirtan is audience participation. Naren’s comment at the end was, “I love the ashtanga community.” An unexpected gift from the confluence is that after hanging out together for the weekend, my daughter Leela and Eddie’s daughter Lilli have become best friends.