Shriyoga Blog

That Time Of Year

Posted on November 23rd, 2010

Here we are again at that time of year which traditionally asks of us to celebrate, give thanks and express our appreciation of each other.  More than ever I am prone to pause before expressing something that seems “required”, especially if in tandem with a  particular date accepted by the general populous.  The question of authenticity demands my attention.

This past weekend, I had the privilege again to study with esteemed yoga master, Richard Freeman, in Chicago.  During the 2.5 hour break, it was suggested that I walk to Damon Avenue in Bucktown for a selection of cafes and restaurants. I would have to walk underneath the expressway to get there.  With enthusiasm I began the trek to explore unknown territory.  Nearing the underside of the expressway my pace slowed as I detected that I was about to pass through an eery squalor:  A dead black pigeon amongst frozen bread crumbs and then, bed after makeshift bed set up both low to the ground and up high in the concrete rafters just inches from the roaring vehicles on US 90/94. I walked quickly, barely looking, mostly in aversion. I noticed my aversion. I noticed, too, that no one “was home” at that midday hour.

Two hours later, on the way back, I took a deep breath as I had to pass under again.  This time I allowed myself to open with curiosity to this alternative village.  As I cautiously looked around, I noticed this time the care taken by the residents of their makeshift dormitory style domains.  One thing for certain, most of the beds were made!  And, most spectacularly, someone had a crystal hanging up high in a concrete nook near a pile of worn pastel blankets.  There was gratitude and a silent devotion of making the best of what could be one of the worst places to be homeless with below zero temperatures approaching.

Making it through to the other side, I, too, was grateful.  To be alive mainly.  To have the good fortune to sleep inside listening to the hum of a full refrigerator, the rattle of a hot radiator… the sound of wind chimes outside my bedroom window high above the traffic of the Avenue of the Americas.  Yes.  These are reasons to authentically give thanks every single day.


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