Waltz of the Enfields • 20 March 2010

Saturday morning. I sang to some Hindu goddesses last night, crashed early with their help. Slept through until 7:11, when a text beeped through just as the tenor-droning greens man passed under my window. Nine hours at least. Amazing! And now it’s only 82 degrees – a restful warmth compared to the brow-beating, insomniac discomfort of 89.

This is the first time in two weeks that I re-recognize my cognitive function. REM has de-fragged the RAM: the extreme restlessness of recent days reorganized in to semi-purposefulness.

Crazy fatigue was inevitable. The slow drain of the 2:45 wake-up, buzzing off the backbends of everyone around me, and a blissful if unsustainable relationship with a love I’ve tried so long to avoid—the chai. Beautiful substance. On which more later.

I’m not wanting for physical rest—all I do around here is relax and write. So when in comes to asana practice, there is sufficient strength and flow. But what I’ve ached for the depth of sleep that will preempt one of my troublesome manic phases. Last night was SO nourishing; and for more I will lay off the caffeine another day, eat carbs, and hope Laksmi gives us a second quiet night of breeze.

Speaking of extended sleep-deprivation: a number of people here are seriously mental by now. Free time, strong shakti, distance from home and the ideology of samskaric burning make for a great if crazy dance. Wow. The mature ones are interested in staying grounded in the midst of it—but the small percentage who have really lost their shit are kind of fascinating. I don’t mind. Usually.

I engage lightly, trying to imitate the relational ju-jitsu of a certain ashtangi IT manager in the American southwest. I'm ignoring the phone, and otherwise observing in amusement while trying to come off self-centeredly clueless.

The most interesting of all are the watchers, a quiet handful of men and women who have their fingers on the pulse. Or believe they do. Anyway, I wish I could tell you about all the characters and their sweet human dramas. Damn if some of these cats aren't a real trip. But no. Of course we do not give more life to these things.

A deep dream from last night is still coming through, and right now I see that a bunch of us were off on a rocky ultramodern island in the South Pacific. Lando Calrisian’s Cloud City meets Barcelona. The buildings were suspended from the sky and covered in original art by Miro’ and Gaudi (there is a terrible, Gaudi-imitating architect in Mysore—buildings even more heinous then the Sagrada Familia). Some interesting people were there.

Now that I think of it, we got to the island on a Transformers™ watercraft fit with special hooks for transporting motorcycles from the mainland. Skipping across the waves of the South Pacific, with Enfields lightly glazing the boat’s flanks.

Also, SKPJ lived on the island. It was his afterlife. He was organizing a shakti festival on the beach.

The motorcycles became transformers too, and learned to do surya namaskar.

(The ashtanga-motorbike connection again…. The teacher who roared up each morning at the end of my standing series to come in and teach me advanced series. And Peter, the PhD mentor whose death on his BMW in Malibu Canyon last January was the reason I came to Mysore in the first place.)

Parampara, South Pacific, March 19. Hmm.

My grandfather turns 90 today. He was in the South Pacific. Not futuristic or celebratory, but in treacherous, primitive zones. Eventually he went down on a kamikazied air craft carrier, saw most of his buddies die, and was MIA for three months. How can WWII and colonial India have been only a few decades ago—still within his lifetime?

He, Frank Harvey, is in Colorado. A hale little template for his first son—my dad. Bald, sanguine Irish mongrels, with strong lungs and legs, love for activity, and workaday devotion to their families and their weirdo simplistic religion. I’ll call in an hour and take in his approving disapproval for my desultory Deccan ways. Then he’ll tell me he feels “ok” and had a “really nice” party with umpteen grandchildren. He’ll get a little tearful when I go, and I’ll be a little businesslike about it.

Tomorrow, I’m doing some guided meditation work around my relationship with my dad. It’s been scheduled since the first week, and I’ve been sort of preparing emotionally for almost three months. Guiding my awareness back and back and back again to him all winter. Putting him in my invocation with the other teachers’ teachers’ teachers, just imagining myself as if I were him, sending him kindness on purpose where otherwise I wouldn’t bother to think of him… or would not think of him without the usual attendant annoyance or resentment.

Kind of a drag. It’s easy not to think about my parents—biologically, the setup is that they will love and obsess about me, and I will not care nearly so much about them, ignoring their warnings and wishes. And daddy issues… aren’t those best left at bedrock, milked for achievement drive and approval neediness and self-discipline?

I dunno. These shoulders and strong back, the way he taught me to work a mountain bike, all out enjoying my life even when the margins are messed up, the ability to walk away from prestige and be a little monk-like, a tendency to be present, a disposition toward nature worship. Those are not mine. They’re kind of just the primitive side of my parampara.

Sunday Led