I used to be a squatter in New York City – I was a teenage runway. Someday I will tell that story. Today, I am remembering a different story, but one that is a result from my early New York experience.
A few weeks after the Tompkins Square Riot, on a dank, hot day, I called my mother and asked her if I could come “home.” I couldn’t shake the night of the riot out of my system, and I figured the best thing for me was to leave the Lower East Side.
For a long time, I felt off. “Home” was a loaded word (and often still is). The closest I got to feeling okay (and even good) in my own skin was while working at a health food store in Morristown, NJ. Bob, my boss, hired me despite my looking a little crispy around the edges. He told me he sensed potential. He encouraged me to read all the books in the store on the condition that I return them when I finished.
Wow! Probably the first book I read from the store cover to cover was Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Within a week of starting my job I was looking a lot better (having followed the advice of the books I was reading), customers came to me specifically for advice on supplements and natural cosmetics, and Bob promoted me to “cosmetics manager.”
I cut out all fried foods, sugar, breads, and a lot of dairy. I ate only organic fruits, vegetables, and grains; took supplements; and exercised everyday. During my lunch hours I’d go for a walk, find a place to sit, and read.
The books I read shifted from nutritional and alternative healing practices to spiritual. I learned about quantum physics, eastern philosophies, radiology, and kundalini.
There was one book that I loved. It was short and simple. Basically, it described a meditation in which you imagine sending love to everything – first, you let love grow in your heart and allow it to flow throughout your body. Then with each breath, let love expand beyond yourself to fill the space you are in and beyond. You could do this meditation anywhere. Walking down the street, send love to the trees and flowers and grass, to birds and animals that you see, to other people . . . Send that love out on the exhale and let it return on the inhale.
I got into the habit of doing this meditation and I became very happy. I painted “groove to the love vibration” on the back of my leather jacket. I was feeling love, love, love – everywhere. Sometimes I felt so light, it was like I was floating 6 inches off the ground.
That was a wonderful time.
At some point I fell out of the habit. Funny how those things happen.
Recently I read an article featuring one of my earliest yoga teachers, Sharon Gannon, and a love blessing she practices everyday. It reminded me of the love meditation – so I began to do it again. I am not quite walking on air (yet) – but I am feeling good!
Check out Sharon Gannon’s practice here – Bless You: A Jivamukti Practice |.