This one’s for you harmonium huggers (I’m including myself and those of you who like to sing in that).
I bought my very first harmonium in the holy city of Vrindavan on my first trip to India. I saw it in a hole in the wall tobacco shop. The guy happened to make harmoniums, of all things, by hand. He had one displayed at the front of the shop that caught my eye. This happened at the very last minute, just as I was about to hop on the bus to Delhi to catch my flight out.
It was one of those destiny moments, right place, right time, that tend to grace unknowing travelers. I had been searching for one everywhere and hadn’t had any luck. Had it not been for it popping up at the eleventh hour, maybe our whole destiny would have been rewritten and I would not chant and play it in class today and you may not sing as part of your practice. Who knows…
Anyway, it is a travel harmonium so it is small, just a bit bigger than a business case, with hard edges and a black cover. My point is that it looks suspicious, like “if you see something, say something” suspicious… It doesn’t matter who is carrying it or how, there is no way it looks good. Think “weapon of mass destruction”. I always have people stare at me when I am transporting it and am constantly worrying I will forget it somewhere.
A couple of weeks ago I had it at Kula for whatever reason and was walking out with it. Alexia- who manages the studio- asked me what it was and I thought I was so clever responding “a bhakti bomb”. On this particular day, I had to go to the bank to deposit some checks, so I walked into Chase, put the harmonium down on the desk and signed the backs of the checks. Then I walked to the ATM and deposited them one by one- do you want a receipt, no thank you (I hate wasting paper). At which point my sweetheart texted me asking me to stop in at Whole Foods to get some vitamins she needed. So I responded, “yes! of course” and headed to Whole Foods. What kind of a heel would deny their honey anything if it is at arms reach? I walked into Whole Foods and talked to the guy in the vitamins’ lane about whether this or that was a better fit for what I needed and were those organic and in gel capsules, cause you know the horse pills are hard to swallow, so forth and so on… We finally decided on one brand that seemed just right- Caroline is gonna love these! So I walked over to the cash register and waited in line as I read the label. Interesting, they have 500 globs of magnesium phosphate and 200 of vitamin B, they will make her strong like bull… awesome! Five minutes later, I paid for it, “No bag please”- I am earth friendly!
I walked out into this gorgeous summer we’ve been having- the best in the ten years I’ve lived here- with perfect sun and my day being finished by 4:30. Life is awesome, I thought! Pleased with myself and contemplating what I would make for dinner, I walked another five minutes, well, more like frolicked, to get to my motorcycle. Mmmmm that rose bush smells good… I put on my helmet and my gloves, hopped on and started my trek home. It was such an extraordinarily beautiful day, the temperature was perfect, the sun was shining and I was loving the breeze on my bike. I couldn’t remember ever being this happy, even though I’m sure it had happened before. I rode a few blocks and all of a sudden- OH SHIT!!! The harmonium! Shit shit shit! SHIT!!!!!! I had it!!! WHERE did I have it, when was the last time I saw it???? I was in Tribeca, near the World Trade Center it was probably surrounded by a bomb squad right now!!!! DEFINITELY surrounded by a bomb squad! Shit!!! Where where where did I leave it? Think think THINK!!!
SHIT! FUCK!!! SHIT!!! I LEFT IT AT CHASE!!!!
The absolute worst place, I could have left it. Definitely a bomb squad. Definitely a bomb squad. Definitely a bomb squad. I screeched to a halt. Turned the bike around. Barreled one block over to Chase. I jumped off of Thelma (my bike), dumping her in the middle of the street with blinkers. I exploded through the door of the building like a fart in the wind (as my Uncle Ricardo would say), and spotted the case. Just as I walked in, I looked over and saw the manager of the bank with six dudes in full mask and bullet proof gear, like the shit you see in the movies, on a swat team or in Ferguson. I thought, “This is it. No time to lose.” So I grabbed the case without missing a beat, turned and yelled back as they got closer and scurried out, “this is mine, sorry, I forgot it… it’s an instruuummmeeeennntttt…” At which point I was back on my bike and made a run for it.
Phewwwwww! Yamuna (my harmonium) and I almost made it on the evening news- Suspicious Bhakti Bomber Arrested in Tribeca. Last words heard were Sita Ram as the cops dragged her away. That was a close call. Needless to say I am terrified of walking out the house with it now.
Then one of my students was kind enough to bring the parcel in question to the Italy just last week for the retreat. I was terrified the whole time that they would give her grief at customs, but I guess she looks way less suspicious than I do. There you have it. It turns out after all that it is not the case, it is me.
I was very grateful that she brought it because even though the group started out not being very singy, by the last night, all bhakti had broken loose. The vineyard has these beautiful Japanese soaking tubs we had been soaking in almost every night. The last night we got in the soaking tubs and chanted together, with Yamuna, breaking out into song, while there was a huge thunder and lightning storm going on outside. It might have been one of my favorite moments ever. And though I know chanting and singing are not for everyone, I am eternally grateful that the harmonium did cross my path and that chanting has become such a profoundly sweet addition to my practice and for some of you guys.
Speaking of retreats, come to Colombia with the amazing Miriam Wolf and I, from February 23- March 1! We are going to Nuqui, the surf capital of Colombia!! The weather is going to be gorgeous, and it is my favorite spot in all of Colombia and that is saying a lot!! I’m extremely excited that we get to go this year. You don’t have to surf. If you want to learn you can, but if you prefer hammock surfing, that is perfectly fine. If you sign up before October 15th it is only $1550.
Also, check out my class schedule as it has changed slightly. Mondays I am teaching Flight School at 2:30 instead of the 12:15, at Kula, and Thursdays at Pure West are at 4 instead of 4:15 now. I have a bunch of workshops coming up. San Diego, I’m coming to get you, coming to Hale Holistic on Saturday Sept. 27 from 1:30 to 3:30. Hope to see you or your friends there. It’s back to school time, let’s continue our studies together.