After our kirtan last night, silent lightning flashed for hours after a heavy downpour. This morning is fresh and clear though. Choirs of birds sing from the hedgerow chapels – sometimes bursting out and swooping through the air. The fields are full with wild roses, sweetpeas, and ox eye daisies. Low fruit trees and tangles of grapevines create green tunnels that eventually open out to the ocean. Welcome to Block Island!
Yesterday marked our eleventh kirtan on this tour. In the past few days we’ve been to Harrisburg, PA; a few places in New Jersey; Staten Island and Rhode Island (none of which are actually islands). It’s really been a wonderful experience so far. We’ve been blessed with groups of eager chanters wherever we go, even though many have been very new to the kirtan experience. One girl in Harrisburg came to me at the end, moved to tears as she told how she read the Ramayana in a college literature class and had fallen in love with Rama many years ago. Singing his name for the first time suddenly brought back a flood of recognition as she realized his presence to be non different from the sound of his name. She had never chanted before, but showed me a tattoo of the word ‘Rama’ in Sanskrit on her body.
Block Island is a unique stop on our tour – hosted by the lovely Sue Littlefield, a bee farmer and yoga teacher here. Last night we did kirtan with almost 60 people in the local Catholic church that overlooks the sea.
It was an atmospheric setting. We introduced the idea of chanting to the mostly unfamiliar group, and were blown away when they sang back with gusto! I have been continually astonished at how willing people are to try new things – especially singing strange words at full volume! The other night in Rhode Island, two couples were blown away by the experience – describing it as ‘euphoric’ and speaking of the depth of feeling that they had been able to access. Those kind of comments are repeated everywhere we go. It’s humbling to be able to help facilitate that in any way.
Today we have one very welcome day of rest. Driving up to five hours every day and a high energy evening takes its toll after almost two weeks. Everyone on the tour works very hard – Benjy setting up and running sound whilst playing an incredible amount of instruments; John drumming like a madman and lugging equipment up and down and all around town; Purusartha and his wife, Tulasi setting an example for ‘love in action’ and Bonnie doing everything she can to be of service – whether singing or folding T-shirts.
If you can join us in at any of our events on the coming evenings, please do. Your presence is a gift that we are always eager to receive.
July 20 7pm Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing, Newburyport MA
July 21 7:30pm Birthday Bhakti Bash, Montpelier, VT
July 22 10:00am Seva Concert at Vermont State Psychiatric Hospital Waterbury VT email@example.com
July 22 7pm Awaken, Portland ME
July 23 7:30 pm Kripalu, Lennox MA
July 24 Yoga Three, Boston MA
Yoga Class with Live Music