[Warning: Moderate amount of cheese below.]
I spent much of my childhood desperately wishing that magic was real. It was a serious yearning — I went to bed hoping I would wake up with telekinesis, or the ability to draw and control energy, do superhuman things with my mind.
I grew out of it. (That must be the saddest part of growing up.)
But there have been moments in my life when I’ve thought to myself: this is the closest I’ve ever come to magic. And I remember all of those times so vividly.
One of the earliest, a decade ago:
Having the privilege of singing in an incredible choir and standing with voice parts mixed. Crying on that stage because it was our last performance and the music was all the more beautiful for it. Grounding myself in the rich, shiver-inducing notes of the bass to my left and settling into the perfect click of harmony with the alto to my right.
Coming to the end of my ashtanga practice and resting flat on my back, hands cupped to the ground. As I lay there that morning I thought about why my palms were facing down — my teacher had explained that my practice produced all this great energy and if I let my hands flop open, I was giving it all away. He told me to turn my hands palm-down, keep the energy for myself.
I was recalling that conversation because I had noticed an intense heat emanating from my palms. It reflected off my mat and back into my hand. It felt healing. It felt powerful. I stayed there an extra couple of minutes and thought: this is magic. My sharply focused practice produced this. I was holding energy in my bare hands.
My yoga studio had a party to celebrate its third anniversary. The party began with a kirtan — a call-and-response session of chanting / singing, accompanied by harmonium and guitar. They passed out egg shakers to everyone. My teacher led most of the songs. It reminded me a little of how it felt to be in a choir, but a hundred times more special. It was unrehearsed. It wasn’t a performance, but a simultaneous receiving and giving. We were free to hum and sing and shake our shakers however we wanted. Bodies swayed and feet tapped. Some of us harmonized. Sounding good wasn’t the point, but we had all opened our hearts and we sounded amazing. We sang song after song to the Hindu deities; the foreign words were both strange and perfect in our mouths. Everyone grinned at each other. How could we not? We were making magic.
So grateful for this life and the wonderful people and energy that fill it.
Om shanti shanti shanti.