Maceo Parker played on the waterfront last night as part of the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington. If you don’t think you know Maceo, you might be mistaken. He is an awesome saxophonist who worked with James Brown in the 60s and Parliament-Funkadelic in the 70s, so you probably have heard him play.
In concert, he does this great thing of making anything he says a musical phrase. Introducing the drummer for example, turns into a funky danceable rhythmic riff “give the drummer some, give the drummer some…”
He kept doing this wonderful sort of ostinato with “We love you.” Moving the emphasis from one word to another. He’d make these marvelous expansive heart-shaped gestures: arms spreading wide to simultaneously take in the entire audience and conduct (the entrances in this band rival anything James Brown ever mustered). He conveys the feeling that he really does love us. His whole band really loves us. Their facial and musical expressions and their body language make that pretty clear.
The whole thing made me think of Bhakti Yoga (Sutra #76 of course – Teachings on Bhakti should be reflected on; practices that awaken it should be undertaken.). Maceo awakened the love for sure. Imagine the impact of telling thousands of people over and over again at every concert “We love you.” I’m pretty sure the cumulative impact of this practice over time is right up there with that of our great spiritual leaders. I imagine His Holiness the Dalai Lama would dig Maceo – and the other way round, too.
I like to swim. I took a lap swimming class when I was in college, and have been doing my best to keep it up every since…so that means I’ve been swimming for a super-long time.
I do my best to swim a few times a week. I’ve figured out my routine when I can get in the pool, swim my 20-30 minutes, and get out. I still enjoy swimming, but after swimming for so many years I basically just do it for the exercise. It’s become pretty routine, as I can tell it has for most of the people who are at the pool…except for one tattooed swimming machine who I was sharing the pool with the other day.
I was swimming along doing my thing, and then I see this guy dive in the pool. That in itself is pretty odd for the lap swimming pool, since most people climb in, get themselves all ready, start their timers or look at the clock, and then start swimming. This guy just jumped in. Besides that, he didn’t surface. I ended up looking under the water to see what happened to him, and he was swimming around like an otter. He was doing a flutter kick, and a variety of arm techniques, and working his way across the pool under water…he was a beautiful sight.
I ended up watching him (without being too creepy about it) the rest of the time he was in the pool. He was just having such a great time…swimming on his back, doing free stroke sometimes, swimming under water…we WAS swimming laps, but swimming them with enthusiasm and happiness. After he left I was all inspired so I tried it! I swim a lap or two corkscrewing through the water; I swam under the water..I laughed. I was reminded that being in water makes me really happy, and I had forgotten that a little bit.
After I got out the pool (after one of my longest pool sessions) I saw my happy swimming mentor in the locker room. I told him, “It’s so great how much you like water.” He got a huge smile on his face and said, “I love it!”
I think it’s very easy to loose the excitement we have for the things that make us happy, including yoga. I invite you in your yoga practice to remember the reason you originally got into practicing. Most likely it’s because it made you happy! Next time you practice, do your best to let go of worrying to much about technical aspects of the practice, but instead connect to what yoga is really about…connecting to your own amazing light and happiness.
Here’s a NEW(!!!) free yoga video related to this story, along with an hour practice. Enjoy!
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May 22, 2014: Be Happy
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