November 10, 2008

Five Feathers

Red. Yellow. Purple. Green. Orange.

At the end of each teacher training weekend, we returned to our blanketd to find a feather. We'd place them in our hair, and dance like lunatics, led by our teacher. It was a celebration, a catharsis, a sharing, a lifting up. So at the end of our five long weekends, we had five feathers. I kept these feathers, a keepsake of my training, a trophy of my surviving long, hard weekends. I wrapped them in a hairband (another keepsake) and stashed them in my room.

Tonight, I found the feathers spread out on the bed, chewed and ragged. Elo the beagle / aussie cattle dog had been bored, got a hold of them, and chewed them. The feathers are still intact, just a bit worse for wear.

Initially, I was a little sad, a little angry. Those feathers are special. But I must be picking up a little bit of yogish Vairagya or non-attachment. For I quickly remembered that they were just feathers. I gathered them up, retied them with the band, and placed them in a bit safer spot.

Maybe it's because, six months down the road, I have more than feathers. I've become a yoga teacher. I have students who seek out my classes, who come up to me after class and tell me how it worked for them. The feathers were a symbol of my training, and if I had stopped there, well, the feathers would be all I had for my effort and a precious few weekends. But my training was just the foundation of the building that I am even now constructing with my teaching and my own practice.

How often do we find something precious and special, take a snapshot of that moment, and hold on to that memory for dear life. If I were still holding on to those feathers, perhaps I would be missing all the moments that have come afterwards, and the moments still to come.

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