I thought last week was strange. Until this week hit me square in the face.
I’ve moved many times: to new states, new cities, new towns. It’s been said that moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. In fact, it’s right up there with getting divorced, having a baby or any other major life change. Nonetheless, for years I was a chronic “mover”. I think I actually thrived on the excitement and stress of changing my scenery every year or two. Maybe that’s why this upcoming move feels so very different on every level. I’ve been in Sharon, in this same house, for nine years now. Ironically, the only other time I’ve lived anywhere longer than this was ALSO in Sharon, Ma. — the house I grew up in, where I lived for 11 years.
For the first time in memory, I actually feel truly connected to my community on many levels, especially my fellow yogis at Breathe Joy Yoga and the people in my neighborhood. In fact, I have been going about my business this week humming the tune “People in Your Neighborhood.” Anybody else out there remember this song from Sesame Street circa late 70’s? I don’t dare mention this stuck-in-my-head song to my teenage kids lest they think I’m crazy. But it’s true. Can’t get it out of my head.
This week has been a series of verbal and silent goodbyes (till we meet again) to all the guys behind the deli counter at The Main Course market, my yoga students and teachers, Mark at French Memories (who gave me a cup o joe on the house and I put the cash right back in his tip jar), Rosa and Susan at Citizen’s Bank, my hairdresser Sara at Visions, and even Kaitlyn and staff at physical therapy. Oh, and I can’t forget Bob the Builder. I’ve seen Bob every day for about five weeks during my home remodel project, which won’t be done until well after I am gone. And all week I’ve been humming “People In Your Neighborhood.” You see, I have realized over the past couple of weeks just how much these people mean to me. In some cases, I don’t even know their names. Nonetheless, they help me get through my days and weeks on an ongoing basis. Oftentimes when we think of our connections and community, we consider our family of origin, religious organizations (church, temple etc.) and close friends. This contributes to a grounding feeling, enhancing first chakra energy (see the post “Life in a Snow Globe”). But all these smaller connections with the barber, the banker, the teacher etc. are equally important. How many of us stop and consider how much the people in our neighborhood do for us? I know I never did until now.
And this got me thinking…… I’ve moved so many times and lived in so many places including California, London, Spain, and of course, Massachusetts. But I’ve never been so sad about leaving people in my neighborhood. But this time is different. In every other case, where I have left community to move to another town, I have done what we all do when we arrive in a new place: start putting down roots and getting to know the new “people in our neighborhood.” We find a new doctor, hairdresser, dry cleaner, yoga teacher/studio, gym and so on……It doesn’t happen overnight but eventually we find community again. Yet, I won’t have enough time in any one place to find all these neighborhood folks to help my life tick. That’s because when I leave Sharon — tomorrow morning — I go to L.A. for one week, then New York City for five weeks and then a new city each week for the next month or so. In July, I land back in Boston when Billy Elliot is playing here and I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to that.
The whole feeling of being dropped from place to place without a community web is strange and a bit unnerving. As I got my haircut yesterday, I wondered, who will cut my hair next? If I need any dental work, I’ll have to find a random dentist close by to my hotel. Indeed, living with this type of uncertainty for an extended period of time isn’t sitting so well right now.
I haven’t been able to shake this feeling. Although I am so excited for my son Noah and can’t wait to join him tomorrow, I am feeling a bit lost. Tonight I will go see my older son Ethan perform with his comedy troupe, Improv Soup. I’ll be laughing in the audience with family, friends, and familiar faces. I will feel a sense of community and belonging. I will feel a sense of routine. Tomorrow I will be on a plane to another city, leaving my family and community behind. I will have to draw on the strength of my yoga practice to help me find connectedness — not just to myself but to all those around me, familiar or not so familiar.
For yoga newbies, one definition of this ancient practice is “union.” The Yoga Sutras is a book that is sort of like a non-religious bible or roadmap for how to live a more meaningful life. According to Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati, “Yoga means union of the parts of ourselves, which were never divided in the first place. Yoga literally means to yoke…which means to join. Sutra means thread, and this thread, or multiple threads, weave a tapestry of insight and direct experience.”
I know that staying grounded and rooted will come from within me and I will weave “sutras” or connections to others, creating new experiences wherever I go. Stay tuned as I reflect on nail salons, yoga studios and all sorts of people who cross my path. These are the people in my neighborhoods. The people who you meet each day.