Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of entertaining some friends at our home for a little party. Entertaining is really not a good word, because I did very little to entertain anyone once they got there – other than bumbling poorly through some introductions (not my strongest area of social grace). Once the cleaning, prep, and cooking were done, it was just a matter of waiting for the guests to arrive, and then – like making a vegetable soup with whatever you have in the crisper – seeing how the combination of familiar and unfamiliar flavors combine into new tastes.
Party guests, for this “birthday” party, were a combination of family members, friends from my workplace, and “yoga friends.” It was an interesting mix. There were many times during the evening when I wished I could listen in on all the conversations at one time, as old topics were renewed with vigor and new information and understandings were shared.
It was also a beautiful yoga experience. I could see the flow from room to room as people moved in and out of poses and places, creating new shapes together, forging new connections and moving more deeply into places that had already been stretched by prior interaction. Even the use of space had interesting dimensions, as some rooms and areas drew a large group of people at one point, and then remained empty at other times. The grouping of people, and the selections made of conversational partners, also reflected the yogic idea of working with the edges of the body/mind. As in a class, some people elected to really work those edges, spending most of their time in discussion with new acquaintances, while others primarily chatted with those they already knew. I had the chance to have conversations with a couple of people who I’ve rarely gotten to speak to for more than a moment, establishing new points of shared experience.
After the party, as after a practice, I felt tired but renewed. Unlike a yoga practice, I won’t likely do this again next week, but it reminded me that a gathering with friends now and then is important and should not be neglected.