Yesterday I went to New Haven with my Mom, who is visiting from the West Coast. I like to take guests to New Haven because I find it to be invigorating. Particularly because of Yale.
Seeing Yale for the first time had me star struck. On the occasion of that first sighting, my friend was taking me to Naples Pizza, a place he loved that happened to be in New Haven. As we were driving through downtown he casually pointed out the window and said: that’s Yale. Yale?!? THE Yale? The famous university, pinnacle of education? Why are we talking about pizza when Yale is right here?!? I was blown away by the beauty, the architecture and the sense of SOMETHING is the air.
I still feel that way. There is an energy around a University that you don’t find anywhere else. Ideas are everywhere. Students stroll by you conversing about liberalism, music theory, alga rhythms and the meaning of life. Starbucks is full of people reading books, yes, books, in addition to being on their laptops and smartphones. People are thinking, studying, philosophizing and engaging.
Add to that the fact that there is youth all around. The students are at a phase of life where possibility is paramount. Walking among them you catch the buzz. You start to crave staying up late, talking endlessly. At least I do.
I did not go to University but I did have the college experience. I moved to NYC from California to go to a Musical Theatre School. Our version of staying up late talking about philosophy was staying up late performing for each other or acting out scenes together. Interspersed with the theatrics was the soul connections reserved for young people away from home for the first time. It was exciting and scary and we really needed and valued the friends that we made.
It is easy to get caught up in adulthood, the tasks and schedules and routines. The eagerness to interact with friends about big ideas fades into the background and we talk instead about what is going on day to day. This is not a bad phase at all, but our sense of wonder and possibilty can get lost in all that activity and immediacy.
I work with clients one-on-one and sometimes a yoga session can turn into something reminiscent of the college years. We begin to discuss literature, the state of the World, music that we love or the meaning of family, love, life. We spend a treasured hour transcending our daily doings and expanding our perspectives.
I believe this to be perfectly in keeping with yoga because being present for the rich tapestry of life is really the essence of the work. We learn to take a pause, a breath to feel the moment and recognize the fullness of life. Then as we walk forward into our day, our work, our responsibility we have a new eye on possibility and also a renewed appreciation for what is happening right now.
It is comforting to know that Yale is just a few highway exits away. On a day where I feel burdened by the mundane I can hop in my car and be in a coffee shop full of students in a matter of minutes. I can enjoy the energy of intellectualism and idealism all around me and at the same time be reminded that it is always within me. We can live our earthly lives and still make room for wonderment. Don’t you think? Let’s discuss it endlessly!