Monday, October 20, 2008

Whirlwind of Beliefs

It’s Monday morning and I have a headache.

My weekend was even more full and complex than normal. Friday evening, I played Bunco in Rialto. The team is a part of the small-group ministry of the large Evangelical Christian church that all the women but I attend. The dice clatter, we tally points, and I worry about the state of my soul as perceived by my fellow players.

Saturday night found me touring Whaley House in Old Town San Diego. First, we piled into the wooden courtroom to hear stories of resident supernatural happenings. My daughters love that it’s supposed to be haunted and always beg to go there. They are completely unafraid of ghosts and the supernatural.

My friend and her son accompanied us. He’s seen a fair amount of movies that I consider totally inappropriate for even me to see. Consequently, he became so scared that he planted his feet and refused to go upstairs with us.

Even the story about the dog ghost freaked him out. I mean, come on, it’s the ghost of a little black terrier that wants to lick kids’ legs. That’s just sweet.

The docent told us that some visitors feel the presence of a ghost who was hung on the spot as a pressing on their throat and chest. Honestly, I felt that quite strongly as I came down stairs and for about 10 minutes after leaving the house. But I’m going to chalk that up to suggestibility and heightened physical sensitivity from my yoga practice. I mean, if you tell me to feel my back, I feel my back. If you tell me to be aware of my throat, I perceive my throat. I probably just engaged some muscle tension, even julandharabandha, unconsciously.


Yesterday, I visited Indian cultures. I spent all day sitting on my mat on the floor of a dim shala listening to my charismatic teacher explain yoga philosophy. Sanskrit, pre-Hindu beliefs, and chanting challenge Western mindsets.

At lunch, I captivated a man walking his dog in the park when he realized that I was reading Tarot cards on the grass below the breezy trees. If I’d had more time, I would have offered him a reading as he was clearly fascinated. Not that I really know how to read cards. As I told him, I’m just playing. I just wanted a break from the yoga.

Last night, I covered myself with a scarf and went to dinner at my good friend’s house. She’s Muslim, from Bangladesh, and there are complex social interaction codes from both cultures. I get exempted from most of them because of my American status. Still, I can tell her friends are uncomfortable because I’m the only white one, the only one who doesn’t speak Bangla, the only Christian. That T and I have formed such a close friendship is unusual in their tight social group.

My jeans stood out among their gorgeous jeweled saris. Next weekend, we’re attending their Eid Festival. Again, our family will be the only white folks there. I could borrow a sari from T. But it won’t change who I am.

Which is?


Anonymous said...

Neat. What a neat world you live in, what neat experiences, what neat (amazing) people you come in contact with, what opportunities. Just neat, neat, neat. I wish you and I could hang some time.

Andrew Scott Turner said...

Roll with the Evangelicals...
Gander at ghosts...
Imbibe on India...
Savor the sari...

Then find a place and write about them all as if they were your own

Begin - writing, yoga, and more said...

Hi Elle -
Oh, thanks so much. I really appreciate that.

I have no doubt that some time we can hang - for now, there's computers.


Begin - writing, yoga, and more said...

Hi Andrew -

Thanks for the excellent advice. I'll think about how to turn all this into writing.