The Full Moon, Mary Oliver, and Gillette
No matter what is happening out in the world, there is light-heartedness, laughter, and a community that raises the healing vibration together during the Full Moon and New Moon Gong at the Yoga at the Ashram. A year ago, I took Aubrey to her first Full Moon Gong experience and she now asks to go whenever we can. The evening begins with a Kundalini Yoga practice, followed by the Gong relaxation meditation, then concludes a gentle integration facilitated by meditation and chanting, and ultimately an important ritual of treats (but more on that later).
We nestle into our space and set up our blankets and cushions just so. When we begin, Aubrey follows along with some portion of the yoga practice, generously taking breaks without self-judgment in a way worthy of study by any yoga student. The moment we transition to the extended Gong relaxation, she curls up next to me, takes hold of my hand, and is, without fail, instantly o-u-t, dropping into the deepest of states of contentment. Following the Gong experience, the group rises for meditation and chanting. Aubrey stays in that deep place of rest until well after the closing chant of Longtime Sun.
We move into the kitchen for Yogi Tea & Treats. This is possibly 80% of the reason Aubrey asks to go with me time and again. The counter is filled end-to-end with fresh fruit, pastries, and other goodies, many donated by Blue Moon Bagel cafe. The tea and treats help us get grounded again before driving home. We connect too with familiar and new faces. “Tea, Treats, and Joy” or “Tea, Treats, and Love” is how we often refer to the post-Gong gathering in the kitchen.
Regardless of the backdrop, when people come together to practice, open their hearts, and set intention together, the energy feels expansive, the possibilities limitless. This has been my experience each year as part of Sarah Gardner’s Yoga Reaches Out annual New England fundraising event for Boston Children’s Hospital. One thousand pairs of arms reaching out, one thousand hearts lifting up. All coming together with purpose. To offer the gift of strength, peace, and coping skills to a family who is dealing with the unimaginable roller coaster of having a sick child. While like most I do not find joy in fundraising, I do not mind asking you to consider what you might give this year to help these families who find themselves unexpectedly, often for weeks or months on end, at Children’s. Read more at these links, and maybe too you’ll decide to join me and 999 others for an unforgettable day together.
During last night’s Full Moon Gong, I stole some glances at my young yogini. I realized she was also studying me. She was watching me to learn the moves of the practice, or to confirm if this was the part where we retire to our backs at last. Two reminders in these moments came into focus for me:
The sweetness and unpredictability of life, not to be taken for granted, but rather, held reverently with gratitude. The often quoted line from the late Mary Oliver springs to mind, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
How the little ones watch us, look to us for cues on how to live, how to be. Even when we, the big ones, aren’t necessarily paying attention. Maybe especially then. (This topic was big in the brand, advertising, and social media world this week, with the Best a Man Can Be Gillette Ad firing people up for heated debate.)
What is it we plan to do with this one life, and how is it we plan to be throughout this one life. These are important questions, not just because our own one wild and precious life experience is defined by how we answer them, but so is the generation that follows. You probably don’t NEED to go to a Full Moon Gong to be reminded of these simple insights, but then you’d be missing out on some delicious tea and treats.