Tag Archives: Easter

Spring’s colorful conspiracy.

The joys of renewal.

“A saint is an earth in eternal spring. Hafiz is a poet whose song I sing. Inside the veins of a petal on a redbud tree are hidden worlds where he may be.”- Hafiz (Rendered by Daniel Ladinsky and The Levins)

Here in NY, winter clings as if it begrudges spring its inevitability. Still, the daffodils have started to blossom in wild packs in our yard. They survived a serious snow storm that buried them after they had started to emerge from the ground. When it was time to shovel the walkway the next day, my wife Julia suggested we make a stop-action short that made it look like the snow was shoveling itself. There is always something to enjoy in winter. It doesn’t stop us from heading out to make music any more than it stops the deer and the groundhog (who lives under our deck) from traipsing all over our yard.  They leave trails that look like elaborate dances in the snow. Still, there is a freedom of movement that we rejoice in as the days get longer. We are excited to shed excess layers, putting away the heavy coats and big boots that crowd our entrance ways and closets.

Next week, we will travel down to Florida to join my family around an elongated table. There will be three generations of us celebrating Passover. There will be singing, joking, and philosophical wrestling during our elaborate symbol filled feast. Even though we gather to remember our emancipation from slavery, one of the dictates of this holiday is to be joyful. A mandate of joy seems like an oxymoron but sometimes we could all use a nudge.

I remember celebrating Easter as a kid with friends of my family. I stayed at their house, we colored eggs, they hid them and I went around their apartment looking for them. Cecil B. Demille’s Ten Commandments was on TV that night. The movie played in the background providing an epic backdrop. Even as delighted as I was with the egg hunt, I was aware that the thrill I felt was the connection I had laughing with my hosts. There was something divine about these bright colors staining our fingers, the prospect of discovery and getting to abandon ourselves to play.

Today, I read about the Hindu holiday of Holi, or “festival of colors.” Thousands of people gather in the streets, showering each other with bags of colorful powder called gulal.  The god Krishna was said to have played pranks on children during spring. In honor of this, everyone is invited to be children and a representative of the love-filled deity simultaneously. Again, joy is worked into the ritual. It is a prankster’s holiday where relationships are mended and friendships rejoiced in. Looking at pictures of vast crowds covered in clouds of color, it struck me what a wonderful way to remind ourselves not to let castes or pigmentation divide us.

All over the world, in its own time, spring comes in to warm us up with the promise of renewed life. That is a colorful prospect. Abandoning care long enough to let life in is a liberation. However we choose to celebrate this month, may we feel renewed, connected, colorful and bright.

Loving more than the myth

“See all things, not in process of becoming, but in Being, and see themselves in the other. Each being contains in itself the whole intelligible world. Therefore, All is everywhere. Each is there All, and All is each. Man as he now is has ceased to be the All. But when he ceases to be an individual, he raises himself again and penetrates the whole world.” – Plotinus (Greek Philosopher)
Hassidic dancing with the Easter Bunny
Yesterday Julia and I honored the idea of resurrection with a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and two Power Puff Girls cartoons. After that, we finished reading an article  by Ken Wilber on Integral Spirituality.
The article, based on his book Integral Spirituality reminds us that religion and spirituality have the capacity of guiding us to both grow and wake up. Even though a large portion of the world has become stuck in a place of needing their group (religion, nation, race etc.) to be the sole bearers of Truth, there is an increasing awareness that we are all here together on the planet and share more than we are aware of.   The need to believe that each holy book is historically accurate and that the stories within them are to be taken as absolute and literal, has caused us to attack one another instead of recognizing our capacity to be and share profound peace.
After spending a lovely day with friends we read about a terrorist attack on a Christian gathering.  The sting of it, reinforced the sadness of choosing to remain stuck in a level of needing to take our myths or understanding so literally that we are not able to see one another in ourselves.
As the teacher Mooji points out, my concept of ‘me’ is a myth as well. 
At the end of the article we read that morning, Ken Wilber concludes that, “evolution and love go hand in hand…The more we love, the more we flourish. The more morally sensitive we are…”
Wherever you are today, may you be gently carried by love so you can see how beautiful you and those around you really are.


Krishna Das chants in the Spring

The song that reaches us from beyond all that we know is the answer to the yearning we have sent out as a signal.


Between the posts of Passover and Easter, the themes of emancipation and renewal welcome in the Spring with a pagan delight. I found it interesting that this holiday weekend was bookended by attending a kirtan and watching a documentary – both with Krishna Das. Well, sort of- we got to meet him Thursday night, which inspired us to see the documentary about his life on Sunday.

The kirtan Thursday night was the first time we had seen Krishna Das.  He leads the kirtan while paying harmonium, joined by a tabla, bass, guitarist, percussionist, and singing chime player.   It was a benefit for the Tibetan House of Hope that currently houses, feeds, clothes, educates and loves 140 children who would otherwise be homeless. The children aren’t put up for adoption but live and are raised in a Tibetan community where they dance and thrive together.

“I don’t know why they wanted a Jewish Hindu to sing Buddhist chants, he laughed, “People think I’m Hindu because I sing these songs.” “I’m not Hindu, I’m from Long Island.  I think being a good human being on this planet is what is needed now. That’s what I’m going for.”

Kirtan is wonderfully inclusive. He sang two lines and then the audience repeated back. The audience becomes part of the prayer, even if they don’t know it. The ensemble hypnotically settles you into a meditative state and then press into the tempo, raising it up until your atoms are dancing, whether you have gotten out of your chair or not. High vibration!

There are people who follow him around, like the Grateful Dead but without the drugs and as many strung-out and lost feelings.

I encourage you to see the documentary One Track Heart about his life.  It points up the difficulty of finding and staying on our path. He was solidly on his path, but allowed self-blame, doubt and his ego to mislead him. When he made his way back, I felt like I had made the journey with him. The feeling that prevailed opened me up to viewing my own path with renewed perspective.

Wherever you are, may Spring find you fully.