What is Wanderlust Anyway?
By Shanie Matthews
“What is Wanderlust anyway?”
The question was posed last night at work, and though my immediate thought was that Wanderlust is an awesome chance to see the best yoga instructors in the world, the answer that I heard was from a single male, “I’m not positive, but I sure appreciate all of the beautiful women in yoga pants.”
All chuckled, but it got me thinking: what is Wanderlust exactly?
With my second attendance getting underway today at Wanderlust Squaw Valley, the experience created a graceful answer through action.
I chose Seane Corn and her sparkling beauty to start this 2012 yoga festival experience. As a fellow Off The Mat participant (if you aren’t sure what OTM is, check it out. Seane and a large community of yoga lovers are promoting positivity throughout the world with her nonprofit for conscience empowerment of the disadvantaged), hearing her eloquent way of speaking about life challenges was something that I was looking forward. From my experience last year I knew that she had a special ability to get a room of 200 amped up on love or releasing old hurts – depending on what the energy was. She inspires me to no end. And with this class it was no different.
SEANE CORN ~ Photo by Shanie Matthews
Focusing on connecting with spirit, she spoke of “God” as being that which we contain inside. She reminded us that intuition is not a gift; instead it is a fundamental aspect of us all. It is in how much we train that voice that it gains strength and power. She brought home the vital truth that it is the breath of yoga that connects us with this all powerful gift of love that resides in each and every one of us. It is through the breath that we connect with the bliss that we are.
These reminders brought me home and opened me up to my next class which was a SpeakEasy lecture with Shiva Rea discussing the innate ability we all have to connect with rhythm through our heart. We are born with this ability. It is the essence of who we are.
Understanding that we are all rhythm at our core, helps us to connect with the healing capabilities of music. Shiva explained that this rhythmic beat of the heart is one that creates connection, one that interlinks us all throughout nature. She gave as an example: the Thai Elephant Orchestra, an orchestra made of elephants. They create incredibly majestic music completely off their own will and rhythm. The results are amazing and left me believing in the power of the rhythm of the heart.
SHIVA REA @ Speakeasy ~ Photo by Karina Mackenzie
Leaving the Speakeasy room, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the community of yoga. Wanderlust was providing a stage of support that I am love and that I am interlinked with all. We all are.
With that sense of truth vibrating inside, I decided to finish my day with a guided meditation class with Zen priest, Robert Thomas. Upon stepping into the illuminous Gaiam Dome, a peaceful vibe of love took me over and I felt immediately at ease. At the head of the room sat Robert robed in an earthy orange and brown Buddhist frock. His presence oozed that of a person enlightened. Sitting erect but relaxed, he was the true embodiment of the positives of meditation: calm, serene, at peace. This was a practice that I wanted to deepen.
Beginning the class with mythic Zen tale of questioning that which we see in front of us, the story led us to question are we really seeing all that is in front of us, and if not (and, really, it isn’t possible to see all that lies before us), then how do we open up to seeing the depth of life and all that lies beyond the surface. The answer to that resides within the silence of meditation explained Robert. He gave us the analogy of an ocean. If we are in a boat in the middle of this vast body of water, it looks to be round as we look around us. But we know that the ocean is far different than just a flat, round body of water with nothing else going on. In reality, the flat ocean that appears as a circle is just a mirage, and the truth of the matter is, is that there are incredible amounts of life going on beyond that which we see.
And so it is with living life.
ROBERT THOMAS ~ Photo by Shanie Matthews
We may only see a certain view point, but know that this is just a small part of the big picture. By using meditation to quiet our mind and really listen, it gives us the opportunity to see into this world. This ability to truly listen to that which is around us – all of it – opens up new worlds to us…and this happens all because of the silence that meditation creates.
This was a profound statement, and drew me back to the comment from my co-worker. What is Wanderlust, anyway? Well, if she was to ask the question again I would have to say that it is our chance to connect with the truth. It isn’t about being a yogi. It isn’t about the yoga pants. It isn’t about the beautiful people.
What it is about is connection; connection to our spirit, to our true life rhythm and to the beauty of silence. And connection to a community that supports us in creating our best self.
Photo by Ryan Salm