The Inner Journey

3 Jul

I am on my own and I am in Berlin.  What an unexpected journey!  It is Sunday night and most of the World Cultural Festival has dwindled away to quiet.  My next door neighbors from Latvia have left to return home and I am at home… at the City 54 Hostel…  The door to the balcony is open and I am feeling the cool breeze and moiste air with the steady stream of cars down below.

My friend from New Orleans and I did not successfully connect today, but even so my heart is warm from the day. So many bright faces, singing and dancing.  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the  Art of Living, spoke briefly today during the main presentation in the Olympic Stadium.  Everyone was so ready to hear him speak as he guided us all in a meditation.  He invited us all to simply be with our breath and have a smile on our face and then feel that smile within our own bodies, our own beings.  And that is… much of what the Art of Living is about… teaching human beings to smile on the outside and to practice and experience our inner smile, our inner lightness.

It rained again today in Berlin.  And again it was cold.  The seemed brutality of it all was a distinct reminder of how life can be a distraction from our own inner lightness… our inner smile.  Sri Sri reminded us of the gift of the rain as the German farmers were much in need of it for their crops.  And he also took note that when it is raining on the outside, we need to turn into our inner sun for our fun and celebration.

I was easily reminded of the history of Germany as our celebration of peace was in the Olympic Stadium built during the Nazi regime.  A Jewish rabi spoke at the festival, celebrating his own life and the miracle that he survived the Nazis and lived to see his grandkids.  He spoke of a shift in power to a softer power… the power of compassion.  He called it the heartbeat of the future.

As I listened to that message I thought of myself and turned that message inward.  How often I am so tight and restrictive with myself, my own little dictator, with some outdated mode or model of power and control.  Telling myself to Get In Line! As I took that power of compassion and turned it within there seems to be a little more room for… space.  To wiggle and grow… and maybe even… I don’t know…let loose a little bit… like the hundreds of people who came running onto the field of the Olympic Stadium… running, dancing, leaping for joy!

And I realized that this year, this journey is my own celebration.  I turned 40 this year and this adventure is a celebration of that!  And a recognition and exploration of my freedom and spirit!  All part of my inner journey… in part shaped by the work of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living!