Paula Eastwood. Santa Fe,NM.USA
Months ago, I made my travel plans to our summer cabin in Maine so I could be home for Shubhraji’s full teaching schedule for Santa Fe, 2012. A few days before I left on my trip, Shubhraji mentioned in an email that she would be arriving at the Albuquerque airport on August 20 at 8:30 pm. She had never before mentioned details of her travel plans in an email, and I don’t know why she did then, but after a few more emails, we determined we were on the same flight going west from Washington Dulles, same day.
Shubhraji asked me to see if I could get a seat next to her, which was a premium coach seat with extra legroom. As I rolled over that seat online, a pop-up appeared that said it will cost another $49. My small-self ego said, “Oh, no, I’ve spent so much money on this trip already,,,” But the Self immediately stepped in and said, “The Guru just invited you to sit next to her for 4 hours on a flight! Pay the $49 and get over it!” I’m so glad I did, and that it only took a few seconds to observe my small habitual thinking.
I wanted to make a flower garland to greet Shubhraji at the layover gate. I found some small carnations in a Maine supermarket which is 18 miles from our house, and brought them home to bloom before I strung them on thread. The garland went into a Ziplock bag, into my baggy purse, through Portland, Maine security, was smashed under the seat in front of me on a small jet, and still looked decent with a little fluffing up. I found Shubhraji standing at a phone-charging kiosk near our gate and what fun it was to connect in a drab and busy airport. I presented her with the slightly smashed garland, which matched her kurta, and someone offered to take our photo together. Shubhraji put it on Facebook immediately.
That was before we heard that our flight would be two hours late. I felt lucky because my eastbound flight two weeks earlier at the same airport was 8 hours late. The waiting time went by quickly in Shubhraji’s company.
Once airborne, we caught up since our India trip, and planned a few extra features for the Santa Fe teachings, that is, some bhajan singing. We sang the Gayatri mantra as the sun went down over the clouds and we sang two bhajans I learned recently. We rehearsed how we would present them at the evening talks with Courtney on tabla. I felt like a little kid in the back seat of the family car on a long road trip, singing together in Sanskrit, while the man sitting in the window seat totally ignored us.
On arrival in Albuquerque, Raman and Ariana were there to meet us with a single peach colored rose for each. It was very late by that time and morning talks were to start in a few hours at 7:00 am. Shubhraji, Raman and Ariana went to Santa Fe and I went to get my car in Albuquerque, and we all arrived at the Vedic Chant Center the next morning for the beginning of a wonderful series of talks, workshops and satsang. Later that week when I brought lunch to the guest house where Shubhraji stays, I saw the carnation garland, all shriveled up on the table with other fresh flowers. I felt honored that she had kept the dry husks strung together until the visit was over for this year.
-(10 September, 2012)
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