In a single weekend, I walked through a dance party in the streets and watched an entire brigade of buck naked people on bicycles pedal past. Both took place in Cambridge—naturally.
I have a couple photos of the dance party but none of the naked bikers a few hours later. They don’t strike me as a very private bunch, but I figure it’s still for the best.
I was en route to a favorite yoga class taught by Mimi Loureiro at O2 in Harvard Square when I happened upon the dance party preparations. I stopped to ask a police officer if I would be able to get back down the street once the party was underway. As in, was it just blocked to vehicle traffic or bikes too? We could walk our bikes. Noted… and I pedaled off.
Soon, I arrived at yoga a little brighter. That’s not yoga speak. I was actually covered in neon pant. The bottoms of my sneakers, at least, now had a street art vibe.
Some chicks wear Christian Louboutins with their signature red lacquered soles, and some wear Vans and accidentally step in wet dance party paint. I’m fine with being the latter. My pedals are now hot pink.
I often ride down the same street to my meditation center, which I refer to as Buddha School, and the paint tracks remind me of the impressions our thoughts leave on our minds, especially if we think them over and over… and over again. Habitual thinking or patterns are called samskaras, and one goal of yoga is to help us become free of them—in short, to operate less on autopilot and with more awareness. I could have stepped in a lot worse: wet cement, hot tar, dog poop. Instead, I treaded too soon down a neon street, and the impression left behind is one with which I’m OK. It feels a little whimsical, a little edgy. It reminds me of how the streets swelled with people and music a few hours later. How awesome Salt-n-Peppa will always sound to a certain generation (i.e. mine). The temperature finally dropped after a sweltering day, and even though I didn’t stop to dance, I was grateful to take it in, even for a moment.
We’ve all heard Aristotle’s adage that we are what we repeatedly do, but more accurately, we are what we repeatedly think. Every dance party and naked bike brigade began first as a thought, every beautiful designer shoe and well-crafted yoga class, too. The real gift of yoga and meditation is that you become more aware of which thoughts repeatedly track through your mind and how deep an imprint they leave. I don’t know about you, but I’m aiming for less wet cement and more neon paint.