Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kirtan with Benjy and Heather Wertheimer

I am a kirtan addict. I stumbled into it. After I separated from my husband, I went to Breigtenbush with a friend during a kirtan weekend. We attended the free kirtan and I was hooked. Singing is the most ancient aspect of my personality, the only innate talent I have, and one of my greatest pleasures. Kirtan--sacred Hindu chanting--combines singing, Hindi (oh, so close to my dear Nepalese), and spirituality. When I returned to Portland I immediately trolled the net for more. The problem was that the first kirtan I found fell on a Wednesday night. Now those who know me understand immediately the dilemma. I think of Wednesday night the way an evangelical looks at Sunday morning. Wednesdays are my don't ever pen me in for anything days, my schedule my vacations to wrap around this day. I don't like to miss Leora, my writing group. But, it was early enough into my joining Leora that I could make a deal with myself: I decided to attend the kirtan and then go late to my writing group. So in late winter of '07, I went to David Newman, my first kirtan. It blew me away. I had not felt so satiated since a good night of sex. I went to Gita Sala, Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, and others. Each time I came away at peace, centered, and a little more whole.

Tonight I took my mom to a kirtan with Benjy and Heather Wertheimer. They are the best musical group I've seen perform kirtan so I thought it would be a good introduction. I got a little nervous after the great "om" at the beginning about whether it would all be too overwhelming for my mom, but then I lost myself in the night and trusted that she would find something to hook into. My mom's acceptance of things new always surprises me. She comes from a very small town and from a family fearful of change, but she can just dive in when she feels safe. She loved the night and is considering going to another with me. She even started singing along at the end. And, she was very excited to tell me that the beginning "om" was so powerful it shook the floor. I guess you never stop learning new things about those you love. Jai, jai, jai kirtan.

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