– Molly Adelman
Our day began with a beautiful scenic drive from Denver to Boulder. Billy started off our day with telling us that today was mainly focused on the “mind, body, and soul”, which proved to be true through our experiences with Anne Waldman and yoga/meditation.
Our first stop was to visit Anne Waldman, a famous Beatnik writer. Having her share her experiences with the Beatnik movement and writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac made me reflect on my personal relationships. When describing the relationship between her and fellow Beatnik authors she didn’t use phrases like “pal” or “friend”. Rather, to describe her relationships, she used words like “interconnected” and “adhesive”. This spoke to me because this intentional use of language proved her relationship with these people was more than friendship, it was an unbreakable bond between souls that was evident when she spoke about them. She then read us an excerpt from Manatee Humanity, a newer work of hers. Her reading was less of a reading and more of a performance. Her passion and dedication to this subject was something special. We can only hope one day to be as devoted to anything as she is about preserving what humanity we have left.
We continued our journey with a relaxing few hours of meditation and yoga. Amy, our instructor, taught us a lot about what it truly means to meditate (contrary to popular belief, it is not clearing the mind of all thoughts). Meditation is actually acknowledging thoughts and pushing them aside. The goal of meditation is for the “blank space” in between fleeting thoughts to progressively get longer, therefore providing pockets of non-thinking time to allow us to relax. We began with meditating for one minute, a practice round, to get us used to the idea of pushing aside our thoughts. After truly understanding the concept of meditation, we took five minutes to meditate again. This time, the meditation was much more effective.
Having a full five minutes to reflect and push aside bothersome issues to just relax and focus on breathing was refreshing and emotional. After meditating, I felt incredibly connected with everything around me and felt more relaxed and calm than I have in a very long time. Then, we participated in an hour-long yoga session.
We learned how to do sun salutation, a basic yoga sequence that we used throughout the session. While at the end we were all sore, the catharsis achieved through yoga was something I was not expecting. After a series of odd stretches and uncomfortable positions, I was surprised to feel a sense of relaxation. Having not done yoga before, this is an area I am definitely interested in pursuing further and I am grateful to have been exposed to something I would not have done on my own.
After this we had time to explore Pearl Street in downtown Boulder. We then went to dinner and then the movies before our overnight ride to Salt Lake City.