Sunday, April 19, 2009


The party was fun and I did eat cupcakes - three of them - but I flirted with stomach cramps during most of the evening. Anything alcoholic was simply out of the question. I've discovered a new-found passion for sparkling water. I used to hate it, now I crave it. The last time I recovered from a GI trauma, I had a passion for bagels, so I'm not complaining! At least water is more compatible with CR (which I'm once again ignoring - I'm all 'restriction' and no 'nutrition').

As the party was winding down, our friends said they were going to a church service. They're Greek and it was Holy Saturday in the Greek Orthodox tradition, a traditional candlelight mass. On a whim, I decided to tag along. The church was crowded when we arrived and at first I felt a bit like an imposter. I was handed a candle pushed through a paper cup and I held it hesitantly. At the front, priests and altar boys dressed in elaborate silk robes were singing and carrying ceremonial objects. I felt like I had landed on another planet.

Then the lights went out. The church was blanketed in darkness and the first flame appeared like a tiny spark. Then another and another as the fire spread from candle to candle. Soon, the church was lit in a warm glow. The women next to me lit my candle and when I turned around to offer my flame, a young woman and then an old man reached out to receive it. In that moment, I was so moved that I had tears in my eyes.

As the priest sang out, the crowd moved their candles roughly in unison in the sign of the cross. It was like a graceful and beautiful dance of fire.

The end of the service had a celebratory mood. The priest sang out: “Christos anesti” (Christ has risen) and the crowd responded “Alithos anesti” (Truly he has risen).

Then, almost as soon as it had started, it was over. The lights came on on everyone pushed their paper cups up the candlestick to shield the flame from the wind outside. Families carried their candles back to their homes to light oil lamps with the sacred flame. I carefully my candle and handed it off before racing for a streetcar. As I waited to board, my friends shouted out the window “Christos anesti!” I shouted back: “Alithos anesti!”

Today was definitely one of those days when my yoga practice was pushed until the very last minute. After a long day working on the contract, I took a long, hot bath, then toddled to my mat for a restorative practice. The highlight was a long, long interval spent hanging over a bolster in a supine backbend, followed by Balasana. I practically fell asleep in the backbend.

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