When I was an innocent freshman in college I met a couple of Hare Krishnas on the Comm. Ave Mall. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was straight across the (mall) street from where I used to take all of my public relations and advertising classes at Emerson College. They gave me a copy of the Bhagavad Gita (which I still have by the way) and told me I should come to one of their open vegan dinners.
Now, you must realize, while I have been sassy since birth, I did grow up in an extremely small town. By small, I mean I graduated with 21 students from a public high school! Boston was new and exciting for me and while the expanse and population of the city didn’t intimidate me, I am pretty sure it terrified my mother. I had visions of her breaking out into hives of nervousness for me. She would certainly have a panic attack if I stepped foot in a Krishna Ashram and would instantly see me sucked into some devious cult, shaking a tambourine, dressed head to toe in orange at Logan Airport.
But the Hare Krishnas on the Comm Ave. mall were so very kind and friendly….I tossed caution to the wind and went to one of their Tuesday night dinners. It was yummy. Contrary to what I thought my mother would worry about, I wasn’t sucked into some Krishna cult. They were just good people, teaching me new things that my curiosity sopped up like a sponge. I took my first yoga classes at the ISKC. I spent a lot of time there and never told any of my college friends. It was my one little secret. For some reason I thought people would mock me for it. Who knows. We’re all riddled with insecurities when we’re in our youth.
I remember going home for Spring break my freshman year in college and in passing telling both my mother and my father that I wanted to go to Kripalu to live for a while and get my yoga certification. Kripalu then wasn’t the spa oasis it is now. It was still considered an Ashram, had barely established its LLC a few years prior and just started welcoming public visitors. Given I was the first grandchild on my mother’s side to actually go off to college…a life at Kripalu was not an option.
So I reluctantly went back to Emerson College, spending thousands on a degree in political communication (campaign management and speech writing) that I had no passion for. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of the party that was Emerson College and I did have little glimmers of inspiration – like the time I met JFK, Jr. But I guess those glimmers were few and far between. Sometimes I think about how very different (and debt free) my life would be if I had pushed back against parental expectations and made my way to Kripalu at the youthful age of 19.
19 seems so very long ago