Yesterday was May Day, a day that always reminds me of a tradition we had as kids to leave a basket of flowers on the doorsteps of our family friends, ring the doorbell, and then scram before we could be identified. It was such a joyful way to honor the bounty of Spring, to give a gift to a loved one without claiming a receipt.
As I relived a few of my favorite instances, I was also in some ways mourning the fact that this tradition is not practical in my modern day. Living in New York City most of my friends don’t live within 30 minutes, let alone have doorsteps. But even more than those logistics, I am in a society that lives day by day, minute by minute- I can’t think of the last time I got a card out in the mail in time to actually reach someone on their birthday. Emails are considered acceptable and generous, going above and beyond just a post on Facebook. The advance planning needed to pull something like this off is just not heralded and cultivated in the culture of my world.
Nonetheless I pined for the delight that this tradition celebrated- the acknowledgement of true friendship that drives one to plan and execute such an outpouring of love.
So instead I went about my plan for the day- to send an email of gratitude to all those who had come on retreat with me. You see, April 30, the day before, had marked the one year anniversary of having led my first retreat. That retreat, and the two others that followed, had culminated in so much love, gratitude and mutual respect. I had honored the year looking through all the pictures of the retreats, enjoying the beauty of those deeply immersed periods of practices. My plan for the email of gratitude was to fill it with a bunch of the pictures, and in this way, thank them and share my joy with them.
It wasn’t until I had actually sent it out that I realized that I had so obviously engaged in the tradition I hold so dear! I sent a May Day bouquet to those who I consider friends of the path of Yoga. I didn’t connect the dots because, yes, it wasn’t the same thing has a fresh bouquet of flowers. But I now realize that the traditions we hold most dear, can and will adapt, so they can be as potent now as they were then.
And furthermore, what we so desire becomes true. In the yoga tradition we say ‘We are all, always, sitting beneath the wish fulfilling tree.’ Intention becomes manifest