Something got cracked open for me in November. Actually, something cracked open in me last May, when I started chanting the Hanuman Chalisa every morning at 7 AM with Rose Ma (firstname.lastname@example.org) and others on zoom. I didn’t realize I needed the Hanuman Chalisa in my life. I had loved listening to David Newman‘s recording of the Hanuman Chalisa years ago. It had also served as the backdrop 7 years ago, for my daughter’s labor with her first child, so much so that it was difficult to listen to it after that. But the Hanuman Chalisa served that baby well and apparently he needed to come through on that vibration. So, almost 7 years later, I had not listened to the Hanuman Chalisa, until this past May, during Covid times–where all must meet under the cover of zoom.
When I get an intuitive nudge, it connects me directly to my heart and gut, enlightening me to know that something is absolutely necessary for me to do. When I heard that Rose Ma & The Unschool of Yoga was holding satsang with the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa, I knew immediately, that this would serve me well. I began chanting the Hahnaman Chalisa in May 2020 and have been doing it ever since, mostly six days a week. Chanting these 40 sacred verses of the Hanuman Chalisa feeds my soul in ways that I never knew I needed. It is a deep, deeply rewarding practice and I know this because I am consistently compelled and drawn to it. I am also incredibly grateful to Rose Ma and all who share in this daily satsang.
It’s helpful when you are chanting the Hanuman Chalisa to have the words printed in front of you so that you are able to chant along and to gradually learn the Hindu words. I printed a copy of the Hanuman Chalisa off the Internet and immediately felt overwhelmed by the thought of learning this sacred poem in Hindu. Amazingly though, my mind has adapted to the rhythm and the sounds and has slowly acquired a beginner ability of being able to pronounce the Hanuman Chalisa.
I found out that a small, printed booklet, complete with images, Sanskrit, Hindu and English translations of the Hanuman Chalisa was available for purchase through an artist in California named Jennifer Mazzucco. I sent Jennifer an email and requested to purchase copy of the booklet, which she gratefully sent to me directly. Her website had classes listed that she taught via zoom. Months later, when I saw her listing for an illustrative journaling class coming up in November, I knew once again that this was something I needed to do.
The zoom illustrative journaling class was taught for two hours on four evenings in November. It was a wonderful class for me, and it literally cracked open my old connections to exploring art, connections which had been placed into the background of my life long ago. Playing with watercolors that came out of pencils and crayons and markers and paint pots was a rich environment of joy for me. At the beginning of the new year, Jennifer gifted to all of her students from the past year, a YouTube video on how to do a Swiss Repeat Pattern using watercolor. Once again, I knew in my gut, that I would be playing with this technique. I slowly had to gather a few other artistic supplies before I could undertake all the steps.
Meanwhile, while rearranging yet another closet in my life, metaphorically and literally, I came across my old art journals from 1978-79. As a junior in college, I had spent my spring semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I begin drawing colored pencil doodles into my blank journal, as a way to express and process my emotions and thoughts. Even though my host Danish mother and her son Klaus spoke English, it was very rudimentary English and only simple things were discussed, certainly not my deep feelings and longings. My art journal also became a way for others to share their own artwork doodles with me.
I am so grateful for re-discovering these old doodles, for dwelling on them a little and for letting them inspire me in my current endeavors. I am grateful for the Hanuman Chalisa and all who share in that chanting of that on a daily basis. I am grateful for exploring my artistic chops once again and welcoming my tiny muscles to begin working again.