If I weren’t a yoga teacher, I would be a party planner. Throwing a party is a lot like teaching a yoga class – you pick a time, you create a theme, you hold the space – only with more cake. And dancing.
College, Montreal, 1995: I lived in an apartment that was on the top of a three story building, one apartment per floor. Somehow, I conned the entire building into throwing a Valentine’s Day party. When you arrived, you didn’t just walk into a party, you entered a self-sufficient republic, complete with its own currency. At the front door, you received three red hots. These were good for one kiss each at the kissing booth, top floor. (When you are 22, you don’t think too hard about the possible repercussions of a kissing booth.) If you ran out of red hots and wanted more, you could then *ahem* work the kissing booth. There was a hootenanny on the first floor, acoustic instruments strewn everywhere, a dance party on the second. But the best invention by far was the message board. Each attendee received a number on a sticker to be prominently displayed on their person. This number had a corresponding box on an enormous piece of butcher paper in the hallway. Pens were available so you could write: “Hey, #26, you are super-hot, love #146.” Which might be answered by “Thanks, I’m super married, though.” Some messages were more successful.
I’m proud to say that party merited mentions in the local alternative newsweekly…mainly for lost shoes, but still. Never mind that it resulted in a bit of a nervous breakdown for me (see also: kissing booth) – that is sometimes just the collateral damage of a really good party.
Early 30’s, Sacramento, 2005: My now-spouse Joy and I throw a Love Party. Each attendee is asked to bring a performance piece on the subject of love for a dinner-theater style show in our front room. People pack the couch and sit on the stairs as the amazing performances unfold: our multi-talented friend Chris sings old-timey songs. Nicola mesmerizes with an epic poem she has written about every single friend of hers. There is, of course, John Cougar Mellencamp. There are pink foil hearts on the wall and the glow of love on every face. Or was that the glow of the cocktails we called French Kisses? At any rate, those cocktails put me to bed a little too early – I missed the end of the party where there were speculations about the key parties of the 70’s – I swear we didn’t have one.
Sadly, every Valentine’s since it has seemed there is at least one heartbreak too raw to bear such a night. Can reckless celebrations of love only be the territory of the innocent? I hope not. As we move towards our (gasp!) 40’s, and come face to face with how much Love Hurts (and that is the song Freeport played at the Love Party) I hope we can have the courage to celebrate it anyway, to cherish love, ephemeral and painful though it may be.
Tomorrow night, It’s All Yoga celebrates it’s 6th Anniversary. The studio offers mini-celebrations of love every day in the form of yoga classes, so good party mojo has really been cooking in that room for years. There will be wine and cheese and a cakewalk and music and reiki and tarot. And finally, after years of dreaming about it, we will turn down the lights, turn up the stereo (no tinkly, new age oms, I promise) and we will step off the mat and dance together. Maybe I’ll see you there.