Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! Russian style.

I’m an adventurous spirit, so I often find myself in odd situations.  Like now.  I’m in the Catskills, sitting in  my hotel room at Honor’s Haven Spa and Resort in Ellenville New York. I was invited by my mentor, Shmuel Tatz.
Our communications are generally terse and we suffer from a language barrier, so I wasn’t exactly clear on the details of the trip before I agreed to go. What I understood was that there was going to be a gathering of mostly Russian people, in the mountains of New York for a New Years Eve celebration and that I was going to be doing some work and hopefully will have a good time, as well. He also said I might teach some yoga or some Nia. It seemed to me that I was coming along as his assistant, which is often how I function in Tatz Studio.  Although I’m there as an apprentice, having me seen as an assistant eases the minds of the clients and gives me an opportunity to practice. So, due to my adventurous spirit and the nature of learning body tuning from Shmuel Tatz, here I am.
I feel like I’m in a different country.  (Russia to be exact). There is very little English going on here. I’m doing a lot of smiling and nodding. When I was shown to my room by one of the English speakers, I noticed that there were two beds.  I remember Dr Tatz telling me that I was going to be sharing a room, so I asked, “Is someone else going to be joining me?”  And his answer was, “No, because we were all under the impression that you were going to bring someone with you.”  Oh!  Geez, I wish I had known that.  This experience would have been so much better with another American to bounce thoughts off of. 
Last night, after dinner, I followed the sound of music to the far end of the resort where I found there was a show going on. Two men in tuxedos and bunny ears were talking and, I think, telling jokes.  It also seemed like they were asking questions of the audience, but no one knew the answers.  Then they pulled a guy up from the audience and handed him a bag of goodies and put some bunny ears on him. I’m not sure what it all meant, but here’s a picture of it.
Then a beautiful young woman named Olga was introduced and she sang a few haunting, folksy songs that were really quite beautiful and moving. Afterwards the whole place turned into a disco and we danced the rest of the night.  Fortunately, the language of dance is international, so I suddenly didn’t feel like a foreigner. 
The next morning, Dr Tatz and I and about twenty party-goers gathered in a room and he spoke (in Russian) for about an hour about his work. I really wish I could understand him then, because I haven’t heard him speak that much about his work in the whole three months I’ve been apprenticing with him.   And then he asked if anyone would like to experience me doing his work!  I was floored by that. Why me?  I really didn’t expect that.  But I’m starting to get that he is really motivated to mold me into his likeness.  That he’s very interested in having me carry the Body Tuning torch. 
So, at least I now know my purpose here.  And this is great. 
Today at lunch, a woman sat next to me and I introduced myself only to be surprised to learn that she spoke fluent English. So we had a nice long chat about the place and about New Years and the Russians.  What I learned is very interesting. 
The Russians celebrate New Years Eve with gusto.  It is actually a very important holiday for them, even more-so than Christmas. The history is that since Christmas was a religious holiday, they were often forbidden to celebrate it, so they transferred the Christmas traditions to New Years.  They have a New Years tree and Father Frost comes and leaves present under it for all of the kids. Father Frost wears all blue and carries a long wooden septre that he uses to make frost with.  I understand that Father Frost will be making an appearance here tonight!!
Now, its four pm on December 31.  At lunch I was told we were all supposed to go take a nap so that we can easily stay up until three am dancing and drinking.  So I’m really supposed to be napping right now. I guess I should cut this short and see if I can catch forty winks. 
If I’m able to capture a picture of Father Frost tonight, I’ll post it here.
Happy New Year everyone!!
Welcome 2011 and all of the possibilities and opportunities for growth and joy. 

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