by Rebecca Barry

A few days ago I was riding my bike down my street to the coffee shop, and I passed the little parade of children I see every morning. They go to the day care center down the block and every day they go out for a walk—5 or 6 kids on holding hands, two adults pushing strollers. I love them because if I’m walking by someone usually says something interesting, like, “Who are you? How old are you? I have red shoes!” But that day I was riding my bike and as I rode by one of the boys said loudly, “Wow! A Yady on a bicycle!”

This made me so happy. First of all, I love being called a lady, no matter how it’s pronounced. But mostly, what a great phase of life to be in—when a woman in a red shirt riding a blue bicycle down a tree-lined street is a “Wow!”

Actually, that’s my intention for the rest of my life–to be in that state as much as possible. “Wow! A back yard full of fireflies! Wow! A 40 mile long blue lake! Wow! A rainfall of cherry blossoms landing on the sidewalk that looks like pink snow!”

I keep thinking about it as we make our way through this season of kama.  Kama is the Lakshmi arm that represents material pleasures: passion, sensuality, beauty, art, music, dance, nature, the enjoyment and delight of the senses. It’s not often discussed–sensuality isn’t something we spend a lot of time on in our culture, as our mainstream cultural mythology is built up around being busy. We really love that. We love to produce, we love growth, we are very happy when we make a lot of things. We equate being busy with being important. How are you? We say to each other. Busy! We say back. Which, I think loosely translated means, “I matter.” Which is fine, if you enjoy that. But kama is also about the enjoyment of our lives when we aren’t busy: Noticing all of the things in the world that shimmer and sing without even trying. Reveling in the brightness of bumping into someone you’re happy to see. The ability to hear music, and walk in the woods, and taste delicious flavors all day.

It asks you to enjoy your processes, even the challenging ones—they’re all part of what it is to be deeply alive.