Last night when I arrived to teach, I found that the room where I teach had been booked with something else (mistakes happen) and the alternative offered by the space just was not viable. I was peeved, but just canceling class did not feel right for the space (which has treated me well), my students, or myself.
Instead, I waited until class time, gathering the students together and giving the options. Fortunately, class was small because it is summer. Two students agreed to drive us to my house, which is usually a walk, but one already had her car with her on her way home from work; and the other had hers just a couple of blocks away at her house. All the students, including two brand new students who came along for the adventure, arrived at my house less than 10 minutes after the usual class start time. To honor everyone for being so flexible, I turned the class into a donation class, with the proceeds going towards July’s cause: the ACLU.
This turn of events seemed to me to fit well with the message of the Shiva archetype Nilakantha, which just happened to be the name of Shiva that I have been contemplating this week as I have been preparing my classes.
Shiva drank the poison that was stirred up when others were searching for the nectar of immortality. In the quest for the unrealistic, these beings brought to the surface a poison that would have killed all humans. Shiva drank this poison and trapped it in his throat, which turned it blue. This gave him the name blue-throated, or nila-kantha.
The challenge I encountered yesterday was certainly one of the well-off middle class. If it were not for our lifestyle, the abrupt change of plans and disruption could not have even felt poisonous, but we are creatures of our place and time. We took the potential chaos from having been stirred up and instead of letting it ruin our evening, we made it into a celebration and an offering.
And I am working with the space not to have it happen again. Many thanks to the students who came and were so gracious.