Well, by now you reviewed the riveting photos of the crazy graduation day. I will give you a run-down of the festivities.
I woke up a little stressed, not really having anything good to wear…so we went down to the boutique in the hotel where I found a perfect dress in my size for a mere $700. It’s still there. Jill, however, found me a nice little scarf for $27 that would nicely dress up a simple black dress I had, so we went with that, stopping off to get my toenail polish changed at the spa to match exactly. Then, I called pal Morgan who had mentioned having an extra dress…I went and tried it on and it fit like a glove (a tight glove in some areas) and get this – the scarf and toenails were a PERFECT match to the purplish design amongst the peach dress. Again, I learn…”why do you worry about anything. Everything always works out!” So, once dressed, we headed down for the 11 a.m. start.
The graduation ceremony itself was…well, I can’t lie…long. There were some speeches, the yoga demonstration (which was wicked cool), and then a long list of thank-you’s to people who absolutely deserved them. There were just a lot of them. Awards were given for best dialogue, best ‘bulldog determination’, the ‘flower petal blooming’ award for the person who improved/grew the most (Yay, Roy!), and a couple others (sadly, there was no award for ‘best blog’ or I’d have entered.. ;). Bikram gave a nice short speech, and a few others people spoke, then we had a break before the calling of the names.
Each person’s name was called by Craig, and then we got our certificate from Bikram, had a photo, and then thanks Rajashree before exiting the stage. Bikram was very sweet and genuinely congratulatory to me in that moment, and I appreciated it a lot. Whether he’d know me on the street is another question, but it felt nice on the stage.
Afterwards was a different buffet that was built-up in a way that caused a bit of disappointment. Still, the effort was there and the food was fine. We headed to Todd’s room for champagne with our crew – Todd, Jennifer (+hubby Dennis), Steve & Priscilla, Alysse, and of course, Christian, Jill & I. Our first alcohol after 9 weeks! Whooo! Of course it gave me a little headache. Then Jill and I headed to the pool a while later and I had a margarita, after which I was (to be) done with alcohol for the day…more on that in a sec. We headed in for a nap before the beachside bonfire/s’mores and cash bar.
Around 7, the evening fun began. Despite not planning to drink more, I had another margarita that I didn’t even finish. I was way more excited for toasted marshmallows, and 4 of them made their way down my throat in mere moments. Various groups formed and people drank/visited at the hotel bars (which we’d all looked at from afar, but never visited in 9 weeks!), and Jill and I took a small respite before heading down around 10:30 for dancing in the club in the hotel. They hired an off-site DJ who was pretty awesome.
A lot of the younger folks were passed out by then (no kidding!) – room 501 apparently was party central and a lot of folks really (and I mean really) let loose. It seemed us older folks made it to the dance floor and had a great time! Different people milled in and out and for me, just about all my pals made an appearance. Jill and I danced like crazy and well, (back to those drinks…) someone offered to buy us drinks and I figured, “ok, one for the dance floor would be fun!” And then a while later, another offer…which again, I took. I by no means got drunk though (they were not exactly ‘generous’ pours), just enough to have a good time and dance and all that. Sadly, both Christian and Todd didn’t come to the club portion of the night, but the rest of the gang was there mostly sitting among the tables drinking – it wasn’t too loud so you could talk and whatnot. We got back to our room around 1:45 a.m. – way earlier than some lecture/movie nights!!!!
On the way to the room, we ran into the staff who also seemed to enjoy the alcohol-ban being lifted ☺. Nonetheless, I had a chance to thank Craig for my experience directly and I was glad for that. While a lot of people struggled with some of his methods, overall, I didn’t. I connected with a lot of what he had to say and worked hard to integrate many of his words into my practice, my dialogue and hopefully (someday, in the future) my teaching.
It was a super fun day, and the feeling was really positive and happy. Still, I started to feel the disjointedness/fracturing of the group, which made me a little sad. For me, that last class on Thursday afternoon really felt like the climactic ending, already by Friday a few folks left, or just didn’t opt to participate, and it started to set it that whoa…it’s really over.
Some people really didn’t want it to end for various reasons, be it the monotony of home, uncertainty, or just really having fell in love with the experience. For me, I don’t want to imply that I am ambivalent about this experience ending; but that fact that it was a 9-week process was clear to me and having worked really hard to “be here now” when the time came for it to end, it made perfect sense to me. I miss my life, my family, my friends – and having Jill here was a really wonderful transition back to that life. So, after one more day here together, we head home on Sunday morning. By that evening, I’ll be in our little house, with my little old-lady cat who would come milling around the computer anytime Jill and I Skyped and she heard my voice; sleeping in my bed (!!!!) and getting up in the morning for a rockin’ amazing double-tall-soy-latte at Lighthouse. Amen to home!