Here’s the conundrum:  we are social creatures.  We need other people.  Babies without touch and people to hold them and talk to them cease to thrive and can even die.

But all too soon we find out, that people can sometimes really suck. They’re loud, boisterous, argumentative. They disagree. They yell. They criticize. They can be mean and negative and nasty.

Oh what to do.

So far in my life, I have found it to be a never ending craving for social experience and then a mad retreat back to recharge and energize.

But then I found Kirtan*.

Wow. What a cool experience. As I was explaining to one of my Mama friends at the park this morning, Kirtan is from Hindu sacred Sanskrit language; a way to bring a Divine experience down to the masses. Western Kirtan, as in David Newman’s songs, is often a mix of English words and Sanskrit chanting.

If you are an empathetic creature like me, someone who has oftentimes been told that they are ‘too sensitive’, this is a group experience that recharges at the same time that it entertains. In between the songs, David pauses, and you can just feel the energy. I closed my eyes and rode these waves of peace cascading throughout the room, as the rain fell pleasantly, and the lightning and thunder added its emphasis here and there through the arched windows.

I looked over towards the kitchen and saw a little placard saying ‘You are Safe Here’, and I thought to myself, ‘Yes, yes, I am.’

I have never done before, but it occurred to me that this must be what group meditation is about, slowing down your mind and just ‘Be-Ing’ without that infernal need to fill every second with mindless chit-chat.

My husband asked me if it wasn’t a bit long; two and a half hours of chanting and this slow pace. Now granted, as the tired, harried mother of four, I admit that I find the dentist to be relaxing as it is quiet and I get to put my feet up (go ahead, keep drilling), so I might not be the best to ask, but for me, the time went by like that.

Mitchell Manz and Karen Weber have created such a lovely, soulful atmosphere here at The Garaj Mahal, and I highly recommend checking out their next Kirtan concert on Monday, June 23rd at 8pm with Saul David Raye, Jim Beckwith and Samuel Saulsbury on violin (veggie barbeque potluck beforehand at 6pm) (or contact Mitchell through e-mail at or phone 773.551.7810)

Meanwhile, you can learn more about David Newman’s music and writings here:

The Youtube video above is one of David’s signature songs. Now, you, along with the majority of my family members, may watch this video and laugh, thinking to yourself what a bunch of hippie, peace-loving, pot-smoking stick your head in the sand do-gooders. This is exactly the reason the world is going to hell.

But I disagree.

These are the people who are going to save our world.

As every time you choose love and light and God, over negativity, nastiness and aggression, you choose Real Strength.

Stay Strong and Keep Your Faith Alive.

* I was being facetious as Kirtan is not my only social recharge outlet; as late, I am finding plenty. Find Them. Recharge your soul and Save the World.