Archive | October, 2011

Silent retreat

16 Oct

This weekend there was a silent retreat held here at Unity Village. If you’re not familiar with a silent retreat, usually in a group format there will be times of content from a  presenter that is open to discussion, but between activities it is the decision of the participant to remain silent to make room for stillness and clarity. Retreatants have buttons they wear letting those they meet know they are in the silence. The cafeteria knows how to serve them in the silence and it’s all pretty spiffy.

But I work in the bookstore. Retail isn’t a world of silence, it’s a ‘How are you?’ ‘Can I help you find anything?’ How’s the retreat?’ kind of environment. When folks are browsing or checking out we make chit chat, find out where they are from and if it’s their first time to the village.

Yesterday was a different kind of day. Yesterday I got to connect with people in a different way. For the most part, the retreat participants were able to come to the counter with their purchases and then hand over their charge card. No words need be spoken. But it was beautiful the words that were spoken in a real authentic smile and connection of the eyes.

As these dear ones were making a brave journey of the heart, for a few moments I was welcomed on the adventure with a smile that said hello, thank you, have a beautiful day, namaste.

In one of my classes we are learning/practicing pastoral counseling. The thing that continues to be clear to me is that being connected to the other person with your attention, eye contact and body language is what it’s about. Speaking happens some, sure. But what it’s really about is being present with the other person. It is an amazingly powerful feeling to be connected to anther that way. 

And so, while the silent retreat folks were only a third of my customers yesterday, and I made plenty of conversation with the other 2/3’s, the mindful moments of connection with the retreatants will be the ones I hold most dear.

I encourage you dear reader, to take a moment to connect with someone. To pause in a conversation and be comfortable in the silence. Beautiful things will unfold.

Namaste

Princesses and shooting stars

3 Oct

Twice in the last week I have seen a shooting star. As far as I know there isn’t a meteor shower going on right now, so I think that’s pretty rare, I know I haven’t had that happen before.

It got me wondering, why do we wish on a falling star? The interwebs didn’t get me very far, pretty much that they are rare so it’s hard to prove one way or another that it ‘works’ because by the time you have a wish, the star is gone.

Centuries ago when this and wishing on the first star became a myth, people didn’t know the scientific reasons for a shooting star. They gave it meaning that made sense to them. I find it a fascinating and endearing part of who we are as humans that we want and have answers to so much of the ‘why’s’ of the world that were unknowns to folks even a couple centuries ago, and yet we keep the mythic traditions that don’t make sense but speak to us of something magical beyond us.

We want to believe, though I don’t think we really do. We want to take a moment from a ‘just the facts mam’ kind of world and jump into a world of magic and mystery.

Which is where I spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. The entourage and I headed off to the KC Renaissance festival. My sis wanted to dress up, so I did too.

Within minutes of entering the gates a little girl, probably 4 or 5, came right up to me and hugged me. Then she just stood there and looked up at me. I apparently looked enough like a princess that this little one wanted to hang around. We chatted for a few minutes about her liberally applied glitter before she went off with her mom.

I got called a princess a lot yesterday, and also was cursed or disarmed a hundred times by a wand wielding 7 year old. (too bad for him the wands were left in my royal carriage *evil laugh*) 

Ren Fest is such a good time because for a short time we get to take a break, put on another persona, play make-believe and dress up. While my glitter covered little friend may think she hugged a princess yesterday, the rest of us ‘grown ups’ got to join in a collective experience of play.

Just as much as we know a falling star is a meteor or space junk burning up in the atmosphere we also want to parry with knights and frolic with faeries. As often as we whip out our smart phones and google anything we decide we need to know, we lay our deepest desires on fate in the form of a star.

We sure are funny creatures. This is my take away:

What if we all took a little more time to play and laugh and set aside our burdens? What if we choose to see each other as fellow players, wishers and dreamers?

Tag you’re it!