Archive for October, 2009

Zen Beetle and the Spiderweb

A few days ago I was looking out the slider door to our back deck and caught sight of a bug on the outside of the glass.  That’s not so unusual – there are often flies or little moths that land on the glass, and our cats try in vain to catch them from the inside.  But this was some kind of beetle or stink bug.  Not sure what.  It had a light stomach and kind of a peaked head.  I watched it for a minute and then called my daughter Emily over.  ”Look,” I told her, “it’s a Zen beetle.”  ”What makes it a Zen beetle?” she asked.  ”Just watch it,” I replied.  And so she did.  What she saw, and what I’d noticed, was that it was moving so, so slowly.  It would move one leg, slowly, then place it very carefully. Then pause.  Then move another leg.  And pause.  Then a third leg.  And pause.  Hmm, I thought, this little guy’s doing beetle walking meditation.  Very cool.  Very Zen.  I swear he looked unbelievably serene.  Even so, watching a beetle do walking meditation eventually loses its appeal, and Emily and I went on about our business.  

And evidently he went on about his, because two days later, Emily looked out our living room window and said, “Look!  There he is!”  Mr. Zen Beetle was back!  Apparently, he’d spent the previous 48 hours walking the 7 feet from the slider door, across the outside wall of the house and onto the window.  Placing a foot and pausing.  Placing the next foot and pausing again.  His dedication was inspiring.  I certainly don’t have that kind of stick-to-it-iveness.  Again, we watched for a short while, and then returned to our own, non-Zen activities.

Cut to two days later.  I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, when I glanced out the front window.  The front window, on the opposite side of the house from where we’d seen Zen Beetle.  And suddenly my gaze lit upon a decrepit spiderweb that still clung to the ceiling and post of our porch.  I noticed that some bug was caught in the web.  …  A beetle, maybe.  A beetle? My jaw dropped.  I squinted at the form in the web.  It looked just the same size as Zen Beetle.  Oh, no.  Could it be?   I felt my heart constrict.  Not Zen Beetle!!!!!  I walked slowly to the front door and stepped out onto the porch to check – if it was, indeed, he, perhaps he was still alive….

Afterwards, examining my distress, I wondered: Why exactly was I so devastated by the thought that Zen Beetle had perished in the spiderweb?  Perhaps my thinking went like this: plucky little ZB.  He took such great care with every move he made.  Every step was precisely executed.  Just the right speed, just the right length of stride to take him where he wanted to go.  How, then, did he end up in a mass of spider’s silk?  Didn’t he noticed when his first tiny foot touched that web, that it didn’t feel like the wood beneath his other feet?  Didn’t he sense that this difference might presage danger?  And if not at the first step, then perhaps as he set his 2nd foot there, or 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th?  Did he realize his mis-step only when the spider rushed out and began mummifying him?

I found that thought very disturbing – that for all his mindful walking, he had evidently been totally oblivious about where he was going to end up.  And of course, the thought was disturbing in relation not just to Zen Beetle, but to myself.  I mean, it was my recognition of our shared dedication to Zen practice which had connected me to ZB in the first place.  The oneness of our path.  But to assert a shared path meant recognizing the possibility that I, too, might one day end up trapped in a spiderweb.  And who would like to accept that?  

I always like to think that the more mindful I am in all I do, the less likely I am to end up in a metaphorical spiderweb.  But, considering ZB, I had to admit that mindfulness is by no means a guarantee of safety or a good outcome.  We can be as slow as possible as we take one step after another and still be moving inexorably – because of some initial miscalculation in our plan – toward disaster.  Step by mindful step, and all without realizing our mistake, until it’s too late and we’re bound tight by the consequences of our actions. A pretty disheartening thought.

Considering where Zen Beetle might have gone wrong – and also wondering how the hell he’d made it all the way around to the front of the house – I reminded myself that, luckily, I was not born an insect this life.  No offense, ZB, but I’m grateful for my ability to think and reason, and do actual meditation and not just something that looks like meditation in form while lacking the necessary intent and consciousness. 

 And so, as I peered up at the spiderweb, I reminded myself that although simply taking my time in every situation doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, if I do really pay attention, and also take care to consider the possible repercussions of my actions, I’ll have at least a fighting chance of seeing the sticky situations from far enough away that I can avoid them before I’ve landed in them with both feet.

So, there I was, standing on my front porch, peering up into the spiderweb at a silk-wrapped bug that had clearly already given up the ghost.  A bug that was … not Zen Beetle.  Some other hapless, and perhaps less mindful, insect, but not Zen Beetle.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that a wave of relief washed over me when I realized that Zen Beetle might still be making his way safely along the back wall of our house.  I didn’t feel as sad about Anonymous Beetle as I might have.  I wasn’t happy to realize that about myself.  But I think my relief was partly about the fact that maybe, at least this once, mindfulness had helped a tiny being avoid a sticky, suffocating death.   Think about it: if even mindless insect mindfulness  can sometimes lead to a good outcome, just think what we humans can do with a little conscious mindfulness.  Step.  Pause.  Step.  And keep an eye out for the spiderwebs on the path.

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In the driver’s seat

 

Emmy behind the wheel!

Emmy behind the wheel!

So, my daughter Emily got her driver’s license yesterday, after a road test that was literally less than 10 minutes long!  Here I’ve spent the past nearly 17 years raising her, and after barely enough time to exchange pleasantries, the RMV tester signs off on her license, giving her the right to propel herself through space more or less at will inside a hunk of metal.  Not that I think she shouldn’t have passed – she’s a good driver: careful, but not over-cautious, etc.  The exam just set me ruminating about child-rearing.

 

I was saying to an acquaintance the other day that it’s funny how your kids grow up.  Maybe you have some firm ideas about how you want to raise them, about what kind of people you hope they’ll grow up to be.  Maybe you set about consciously inculcating your values in them, telling them in so many words how they should interact with the people and the world around them.  When they’re tiny, you choose the books and music – and friends- you think are best suited to setting them on the path you’d like them to follow.  It’s simple at that point: if you don’t agree with the point of view of a certain book or movie or little playmate, or their parents, then it’s easy enough to keep them out of the house, to shelter your kids from what you might consider bad influences.

Inevitably, though, they begin to venture out of your sight.  Who knows what they’re watching or hearing at that little friend’s house??  Or what kind of junk food they might be eating that is not your kind of junk food?  And what crazy political views they might be hearing… The list is endless.  As a parent, you can either obsess about it and be a control freak, trying to control every interaction your kid has, or you can  lighten up a little and do the best you can to judge the people and situations your kids will encounter, all on the basis of a few words or a few minutes’ observation at day care or during a shared play date.

Once the kids start going out into the world of day care, school, and unaccompanied play dates, you already face what you can think of as dilution of whatever messages you’re putting out at home about living, about interacting, about being in the world.  Sure, we coach our kids: “Be sure to that Timmy’s mom for having you over.” “Make sure you share with Betty.”  Things like that.  But we don’t really know for sure whether they’ve been listening to us, whether anything has sunk in, whether they’re really the 3, 7, 10, or 15-year olds we’d like them to be.

Which is part of letting them decide for themselves who they are in the world, I guess.  Not that the decision is totally within their control.  Think of it in Buddhist terms, and on the one hand, it’s entirely within their control – who they are, what they look like, how they perceive the world, has all been determined by their past acts, their past choices, even if they don’t remember making them.  But their karma also means that certain parents end up around them, parents with certain values and behaviors, both of which kids absorb without being aware of it and which, therefore, subtly shape who they become.  

So, our kids learn so much from us, both what we consciously pass on and what we pass on inadvertently in our own way of being in the world.  And then we wake up one day and find that they have become, more or less, adults, and all that we have surrounded them with, all these years, has helped to shape who they are, like it or not.   I don’t know about those of you out there who are parents, but I rarely spent time while raising Mike and Emily thinking about what kind of people I hoped they’d be  when they came to adulthood and how best to facilitate that. And I think their dad would say the same thing.   Like most of you, we were too busy to think about that.  Too busy with the day-to-day business of raising them, with all of the choices that had to be made in the moment, whether they concerned that moment or a future moment.  

Reflecting on these years now, it occurs to me that although for most of them I would not have identified myself as a practicing Buddhist, my child-rearing was pretty Zen – focused on the moment rather than on some desired outcome or goal.  And it seems that such an approach can bring a pretty good result – if, of course, what you do in the moment is motivated by sincere love and compassion and a good share of selflessness. It’s the same as with a Buddhist spiritual practice – if you just focus on doing a good job taking care of whatever situation and people you encounter on a moment-by-moment basis, then your future pretty much takes care of itself.  

And so I look at my own kids now and see that they have grown into people I would enjoy spending time with even if they weren’t my own kids – kind, thoughtful, compassionate, sincere and engaged.  Whatever process has brought that about seems mysterious to me now – how did they/we manage that?  No way to figure that out completely.  All I can say is that it’s a relief to see who they are today.  And a great joy.  They’re both in the driver’s seat of their very own cars now.  Metaphorically and literally.

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Serendipity

Today’s story started a couple of weeks ago, on a Thursday night as I left the Center after evening meditation.  It was already dark outside, with only one of the parking lot lights to illuminate the cars parked in front of the Center.  And there were lots of them.  Alas, their owners had come not to meditate, but to join in the contact improv dance group that meets on Thursday evenings in the dance space on the other side of the wall from my space.  

My fellow meditators and I have been intrigued by the dance group.  When we come to sit, we’ll see them through the window, sometimes dancing wildly, sometimes intertwined and motionless, sometimes lying on the floor in various poses that look somewhat uncomfortable.  And as we sit, sometimes somewhat uncomfortably, we occasionally hear thumps that make it sound as if someone is pounding on the wall, or lively whoops and screeches that seem to have just sprung exuberantly from someone’s throat.  All while we sit in our zendo, our bodies motionless, and our minds…. well, let me just say that they probably are more similar to the dancers’ bodies than to ours!  I’ve thought that if someone were standing outside and were able to look into the windows of both spaces simultaneously – using the kind of split screen they used to use back in those 50s movies – the picture would be an amusing contrast between improvised joyful movement and conscious motionlessness.

So, that evening, I locked the door to the Center and walked to my car.  As I passed by the car next to mine, something drew my attention to it and I glanced inside.  I noticed nothing… except for a smallish painting in the back seat.  I don’t know how I even managed to catch sight of it.  After all, it was already dark, but perhaps the beam of the parking lot light fell upon it.  In any case, my gaze fell upon this painting that showed an utterly blissful meditating being – it looked to me like a kind of marshmallowy Buddha- surrounded by all sorts of swirling, multi-colored images.  I felt drawn to study the painting and squinted through the glass.  That felt a little weird.  Well, a lot weird.  First of all, here I was staring into a total stranger’s car.  It immediately occurred to me that I was probably breaking a vow, invading this person’s personal space and all.  But the painting was so gorgeous…  And that made it feel weird, too – I was staring at the meditating being in the painting.  Now that really seemed like an invasion of privacy.  After all, would you want someone staring at you  while you meditated???  (See the end of this post to check out a photo of the painting!)

I debated about what to do.  I really liked that painting.  I immediately wondered whether it was for sale.  Was this the artist’s car, or perhaps the person had bought the painting and it was in transit.  I wanted to find out, but what was I to do?  I knew the dance class wouldn’t be over for another hour or so, and I was on my way home.  I thought of leaving a note, but that seemed kind of stalker-like: “Hi, I happened to be staring into your car, when I noticed that lovely painting…”  Perhaps not the best way to begin an acquaintance.  I was about to leave, having told myself that the person probably came to the dance class every week, so maybe I could find him or her next week…  Then I thought, no, that’s ridiculous.  That’s cowardice.  Just leave a damn note.  After all, what artist wouldn’t want to hear from someone who admired their work, even if the circumstances were a little unusual?  So, I wrote something on the back of one of my Center flyers – I don’t even remember now what I wrote, something designed not to freak them out! and slipped it under the driver’s side windshield wiper.

And then I waited.

A day or two later, I got an e-mail … from the artist, Rythea Lee! Yes, it was her painting, she was glad I’d liked it, no, she wasn’t freaked out, yes the painting was for sale.  She was amused that her painting had made such a big impression on me since I’d seen it in less than optimal conditions!  She said she’d give me a call to talk about meeting.  And, wonder of wonders, she did call.  In the meantime I looked up her website and found out that in addition to painting, she does some really fascinating therapy work, plus dance, plus performance.  Now I was really happy I’d left that note!  She said that she had a bunch of her paintings at her house and wondered whether I’d like to stop by there and see them, instead of having her bring them to my studio.  That sounded appealing – even though she said the ones hanging in her house weren’t for sale, I thought I’d enjoy seeing them, if they were anything like the one I’d seen in her car.

So, this afternoon, I headed over to her house.  She and her husband live on the second floor of a cozy, Tibetan prayer-flag-adorned house in Florence.  The house seemed happy, as if it had absorbed its inhabitants’ optimism. After I rang the doorbell, I noticed a big Buddha statue sitting on the porch in a low wicker chair – someone had decorated the chair back with Indian corn.  I liked that – a seasonally appropriate Buddha.

Rythea opened the door and waved me up the stairs.  I immediately felt the same bright energy from her that her painting had exuded even through the car window – it was obvious the two of them were related.  Upstairs, she immediately asked whether I’d like a cup of tea while we chatted – somehow it was clear to both of us that we definitely would sit and chat – and she invited me to wander into the living room and take a tour of her paintings.  They were on every wall, several on some walls, some big, some small, but all recognizably of the same artist, all somehow sharing what I’d describe as an energetic, spiritual, healing fluidity.  I was utterly sincere when I told her that I really liked them all.   But I was still drawn to the jolly meditator I’d seen in her car.  That painting was on the floor, leaning up against the wall, and the meditator was serene as ever – as if saying, “It’s all the same to me where I do this – car seat, floor.  Go ahead and talk.  Nothing can faze me.  I’m content whereever.”  

As I stood there admiring both this evident concentration and the painting’s vibrant beauty, Rythea told me that when she’d painted it, everything around the meditating being was meant to show what was going on inside his/her imagination during the meditation.  That was great!  So much movement, so much color, flow, and yet calm, too.  It was inspiring, somehow.

 Rythea told me how much she wanted for the painting, and I immediately agreed.  She said that if I wanted, she’d put a simple black wooden frame around it, but when we put it up on the wall, I said I liked it without any frame – that way the contents of the meditator’s mind seemed endless to me, expansive, unlimited, coextensive with everything around it.  And so I said I’d take it as it was.

Then there was tea.  How did Rythea think to offer me ginger tea, my favorite?  We sat at her kitchen table, and her husband joined us to chat over our hot cups, and somehow it seemed that these were 2 people I was meeting not for the first time.  We slipped easily into a conversation that could have been the continuation of some other conversation that had arbitrarily ended decades or lifetimes ago and had suddenly just started up again with no loss of continuity.  

I’ve had that sensation with a few people before, but I’m always amazed and surprised – and so pleased – by it.  As if I’ve newly found an old friend.  ”I’m so glad you listened to your intuition,” Rythea told me as we came around again to the subject of the note I’d left on her car.   Me, too.  I know that that tentative scrawl on the back of the flyer was the beginning of the story, but I don’t know what course the story will take – other than the fact that Rythea and I made plans to get together again next week.   Maybe the meditator in my new painting knows.  Maybe it’s all laid out in the swirls and colors of his or her mind. We’ll have to wait and see.  But that meditator seems content to have been a catalyst of some kind.  

This delightfully mysterious encounter makes me think of what Buddhism says about Buddhas and bodhisattvas – that they’re always around us, trying to help us, guide us in the right direction.  They can emanate in a line in a book, in the song of a bird, in a cloud in a sky.  And even, so it seems, even in a picture of themselves in a painting in the back seat of someone’s car.  As I said, I’m not yet sure exactly what insight is to be gained here, but at least I paid attention to the call when it came.  And next Thursday night, when Rythea and her fellow dancers are moving in response to their inner direction, and we meditators on the other side of the wall are motionlessly moving inward, Rythea’s painting will be hanging on my wall, a perfect representation of those two, differently flowing energies that happily coexist on Thursday evenings at the Blue Guitar and Mountain Zendo.

(Check out a photo of the painting below, but definitely come by the Center and see it in person.  And you can learn more about Rythea and her work at www.zanyangels.com)

IMG_0781

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What’s in a name?

When I officially opened up my healing center in June, I called it the Share the Sweater Center for Healing and Meditation.  I knew from the start that it wasn’t the right name, but the right name hadn’t yet bubbled to the surface, so Share the Sweater it stayed.  It wasn’t for lack of trying to come up with a new name, either.  I spent a good amount of time in the winter considering that question.  I knew I wanted to open up a healing and meditation center, and I tried a whole slew of names out on my friends.  Names with words like refuge and sangha in them.  But they all seemed too likely to elicit certain preconceptions in people, and I really wanted to avoid that as much as possible.  So, I stuck with a name that just confused people!

Don’t get me wrong.  I really like “Share the Sweater” because it accurately reflects the essence of my work: doing what you can to give other people a bit of comfort, the way a sweater warms and comforts you when you put it on.   It originally came out of a discussion my good friend Nancy Kundl and I had after one of our weekly meditation and discussion get-togethers.  But it was always problematic.  Once people got the concept, they really liked the name.  But…

So, I officially opened up my new Center in June and stuck with Share the Sweater for then, because I really hadn’t come up with anything better.  Not a good reason, perhaps, but there you have it.  Then one day, a few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend and landlady, Christie Svane, who runs the dance studio adjacent to my space.  She told me, a little apologetically, as afraid I might take offense, that it had frequently happened that she’d be at the dance studio and see people standing looking at the door to my Center with puzzled looks on their faces.  They’d say to Christie, “What’s this place all about?”  Were we collecting clothing for the homeless?  Were we a knitting group?  Bless her heart, Christie would always explain that no, no knitting was involved, and that actually this was a healing and meditation center.  ”OH,” they’d say, “now we get it.”  

I told Christie I’d felt from the start that the name was a problem.  She said maybe we could put up some sign that said something really simple, just to let people know clearly what the Center was all about.  She said she had a spare 8-foot board, already painted blue (”blue guitar blue” is how I think of that color), and maybe I could use that… We stood out front and looked at the wall, trying out various turns of phrase.  We decided that “Healing and Meditation Center” was clear and to the point.  And then people could figure out “Share the Sweater” later.  I asked Christie whether I could commission her to hand-letter the sign.  That way it would provide some nice continuity with the “Blue Guitar” sign she’d done to hang over the dance studio window.  I was so glad when she said yes – it would be warm and inviting that way.  So, we picked out a font, and Christie said she’d do the sign in the course of the next few days.

I guess that conversation with Christie started something shifting inside me, because within a day or so, I’d come to the conclusion that “Share the Sweater” had to go. It was time.  And once I’d made that decision, the new name floated to the surface, easily and naturally.  Mountain Zendo is how my Buddhist teacher, Jeff Brooks, had decided to refer to the zen part of the operation he ran at Northampton Karate.  When he relocated out of state in July, he gave me the majority of his meditation mats and cushions for my new Center and asked me to take over leading the zen group.  Before he left, he asked what I’d call my dojo.  He said I could call it Mountain Zendo if I wanted.   At that point, I was not at all ready to call my place Mountain Zendo.  To consider doing so would have seemed presumptuous to me, as if I were suggesting that I could do what Jeff had always done for us in the group, that I could take his place.  I couldn’t.  And so I didn’t take him up on the offer.

But a few weeks ago, as I considered renaming my Center, Mountain Zendo suddenly seemed like the perfect choice.  Somehow, I realized that it had been my own insecurity holding me back before.  I hadn’t even considered that Jeff might actually like to have me take over the name, so that there would be some continuity for our group, so that they could still come to Mountain Zendo, even if Jeff wasn’t here with us any more.  So, I asked him whether the offer was still open, and he said yes, of course.  And that was it.  It seemed so natural: Mountain Zendo and Healing Center.  

The next day, Christie was at the dance studio next door, putting the second coat of paint on the lettering for the new sign.  I walked in, told her how beautiful it looked, and said, “You know.  You were right about ‘Share the Sweater’.  I’m going to change the name, to Mountain Zendo and Healing Center.”  She paused, paintbrush in hand, and said, “Oh.”  A look of dejection flashed across her face.  I hastened to tell her that no, no, I’d still use her sign. It would be perfect.  Just the thing!  She was relieved.  And very happy about the new name.  I asked what she’d think about painting my new website address on the wall beneath her sign.  No problem!

Within a few days, Christie and I managed to get the sign up.  Just in time for my Second Sunday Sesshin.  It was somehow quite fitting that while we were in the zendo, meditating, Christie was sitting out front, painting the web address on the wall.  She told me when the sesshin was over that two women who’d stopped by to look at the place had remarked to Christie,  ”This place looks like someone had a wonderful idea and made it happen.”  How nice that Christie was there to hear that remark and that she passed it on to me.  I think it about sums it up.

So, I hope you’ll stop by soon and visit the new Mountain Zendo and Healing Center.  Check out my beautiful new sign in person.  For now, you can see what it looks like here:

new sign

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Reiki heaven

     One fabulous benefit of being a Reiki practitioner is that you get to go to Reiki shares.  I hold a Reiki share at my Center one evening a month for my students and Reiki friends. What is a Reiki share?  Basically, a bunch of us get together to give each other Reiki sessions.  I hold it in my Center’s meditation room, since it’s nice to have everyone work together in one space.  So, I stack the meditation mats and cushions off to the side and bring my three Reiki tables in there.  Then, depending on how many people show up for the evening, we work two to three people to a table, doing half-hour sessions for each other, so that by evening’s end, we’ve all gotten a chance to both give and receive Reiki.  

This month’s share was on Wednesday evening, and this time there were eight of us.  Now you also have to know that our Reiki shares have also come to be associated with chocolate.  I think it started because I usually bake some kind of chocolate dessert for folks to snack on – and it just so happens this crowd includes some serious chocolate fans.  So, after the first couple of shares, when we all ended up talking about chocolate during the breaks between sessions, one of my students began bringing some really fabulous chocolate for us to munch on.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure whether people now come for the Reiki or the chocolate.  Not that it much matters, because both are divine!

So maybe you’re wondering what it’s like to take part in a Reiki share.  If you’ve ever had a Reiki session, you know how relaxing it is to lie on the table and feel yourself grow more and more deeply relaxed as the energy spreads through your body.  Having a session at a share is similar, but my experience is that it can be even more intense.  I think that’s partly because you’ll often have two people giving you Reiki at once, and since the energy’s coming in through four hands instead of just two, you drop into the relaxed state more quickly and deeply than you might otherwise.

But that’s not all.  There’s something very moving and sweet about receiving Reiki in a room where other sessions are going on, too.  When you have five or six people giving Reiki at the same time, the whole endeavor, for both the recipients and practitioners, seems more powerful, more sacred.  Giving Reiki in this setting, we are aware not only of our own intent focus, but of everyone else’s, too.  Our common intention to summon as much healing energy as possible and pass it along to the people lying before us fills the room with an air of compassionate earnestness. We adjust our hands, slowly and silently shifting our positions,  like dancers improvising moves according to some internal sense or intuition. Receiving Reiki during the share, we are aware of a deep stillness that is present against the background of the soft music. Sometimes we lose awareness of any distinction between our hands and the body of the person we’re working on: because we move our hands and then let them settle and rest in one spot for a minute or two, and because the action is so meditative, the opportunity arises for this distinction to fall away as if we were in deep meditation.  Rather than having a sense that I am giving Reiki to someone, there is simply the calm, happy presence of energy flowing, just flowing, not from or to anyone. Receiving Reiki during the share, we can experience the same thing: it begins to feel that the hands resting on us are part of us, that they are us and we them, without boundary.  

 Is it any surprise, then,  that after each session ends, we all contentedly amble out into the front room and reach for a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate?  

When we’d finished all of our sessions on Wednesday night, it seemed that most people were in no hurry to leave.  We were all in such good spirits.  One woman remarked that when she comes home after having had Reiki, her family members, caught off guard by her relaxed, smiling face, ask, “What is up with you??!”  And she says, “What do you mean?  I’m just happy.  I had Reiki.”  

But I think that what produced the profound sense of happiness and well-being the other night was not just the simple fact that we’d all given and received a Reiki treatment.  It was more than that, at least for me.  All of us there were united by a desire to not only practice our craft, but also to do something healing and meaningful for other human beings, whether they’re friends, casual acquaintances or people we’ve just met for the first time.  And there’s something so moving about that.  Looking around the room during one of the sessions, what I saw was everyone else standing at their tables, mostly with eyes closed in calm absorption, having set aside their own “stuff” so that the energy could flow through them unimpeded.  That’s what always strikes me: of course we all love the shares because we get some Reiki.  But it’s obvious that everyone who comes is just as anxious to give Reiki, to really share it, to give of themselves.  

The other night, after all the sessions were done, between bites of chocolate, someone asked, “Do we really have to leave?  Can’t we just sleep here?”  Longing glances were cast at the meditation mats that had been restored to their usual location.  I replied that I probably had enough mats for everyone to stretch out on; someone suggested that the Center could be an occasional Reiki Hotel: come for a session, stay the night.  That seemed very tempting, but eventually we all made our way out the door, leaving the meditation mats were un-utilized as cots -at least this time!  

But what remained, at least for me, was a sense of the strong bond that has formed between those of us who come to these shares – and there are about 10 -15 of us, although we haven’t ever all been in attendance at once.  To me, this seems an uncommon type of connection in today’s world, and the shares – a rare oasis in the midst of our otherwise hectic and busy lives, a time and place where we embrace the opportunity to enter the stillness of that room with these other people  and allow ourselves to be guided in our joint work by a shared sincere commitment to care for and sustain each other with this powerful Reiki energy.  I left the Center the other night feeling so grateful to be a part of this group of Reiki folks, to have developed an ongoing connection with them.  And the chocolate’s not a bad thing, either…

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