In response to my earlier vent about how much the hour(s) leading up to bedtime can blow, I received a number of "hell-yeahs." I think several bottles of wine were opened, another woman recalled that she and her friends used to refer to this time as "arsenic hour"... I love how such a basic experience can remind you of the larger community of which you're a part, full of those you know well, somewhat, from afar or even not at all. That sense of connection is grounding, comforting, and I think that feeling is one reason I am so fulfilled by this blog, so appreciative to those who read and correspond with me. Through Em-i-lis, I've gotten to know some people better than I did previously and better than I might have otherwise, I've met new individuals and families, I've reconnected with friends from years ago, I've learned more about who I am and who I want to be. What a gift, and what an unexpected benefit, by the way. In many respects, I'm an old-fashioned sort of gal when it comes to technology: I don't want a Kindle, I like to write things down rather than type them, I crave a real newspaper in my hands, I didn't even have a cell phone until 2001 (which, I think, was a bit behind schedule), and only recently did I stop using a paper planner. It was, thus, with some hesitation that I jumped into the online world of interaction, but what a surprise I had in store. There is something so appealing about the (often quick and casual) exchanges you can have with others who share an interest or with whom something resonated. Age, appearance and geography seem to lose the relevance they might have in person, leaving in their place, an openness where we can simply listen to and learn from each other. It's cool.
So again, thank you for reading and writing, for cooking and sharing. ~~ This evening, I went to a Guided Meditation at J's school. A committee of which I'm part sponsored the event, but as the time drew near, so too did my realization of how dark and cold it was outside, how tired I was and how comfortable my slippers were. You can imagine the mental volleying that commenced. But I grabbed a few rum balls and made my way out, and it was an absolutely wonderful experience. I was struck by how a dozen or so people, many of whom didn't know/hadn't seen each other before tonight, came together, trusted each other and sat silently, alone yet in community, for nearly an hour. Even with my eyes closed, the stillness in the room was palpable. I can't recall the last time I was that still, that truly quiet, my mind relatively free from distraction, my body so statuesque -literally- that I was stiff by the end.
Afterwards, there was such an atmosphere of friendliness and peace. It wasn't forced at all, there was no sense of hokum or pressure. Perhaps this communal experience is what prompted my reflections at the start of this piece; perhaps those thoughts facilitated an easier experience tonight. I don't know, but I'm grateful for both as they serve as powerful reminders of the value of staying open to the experiences life pushes towards you.