People come and go through our life, passing through our life or we are passing through their life. Sometimes we barely touch the externals of each other’s life. Sometimes not only do we cross paths but our hearts touch each other or our souls connect, touching us ever so softly or extremely deep. Sometimes we meet a person who in another place and another time we may have never spoken to. This person becomes a friend only because we have been thrust into a situation or circumstance together.
Living at a retreat center, many people have been passing through my life touching me on different levels-ever so gently and softly or reaching down into the depths of my heart and soul. It triggers memories of others who have passed through, those I have left behind or who have just turned to travel down a different road.
It doesn’t matter if the encounter is brief or long. It depends on how I was touched and how I carry the memories of them with me. Sometimes when and where we meet, the time and place in relation to where we are on our path affect the kind of relationship that develops and how it touches us. Circumstances sometimes dictate if it is a casual acquaintance, a friend, a permanent or temporary relationship, or an intimate relationship. Relationships change over time as each person shifts, grows, develops and proceeds on their own path. With the passing of time or circumstances relationships often drift in and out becoming stronger or fading out.
Each relationship no matter how limited and brief or long and intimate can affect our own growth, sometimes deeply, sometimes subtly. Often we dismiss encounters and relationships not opening too them and allowing the possibilities to touch us or become enriched by them. Deepening in a relationship isn’t always in the amount of time we spend with someone or the kind of relationship or interactions but in the spiritual and emotional intimacy we allow to transpire in that encounter. A simple smile from a stranger when our heart desperately needs it can have a deep emotional impact on us.
Sometimes you know immediately when an encounter will remain deeply with you or has affected you profoundly. Other times it is much later when we realize that-that moment was pivotal in our journey becoming a decisive moment of profound change, insight or wisdom. Whether the experience is positive or negative depends on how you perceive it more than the experience itself.
Any experience or encounter can shift something within you. It affects you in proportion to how much you need to heal or be moved to becoming whole. People, place, events, circumstances, and experiences of all kinds move us into healing and wholeness. They shift and move you along your personal journey addressing issues within your soul. All these experiences reach inside you if you let them and help you discover something about yourself.
I can never write about each and every person who touched me in some way or another in this year. And I can never thank them enough. Each person changed a piece of me, some in small ways others in huge ways.
The central core centered around five people who became critical to my healing and growing process. They are Sister Henrita, Roberta, Raymundo, Linda, and John but the circle is as large as the surrounding woods. Their blessings, friendship, camaraderie opened a door within me. They helped me find my way through the woods.
Sister Henrita supported me, encouraged me and gently guided me through the events that triggered the past and feared the future. She listened, asked questions, got tears flowing and got me dreaming again. Each step cleared out old resistance and incorrect beliefs that affected my every choice and decision in my life. She was my mentor and my spiritual guidance director. Even her pushing me to step out and move beyond the center she did with kindness and compassion, lovingly prodding me out of hesitation and fear.
Roberta cared for my body, heart, and spirit. She massaged my aching muscles, kneaded out stress from my shoulders, and healed my body after I fell on the ice. She listened and offered her wisdom when my spirit was sad or lonely. She opened her home to us on Saturday evenings so we could have a space to share our connection with the divine and each other.
Linda became my sister. She showed me where my strengths were. She not only encouraged me to come out of the shell I was hiding in but she got me living more fully and abundantly. Our evenings of sharing wine, chocolate, and conversations of dreams, desires, and hopes for the future lifted my spirit, gave me courage and self-esteem I was lacking. Our trips to Minneapolis had me having fun and experiencing life.
Raymundo reminded me of my love of music and dance. He made me feel comfortable and even sensual with my body. We shared our feelings about not having our daughters in our lives every day. We discovered several shared experiences that have connected us together forever.
John guided me deeper and further then I was brave enough to go on my own. John’s role in my time here is deeper than these few words and you will discover later. The depth of changes that I experienced through these relationships started a chain of life-altering events for me.
I didn’t come here to make friends yet I find myself deeply connecting with this group, Linda, Raymundo, and John. The four of us have bonded in friendship drawn to this place all for very different reasons. For this moment in each of our journeys, we are weaving in and out of each other’s experience. We share secrets. We release demons. We encourage and support each other along the way. The sisters tell us that no other volunteers have bonded together in friendship this way.
I never expected to share such intimate details of myself with strangers yet it feels natural to be sharing this sacredness with them. Without my interactions with each of them during my stay, I don’t think I would have developed in the way I have. The deepness and richness of my interactions with each have allowed me to go into the depths of myself further than I would have dared on my own. In addition, many guests who I have spent time with also have affected and influenced my path in subtle and not so subtle ways.
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