Even though much of my work is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to write, and this is the place for that. Feel free to join in the conversation. Thanks for reading.
On Sunday summer mornings, I love to stroll around town at the speed of the soul, with eyes wide open to the world surrounding me. Sweet surprises and soulful conversations abound. On a recent Sunday, the first occurred as I sat on a sunny bench reading a compelling story in Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence Survivors, by Anne Ream. I put the book down because a trio of tots came skipping down the sidewalk in front of me, their palpable joy was contagious. (Oh, and I absolutely love little kids!) The minute I began to talk, I noticed that they averted their eyes until their mother said, “It’s OK.” With heart break, I realized that there was an unnamed barrier keeping us from connecting safely. I was a stranger who looked a lot different. With eyes downcast, they sat on the bench next to me and I savored a few stolen moments, learning that their names all began with the letter A and they were skipping off to a spa day at home where mommy would do their hair and nails. Off they went!
My next soulful encounter occurred at the gym. One of the trainers and I shared stories about the critical importance of motivation, persistent daily practice, and engaging mind, body and soul. She works with the body, I work with the soul. Our physical differences are noteworthy but didn't keep us from connecting.
The third of my spontaneous conversations took place at a locally female-owned dress shop, which offered me a multi-sensorial experience thanks to her unique composition of textures and colors and the artistic way Michelle arranges the clothing. We talked about the uprising of women’s voices and noted uptick of women in power and together began to imagine a possible community event, bringing her people and mine together.
The categories and walls separating us are mighty and there’s great work to be done erasing boundaries and borders between us. Each time I lean in and meet eye to eye and heart to heart with another soul, especially one who sees the world, and is seen by the world, differently, the connection is so rich and rewarding.
One of the reasons I chose this community is because of the diversity of perspectives, reflections and experiences of the people who live together here. Each time I leave the comfort of my home, I am guaranteed juicy intersections. Connecting with these soulful women nourished my mind, heart and soul in ways staying at home with people who look, act and think like me cannot. Isn’t it time to break down walls and dream up new possibilities together in the space between us? What if we bring back the town square and make it wide open and inclusive enough to hold all of our fabulously varying views? If we aren’t the people and now isn’t the time, it may never come again.