Oh life, you really are interesting aren’t you? Especially if you’re listening to what it has to say!
A bit of background:
I’ve always been one of those people that seem to attract those in need… and from a very young age too. In need of telling their life stories, in need of a hug, in need of a glass of wine…. you get it. I mean even complete strangers have shared their inner most secrets and pains with me. Once I even had this elderly long term homeless man come up to me for a hug…. just a hug was all he needed. Of course I gave him one as I strolled back from a dinner in the middle of Melbourne city.
Sometimes I’ll offer a Reiki healing or a guided meditation or sometimes it’s: ‘I’m here and so is the wine!’
I understand that this must be part of my ‘service’ here on earth. Which I don’t take lightly, try to embrace (sometimes difficult to do) and try to do so with as much grace as possible (again, not always so easy but I’m working on it).
Now, if you’re like me and this is also your journey, you’ll know that it can get a little tricky to not let it drain you. To be able to learn how to protect your own energy. Sometimes it comes easy and sometimes not, especially when you yourself have a lot on your plate.
But it is essential that we do learn how to do it, for ourselves and for those that need our ear and our hugs, otherwise a complete withdrawal becomes a very tempting option.
So, I was having one of those weeks when I did just want to crawl into my cave and replenish…. which is not all together unreasonable faced with a move overseas, visa applications, new schools to enrol the kids in, work commitments etc etc… but also slightly impractical.
I decided to take a quick stroll down to my local shopping area to grab a juice and check out a recycled clothing store to see if I could sell some of my better designer rags (Trelise, Lisa Ho etc) before my appointment at the Osteo.
Now the woman running the store seemed quite distanced, unfriendly and just not someone that emitted any warmth, or so it seemed. I’ll admit it, I made a quick but subtle judgment call about her character and which, let’s just say, wasn’t a glowing reference.
Anyway, after a little while browsing the store, we did get chatting. I’m not entirely sure what the conversation starter was. Maybe I was admiring a pair of shoes, handbag or some other shiny object.
We then moved onto the fact that I was trying to lighten the load for my impending move to Bali.
‘What are you going to be doing there?’, she asks.
I began to mention my retreats, how they are going to be different to the many already established ‘yoga & meditation’ retreats currently available (not taking away from their importance and fabulousness – just don’t need another one by me – not an expert here) , although they would include those aspects. How I wanted to incorporate local Balinese cooking classes, healthy eating habits, personalised coaching sessions, dance classes and the art of journalling.
JOURNALLING she says! (this is where I was expecting to have to explain this as I have done on numerous occassions in the past).
Massive fan she says. Can’t speak highly enough of the cathartic benefits of journalling.
Okay…. this conversation is taking an interesting twist.
And then it came…… HER STORY.
This woman that I had previously judged in a not oh so flattering way had suffered the loss of her son to suicide.
I won’t go into the details of course, but I stood there for a good 45 mins listening to this womans tragic and heart breaking story.
She is a brave and strong woman who is now running a support group for parents in the same awful situation. She understands the path to healing. She knows you can’t heal by hiding from the truth or the reality of a situation. She discusses freely and she journals her heart out.
She understands that it’s her given duty to help others in need by sharing her story and her grief. By being real. By honouring his memory and his life.
She’s not afraid to feel the pain. She is extremely brave.
At the end of our conversation I gave her a big hug!
Yes, I had been there to listen to her story today, but this wasn’t a oneway exchange by any means.
She reminded me that everyone has a story. To not be too quick to judge. That’s a big reminder. Just sit with that one thought for a moment.
She also made me realise that I have something of great value to offer my clients. If she could get so much out of journalling in her awful circumstances, why did I seem to almost downplay/not value this aspect of my retreat? Is it because I feel people won’t understand what I’m trying to give them? Does that come from comparing to other retreats and what I think people want to hear? Does it come from lacking the confidence to articulate the merits? I’m not sure is the honest answer. I don’t know where it has stemmed from, but I do know that I won’t be so meek or scared to really express what it is that I am offering.
The journalling wasn’t the only aspect, she loved the idea of dancing and having some fun to break up the week, the choice to sit by the pool (preferably journalling) if that’s what you need to do. To enjoy a glass of wine in the evening with the other guests and to learn the art of local Balinese cuisine.
I don’t even know this woman’s name, but boy, I will certainly be going back to thank her. Maybe with a little bag of bliss balls and a bottle of wine ; )
Glad I was paying attention that day! Thank you Universe
Big hugs & much love
(and watch this space for my retreat details – coming soon!)