Arrived in Drumnadrochit last night to find I was invited to share a very special birthday moment with someone I had just met. The backpackers lodge has just been taken over by new management (and their adorable baby), they had prepared a birthday cake for a member of the staff, and just as I arrived in the kitchen, they came in to light the candles. I was asked to join in the celebration with the other staff singing "Happy Birthday." I felt uncomfortable, out of place, and yet it felt nice to be celebrating for someone and nice to be singing, brining a feeling of value to a complete stranger. From the moment I arrived, I felt related; like I was an old friend. Sometimes, life has a synchronicity that is unexplainable, filled with genuine connection and pricelessness. We find ourselves in a significant moment at the most unexpected of times or places. Last week I happened to be in a shop making sounds with a singing bowl to be met with a return ting. Doubting myself, I made the sound again; and sure enough, there was another ting in response. Looking around, I couldn't see anyone. Baffled but curious, I began to play a short tune with the different bowls and a responding tune followed. Finally, I saw a younger man, hidden behind some merchandise, smiling at me and holding tiny bells. We continued to play our shared music for a while. It was a wonderful moment. At the backpackers lodge yesterday evening, the theme was connection, be it mother to baby, manager to staff, staff to guests, stranger to stranger... the real human to human moments that touch the soul and remain lasting memories.
I have met the most wonderful, heart-kind individuals, and spent an evening in the company of people whom were strangers until the sharing of their incredible life experiences. On learning our shared connectedness in different places, over a wonderful, hand-cooked meal and pudding, I am truly grateful. We are all so unique, yet share much. I am moved by each of the stories I have heard and felt this weekend, as well as the benevolence.
Feeling connected to our shared yet subjective humanity. Gratitude.
On a bus journey once, I was sat next to an interesting lady of 82. Quite a character and happy to chat. Often, she chose poetry or phrases from the bible to convey her sense of meaning, which was quite endearing. We talked about health, family, love, youth, art... moral code again. The older lady, we did not exchange names, is from outside Perth, and quite appreciates the artistic culture she finds herself in. This very much came through in her stories and she had a good sense of her own soul. In talking about travel, she has often met people on buses who were either in the mood to talk or preferred silence. She generally just respects people as they are; and as a result, has talked with many. "Entertaining Angels unawares," she called it, from The Bible, Hebrews 13:2. Translation: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." She said you just never know to whom you have been talking, always best to be respectful and kind. I think this little old lady was an angel :)
The gift of connection in times of need
Recently, a long time friend of mine turned up at the Community Art Studio with the above gifts. A little hand-decorated box filled with some shamanic love. I have been lost for words other than thank you for some time. In this past week, these have played a beautiful part in preparation for my treatment and general healing.
I have taken some of the little trinkets that accompany this bottle with me on my travels, and I have used them to meditate and reflect deeply. The biggest gift from this is to trust in the now, the here and now, and also to trust that whatever will be, will be. Life has its own unfolding pace.
I wonder what it is about connection that lifts us?
Maslow's hierarchy of needs lists love and belonging as key to self development, I want to reflect on this more.