A dear friend that I saw for the first time in a few months commented that I seemed changed. More settled. More myself.
I feel this, too
I've been intently focused on and conscious of getting more connected. Last week, I went to a "Conscious Family Dinner" with two other ladies from my book club. The idea of it sounded super cool: a big group of spiritual folk offering Reiki, cuddles, palm readings, love coaching, workshops, and a whole lot of delicious vegan, gluten-free food. I'm allllllllll about that.
Despite us leaving earlier than scheduled, we arrive late because of some accident on the 101. But we are all relaxed about it - "everything happens in the exact right timing," we repeat to ourselves a few times to manage frustration. The lateness means we will miss the opening ceremony and the free gifts! Oh, well. This is spiritual. We want not.
At about 7:30 pm, we roll up to the La Maida Institute, which is basically a gorgeous mansion-like building in North Hollywood. I instantly decide I'm going to buy it and live there forever and ever. I will become THE most spiritual and generous person once this place is mine. The energy of this evening is already working on me.
Then, I start to get uncomfortable. Oh, riiiiiiiight, there's going to be OTHER people here. Like, people that I don't know that I might need to talk to. My introverted self wants to hightail it out of there.
Fortunately, we wander around for awhile and check out the different rooms and workshop areas, and we kill enough time doing this that I'm not forced to make small talk with anyone.
We eat some food, and then we stroll on over to the first workshop, which is all about laughing. THIS MAKES ME INCREDIBLY NERVOUS. Why??? Why, self??? Why would laughing in front of a bunch of total spiritual strangers make you nervous? I cannot find the answer in enough time before the workshop starts. So I go with it. I laugh. I laugh a lot. I laugh very hard, and I sometimes fake it, but after the 30 minutes of laughing is over, I feel better. I feel more social. I feel like maybe I can DO this.
We stay in the room for another workshop about the shadow self vs. higher self. This topic resonates with me because I definitely feel like I'm currently in a Marvel-comic-like battle with these two sides of myself. The girl who leads this talk is extremely impassioned about the subject, and has us name our "selves." I go with Magical Mandy as my higher self, and for my shadow self, Winter. Because whenever I feel the darkness coming on in the form of sadness or anger or other unpleasant emotions, I get to say, "WINTER IS COMING."
Next, is our Soul Party. Here, we will learn how to have meaningful connections with strangers, and not feel nervous about it. Well, isn't this fine and dandy. Exactly what I need! SPIRIT IS WITH ME, PEOPLE.
At this point, my confidence is higher. I'm feeling ready. It's GAME TIME.
The leader of the session has us chat with someone for a few minutes like we normally would. I'm paired with a very bubbly actress, so the interaction is actually pretty easy. The next go around, he gives us a small notecard that has 3 questions on it, one of which is, "What is something you are proud of that you don't normally share with people?" The idea is to ask more meaningful questions of people so that you can make more meaningful connections. It makes sense. And it works. I feel like I learn more about the 2nd person with whom I exchanged these new, deeper questions and answers. As we wrap up, I find myself curious about how to integrate these types of questions with people I'm just meeting that are not aware they are at the Soul Party with me. But I don't worry about that right now because I don't have to talk to any more strangers tonight ...
We conclude the evening sitting around the firepit with some delicious tea that is designed to support women's reproductive health, and I am satisfied with the evolution of the evening culminating in a warm, menstrual-balancing beverage. I feel like I let go a little bit of my "shy" identity over the course of the event, and toyed around with being a person who looks strangers in the eyes for more than a few seconds. Conscious Family Dinner turned out to be a spiritually cleansing experience.
And I'm realizing, this entire cleanse is becoming much more than just eating better. It's becoming a spiritual and emotional cleansing that's bringing me home to my higher self, or my "divine self," as Max (The Crystal Skull) would say.
By cleansing and releasing what no longer serves me, I'm making room for what does. Allowing joy to enter into the picture. Laughing longer and harder than I should. And not feeling ashamed about it.
There's no place like home.