I got home late last night and tossed and turned for hours, reflecting on a difficult experience with a friend I had traveled with to a yoga retreat in the UK over the weekend.
Somehow, her interpretation of my actions and a misunderstanding of something she thought I had done but hadn’t actually done had caused her to ignore me for most of the weekend and then blow up in a rage on the drive home.
The entire experience was kind of surreal to me, especially because I try so hard to be sensitive to other people and also because I take other people’s reactions to heart even when I know but generally it has very little to do with me more to do with their own life experiences, culture, stresses, etc.
Every time something like this happens in my life, I do my best to process the experience and let it go. It’s so challenging to shake, especially knowing that another person (someone I considered a friend in this case) sees something do negative in me and also knowing there isn’t really anything I can do to change their story. I try to explain to my husky that not all dogs want to be his friend, but he continues to try to play with all the dogs he meets, even the ones who try to attack him or growl to let him know to keep his distance. Even cognitively understanding that not all people will jive with my way of moving through the world, it’s still difficult each time I experience it, especially someone I thought was a friend.
All you can do is embrace the positive, my friend and fellow volunteer Sarah reminded me of this afternoon when I described the experience to her. Life is too short.
We met this afternoon at the refugee center where we offer a poetry and songwriting session every Monday afternoon. I was sick the previous Monday and would be out of the town the next Monday, so I went even though I was exhausted from the long days of travel, the intensity of the practice from the weekend yoga workshop, and the surreal experience with my friend.
I also went because I knew I would feel my spirits lifted from the experience. I am always sad when I cannot go because I imagine the world has one less song in it.
It was so very healing to be there this afternoon. To be reunited with my dear friend, to sing together and write new verses to a song we created a couple of weeks ago and that I find incredibly moving. I was invited to sing the song for the final savasana at the yoga weekend, and I poured my entire heart into it as I sang to a great hall filled with beautiful, resting beings.
As I strummed my ukulele beneath the shelter of the covered walkway at the center, the sky shifted from sunshine to grey, groups of pigeons flew in formation with the changing wind, leaves blew, a pigeon coped atop a perch above our heads. And a little girl with big brown eyes and inquisitive hands came over to me. She was first fascinated by my rubber rain boots, stepping on them with her tiny foot and then placing her hand upon them. Then, she reached up to touch the strings of my ukulele and look up into my face with a smile. I couldn’t help but feel my heart open and to know the gift of this shared moment.
It doesn’t matter if the center turns into a transit center, Sarah said, because everything we do is transitory.
It’s true, I agreed. We take a moment and turn it into a song.
In the moment of this Monday afternoon, we lifted our voices in song, celebrating life and appreciating our time together and with the people who stopped to talk with us and listen to the music.