"There's nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood. And understanding someone else.”
― Brad Meltzer,
For the past five days. we have been visiting friends on the East Coast. We have driven to the homes of Dear Ones, brought in our bags, cooked meals together, sat around in our PJ's, watched the birds and wildlife interact in their yards , told stories of our adventures, and laughed at each other's jokes. We have had real, from-the-heart, conversations...the kind that happen when there is plenty of time to let things unfold. The only word that seems to describe the experience is "intimate." These moments have been so remarkably real and so connecting.
We have been loved and made to feel "at home" and I have had little desire to be online, much happier to share the sacredness of each holy moment, person-to-person. I feel so honored to have enjoyed a peek into their lives...to have wandered their neighborhoods, and to have shared in the beauty they are surrounded by each day. In some cases, I have been able to point out the loveliness they have come to take for granted. In other cases, they have pointed out things in my life that seemed beautiful to them and which I no longer notice. It has been such a rich and meaningful time.
It is said that people seek two things in life - "intimacy and ultimacy." We want to feel connected, and we want to understand what life is really all about. I've been thinking about both of these topics.
Tomorrow, we head up the mountain to a festival called Spiritfire. (Actually, it's more like a hill if you are from Colorado - but don't tell anyone around here because perception is reality and it's a mountain to the locals). We will gather with nearly 200 people from arround the Country who come together to share all-night ceremony around a sacred fire. We will dance from dark to dawn, drum and chant, and care for each other (which can mean offering water and food to those who need nourishment, listening to each other as things unfold, or even giving a footrub where needed.) It is work - sacred work - and it changes people. And while it can be exhausting, it is also ecstatic.
For four nights, we will gather in this way, sharing our deep hearts, our vulnerable spirits, our silly, mischievous, playful souls - and, when we are done, we will return to our homes, transformed. My friend Julie would say "it's intimacy on steroids!"
When we work together all night, the facades melt away. We are immersed in the luminous glow of a spiritual flame, and slowly, hour after hour, the movement releases the layers of social identity that keep us separate. In time, we come to dance as one body, sing as one soul, pray as one spirit - prompted by the rhythm of the community pulse. As the sun rises, we look into each other's eyes and remember the ultimate truth of life. We are here for each other - here to experience such a deep interconnectedness with all of life that we realize who we really are. The Divine Expression.
It is intimacy that leads to ultimacy. When we risk letting the pretenses between us fall and show our unprotected hearts to one another, we encounter what some call Agape .... or Unconditional Love. There is nothing more intimate than that.