This article is graciously provided by Sylvia Lovely, local “story doula” and community-builder. Learn more about Sylvia’s work at www.sylvialovely.com
The UNIVERSE visited us in Good Foods Co-op the other evening! I was teaching my “Writing the Stories of Your Life” class in the beloved Community Room. Huddled together, the writers began the three class series forming a community and after developing trust, moved on to sharing their work with one another. Having taught many years for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in partnership with Good Foods Co-op, I was accustomed to hosting those who did not consider themselves writers but who wow’ed me with their insights conveyed through their stories.There was joy in the room. This method is time-honored and has worked with all my “Writing the Stories of Your Life” classes over the years.
On this night, however, one writer was reflecting on a particularly tragic and impactful life moment. Getting emotional, the writer began to apologize. As I started to respond with a loving “Don’t ever feel you have to say I’m sorry,” I was interrupted by a faraway voice. Someone in the café outside the community room preempted me and from far away said “Don’t say you are sorry!” It was delivered in a light-hearted tone as it likely was two friends playfully bantering over some shared moment. It wafted into the room as light as air and did not go unheeded by the participants. “I felt chills,” said one. But, in a good way.
Perhaps, one suggested, it was the universe agreeing with our shared sentiment that there is no sorrow in relating the contents of one’s authentic heart to those with whom trust is shared. That it was light and playful, and took the tension away allowed our writer to move on.. After all, the objective of the class is the shared experience that returns us from a bewildering world to the love and comfort of one another.
There is a theory that the energy of the universe speaks to us in mysterious ways; however we don’t often listen. When I am in the Good Foods Co-op Café with a dear friend, new acquaintance or even by myself, I can feel the energy surrounding and supporting me. I even find that when alone, I lean-in to conversations all around me and wonder at the shared purposes, friendship and community. We can ask, have the Co-op walls absorbed that mysterious energy only to share it within the human experience if we have opened ourselves to its magic.
Once in California, I began a coffee shop conversation with a woman who responded to my question inquiring about her profession with “I am in the field of energy.” “Are you into oil, gas, or renewable energy,” I asked. “No,” she responded, “I am into human energy and its potential to change the world for the better.”
Can a conversation over coffee in the Co-op Café change the world? As famed anthropologist once said: “Never doubt that thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
The next time the universe speaks, step through the door it opens –Listen, Absorb, Act.