the first exercise we did on 'the path' was to stand in a circle, close our eyes and move about the room. i thought to myself 'yuck, i hate these kind of games, this is why i work with youth, so i can make other people play them, not me...'
during the discomfort of our temporary blindness and sharing a room with other strangers also feeling so uncomfortable we were told to extend our right hand and clasp the hand of another. we then spent time 'getting to know that other hand'.
it's a strange experience to say the least. it felt like 5 minutes, but was probably less, but in that time of exploration i realized that the hand i was holding felt so similar to my mother's hand. it became very comforting, almost 'otherworldly' somehow.
we were then instructed to say 'goodbye' to that hand. i raised it to my lips and softly kissed the back of it. i know it was strange, but i truly felt as if i was holding the hand of my mother (who died almost 17 years ago). we then were to mingle about again, and then had to refind our partner's hand. i knew that hand, i knew i would have no problem finding that hand again. other hands would grasp mine and i shook them off because i knew they were not 'mine'.
once we refound our 'hand' we were then able to open our eyes to reveal who the owner was. mine was a woman named constance, she was kind, quiet and i looked forward to getting to know her more.
meal times at linwood house took place in the dining room and the parlor. two tables were always set with lovely china awaiting our glorious meals (prepared lovingly by stephanie). dining in the parlor was always a spiritual experience for me. i posted while there about 'thin spaces' - that parlor was the place i was referring to.
sitting at that table with 8 women who barely knew each other we began to tell our stories. i don't know how it came to be, but we found that most of us had either struggled with infertility, adoption, birth or other deep issues that surrounded motherhood. it was then that connie spoke of her infertility. i don't know why, but the spirit told me i needed to share with her that she had the hand of a mother.
after the meal i spoke with connie and told her of the experience i had during our hand holding exercise. it was a sacred moment and one i will treasure forever.
at the end of the path we were to choose partners to take us from the retreat into the working out of our visions. both connie and i did not want to be selfish in our choosing, but i knew that i truly wanted her 'motherly' influence in my life, i needed that, it would redeem a place within my soul that felt great loss. she is a woman of creative force and beauty, a deep well, and i long to get to know her more deeply as time passes.
you can too, she has begun a blog and you can find her here.