WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU HELD HANDS WITH A STRANGER?
“In the end, only kindness matters” – Jewel
Last night, I was reminded of a few simple truths.
I attended an interesting event that was a unique blend of a vegan potluck, amateur comedy night, and community healing circle. I don’t think I’ve ever been to anything like it before in terms of the variety of activities, diversity of people, and the reflections that I had afterwards.
I’m not sure what made the event work well, but it did.
There was a vegan potluck at the beginning, with voting for the top three dishes and cash prizes awarded at the end. The dish I brought took home 2nd prize, second only to some delectable, organic, rose petal chocolate vegan brownies.
There was stand up comedy that ranged the full spectrum of humour, from brilliant wit, to perverse and crude, to downright uncomfortable and awkward.
But by far, the most unique part of the evening, was at the end of the evening around 10pm, the organizer asked us to stand in a circle and hold hands to close the evening off. Now normally, I’m very open to such community-building experiences, but the flow of the evening surprised me. I didn’t expect what unfolded next would ever occur after a vegan potluck and comedy show.
The organizer asked us to hold hands and make a circle. As we stood there, we each took a turn to introduce ourselves, a little bit about what we did, and then share something. This sharing could be something we were grateful for, or some positive energy we wanted to send to someone we knew, or an insightful message for the others in the circle.
What was surprising was the depth, authenticity, and comfort with which people in the circle shared, albeit to a circle of strangers. People shared stories of finding themselves, wishes for loved ones, and encouragement for others in the circle to continue to create the world they want to live in.
It was inspiring, moving, and touching all at once.
Once we had gone around the circle of over 20 people and heard their sharing, the organizer asked us to take a deep breath, cultivate all of the healing and positive energy we had shared into the circle, and send it out to the universe as the group collectively chanted 3 Oms. Next, we went around the circle, wishing that the person next to us continue to fare well on their path by saying “From My Heart To Yours”, as we took their hand and touched our heart and then theirs.
It has taken some time for me to ruminate on what actually happened last night, and how a group of strangers could open up, listen so deeply, and why this experience was so powerful and transformative.
It reminded me that despite our differences, professional backgrounds, life experiences, and knowledge, we can’t judge each other on face value. We all have things we’re going through, we all have something to offer and share, and that we all have wisdom that can inspire someone else in some way. It is amazing to know what can come out of sharing some food, laughs, and a bit of ourselves while holding hands with strangers in a circle.