I am running a series of workshops at a great local bookstore in Southfield, MI. Check out www.innerwisdomtoday.com for more information or to attend!
Last week I was at Cal-a-Vie, a spa nestled on two hundred acres in a secluded area about 40 miles north of San Diego. There, with President George H. W. Bush (#41) and Mrs. Barbara Bush, many of their family members, the Secret Service (they really are nice guys,) owners John and Terri Havens, as well as Larry Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers), assorted wives, true loves, new friends and dear friends. In the midst, I embraced the joy of being. But isn't it also true you can find love and grace in the most unexpected places?
It was great fun to work out, dance, and eat with this group (we all inhaled Chef Jason Graham's exquisitely beautiful and nutritious food). In this setting, we revitalized meaningful conversation (translation: no TV, cell phones, or email at the dinner table.) Slightly reminiscent of olden days, here families and colleagues gathered together to share stories and giggle, hold hands or enjoy the scads of blueberry bushes that line the walks (yep, being held to eating 1200 calories a day is not easy and I will admit I ate a few on the pathway to dinner!)
This place brimmed with hospitality and spirituality, with many from different faiths. Most of us gathered to celebrate life. Some, an end to a chapter in history, others, a renewal in what the body can do (I now know it IS possible to Zumba, dance to Greased Lightening, walk the rolling hills in the morning, do the treadmill for 45 minutes, AND run to restorative yoga class all in the same day). With everyone in what appeared to be U.S. Army-issued Grey sweats and t-shirts, the playing field was leveled. We laughed and ate our way to better health in our bathrobes too, while inviting the presence of Grace through it all.
One evening, while John Haven's dad turned 85 years young, Larry Gatlin strummed old Gospel tunes on his guitar in a 15th century chapel. This chapel was flown in to Cal-a-Vie piece by piece years ago by the Havens. The chapel rests majestically in this tranquil place, with nothing more than about 20 wooden pews and two chandeliers with abundant candles that must be lowered to be lit. There was no electricity. While all of us were hushed in reverence of the setting, Larry sat on a high stool by a simple alter and related stories about his years in the country music industry. He talked about how he, Steve and Rudy spent a great deal of time singing in churches. He revealed what mattered to him most in life: his family, music, and the opportunity to share his gift with the world.
In the spirit of the moment, no matter our faith, we joined together to sing "Do Lord" "Amazing Grace" and"In the Garden." The Divine blasted many hearts wide open that night as Grace poured into the open windows. We were reminded that diversity, whether it is our wisdom traditions, upbringing, our socio-economic status, careers, or even our politics, gives us an opportunity to reach out further to another human being to find a common thread. We all share the same Spirit and in moments like this, Grace usually shows up...always on the house and free of charge. It's our bonus round. It always enriches us, in a way that is unique to each individual no matter if we are in a place of meditative calm or comforting a dying friend.
Now.... if I can just get Bob, who has been on Secret Service detail for 22 years, to give me a hug next time, you'll know that Grace is truly amazing!