Last week we gathered again at Casa del Bienestar to enjoy another circle of silence, stories and listening, what we globally call Awakin Circles.
Awakin is a combination of Awakening and Kin! :). Every circle is a unique manifestation of collective wisdom and last one in Burgos was one of those where the wealth of stories became really apparent. Few stories impacted me so I wanted to share them with you here as well!
Reading of the week was about the idea of neighbor, and although it didn’t resonate with everyone, it generated space for brilliant stories and reflections.
Vicky opened the circle with a story of this Christmas. She spent few days with her family in northern England and her mother spoke to her about her neighbor downstairs, a very solitary woman, sad and quite disagreeable. Most of the neighbors have had some kind of clash with her. In those circumstances, Vicky said, is when greatest possibility for transformation lies. Vicky and her mother realized this woman was going to spend Christmas Eve all by herself, so after some discussion, they decided to invite her to spend Christmas Eve with them. That very same night, the woman shared tears with them, she told them the story of her life, her sufferings, and she even gave them a gift. After dinner she said: ‘This is the most beautiful thing nobody has ever done for me.’ The woman felt pure love coming from complete strangers, something she hasn’t even felt, even within her family. I don’t think it’s exaggerated to say that Vicky and her mum changed the emotional ecology of this woman forever. As Vicky paraphrased: ‘Be kind with everyone, because you never know what inner battle they are fighting.’ #SmallisBeautiful
Quique shared one of his latest experiments: to leave his home door open all the time! He has been inspired directly by Casa del Bienestar, one of the latest generosity experiments in the local ecosystem, and indirectly by people like Pancho, thousands of kilometers away. He thinks this act will help him connect better with his neighbors. He reflected: ‘I know better these people at Casa del Bienestar, who I feel are my true neighbors, so it made me think of how could I create such trust with my physical neighbors as well.’ The other day, one of the neighbor’s pets decided to break the ice! The dog entered Quique’s home and after him, his owner. That already allowed them to connect a little deeper, and start generating a field of relationship and trust. We don’t know where this experiment will take Quique, but knowing him, we can expect a whole re-love-ution on his building! His story reminded me a lot to the group La Escalera, who are trying to facilitate the emergence of more community in unchosen communities like the resident associations. I also remembered the initiative of the Kind Fridge! Amazing! Go Quique!
Diego also shared his experiences from when he was working in a Hotel in Madrid. Most of the people passing by were kind, but there was always someone who was not that kind.Once, Diego welcomed someone who seemed really angry at the time. Diego decided to stay kind, and stay smiling, trying to help this woman realize there was no need for anger in that moment. She wouldn’t understand Diego’s attitude, because Diego went on smiling and smiling. When it seemed like the woman was going to get out of his way, he managed to connect with her and finally ended up giving her a hug. This ultimately shattered the woman’s walls and she finally relaxed and smiled to Diego!! #Nonviolence. How far has that hug or Diego’s attitude traveled in the woman’s life? We don’t know, but I truly believe these experiences can stay in the memory as emotional reminders of the possible!
The story also reminded me of my friend Andrés, in Estonia. Andrés ended up being famous in his country just because he was kind to everyone and he would smile to all while working on a neighborhood shop during one university summer. He was so kind that someone was really touched and ended up creating a facebook group for him called: ‘The Kind Cashier.’ In few hours he had thousands of followers. And even the media came to him to know of his secret ingredient for happiness. It was all so counterintuitive in his culture that he ended up gaining a lot of attention! And as he says: ‘I was really doing nothing, just being myself!
Ruth Irene also shared with us her experience in a restaurant in Rome. When she was living there, she used to go by a restaurant and she would always see it empty. Asking, she realized it was empty because the owner was quite disagreeable too. A good day, she decided she wanted to come in and see if that fame was true. The man, was actually quite gloomy. It seemed as if he wanted to close the business as soon as possible. Still, Ruth, ‘had chosen love’, as Martin Luther King jr. would say. Ruth asked for a glass of water! (That’s being very brave!). The man denied at first, but ended up serving the glass. Ruth used the glass as an opportunity to connect with the restaurant owner, and after the conversation, somehow, the man insisted to invite Ruth to dinner with friends!!!
And one more story, the José story. José lives in a building with parking and in the parking there is a worker. This worker is very annoying, he speaks a lot, or at least that’s the fame he has within the building. But José decided to challenge that. He decided he would try to connect with this man every time he goes to the garage. And he does. Every time he stops and gives some time to the conversation. José said he loves to connect with the man, he loves to listen to his stories and reflections. And after some time José also realized that this man is actually suffering from a very difficult situation in life. Most of his family passed away and he basically feels alone in the world. Who is giving and who is receiving, José wandered?
There were more stories on Monday, and like that every Monday! #StoryWealth I feel this is a very important part of any real r-evolution, awareness of the small, the small opportunities to uplift our collective sense of humanity. I truly believe this small acts change the reality of our interconnections, and long term, they might end up redefining our social realities through the butterfly effect. I feel micro and macro are so closely interrelated.
Thanks all for such beautiful stories! For a year when we multiply the opportunities to smile to each other! For a year when we keep nurturing our social weaving! For a year when constructive news start dominating visibility! For a year when we shine forth the best of ourselves!