I went to a wedding last weekend and it was different than I expected.
The wedding venue was in campground and we stayed in cabins with wide porches and rustic charm. We kept a fire going in the fireplace the entire weekend.
The wedding was for a friend’s daughter. Once I arrived and made sure that my apparel was correct for the occasion... my job was done.
It was really quiet on the property.
There were no radios or television. No cell phone or internet service. Only towering pines and a meandering stream.
With the exception of when we drove to town for shopping or lunch, we were not connected to the outside world.
It was unnerving at first.
I couldn’t receive any messages about mom in her memory care unit.
No emails with work problems awaiting my response.
My husband’s texts updating me on his travels went unanswered.
We were living outside of our normal lives.
The rhythm of our days was different too.
We woke up without alarms and went to bed when we were tired.
With the exception of the wedding events, our activities were flexible.
We had coffee in our pajamas and made spontaneous short trips to explore local towns.
Mostly, we did a lot of talking.
Around a table with filled with snacks from Trader Joe’s,
sitting in Adirondack chairs with glasses of red wine cradled in our hands,
while sharing hair spray and primping for a special occasion.
Perhaps because of my inability to use my phone or computer, I felt deeply connected to those around me. More than that, I felt happy…
I know that being around friends and family can make you happy…but what was so special about this weekend?
Here is what I think...
I did a lot of listening. We all listen (especially at work) but this time…it wasn’t my job to fix anything. I could be curious and simply acknowledge what my friends were saying. It did no good to think about anything beyond our cabin because there was nothing I could do…so I was more focused on our discussions.
We talked of politics, economics and home design but there were also personal stories of abuse, infidelity, courage and strength.
Despite knowing these people for years, I saw them with new eyes.
Once I got home, I spent some time trying to figure out what was so unique about the weekend.
Meditation is all about focusing on your breathing and living in the moment. That’s what I was doing...living in the moment. And it felt good...really good.
Instead of the superficial connection we have by cell phones, email and texting...I felt really woven into the experience that was taking place around me. Appreciating each moment as it occurred. At the end, I felt…nourished.
At the reception dinner, on the final night, I listened as conversation and laughter mingled with the sounds of a nearby gurgling stream. Once the sun descended, the temperature dropped quickly and the air was crisp and sharp with only the faintest smells of our evening fare. I leaned back in my chair and looked up. You tend to forget how lovely the evening sky is when you’re away from other light sources. The stars glowed in a vast dark velvet sky.
And I was a part of it all.