In the spirit of my current playlist, which consists of these songs right now-- Shake, Shake, Shake by Bronze Radio Return. Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine. Shake Me Down by Cage the Elephant. Shake (edited) by Walk Off the Earth.
So a lot of shaking, which reminded me that I never even wrote about the time I got to participate in an active meditation that consisted entirely of just that-- shaking.
We woke up before the sun and washed off any remains of makeup. That morning is was just the girls, just the real versions, just us + a lovely barn + the sunrise. We were given only two instructions: Don't open your eyes, and shake. We could interpret that one verb however we liked.
Forever attempting to make connections with people, my first thought was hand-shakes. I spent those fifteen minutes (that somehow felt like a lifetime and the blink of an eye at the same time) shaking hands with as many people as I could. It took a lot of feeling and shuffling, considering my eyes were closed. I shook hand after hand, making them firm and friendly, because that hand-shake had taken place of every other tool of connection-- eye contact, spoken word, a smile.
In the end I found a girl who didn't want to let go, through her touch she invited me to stay and shake with her. As everyone joined hands and invited more to shake, it turned into a silent dance party in the light of the sunrise. Eyes closed, no make-up, just girls learning to connect in ways they never had, and girls shining even brighter than the sun coming in the open barn doors.
When we were told we could open our eyes, we all gathered to talk about what we had just felt. The mentor who initially gave us our two vague instructions told us to think about our experience, and how we acted. She then said something that sticks in my brain still-- "Whatever you did during that active meditation is exactly how you are living the rest of your life."
And it hit me. I am great and meeting new people, lots of them. And even though I really dislike small talk, it's something I can do. I can go around a room full of people with my eyes closed and shake all of their hands, but as soon as anyone wants me to stay longer and connect with them more, I leave, thinking I need to shake more people's hands. I didn't want to stay longer than a moment with anyone, as soon as the handshake was complete, the initial greetings, I found an excuse to leave. Because for a long time I've had this idea that a few close friends were really enough, because that's part of my personality and all that, it said so in a book. And I've always had one best friend. And now I just have two or three. And I have had tons of friends/acquaintances, but only three friends I feel extremely comfortable around. Only three people I know like the back of my hand. Only a limited amount of people I have truly connected with. And so I left that morning with a new commitment-- I will make deeper connections with people.
And now I am realizing that it doesn't matter if I see these people after today, or after high school, or after this life is over, as long as for a moment in time I really talked to them, I really found out something about them, I really got past the small talk stage, I actually connected.
I learned this from two instructions + the Spirit: Close your eyes and shake.