I do not remember her name now, but I can feel her presence in my memory still, as if I had met her for the first time just today. That I can recall this feeling so clearly in my minds eye all these years later, I believe is because I have now remembered how to access some of the very same magic this woman had in the feelings I now have about myself.
The feeling of which I speak is the authentic presence of just being that naturally just emanated from this woman back then. It infused into the space around her as she moved in the world. It felt delicious to me to be alive when I was in her presence. This woman was so comfortable in her own skin, and she clearly loved who she was so much, that this feeling of acceptance radiated out to anyone who stood around her, too.
The woman of whom I speak was no guru, nor was she an officially labeled great spiritual teacher. Rather she was “just” 🙂 a waitress at a cafè that my first husband and I loved to eat at during my time in graduate school. As I write this today, it is truly hard for me to believe that this first experience of my so strongly feeling what it was “just being” happened almost twenty years ago now.
For me, found at Caffè Florian in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago was one of the first places I experienced that deep, sacred teaching can occur anywhere we are in the world and that temples and experiences full of wisdom to be shared can be found wherever we allow them to be found. You see, this woman was one of the first people I had met in my life who I experienced as being completely present from within herself as she moved in the world doing an external job working seemingly just serving food. However, what she actually was serving was the lessons of how to just be from within herself as she served.
Now at first, the attraction I felt toward this woman caused me an initial moment of pause. This was because based on the purely surface observations, she clearly was of a sexual orientation that favored physical expression shared with other women… she was of the “L” word team (L meaning lesbian). However very quickly, after more closely looking at my feelings, I came to understand that what I craved to experience and what was really fueling my attraction to her was not to be found in her physical parts, but rather was found in the fact that she lived and identified herself as first and foremost being from and of the REAL “L” word team which we all emanate from (L meaning LOVE!).
This woman clearly knew who she was and loved who she was, just as she was.
Through this awareness within herself, she was experienced as standing in a state of total freedom, of stillness while motion in her expressions with the world around her. She transmitted what it was to have comfortability in ones own skin to all around her and this made her absolutely beautiful to me.
This was a wonderful first experience of learning about what it is to fall in love with “a person” and by allowing myself to do this, it mirrored a place to begin the process of helping me to know and to fall in love with myself, too. After sharing my thoughts and feelings about this woman with my first husband, to his credit he completely got it. Ever there after, every time we ate at Caffè Forian, secretly he always left her a big tip. 🙂
I think often individuals who arrive on this planet and find themselves not belonging to the mainstream, western, conservatively accepted ways of thinking, feeling and acting here on earth, have gifted themselves the opportunity to have to turn inward faster to find the real connection of self acceptance and peace that every human heart craves. When you know that this sense of belonging will never be found in your external form or from an external system that basically judges you as fundamentally being “wrong” in some way saying you do not fit in to what is accepted as “normal” here, I think people more readily are forced to have to find the deeper truths birthed from within themselves.
This person quietly working her magic at Caffe Florian was a woman, was a woman who also was lesbian, but those descriptions of who and what she was were experienced and expressed as being so many rungs below just her just being an incredible force of love and acceptance, moving and serving creation in the world of human experience, that they ceased to really matter at all.
It was a perfect lesson of watching love in motion working in a cafè.
This woman remains to this day in my memory one of the most stunningly beautiful people I have ever met. I am forever grateful to her and to the sacred space offered up at Caffè Florian, for those first lessons on the potentials created from living life being born again here on earth through the power of true love.
(a heart felt thank you to T over on heartflow2013 for his posting on remembering mokka… this sent me down my own memory lane to Trieste and Venice in Italy and then on to the little sibling namesake cafè in Chicago -memory maps unfold within the new eyes born of the M of today… I love it when that happens 🙂 )