Lessons from Caffè Florian

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 🙂 )

This entry was published on August 1, 2013 at 7:19 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “Lessons from Caffè Florian

  1. I have left a link on being born again that leads to the cannon… no that would be canon 🙂 of my youth. Still for me powerfully deep truths provided there, but at this point in my heart of hearts I believe the water that is referred to there is not found within just one experience provided in one interpreted system of being… but instead, is in this deeper way of being addressed in this post. It is provided by living from and as agents of love here on this planet. It is using that love and it’s experience of connection as the first filter of intent birthing all observation, thought, choice and actions.

    There are some people who I consider to be close pieces of my heart who would say to me that that water is only found within a church setting baptism and I do not necessarily disagree with them either. I just know for myself, that my heart leads me to a more expanded interpretation as well. I am prepared to be “wrong” about this and if upon my death I am met by a “God” who tells me I got this point wrong, I am comfortable not making it into their highest kingdom system. I just know I have to be true to the understanding of my now today and I don’t worry about being judged for it later.

    To me, today it is more important to develop a personal relationship with my own inner experience of a filter of love and walking with the “divine inspiration” (could be called light of Christ within) this brings to me. Those in my world who actually live this way from a religious framework born from their feeling of their church connecting them to the divine and to true love get total support from me. If going to church is working for anyone out there reading this, KEEP DOING IT :).

    My born again comes closer to one of Romeo and Juliet who are learning about dropping their external names… who are learning about what it is to fall in love and to live acting from it.

    “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized.” -Romeo Montague

    • Juliet:

      ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.


      I take thee at thy word:
      Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
      Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

  2. Absolutely delightful, M!
    Thank you! Mille Grazie!

    • Il cuore non può contenere il ringraziamento. Si riversa in riverberante parole condivise dalla gioia.

      Ciao, -x.M (I LOVE that this can be used as hello as well as see you later goodbyes!)

  3. Reblogged this on heartflow2013 and commented:
    A very delightful piece of writing on “just being”!

    • It is gratitude soup around here in my world these days… people who write from the heart which then infuses their words with a secret code to cause the reader of them (me) to have their heart sparked and then they do their best to write of their experience with these truths and they are then in turn read… and on and on the eternal dance goes as we all help each other re-member!

      I am honored to be reposted by this flowing of the heart on heartflow2013.

      So, the big thank you pings right back to you. xx Going to raise a cup of tea in my home today with your name in thanks on my lips.


  4. Again, another beauty! It’s such a gift (although seemingly rare) to encounter a being in the mundane “world” who is Living Love – Living Freedom. It’s such a good reminder, the affect of Presence – especially under the most ordinary circumstances. Thanks! Shanti! ….kai

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