In my late teens I was fortunate enough to spend nearly two months living at Eden (formerly named Camp Eden), an exclusive health retreat located in the luscious hinterland of Queensland (Australia). I was taking part in a work experience program whereby one week I stayed as a guest and the remaining time I worked in all areas of the business.
No TV, no mobile, no sugar and definitely no alcohol for two months is a life changing proposition to say the least. It offered me a rare opportunity to disconnect from what we call ‘reality’ and connect with my mind, body and soul on a very deep level.
The retreat attracted an eclectic mix of people and at up to $7000 to attend the week long program, many of the individuals were burnt out executives, celebrities, athletes and well to do men and women hoping to find a solution to their stress, health issues, injuries and/or general unhappiness.
I loved watching each week as the new arrivals sat quietly in the communal lunch area maintaining their airs and graces. By the end of the week they were all glowing and bonded on such a deep level they seemed to be the best of friends. It made me wonder how much joy and connection we miss out on keeping up appearances or worse still shutting people out based on false perceptions.
I was reminded of this lesson again recently….
I was at a party and I watched as a slight but striking blonde woman in her forties walked into the room. She was beautiful and I immediately admired her outfit making a mental note of her designer jacket and shoes. My first impression was that she had expensive taste.
After watching her interact with others and having experienced only a brief moment of eye contact, I had summed her up as being an uptight gossip and desperate housewives of Beverly Hills type. Without even meeting her I had convinced myself that she was not my sort of person and it was best to steer clear.
It is not easy to admit I was being so judgmental but the only way to grow is to bring awareness to your thoughts and behavior. It is also the only way for me to clearly portray the gravity of the lesson I learnt.
As the night lingered on and the pain of wearing high heels became unbearable, I sought refuge inside by the fireplace. In no time at all the striking blonde woman I thought I knew well was sitting by my side. I could not help but talk to her and I am so grateful I did.
In the next thirty minutes everything I thought I knew was thrown out the window. I would learn from this gorgeous, warm and bubbly woman that her husband had died suddenly after a tragic accident. That she had been left with two children and that she was planning to move north to start her life again. She was at the party and doing her absolute best to let go and enjoy herself because she knew it was what her husband would of wanted. With tears in my eyes I gave her a big hug and let her know how inspired I was by her story.
To say I was floored is an understatement. I had been so wrong on every level and had it not been for our accidental encounter, I would have missed out on meeting a truly remarkable human being. I intend to remind myself of the experience anytime I feel the need to concoct a story in my head about someone before I even meet them properly.
I believe the following quote sums it up perfectly- ‘If you Judge People you have no Time to Love Them’- Anonymous.
Love and magic