Thursday, October 21, 2010

Greene Street Friends School Fall Fair

I spent most of the day, Saturday, Oct 23, at Greene Street Friends School Fall Fair.  It was a wonderful community event, organized by the school's Spanish teacher to raise money for the annual 7th grade class trip to Costa Rica. 

There was quite a large and diverse crowd of families, food, lots of games, great music, a large book sale stand, and vendors selling arts and crafts and more.

I set my mat up on the grassy area on the upper level of the school yard only slightly removed from the water balloon toss and the ticket sales booth.  There was a wonderful atmosphere of joy, friendship, and deep respect for young people throughout the day.  Greene Street is clearly a wonderful school which nurtures and challenges students.

Sandra, the Spanish teacher who organized the event and supported the 7th grade students and their families to pull it all off (with countless additional volunteers from across the school family) is an amazingly impressive person -- gifted at interacting with students, articulating a large vision with consistent positivity, and finding that of God in each person that she meets.

My own hope was to get to know the Greene Street Friends School community better, have another venue where people get exposed to Breema, and spread my name and my publicity materials a bit further.

Truth be told though, my offering of bodywork was probably not a very good fit for the event.  The crowd was predominantly families with young children and most of the parents were dutifully following their children's lead -- joyfully tossing water balloons and risking a drenching, running off to the haunted house, and cuddling on a pre-K sized couch with the school guinea pig.

The space I chose was good, but the location was too far out of the way so it was hard to draw a crowd, to have them watch, and by watching recruit the next recipient.

In fact I spent most of the first 3 hours watching the games, talking to the two or three people I knew from the neighborhood and the Quaker Meeting, and beginning to wonder why exactly I was here.

It was fun.  It was a beautiful day, but body work was just not happening.  There were some hints of a few people with a bit of curiosity. But there was not enough openness to overcome the hesitations. I did not feel right about going out into the crowd to aggressively solicit clients.

So I stood around, enjoyed the activity around me, watched the students have fun, and watched my inner dialogue and worked on the lesson of acceptance.

And then, in the last hour and a half of the fair, it all shifted.  First a good friend who had experienced my only short session earlier in the day outright instructed her husband to come lay down on the mat.  I found myself distracted by the fact that he went through most of the treatment with his eyes open.  I told myself the story that he was not very experienced in receiving bodywork, was not truly comfortable, and was resistant to relaxing.

Working with the Breema principles of "No Judgment" and "Single Moment Single Activity," I renewed my intention to come to the breath and the weight of my body.  My aim was to watch myself having these thoughts,  to give them no energy, and to let them pass away, so that I could return to a simply doing Breema.

I also learned a small lesson about judgment.  In our short debrief after the session, Tom commented about what a lovely place it was to receive bodywork, looking up at the trees and the sky and feeling connected to nature.  So much for the story I had been telling myself.

Before I could even finish the treatment with Tom, Sandra, the event organizer, came up with her partner Liza in hand.  Sandra wanted a treatment herself, but she had a few last things to take care of before the fair ended and she hoped to come back.  In the meantime, she wanted Liza to experience a session if there was time.  There was and I worked with Liza for about 45 minutes as the fair was coming to a close and volunteers began packing up the tables and other supplies.  It was a very sweet session and I felt deeply nurtured by Liza's receptivity to the work.

It took Sandra another 30 minutes to unhook herself from the details of pack up, but after almost everyone else had departed, she came over, lay down on the mat, and received a session with such gratitude and grace.

We worked together for almost an hour in the quiet of the end of day.  We shared some thoughts of the experience and some of our visions and hopes for our respective work.  It was such a sweet honor to share this time with such an inspiring and dedicated teacher after her long day of hard work, to contribute a small bit to her refreshment and renewal, to give and receive life from each other.

I certainly knew why it was that I had come to be part of Greene Street Friends School Fall Fair.  I could only be grateful.


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