Every time I deliver the Innate Wellbeing workshops at the homeless shelter, I feel like I come away with much more of my own learning from the participants, than anything I pass on to them, and yesterday was no exception. Every visit seems to be a
lesson in humility and proof of the resiliency of being human.
The sole participant at my 5th workshop, a gentleman about one year older than me, was nothing less than a bundle of wisdom, joy, and humour. Shortly after beginning our discussion,
I realized there was nothing I could share that would "reduce his suffering" since he clearly didn't have any. In fact every time I started toward the discussion of what I've learned about life, I was seriously worried I would do something to mess up his already
perfect view of the world. For the most part I just needed to shut up and love him, and maybe share a few amusing stories of my own, all of which he made incredibly easy to do.
He talked about the challenges of his life, as if he were
sharing some pleasant story of a visit to the park. Encephalitis from a mosquito bite 15 years ago left him with a host of medical problems... braces on his legs for walking, which he did very slowly and methodically, the scar at his throat from the breathing
tube that was previously used to keep him alive, and the obvious challenge of communicating with a brain that had been affected.
He often scrunched up his face, while searching for the next part of the sentence, and often left his stories
somewhat unfinished, moving onto the next one that popped into his head. But every story still came with some level of smile and amusement on his face, including the humour he saw in getting caught in the deluge of a heavy rainstorm a few days ago, and the
joy that he gets from his 6 different girlfriends. When I teasingly asked how he manages to not mix them up when they call, he smiled and pointed out that their telephone number appears on the display.
He lost a job somewhat recently since
it was being moved to another city, and so now he was looking for another job and a place to live. He wasn't in any way upset or worried, and in fact there seemed to be some joy in the prospect. And in the meantime, he gets to hang out at the shelter, meeting
and talking to people which he loves to do, visiting the library where he can access a computer for googling whatever interests him at the moment, and of course managing his 6 girlfriends.
When our time together ended he reached out for
a warm hug, and then gave me a wink, and told me he would be sure to bring some of his friends along to my next workshop. And later as I happened to pass by him in the drop-in centre as I was exiting the building, he smiled again, grabbed my hand in a warm
comforting embrace that was reluctant to let go, and checked with me again about when I would be back. Upon reflection, I think I might be his 7th girlfriend.
How different the world would be if we could all more often, see the world through