“Your kindness shines through.”
I read the simple words on my phone, not expecting them. They were from someone new in my life, a woman almost directly across the world from me, with a twelve-hour time difference between us. I have never seen her, and have known her for less than three weeks. We’ve sent a few messages, both text and voice, and did a video chat. Lauren Schuivens wrote those words out to me.
She’s the leader of Samavira retreats, and also a meditator and transformational facilitator. But to me she’s more like a friendly, kindred spirit that I happily connected with. And I sincerely doubt she had any idea the type of uplifting impact they would have on me. They made me feel:
Seen. Heard. Respected.
Which is what all of us need. Maybe we need it more or less depending on where we are in life. But it’s silly to pretend otherwise.
Seen. Heard. Respected.
But the thing is: this came from a person who barely knows me. But she still knew what I needed. How? How can someone be that insightful to what another person is but also what another person needs.
I believe it’s often grounded in two things:
Sharing stories and meditation. One connects you to others, and one connects you to yourself.
I’m talking about you. Your story. Your personal narrative and experiences. Getting through trauma, getting through sacrifice, getting through hardship.
And sharing it.
Getting through it is hard. Lauren knows this. She does because she has been the victim of acts of violence. She has gotten through these experiences, and knows that telling stories are worth sharing. Which she shared with me. From across the world, through some words typed out on a screen. It may seem ineffective but the power of sharing is empowering, no matter if it’s told in person, online, over the phone, through a song.
Why? Because sharing a story about your experience lets you know that living through trauma is possible. It tells you more about the strength of humans. It tells you that where there is hurt, there is always love and strength and self-care in response.
It uplifts. And it creates an environment that is honest, open, and respectful.
It creates a space for you to share what you may not have shared, or to express things that you feel and think that you may otherwise be slow to express.
I know that’s what happened to me. I felt more myself, more at ease. I knew what Lauren had been through, I knew how she viewed the world and power of meditation. Which let me be my more authentic self.
And I was seen and heard and respected.
And why meditation? Lauren actually leads meditation workshops and retreats and takes the viewpoint that meditation removes emotional blockages. That meditation connects you to yourself, to your mind. It reminds you who you are. It can be a visualization, or a mantra. Or a walk alone in nature, or watching the waves break on the beach. Lauren had this to say to me about it:
“We become the victim to our story, believing that life is constantly coming at us, overcoming us and however much we try, we can only go so far. This was my bondage; one that meditation helped me see for what it is, a fallacy robbing me of my aliveness. I learned through gradual practice that I am a co-creator of each process of my life. Spiritual teachers say your outer world is a reflection of your inner world, and I began to see this present itself in my daily circumstances; tired days, negative thoughts, always a victim, always blaming, I was co-creating it all. “
Sharing and meditation. Connecting to others, connecting to yourself.
It doesn’t matter who it’s with, how well you may or may not know them. Or if it’s thousands of miles away via phone or email or text. Be kind to others and to yourself. Let someone you know you see them. And to Lauren Schuivens, who made me know I’m seen, heard, and respected:
Your kindness shines through.