As you've probably gathered, the Valentine's Day season makes me ponder the reality of love and its place in all of our lives. I agree with those of you who would remind us that it's simply one more day - just as sacred as every other day - but at the same time, it does carry a special flavor to it. In fact, this day causes me to to reflect on ALL of the people in my life and how much I appreciate them.
Isn't it amazing how every person we meet has a completely different set of experiences, a one-of-a-kind life-story, and a wholly unique "take" on life? It's one of the things I especially love about doing Spiritual Direction work, where I feel privileged to be in the presence of a unique "Word of God," which is how Christian Contemplatives view each and every person, being and landscape.
As a student of the Enneagram Personality Typology, I learn so much about the various filters people use to perceive themselves and the universe around them. For example, Type ONE looks for how they can manifest the perfection of life, Type TWO focuses on soothing the needs of everyone they meet, Type THREE aims to embody the "fake it 'til you make it" capacity that all of us have, and Type FOUR - my Type - revels in revealing the uniqueness and beauty of the everyday people they encounter in the course of traveling life's journey.
Today I'm meeting one of my Naropa students for coffee. It's something I do in every class with ALL of my students. I absolutely love taking an hour and a half and listening to the story of a student's spiritual journey, with all of its many twists and turns. Each person has a unique narrative to tell that I have never even heard before! I find these personal stories far more fascinating than any novel or work of fiction ever could be. And I revel in seeing how each person opens up to a fresh awareness of their own inner riches when someone simply LISTENS to their story and unselfconsciously mirrors back to them their own unique goodness and grandeur. To alter Rene Descartes' famous dictum: "We are listened-to; therefore, we ARE."
Indeed, each person truly IS a unique word of God, and I love learning what that "word" has to speak to me - and to the world at large - in all of its glory and richness!
Photo: A unique ice formation on The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, February 9, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.