Before the service began, Laura Ruth introduced me to Lauren, who was helping to lead service -- purple dress, short almost punky strawberry blonde hair, as the service went on she looked familiar like I'd seen her around, but maybe it was just that she has that familiar Smith-esque look.
Service starts at 6:15, with music playing beginning around 6pm. One of the ones tonight was violins and then celloes and I thought of you, mjules :)
The order of service was exactly the same as last week.
The Psalm was Psalm 33. I really liked the phrasing in v.9b: "God commanded and it stood firm."
The Sacred Text was Rumi "The Music We Are"
In the Reflection, Laura Ruth talked about how when she and her partner get in the car, whether to go on a trip or just to go somewhere, they look around at all they have and say something like, "We are the luckiest women in the world. We are so rich. Rich beyond our imagining." (I didn't write it down exactly.) They learned this ritual from friends of theirs from AA -- a discipline of gratitude.
She invited us to participate in a ritual of gratitude -- to imagine a post-it note in our mind and to write down each of these as she called them out (she gave us about 15 seconds to think of each one):
(1) the biggest thing you are grateful for (my answer: God's love, abundant grace and forgiveness -- more tangibly, my parents' love, and all that comes with that)
(2) the smallest thing you are grateful for (my answer: the highlights in my hair -- I happened to notice how pretty they looked after I got my hair cut last night, but I really don't think about the color of my hair much)
(3) something in this room you are grateful for (my answer: Laura Ruth)
She then invited people to name any of them aloud, in any order. I didn't quite feel comfortable voicing any of mine, but so it goes.
She closed with a quotation from Meister Eckhart: If the only prayer we ever said was, "thank you," that would suffice. As soon as she began saying it, I began mouthing along, because at her party on Saturday, Gusti gave us each a small prayer cloth, and inside (they were rolled up and tied with a colored ribbon -- I took purple, obv.) was a scrap of paper with a note from Gusti on one side (This traveling "prayer cloth" is my thank YOU for supporting me in this time. I invite you to place your own prayers on the cloth, as the Spirit moves.) and that quotation on the other.
I think it was a smaller group than last week (and mostly different people, too -- though that's irrelevant to this bit), but there were very few Prayers lifted. I found this so weird 'cause I had like a half a dozen Petitions easily and at least three Gratitudes... but while I don't mind being That Girl who's ticking of Joys and Concerns on her fingers in regular church, I felt awkward making it all about me in such a small group, especially since after each one we sang "God have mercy" or "Thanks be to God" so it didn't feel appropriate to lift up a whole bunch of unrelated prayers all in one go.
At the Passing of the Peace I first turned to the woman directly on my left and shook her hand (I try not to assume that people are comfortable hugging) and as she shook my hand she kind of pulled me in for a hug -- not really hard (and she was tiny) so if I'd resisted I'm sure she would have let go, but obv. I totally went for it, and I then hugged everyone else.
Someone, I think the woman with long dirty blonde hair, complimented me on my necklace and I smiled and said, "It's from Boston Pride last year." I love my "Ask. Tell." dogtag so much. It is so me.
After the service, various people introduced themselves to me -- Althea, who was the woman directly on my left (looks somewhat Native American in complexion, long black hair, red shirt), the woman who commented on my necklace but whose name escapes me (very skinny, long dirty blond hair, light blue shirt), Gary who works at the Coop.
Laura Ruth had to go to an SPRC or something meeting, so she didn't stay long, but she asked me if I'd noticed that she'd implemented all the changes I'd suggested last week. I said yes I had, had been really excited. (I didn't mention how I had noticed her clearly gleefully looking at me during those bits.) She asked if I had any other suggestions and I said just a couple and she was all excited to implement them for next week. I thought of a couple more later (it's really a nice service, my crits are all in terms of making it run smoothly -- the blonde woman was there when Laura Ruth was asking me, so I debriefed her on the end of last week, and she said that this was her first time and it flowed very smoothly and was very easy for a newbie so thank you; I said I was glad I could help "create value" as we would say where I work), but that e-mail is going to have to wait until tomorrow because I am up far later than I should be, given how little sleep I got last night. (I opted to go home instead of going to the Keshet event because I am lame, but then my brother called me.)
I also told Laura Ruth how the idea of a "discipline of gratitude" reminded me of "joy sadhana" which I explained briefly (5/3/2) and I said I really like the biggest/smallest/in this room exercise.
Heh, if you Google "joy sadhana," the top 10 results include:
(1) the LJ interest (who knew there was a "centralized base camp of gleee"?)
(2) the LJ profile for mylittleredgirl (from whom Ari got the idea)
(4) my joy sadhana LJ tag
(9) Ari's inaugural joy sadhana post
(10 is a blog post from a few months after Ari adopted the practice, but I don't know if the blogger is connected to mylittleredgirl or anyone... though I guess if you wanna be technical, if you trace anything far enough it all eventually gets connected)