By Maxime O’Raion
It started with shy and delicate hugs to end up with deep and intense embraces. Yes, you already know the end, but you have no idea about how we made it posible yet.
During our two-day stay in Villasur-de-Herreros, 15 miles west of Burgos, we, 25 people, some of whom already knew each other, some not, shared experiences and feelings: we laughed, cried, smiled, contemplated, kept silence. Gathered in a circle, we looked Deep into the notion of gift (“regalo”) and how this notion stirrs us considering our life experiences. What does a gift mean to us? What kind of gifts have we ever received/given? By the way, could a gift be given and received at the same time? Doesn’t the sender enjoy as much as the addressee does? On the contrary, as one person mentioned in the circle, will people take advantage of me if I start being too generous?
We had the opportunity to answer with our own words. Through abstraction, through emotion, through smiles and tears: all genres were welcomed. There were no rules to address this issue but sincerity from those speaking and non-judgmental attitude from those listening to.
One person would share with us that this “Re-love-ution” circle has turned out to be a turning point in his life because it’s where he met his lover. Another participant would express how stuttering has worked both as a suffering and a gift in his life. Someone else would explain to us in detail how she felt so grateful for being offered a free two-month stay at a friend’s place while she was experiencing guilt in front of so much generosity.
These circles of discussion and sharing were sometimes deliberately interrupted by moments of silence and mindfulness shared by all participants. While the candles and the flowers were making the room more attractive, one could hear breaths, sighs, inspirations, expirations… relief.
Climax was reached as some of the volunteers decided to offer (“regalar”) a silent dinner to all participants. At the handpan’space, lightenened by the candles’ moving flames, in the shape of a generous circle, food was slowly and silently shared.
Then, the night flew by and as the sun had just risen, we were offered to attend a yoga class or to meditate. These workshops were followed by an open session to address diverse issues such as “gender and gift economy” or “ how we can link social change to inner change”. One workshop was also proposed on highly sensitive people (HSP) who are about 20% of the population. These people tend to process stimulation very intensely from sounds to sights to emotion. If they can sometimes feel overwhelmed, this sensitivity could also be used as a strength.
After having shared words and thoughts, we went on for various choregraphies. From Greek and Russian to Scottish music, our hips and hands would move with generosity. It was one more gift among so many all along the weekend.
As we were asked in the closing circle to tell three words that would best sum up this two-day stay, a few stuck out: friendship, love, sharing, community, laughs and cries, emotion, pleasure…
There may have been one missing word which encompasses all the aforementioned ones: GIFT!