Monday, February 11, 2008
I was "supposed" to love Asheville, N.C. where I went to receive my Reiki Master attunement last summer. I liked it fine, but it didn't grab me as my friends thought it might. Virginia Beach, on the other hand, was described to me as yet another tacky beach town, just beyond the reach of the industrial southern Virginia cities of Portsmouth and Newport News. I assumed I wouldn't care too much for the place. But I did! Go figure.
American southerners are such an exotic bunch, so opinionated while also completely polite, and so extreme in their beliefs but also extraordinarily tolerant of people who think differently. I'm certain not every southerner could be described that way, though I've found it to be true in a general way everywhere I've visited in the south. Virginia Beach is a very special example of the paradoxical Southern mindset.
None of the people I talked to at the fancy hotel where I stayed were psychics or interested in the subject, but all of them admitted that they appreciated the presence of the Association for Research and Enlightenment and all the interesting folks the Center brings to town. The mix of locals, tourists, local psychics and visiting psychics is delightful.
Turns out it was A.R.E. hosting the conference that wasn't really a conference, of psychics. The workshop title, "Be Your Own Psychic" resonates with me. I had a couple of nice conversations with participants, and had a look at the workshop curriculum which was balanced, ethical, grounded and meant to help people thrive in the 'real' world. Wow.
In the wiccan tradition I used to be a part of, we honed psychic skills so we could read each other's minds. At A.R.E., people are taught to read, first of all, their own minds, and secondly, to connect, for brief moments of inspiration and insight, with the mind of God. The training is not about gathering personal power or using willpower so as to satisfy personal desires but rather to cultivate skills with which people can heal themselves and others. Fantastic! Setting out with the intention of gathering personal power in order to satisfy personal desires is a path that leads people in any tradition to such dark places. At A.R.E., people learn the same kinds of skills I was taught in wicca, but with with a completely different intention. Students are taught to be aware of the shadow of course, but to trend towards the light for the greater good of all. Cool!
I guess I won't be making fun of A.R.E. or Edgar Cayce ever again, though I still don't understand his infatuation with castor oil. Oh well!
Should mention that the Jin Shin Do class was great, and grueling, too. We were in class from 8 to 6 every day. I barely saw the ocean, though I grabbed moments here and there to dash across the street and take in the sound, the negative ions and the magic of the big water. Whenever possible, I walked the stone labyrinth in front of the massage school.
It was great - and - as wonderful as the weekend was, it's good to be home. There's no place like home.