Saturday, January 16, 2010

Meetings, con't.

I went to another meeting last night. It was held in a school portable, and I couldn't find it. I pulled into the parking lot and asked for directions from a teenage boy who was standing talking to someone reclining in their car, with only their feet visible, resting on the windowsill of the passenger side. I found him endearing, this kid, he was instantly willing to be helpful. He started talking, and made it sound as if it were a two-day trip: "You go all the way around, waaay behind, at the very very back of the school.." The owner of the feet, a girl, broke in to say, "Go back out of the parking lot, take the first right into the little dead end street, park halfway up, and it's right there in front of you."  It was.

There were quite a few people at the meeting, some sitting, some milling around by the literature table.  I'd just sat down, when I felt someone tousling my hair. I turned to see an old friend in Al-Anon beaming down at me. I stood up and we hugged. I could feel my eyes filling - having her at the meeting helped me to feel instantly more comfortable in these new surroundings. (When I was new to program, I found all that hugging wierd - to avoid it, I used to shoot out the door at the end of the meetings. I didn't hug my friends, let alone complete strangers.)

I could feel the energy in the room as soon as I walked in and sat down. Some meetings can absorb new people seamlessly, they just widen the circle a bit, and even newcomers will feel part of the whole. Other meetings have more of a closed feeling, and one almost feels like an intruder on "their" meeting.

I once walked into a meeting, pulled a chair off a stack, and up to the table, only to have no-one move to let me in, and I had to sit staring at the back of people's heads, outside the circle, as did the newcomer who came in a coiuple of minutes after me. Then a regular member arrived, and people moved over, to give her room to pull a chair up to the table.  An interesting interpretation of "everyone is welcome."

I've walked into meetings where someone gets me a chair and offers me a drink, while everyone else at the table shifts and moves, so that my chair can be pulled into line with the rest. Then, when I was seated, and glancing around, each person with whom I made eye contact,smiled, raised their eyebrows, or winked - some small greeting.

Last night's meeting was like that - warmly welcoming. Afterwards, walking back out to my car, I felt invigorated and satisfied, mulling over something one of the members had said that resonated with me.

Every meeting has its own "flavour"  - some will appeal more than others. It doesn't make us, or the meetings, right or wrong, it's a matter of personal choice. I might find a meeting doesn't appeal to me, but it's a perfect fit for you. That's all part of how it works.

1 comment:

  1. I agree about the meetings. Each has its own flavor. Great post.