"You are wearing a remarkable collection of clothes. They go so well together and suit you perfectly! Beautiful appearance."
How did she react?
Her face opened up. She replied, "Wow, what a nice thing to hear! So- right back at you: You spread an enormously loving vibe. Let me give you something... Nothing material. Food for the spirit, you know... " and handed me a brochure on a healer she was all about.
How did I feel?
Renate was unique. Her clothes were well thought out, even the hair pins made sense!
She totally received what I said. And smiled with surprise. It was beautiful.
Then she started analyzing why and how she was who she was, referring to her childhood and her healer's concepts. She explained all about him and his work and emphasized that it actually works, that more people need to learn about him and that people who don't open themselves up to unconventional things just don't know any better.
I didn't feel her in all her statements and explanations and I didn't agree to all of them- but I considered a lot of them wise still:
"The skin is a mirror of the soul"
"Actions motivated by fear versus actions motivated by love- those are the two poles. Always choose love."
"The purpose of our lives is spiritual development"
"The people who treat you wrong don't know any better themselves."
I loved the way that smile entered her face over and over whenever I repeated my praise to what I saw in her: Suddenly the eyes of a girl appeared. I told her she was beautiful and she showed and passed vulnerability and light for a few, immensely precious seconds. Those times were the most valuable gifts all day. Thanks a lot, Renate.
Renate strengthened my belief that the overall answer is love. The times when I felt her the most were the ones when I embraced her with words, honestly and openly. I felt her the least when she dug into her healer's concepts and I tried following intellectually.
Note to self: Next time I don't feel a connection with my dialog partner I'll try finding something beautiful about them and express it. Maybe the Renate experience can turn into a general instrument for stuck communication and conflict, a door to "together" instead of "against each other": Give in to experiencing someone else's beauty and inviting them to join in and be vulnerable.
Renate made me practice drawing boundaries, too. After 15 minutes of communication limbo I realized I couldn't give anymore and it was time for me to leave. With all that listening to stories and understanding it's sometimes hard to say "this is it", especially if someone explains as much as Renate did and finds new pieces of wisdom to share every other minute. I didn't feel like we were moving anywhere anymore and at some point I said goodbye. Turned out she didn't mind at all and I was relieved and proud I did it... This whole thing is one big social experiment, in so many ways... Ouff!
And: I took a walk and some pictures in Koblenz. It's late. Let me take you there tomorrow. You won't regret it :) Lots of beautiful half-timbered houses and medieval street art. And plants!