When hearing some of the definitions of hospitality this morning… “to pursue…” and “befriending strangers”, I realized that these are some of the philosophies that shape me as a Certified Zentangle Teacher and ultimately who I am as a person.
It was in my college days when a friend told me I was a “pursuer”. She gave a word to fit the boldness that seemed to flow through me as I continuously got to know anyone who would make eye contact with me. Sometimes the pursuit would be reciprocated, but either way I pressed forward whether rejection was in my path or not.
This month is a minefield for me in terms of grief triggers. June captures the anniversary of when my father passed away, his birthday, and Father’s Day. This year, I am trying to intentionally remember good things and joyful rippling effects of my Dad’s life as a way to fill my tank for the possible onslaught of grief in the coming weeks.
This “befriending strangers” concept put my Dad’s face and life on my mind – I believe for a reason. He modeled for me regularly the same patterns I see in myself of talking to strangers with no fear of rejection and how to treat people. He treated anyone serving him as if they were the most important person in that moment. This is something I have done from a young age also and is something that has made Covid-19 restrictions difficult to walk through. Lately, I have been grateful that my husband and I have gone into grocery stores versus curbside pick-up so I can talk to cashiers and thank them for working so I could get what I needed. I had an awesome conversation with someone the other day about how the store was supporting McMaster Children’s hospital and why I wanted to donate. She was amazingly receptive to my chatter and even shared a small amount of her journey. Being honest, I stuttered as I am still re-learning how to talk to people outside of screen, but seeing the smile in her eyes and hearing her amusment, made the momentary pursuit absolutely worth it.
In the realm of teaching Zentangle, I think of the pursuit part as putting classes out into the world and seeing who needs them and then taking that opportunity to help people befriend strangers. Recently, I was able to teach my first “Broken Fragements” class with a completely random set of people. It was great to see what they had in common as we learned and tangled together. Though spread across the ocean and North America, we were united for 2 hours in the joy of each other’s company, individual inspiration, and the awareness that we may not have ever met if not for the pandemic pushing things to a virtual state.
I hope I can continue to see much more joy and rest in showing hospitality as a Certified Zentangle Teacher while continuing to see who is placed in my path as a person.