Sunday morning April 28, 2019, we decided to have a Beit Al Atlas meeting outside of Beit, down the street along the Manara at Rawda Cafe, a local open air restaurant/cafe and Beirut trademark. Resident dogs Lulu and Bodhi tagged along with us. Our dogs make for quite an interesting contribution to Beit’s expanding sense of compassion, mindfulness, keeping calm, and sending out only love.
We opened the meeting by each sharing how we are doing on a personal level and how we are feeling about Beit. We are continuously evolving in how we conduct meetings, but a constant remains in giving each other the space to be and in exploring and navigating Beit issues and opportunities together.
We are living at a time in the world where people’s identities are increasingly hyphenated and while it is true we live here physically – significant parts of our lives are scattered across the globe in the US, India, Australia, Germany, Iraq, Syria, France, Denmark, and Norway. In spite of the energy it consumes to keep up with one’s own multilayered existence, these meetings remind us that everyday we are intentionally choosing to live in togetherness across cultural, identity, and socioeconomic differences. Instead of living our lives as if we are apart going about doing our own work, the meeting creates space to communicate without denying any one their feelings, thoughts, and opinions, and affirming that “I see you”. Often, its little things that can cause a sense of separateness, a look or comment, and these emotional subtleties can slowly magnify the differences. In acknowledgement we offered generous forgiveness where any one may have been unintentionally offended by another.
Beit also discussed some more practical house items such as an electric outage in the bathroom, air conditioning assessment (as we head in to hot and sticky summers) with the exciting possibility to improve our sustainable living practices. We also went over room rentals, air bnb, and agreed on a lights out and no door bells after 10 pm as some of our rooms are by the front door and entry ways.
After a little over an hour together in the sun sipping on fresh juice, we came out smiling with an improved sense of clarity and understanding of one another.
This is a snapshot of Beit Al-Atlas’ greater journey of love.