BePeriod members start arriving and gather on the street – first eye-contact, first hugs, first verbal communication, first real-life impressions. We drop our bags at the apartment and go to explore Rome led by Asaf. Long day walk is concluded by the evening reception which finishes late at night. People casually roam around the room, and I feel like we know each other for a long time (which is somewhat true, considering our online meetings). It feels like I’m in a company of the good old friends. Essence friends.
It’s been quite a long trip to Italy from Canada. After 10 hours on two planes, 3 hours connection time, and a couple of hours in taxis, I’m finally in Rome, standing in front of the event’s main apartment. It is late morning, and I haven’t slept for more than 15 hours.
By that time, I’m up for more than 24 hours without sleep, but amazingly I’m not tired and want to spend more time with my new old friends. My body got it first – something had changed, some energy entered the scene, and it became obvious at the physiological level.
A short 5-hour sleep and I again walk down Rome’s streets, watching, listening, asking questions, getting impressions. By end of the second day I can hardly believe it’s been less than 48 hours. Past two days feel like it’s been at lest a week. A sense of time had also altered, time became “condensed”. It was another sign of the changed state.
While my intellectual mind was trying to process all the new information and impressions, my emotional center got elevated into a state that I hadn’t experienced before. I could recognize a “taste” of the higher state, but what usually lasts only for seconds was enduring for several days. I cannot isolate any particular occasion that changed my state at once.
Of course, some things stood out more than others and are still vivid in my memory: looking at the frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere narrated by Asaf’s profound comments, an intentional walk to Piazza Navona, thoughtful conversations with Asaf, and of course the final night’s mystery plays directed by Ansley.
However, it felt like each and every experience contributed to that state: morning’s espresso and croissant (both are amazing!) with friends at Cafè Bianco, midnight dish washing with Anselmo, calm insights of Andras, Myrto and Hannah, 1 a.m. beer with Kalev and Ilya, a late-night colors game with Fabrizio, Paolo, Mayra, and Olga, a ride in the overloaded taxi with Mario and Regina, a tea with Goran. Each of those many individual pieces found its place in the amazing emotional mosaic.
It felt like this gathering made something possible. People who before were just voices and faces on the computer screen gained souls, and many words which before were only understood intellectually gained emotional meaning. But most importantly, I verified the higher state, the state of grace. In Orthodox Christianity they describe grace as something that is given from above. This Rome’s event made me open for to receive it, to be inspired.