by Halimah Collingwood
As we have become used to a distanced life, seldom meeting with friends and family, we recognise a hole in our lives. You may be using Zoom for work, for school or to speak with family and are really tired of that platform. You have Zoom fatigue! Enough is enough!
But have you missed those special moments when an inner spark is felt and transmitted from one person to the next during deep communication? Have you missed the belly laugh that arises from a casual comical comment?
To remedy the situation, in April 2020 some Subud East Coast women started a weekly ‘Subud Sisters’ Zoom chat group. Gradually, as the news got around, they were joined by others from the Midwest and the West Coast. After nine months it is still a regular meeting place to talk about our lives, our feelings and share experiences.
In California, we began planning a similar conversation group called CalChat which would include men and women. Since June we have met bi-monthly every first and third Sunday in the early evening. Most of the 16–20 members are from California but there are some from Oregon, Washington, Subud South and one participant from Cyprus. Many of the same people come each time with occasional new attendees. But there are no rules for attendance and members can come whenever they want.
Each month we advertise CalChat on our regional Facebook page and then it is included in a California email blast, along with other announcements. Our content differs from the Sisters group as we usually have a theme, a question, or a suggested topic to begin our conversation. Over time, as we have come to know each other better, our discussions have deepened.
We encourage people to be considerate, not to monopolise the session, to be attentive and listen to others. It is challenging, especially when we forget to Mute and Raise our Hands. Yet it is working well, providing a space for us to see each other and become closer. Many of us feel this deeper communication has been missing from local groups that we have long been involved with. Regular zooming in is one way of patching up this all important gap in our lives, currently a worldwide problem caused by the Pandemic.
For most of us, CalChat provides a service. It’s fulfilling. It is nourishing. Most of all, it is wonderful to learn from each other, see each other and communicate.
Halimah Collingwood (CalChat, Subud Arcata, California)