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    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine for Saint Barth and Saint Martin. When she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines including Live Design, MACO, and All At Sea, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    July'08

OM

It finally happened. After 10 years of thinking about it, I finally went to the island’s Thursday night meditation group. As a willing participant! I don’t know if it’s maybe because I just read Elizabeth Gilbert’s feel-good book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” that I decided I should definitely eat less and pray/love a little more; or if the fact that my friend Jo-Anne decided to go as well, that I got my nerve up. Heaven only knows what I was afraid of. There is nothing more welcoming, in fact, than a darkened room with a dozen candles flickering, and a half a dozen like-minded women. Including the visiting reverend at the Anglican Church, Jeannie Loughrey (who we have nicknamed “the high priestess of Gustavia”). She somehow exudes a sense of spirituality on a very grass-roots level. After a brief introduction by Trinette WW, who is also by nature a very spiritual person, the drill was a half-hour of silent, personal mediation. Did I really curl my first fingers to my thumbs and chant OM? Well, hardly. But I did manage to relax and actually felt some of the tension draining from my shoulders. And I have to admit the half-hour seemed to pass very quickly. I would have been very happy if everyone had voted for a second session to follow right away—It’s like getting a good massage, you hate to get up and face the real world afterward. But it’s hard to quiet your mind even in such a quiet, enveloping atmosphere. I admitted afterward to a rush of random thoughts, which Trinette assured me is normal. I kept thinking about Mike from The House and Dreamtime—an affable furniture/art dealer who was in a bad motorcycle accident and is in the hospital in France. Or the two young men, age 19 and 30, who were killed immediately in another motorcycle accident in on the road in Lorient early this month. And my thoughts strayed to our friend Diana Bourel, a yoga teacher and wellness guru, who in previous months might well have been in the meditation group, but is off in Asia pursuing her interest in acupuncture, and rather than returning to the island in the fall, will be moving to Montreal where her daughter will be attending high school. Injury, death, separation: All important issues. But was I suppressing my own issues by thinking about all these other people? How do you quiet your mind? Get centered? What is the goal of meditation? Yogis spend lifetimes seeking the answers, and clearly it will take me a life of Thursdays. I hear that Elizabeth Gilbert and her second husband, who we meet in the book as Filipe, have a store in New Jersey called Two Buttons. Maybe they sell a little self-meditation kit (no, not self-medication…) I can take with me when I travel, and on Thursday nights when I am not in Saint Barth, I can dial in, spiritually-speaking, from afar, and light a candle to flicker in unison with those flickering in the darkness of the little house next to the Anglican Church. Or is that just too silly to even contemplate…

        More to come,

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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