One Night in Las Vegas
First, you are dazzled by the fountains as they soar into the sky, then wands of water sway back and forth to the rhythm of classical music, and something deep inside you is moved and you are mesmerized by this beauty. A huge fountain of water in the desert draws us in, and something deep inside us knows we came from this source. Then you are drawn up the curved roadway to the entrance of this massive, yet pleasing to your senses, structure. Lights are everywhere, and cars, taxis and people are scurrying, and there in this massive circular foyer is one of the most stunning works of art to be found, named Flori De Como by the glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. Yours eyes are immediately captured in this maze of fragile glass. Well-placed lighting illuminates these untouchable colorful glass flowers. This exquisite and elegant wonder almost makes one forget that within the next steps one will walk into the inner bowels of a major casino. This beautiful glass work of art draws us inside, like a lure on a fishing pole. The senses are engaged, something sensual is being awakened and then as you take a few more steps into the dimly lit interior, you enter a feeding frenzy of slot machines.
And this is where six women randomly came together one night in October. Lured in by the elegance and beauty of this hotel, it was decided by those who had stayed behind after a women’s gathering, to have dinner there. No formal planning had been done, just passed the word to those who were left that this would be the place to meet for dinner. Six women stepped into the womb of this hotel for an early dinner and did not resurface until two in the morning the next day; we never left the dinner table (except to pee).
While the intentions seemed simple enough, to have a one last dinner before leaving the next day to our homes that spread from the east coast to the west coast, lives were changed and altered forever at this dinner table. What began as an ordinary conversation shifted to a deeper meaning and content of our lives. The stories laid upon the table this night/morning are not the stories one usually shares with others. These were women with years of seasoning, well-educated and carrying some sense of accomplishment in their lives. Their masks held what appeared to be successful lives, a beautiful appearance held together by colored glass blossoms. The inner raw material, that naked tenderness of our soft vulnerable selves that we each had learned to carefully guard, was shattered as we each shared our stories. These were stories that have all the perceptions of what happens in Las Vegas, only these stories happened behind closed doors in the dark places, places we would not like to see because they occurred in ordinary neighborhoods and homes. Drugs, rape, alcohol, violence, abandonment, and mental and physical abuse, were placed on the dinner table altar this one night in Vegas— it seemed like the perfect place to break the glass.
Years have passed since this chance meeting inside this beautiful illusionary hotel. The pathways of each of the women that placed their inner souls on the table this night have scattered from the east coast to the west coast. However, what has not left me is the strength, tenacity, and the never giving up for a better place for themselves and their children. Something different was at the core of their being because I have seen and worked with many who have been “beaten” by all the happenings in their lives. A light, even though at times it might have seemed dim, never left them, and once they had set foot on their footpath they fought to get to the next destination.
A sacred place is opened when a circle is formed and then sealed by all those who sit in this circle. What is shared and received remains within each person’s heart. While our heads brought us to this circle, it was our hearts that weaved the stories of life. I have been graced with many such circles and hold them dear to my heart. Listening without judgment or need to speak until requested is a profound gift for both the speaker and the listener.
One evening in Las Vegas a circled was formed, surrounded by many items of material beauty; however, the winning jackpot was not at the gambling tables, but in the hearts of six women.