A Dream of Welcome

“All I want is a little candle/book/soap/oils/Tarot shop of my own in a small, liberal, chatty, nature-y town somewhere scenic.

That was me the other day, casual thoughts spilling over into Twitter conversations as per usual (seriously, if there were a job calling for a professional rambler, I’d be one of the most successful people around — at least as long as the rambles could be random, often inappropriate, and occasionally inadvertently hilarious).

I said it lightly, but as soon as the words flowed from my keyboard, I realized how much I meant them.

I love creating things. There is something both viscerally satisfying and exultant about bringing an idea into tangible existence, working with my hands in harmony with my vision (sometimes after repeated failures, to be sure!), and in the case of candles and soaps, combining scent and color to achieve an almost synesthetic blend of experiences for the person who eventually uses them.

That’s not all, though. As personally gratifying as it would be to make things — and then have people buy them! — there’s a lot more to this dream.

In my ideal locale, my little shop would be either on Main Street with a bunch of other little shops touting various things, or on a well-traversed road just off of Main. Tourists and locals alike would stop in, browse, chat for a few…and even if they didn’t buy anything, they would (hopefully) leave with a slightly lighter step, shoulders a bit more relaxed, feeling as though they’d put down something heavy for a while.

I’d want my shop to feel like a safe haven, full of calming energy and with a shopkeeper (moi) always willing to lend an ear or trade stories. I have stumbled across such places a time or two in my life, and those feelings of renewal and of kinship with the owner lingered long after the door jingled shut behind me.

One such shop had two furry “ambassadors” — two lithe black cats who greeted each customer with bearings that seemed to say, “Oh good, you’re here! I’ve been waiting for you!”

That sense of belonging, even if only in an eclectic little shop, is soothing to the soul and quieting for the overactive mind. For those moments, all you have to do is just be, and explore various wares or chat a bit if you want to. There’s never any pressure to buy at a shop like that, only peace and the knowledge, unspoken but clear, that you are welcome here.

You are welcome here. That is precious, and all too rare a feeling sometimes. When’s the last time you walked into a place you weren’t familiar with and instantly felt at home?

It all comes down to simple human connection and our need for that. The problems we face individually and as a global community largely stem from disconnection. The solutions hinge on re-forging those links between ourselves and our fellow human beings, especially those we have come to regard as Other.

My little maybe-shop will help with that. Someday (I hope). In the meantime, on this blog or anywhere else you find me, please know that you are welcome here. Thanks for stopping by!