Meandering through New York City is something I’ve taken for granted. There are tourists doing what they do best – they walk slowly. Mothers chat on cell phones while maneuvering strollers. Construction workers carry large slabs of drywall. Panhandlers discreetly ask for coins- not pans. The greyness of the city is large. It’s cold. Mostly everyone is in a hurry. No one is gathering at outdoor cafes. After the holiday, discarded Christmas evergreens are strewn on sidewalks awaiting pick-up. A few chilled dogs are walked by their similarly freezing human companions.
Very much aware that my state of mind and spiritual condition are an inside job, I’ve still been on the lookout for something that might zap me with some peace and tranquility-I’m only human. Daydreaming about new things that I’d like to get involved in for the New Year 2012- I decided that this year I will add a new category to my blog. It will be called Spiritual Sightings. I was one of those little girls who jumped for joy when I heard the old black and white flick, Song of Bernadette, was going to be on television for the umpteenth time. I screamed with delight when Jennifer Jones lifted her eyes in awe at the sighting of the Virgin Mary. This still happens- not only when I watch an old flick but at all the odd times that ‘things that make the spiritual happen’ show themselves to me.
Going to work a few days a week I pass a shop called La Sirena NYC. The owner Dina Lear has held the doors open for twelve years. She travels frequently to Mexico and brings back wonderful folk art objects of all types. Her sign calls them ‘chucherias’- a word I’ve always loved. They are, of course, for sale but I think they are there for so much more. On the front step is her statue of Our lady of Guadalupe. An icon you might say! I say so much more. The shop is located on E. 3rd Street on the Lower East Side, right off Second Avenue. The statue with rose petals thrown at her feet lend beauty and a profound sense of spirit to what otherwise might be a bleak part of New York City.
Across the street is a Shelter for Homeless Men. The men gather for a talk, a smoke or a quick interaction of some sort. There’s often an ambulance or a squad car in front of it. To know that just a stone’s throw away is the statue, a symbol of deep love for the humans in our world shifts my perspective whenever I pass by. This is not about religion but a sense of spirituality, community and well-being for all of us- whatever our backgrounds or hopes and aspirations may be.
When I stepped into La Sirena NYC for a quick chat with Dina, one of the first things she did was talk about the shelter and the men who are there. Her sense of community is apparent. Dina goes beyond herself as a shop manager to one who cares about history, culture and her brethren. What a breath of fresh air. Go over for a visit when you’re in town. She and Our Lady in whatever form would love to see you.
*Deep breath* *Gives Thanks*
Are there unexpected places in your community where you go for a breath of spirit?