As an empath, I can intuitively sense the vibes and energy of the people around me. This is not an ideal situation. It is pure agony to walk through crowded places, doubly so to travel in crowded trains and buses. I close my eyes as much as possible to avoid the many energies twirling around me, and the psychic vampires from the crowd who sense the presence of empaths and try to gain their attention in a bid to leech and feed off psychic energy. But happily, this also works the other way around. It is wonderful to interact with energetically evolved souls, who spread warmth and serenity around them sometimes with their mere presence, their words, and actions. One of these wonderful people is Charlotte, the accommodation officer of my college.
I have booked rooms at my college dozens of times, certainly over twenty times if not more, and each time, my emails are answered by Charlotte or one of her assistants. They all mention similar things in those everyday emails that confirm room availability and key collection and are always impeccably polite. But in Charlotte’s emails, I sense genuine warmth which makes reading these emails which are nothing more than routine paperwork, a real pleasure.
In September I was in college to hand in my Master’s thesis and Second Year Project. I was, of course, staying in my college as usual, though it would have been easier to stay at Christ Church or Magdalen or any of the others which are closer to the Examination Schools. I had booked my favourite room 12 in the basement of Donald Michie House that overlooks the college grounds and a glorious patch of Oxford skies. It is one of my favourite places in the world. It is bliss, working at the desk there in that little room, moving after some time to the college grounds with a hot chocolate from the hub, and then taking a break with a long and restorative walk by the banks of the Cherwell. As I type these lines, the very thought of it transports me there in my mind and the memories fill my heart with love and tranquility. But to return to that September day. I was frazzled after a month of all-nighters, constant revisions of experimental fiction, total immersion in critical literary theory, and way too much black coffee. On that day I hardly registered the familiar, beloved surroundings. All I sought was to curl up in a chair and continue revising throughout the night. On checking in to my room, I found to my consternation that the electricity was erratic, and the coffee maker would not work, the first time it had ever happened. I walked back to college and Rodrigo who was at the reception took me to the accommodation office and left me there to report the issue. The large office room was cluttered with boxes of varying sizes and was otherwise empty except for a somewhat anxious-looking lady at a corner desk. As I poured out my consternation over the coffee maker, she listened patiently and then moved away some of the boxes from a sofa. She adjusted the cushions and invited me to sit down while she went to check. I mumbled my thanks and sank into the sofa, my thoughts returning immediately to my coursework.
After a few minutes, I was walking back to my college room with Rodrigo and a brand new kettle. I told him how much I enjoy staying at my college, not only because it was mine but from my relative experience of having stayed in several other Oxford colleges. They are all good, but mine is the best in terms of several factors, not the least of which are food and accommodation.
Rodrigo agreed as he apologised for the issues with the room, and the time taken to resolve it (about ten minutes). ‘Charlotte’s too busy with the new batch of students coming in at Michaelmas next week,’ he said among other things as he allotted me a different room and left with the old kettle. I nodded politely and turned back to my work.
It was only the following afternoon when I had returned from Exam Schools and was sitting in the college hub in a pleasant daze with a slice of delicious autumn cake and a cup of hot chocolate that the thought struck me – the lady I had met the previous day was the one who wrote those routine emails which exuded so much warmth, such positive energy. I remembered how despite being so busy, she had taken the trouble to ensure that I had a place to sit comfortably for those few minutes while she went to check on the problem in my room. And then I knew I had met yet another lightworker, one of those extraordinary, highly evolved souls who make this world a better place with their mere presence in it.