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Stories: Workplace

An Interview with Renee DellaValle

Renee DellaValle felt collective resonance when working with a construction crew building homes in the western Maine lakes region. It was a happy and productive time for her and one that taught her lessons about “how life should be”. She generously shares her experiences with Renee Levi in this interview.

RL: Renee, can you tell me about your experiences of collective resonance working with this particular crew?

RD: I remember feeling wonderful, just picking up rocks on the beach while the rest of the crew was talking, working, and just being happy to be together.

RL: Were you working on a particular job?

RD: We were fixing the chimneys on Forest Camp, out on Kennebago Lake. They were starting to break up and we needed to take them apart and rebuild them into new ones. They wanted them to look old, the way they used to.

I remember one beautiful day, the water splashing against the shore of the lake, and I was feeling so good about working with these guys. It was just a warm, happy, content feeling of being there and being with those people.

RL: What was so special about this group, Renee?

RD: Well, we always had fun together. It was a wicked lot of fun! And we just sort of clicked. Not ever being uppity about things, just knowing that you just wanted to help the other person get along through that day, and it was a good thing. It went real smooth and you felt like that was where you were supposed to be in that day or in that week. And with this particular group of people, we always felt that way.

That was one connection, I guess, but there were other connections. We’d work 12 or 15 hour days sometimes, and at the end we’d be just driving down the road and feeling like you accomplished something with these people, that there was a big satisfaction in your life that you could all work late together and be proud of what you were doing. You didn’t mind putting in a little extra time because, you know, it was always just there, it was in the air around you, it felt good. It just felt like we belonged together, like that was the way it should be in your life. That stuck. We always felt very connected and proud of being part of this little group.

RL: Was it always like that?

RD: Whenever we were working on all our jobs, there was always that unique connection. And it was never a whole lot of talk. See, you didn’t need to talk. It just fit. Everything fit like a puzzle. And the fireplace fit like a puzzle. Sometimes the stones would just fall into place perfectly as we cemented them in. There wasn’t any need to have any discussion about it because it’s like a silent speaking and it was always there. You just already knew how you wanted to do it, everyone knew. We didn’t bump into each other or anything. You already knew what the other person was thinking or where they were going to be because it was always in the big connection you had.

And even getting the rocks for the fireplaces along the shoreline. You just all got rocks and you knew which rock was the right one, and it was a happy thing, like, “Look at this rock! It’s perfect for the Forest place. Won’t it look great there?”

RL: What do you think it was, Renee? I know it’s a feeling, and that’s hard to describe, but what would you say was so different about this particular group of people?

RD: Well, we’ve been friends for years and years, since I was a little kid, and there’s trust and love and friendship. And just living in this area and feeling the same way about the trees and the lakes and the rocks and just being part of Rangeley for all these years. We all live the same way.

I think it’s part of what made us all connect. I mean, I still could walk up to any of these guys and give them a big hug or they would give me a hug. And all I’d have to say is, “How are you?” and that’s all, and I’d know. We never have to say anything, really, but we just know. You know it. You can feel it around the person.

RL: Where did you feel it? When you were working, say, building the fireplaces or collecting rocks on the beach, how did it feel to you physically?

RD: Sometimes I feel it all around me and then other times I just feel in my soul.

RL: And where is that?

RD: It starts from within and it comes outward.

RL: If you had to point to a place on the body, where…

RD: It would be my heart.

RL: Your heart…

RD: Yes. I mean, I can feel it right now, just talking about them.

RL: You can?

RD: Yup. I feel this big, inner…it’s like…it feels really, really…God, I don’t know if I can explain it. It feels really great and really warm, and nothing like anything else. As big as the sun. As big as the world. And I don’t want to cry, but I just want to feel this feeling…always.

RL: Wow.

RD: And it starts within and it goes out. The more I talk about it, the more my whole body feels it. Right now it’s in my hands…and in my feet. The more I talk about it, the bigger it gets. Like strength in my fingers. It’s strong…it feels like strength.

RL: Strength…

RD: Warm and strong and…just awesome!

RL: That’s great, Renee, what a great description! Are you still working together with this crew?

RD: No, not now. When more people came into the group, it started going bad and I had to get away.

RL: Really? What were the new people doing? I mean, how were they affecting it?

RD: They didn’t care. They didn’t care about others and they didn’t really care about their job and doing it right. It felt like negative energy. That’s when I left because I couldn’t deal with them not caring and not being a part of what it was all about. It was a group with unspoken pride and love and happiness and they didn’t feel that. It wasn’t a connecting thing anymore, it was like throwing something in the middle of a honey pot and ruining it. And it was never the same after that. The group was gone.

And you know, I can’t cope with energy like that anymore in my life. I get away from it whenever I feel it coming now. In the last few years I figured it out and I have to get away from negative energy like that. I just go away. It’s all in knowing myself and being in touch with myself, and now I know when to get away from it. I’ve learned to trust my feelings about it.

RL: So is it intuition?

RD: Yes. And it just comes. But I’m very, very aware now. I’ve come across people and feel real negative vibes and I just don’t go there. I just stay away. It’s not important why I wanted to go there, it’s more important to stay happy, stay connected with myself, and be a better person for it. Because when you get near that energy, it can be bad for you.

RL: Have you always been aware of your inner knowing like this, Renee?

RD: No, not really. It was a year ago, maybe a year and a half, that I started realizing these feelings I have, this connection with life that I have. And that I needed to start paying attention to it. And I thought, “Wow, it’s always been there, I just didn’t pay attention to it!” And now I feel very connected…to the earth and with a lot of other things in my life.

And you know, the really strange thing about it is when I concentrate, like just a little for one day, like today – because you and I have talked about all this connection – I will think about it in my subconscious on and off during the day today, and I will have one of the best days that I’ve had in a long time! That’s what happens. All I have to do is think about it a little bit and it’s just amazing how I can still feel that positive, wonderful energy that I felt with the crew. It’s awesome. I feel like I can fly, like a big whirlwind comes in and lifts me right up. I mean, it’s unbelievable! It feels like, wow, I’ve got to touch somebody so they can feel this way!

RL: And how are you feeling right now, Renee?

RD: Well, I feel it right now. I’m looking out over the lake and just going…wow! I’m feeling so connected right now.

RL: And wouldn’t it be nice if we could all feel that way, if we could always understand that we are all connected?

RD: Yeah. I like it. I want to stay this way.

RL: Renee, what value has these experiences of collective resonance with your crew had for your life and your work?

RD: It’s taught me that life is very fragile and very beautiful, and to pay attention to it. It also taught me to be more tuned to myself. And to connect myself to the greater power of life.

Renee is no longer building homes. She runs her own caretaking business and is a wife and mother, and she has learned how to live in resonance as much as possible in all areas of her life.

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