Saturday, August 13, 2016

In Living Fully


Two weeks ago, 100 people from 28 countries gathered and we sang in and rang in on gongs the beginning of a grand adventure. Now it’s over. Near the end, the intensity of the two weeks was beginning to show, the beauty and the terror of feeling vulnerable. Emotions were at a high pitch— little spats and melt-downs and no surprise, it’s just the way this work is. But the container of music and ritual brought it all together into a beautiful sharing of each Level’s work on Thursday night and the closing circles on Friday morning ending with the grand spiral with voices echoing to the heaven’s with Avon Gillespie’s farewell text set to a Beethoven canon. The drought was over for the brief 15 minutes the tears flowed. A final cadence, turn to your neighbor and hug and more tears. 

And then it was time for lunch.

The fever pitch of deep emotion necessarily cooling down to the practical details of packing and the final hugs and goodbyes and getting ready for the difficult, but necessary transition, of re-entering the workaday world. The lobster shell was back on, but higher and larger than it was before.

Sadly, there is no ritual greeting at the other end. Hopefully, loving partners, family members, friends happy to see the initiates again and ready to sit down and listen to as many stories as they can before their eyes glaze over and they leap up and say, “Great! Glad you had a good time. Now can you take out the garbage?” Again, as it should be.

I don’t want to claim too much for this remarkable two-week community we’ve been crafting for over 33 years, but the fact is that I believe it as as spiritually invigorating and filled with epiphanies as any yoga/ Zen Center/ Christian/ Sufi/ Jewish or New Age pagan retreat. And without any expectation that you are there for spiritual renewal or else you get your money back. The only claim we make is that we can help you be a better music or dance teacher or teacher in general and the rest is gravy. But indeed, what is more spiritual than working with children and what more refreshing than scores of beautiful songs, dances and musical pieces held together in ensemble, each designed to unlock another faculty of soul?

As for me, it’s time for grandkids, books on the beach and sunsets over Lake Michigan. But the echoes of Avon’s words sung with wet eyes will be with me:

“In living fully, one finds peace…”

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