Our campus is uniquely located in the Abbotsford Convent precinct in Melbourne’s inner east. We are immediately adjacent to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and nestled in a bend of the Yarra River.
Brigitte opened the meeting with a welcome, a short meditation practice and this poem.
Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don’t mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, “It’s hard.
You take him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there’s no one
to say what a good job you’re doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache.”
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.
There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world’s heart.
There is no other art.
Jennifer West presented the session for the day, exploring the theme: The Here and Now.
We began with three experiential activities, exploring different ways of being present and what distracts us from being present. The activities included: sending a ‘clap’ around the circle, exploring some the vowel sounds of eurythmy and a conversation practice in pairs.
We noticed the thoughts and emotions that arise in an instant that can prevent us from simply being present. We discussed not judging the self-critical dialogue that can arise in our minds.
Jennifer shared a self-reflection exercise: Imagine you are sitting on a mountain top and you are watching yourself go through all the activities of your day. Notice, without judgement, how you went about those activities. Reflect on the question: What could I have done differently?
Jennifer presented the idea that the key to being present is to be in the I. What is this I? Who am I? We shared amazement that thoughts, ideas, sentences all seem to arise from this mysterious I. Being present in the I involves three aspects:
Being Here: this involves being in space, in a location. This is connected to the Will aspect.
Now: This is our being in time. This is connected to the Feeling aspect
Eternity: There is something that is always here. This relates to the Thinking aspect.
Our conversation circled round to listening to ourselves and others as being a crucial process for staying present. We explored how hard it is to listen in the face of strong emotions from others.
Another poem in closing
This led to our topic for next week which will be presented by Brigitte: Listening to what is hard to hear.
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