Participant Reflections

What really struck me was, though we were all staying in one place, Chautauqua, in itself, was a huge journey. While we were learning about and discussing the concept of the Call, the Journey and the Return, we were experiencing the same thing in our experience of Chautauqua. It was so moving to me that we could all take this journey together. Sometimes I tend to feel like I’m alone in my quest to discover my call and it was so great to learn that everyone else in the room felt the same way. The people who were on the journey of Chautauqua, were the journey for me. For me, the journey was about exchanging stories, learning from each other, and discovering that nobody is alone. – Blythe Collier

I was struck by the power that drawing our own images of each others contributions had to building much greater understanding and sense of connection – moving from understanding to experiencing UBUNTU!
Charles Holmes

Goodness, a one-liner is difficult when I had to struggle to avoid astonishment at almost every moment. However, there was one golden thread that wove its way through the mosaic of this experience and that was the open-hearted generosity of everyone. “This time was good. Next time will be better.”
I, you, he, she, we…In the garden of mystic lovers, these are not true distinctions. Rumi   – Sri Gyan

The work done here is urgently required. The call comes from a place I do not know. There is hope for our future for extraordinary children are being called to be extraordinary adults. – Mary Berry

“The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” ~ Sri Nisargadatta
What a wonderful experience – Gary Petersen

The essential experience of ‘ubuntu’ through working in small groups and seeing who I am is affirmed, enriched and developed through the community of learners and seekers who I am privileged to work and live with. Ralph Wolf

I was most struck by Peter’s comment regarding how being overly ‘helpful’ is the behavior of paternalism, and ultimately empire-building. It was very powerful for me, and certainly highlights the huge importance of how we determine what others* actually need, and how we help (or don’t help!) them to get there. *‘others’ being students, our own children and people in general. – Rod Caborn

I was filled with a sense of belonging, immersed in a community, which honored every gift that was named or felt. Bob Caplan

The strength and positive reinforcement that comes from community is available to us if we do our part to remain open and seek it out – Tom Honig

The 2010 Chautauqua: overflowing gifts, talent in abundance and warm acceptance seeping in from every crack of the room. – Hannah Meade

Conversations alive with sparks of connection. Multiple
networks converging and amplifying.Bathed in music,
transcending through the collective breath of song. Nourished by
friends and colleagues courageously open to loveand beauty as pathways for social change. Cyd Jenefsky

What struck me was how we focused on humanity, both its messiness and its beauty.
Louise Yarnall

Waking up together, i look around tenderly. – Kranti Mailliard

What really moved me was the enthusiasm with which people participated in the art-making when we turned it over to them, and the joy on their faces when it touched places in them that they couldn’t have reached by any other means. Especially moving were people’s responses to the collaborative drawing on the final day: Mara’s discovery that it wasn’t about artistic “talent” or making pretty pictures; Ralph’s transcendent “ubuntu” moment; the many moments of “Yes!” as people completed each other’s thoughts by adding something critical to the collective image and suddenly understood what they were talking about. WOW!  – Avril Orlof

Our Chautauqua is our learning community’s Ubuntu. It is because of my experience and relationship with each person sitting in that beautiful space, created by our yearly Chautauqua, that allows me to enter my classroom as me. I am deeply grateful for my relationship with all of you. It is an experience of being that I do not have elsewhere in my professional life! – Jill Madden

THE CALL – I intended to use the Chautauqua time exploring possibilities and solutions to new challenges in my work life.
THE JOURNEY – I was surprised to find myself doing none of it, at least not directly. Instead I quenched my thirst for meaningful connection with others and began the process of naming what is regenerative for me.
THE RETURN – The return has extended beyond the Chautauqua’s close. Awash in metaphor, imagery and sensation I am rewriting my story and rearranging the boulders in the creek-bed. It seems that although I am still competent and able to rise to challenges, challenge alone no longer moves me. The call of ambition and accomplishment is silenced by the rush of deep water breaking through the dams built by previous stories. This is neither comfortable nor convenient and yet it is the most authentic sound in the room.

I was delighted, surprised and soothed to open Angeles’ book, the Second Half of Life and find this, “When transition takes place during our later years, a fundamental and primal shift from ambition to meaning occurs.” I am not on schedule; however it seems I am on time. Again inconvenient, I would have preferred next year, in the fall.

Entering the MMS Community Room I saw a basket with a sign,” If your head is not connected to your heart-bone, vocal cords or feet please leave it at the door.” I did as instructed and when I retrieved it on Thursday I found these vignettes playing on the projector.

• Under the weight of an engorged head I attempt to cross the room with a gait graceful enough not to let slip the true imbalance of my condition.
• Bandersnatch: At the head of a long table, set with the accoutrement of self-importance, my voracious head devours ideas, completely missing the intention of the potlatch.
• Kodak Moment…. I am captured in an inarguable reflection of depth and insight, back lit in the parallel light of the late afternoon, looking much younger than my years. (Gary, thank you for the real postcards, although they were not convenient either) – Clare Wesley

What struck me is: I am honored to be in the presence of committed educators, parents, students, and community are to creating learningful environments. – Bill Sommers

1 thought on “Participant Reflections”

  1. I was incredibly moved by the music–what a wonderful addition to our work together. I’m convinced more than ever that the arts and artists must be part of our journey. Thank you, thank you!

Comments are closed.