This is the picture that drifts in my mind as I look back on Present Quest 08. Together in this labyrinth in prayer, connection and seeking. I love this moment. All of us different, however so interwoven and inseparable. This weekend captured the true essence of the human spirit...kind, gentle, giving, warm, welcoming, attentive, stretching, tolerant, interested, joyful, playing, humor and most of all, loving...unconditionally. Wow, and I got to be with you. How blessed am I.
On the ride home Ed, Noel and I were talking about the 3 highs and 3 lows of the weekend. The dance came up in discussion and how long and challenging it was to stay present till 2am. Yes, what a stretch. In Imago one of the exercises we did numerous times in training was "BUILDING THE CONTAINER." Our teacher would tell us that we were going to embark in a "container expander." We would be in group with each other for hours. Practicing staying present, relaxed and attentive. It was hard after a long day of training. Each time we accomplished it she would congratulate us. I now know the deeper meaning. In life we never know how long we may need to pay attention to a partner, friend, loved one, and the longer we can hold, the more we are liberated from our thoughts and judgements. What freedom. So a big congratulations to each of you.
The pictures that touch my heart with pure joy are the ones of each of you dancing with another country...Norway with Guinea, Namibia with Borneo, China with Columbia, Kenya with Tanzania....if we could continue to invite in dancing with others who are different. I returned to life with a big push around the elections. Sarah Palin being selected as McCain's running mate. I was aware I didn't want to dance with Republicans...ahhh...but family members and friends were a part of that group, and then I picture each of you dancing with other countries and I was inspired. Thank you.
3 ways I was the same:
1. I got to let Joan out and play and you all accepted her. I thank you.
2. I continue to underestimate the power of loving touch...beyond thoughts and words. I thank all of you that remind me of the incredible power of touch.
3. I rush into the task and forget the importance of slowing down. I apologize to the men's group for not taking more time and attention to your feeling before I launched into the women's group.
3 ways I was different:
1. I was calm and unflustered when things did not occur as I would have expected. No tension for me which was wonderful and I'm sure the faculty and participants appreciated it too.
2. I was talked into swimming (by someone who could be a lawyer) and had pure joy in the moment.
3. I thought about things I really wanted to do, ie., going out on the dock at sunrise and being still ( I was rewarded with manatees. ) I took Tuesday off upon my return so I could rest, reflect and enjoy. The first time in 20 years.
I would love any suggestions you have for 2009. I heard from some of you that you are ready to move to a new site. Please keep me informed of anything you come across. If you have other ideas I would love to hear them. Remember we have 2038 to look forward to.
Joan aka Angola
3 ways I was the same
1. I was still looking for the pieces to the puzzle and offering those thoughts when in the situation.
2. I was the exception to the rule.
3. I was very present in mind for the entire weekend.
3 ways I was different
1. I took care of myself by having a massage late in the day and then listening to my body that wanted rest.
2. I lightened up and had more fun and chose activities that were more joy centered than serious.
3. I felt more comfortable in running a group. I know this comes with practice and exercising that “new muscle” that we often talk about in counseling sessions. Change involves going through the process and practicing and practicing and exercising that new muscle.
The Present Quest 2008 was an incredible experience ending in joy and connection. Year after year, I see people connect on a beautiful, inspiring level. People from all walks of life, from very different backgrounds with varied experiences come together as one; helping each other, “showing up” for each other, supporting each other in ways that warm the heart.
We are one. My prayer for everyone is that we carry away from this experience the way we want to be in our daily lives, and that the more we see and accept the different forms that our sameness shows up as, that this will help us “embrace our differences,” and the more we will be able to continue the work that we began in this Present Quest 2008. Remember who you are!
Here are my 3 and 3:
Ways I was different:
More than ever before, I let go of judgement and just listened to others openly.
More than ever before, I could hear the truth in each view, regardless of the presence of differences.
More than I have been in my life lately, I laughed and played and felt like a happy little girl.
Ways I was the same:
I still felt loving toward everyone, all beings, the life force energy swirling through the universe.
I still felt a little shy with new people.
I still, sometimes, forgot to breathe when I became focused on/identified with my thoughts.
My thanks to everyone who joined together at The Present Quest 2008 to create our happy family.
Thank you for your heartfelt welcome. I will carry you all in my heart and share the spirit of love we created everywhere I go.
With love and appreciation for each of you,
It's very powerful for me to sit here and contemplate this weekend. So many images and feelings come right back to me.
Simply I just feel loved and accepted.
- I allowed myself to risk more.
- I shared my lead moments.
- I played with adults and stayed out late.
- I strived to do my best and be honest.
- I'm listening and reaching out so I can experience new ways to live my life in peace and love.
I'm choosing to live my life with more awareness of differences of people and cultures and I really want to let go of judgement.
I'm going to do that in the present.
3 ways the same during the weekend:
1. Unable to speak my thoughts and feelings fully.
2. Timid around unfamiliar people.
3. Avoided eye contact when expressing myself as to not cry.
3 ways different during the weekend:
1. Just being - letting go and just doing whatever was presented WITHOUT worrying if people are watching.
2. Connecting on a much higher level with others.
3. Trusting unfamiliar people to touch me.
I did not feel like it was my first time at the Quest, the presence of EVERYONE became very familiar. I will forever have the memories of safety and acceptance and EXTREME JOY from the weekend to assist with my journey. My sweet phrase is “LIVE LIVE” in which I embraced over the weekend.
1. I stayed in appreciation for life and for how other people bring special qualities to the moment.
2. I showed up with enthusiasm and curiosity.
3. I showed up ready and willing to take a risk and work at whatever task was in front of me.
1. I walked into the weekend without any preconceived ideas, visualations or expectations.
2. I allowed myself to walk away from the stress of work and family in order to just "be" and not feel strung "too tight".
3. I took a more (more than usual) observant approach when getting to know others. I felt more "laid back" with every one.
Thanks to everyone for a special weekend and for helping to bring heaven closer to earth. How blessed I am to experience the Present Quest year after year, and God willing until 2038!
3 ways that I was different
1. I had less anxiety about being prepared and perfect. Although I'm still a little hesitant during improv, I felt at ease during the talent show. I allowed myself to read and to drum and didn't worry about performance. I felt a little inadequate in sharing my country at the dance, but I didn't obsess about it. It was probably the first time that I gave myself permission not to have to be the A+ student, to be okay with it, and not to panic.
2. I trusted the process more. I'm learning to relax and trust the creative and intuitive wisdom that lives in me and in others. An example of this is letting go of the worry about how we were going to close. Our idea for the closing evolved at 12:00 and took about 10 minutes to come to fruition. We joked and laughed at the beginning of our process group about what the quests would be like as we got older. At the end of group one of us said why not go with it for the closing, and the collective wisdom agreed and created. On the way to lunch I mentioned to Robyn that maybe after the skit we could play a meaningful song about friendship. He said that he might have something. I let go of the need to think about it further, to search for one in my CD's, to hear the song before Robyn played it etc., and it turned out to be a beautiful song that I was able to fully experience in the moment and without any chatter in my head.
3. I think I was more true to myself this weekend. Even though I wanted to do everything, I listened to my body when it needed to halt. I realized that this happened both nights at about 7:00. Although I wanted to go to the booktalk and participate in the labyrinth walk, I just needed a break and allowed myself to sit out without too much judgement. I think I was also more true to my feelings and spoke my truth without fear at times such as during the men/women's group, sexuality workshop, and process group.
Before I speak about ways that I was the same, I just want to thank the people that shared reflections before me and spoke of positive ways that they were the same. Prior to this, I thought of the word same in a negative light and only associated it with a need for change. Hopefully, I'll think of a way that I was the same and be able to affirm my goodness as I witnessed other people doing in some of their reflections.
3 ways I was the same (I'm a little confused about this one. Does the idea of being the same refer to the same as in my day to day life or the same as I was last year at the Present Quest?)
1. I think I was open and willing to learn, to grow, and to take risks. (Although I think this is easier to do when I'm at the Present Quest, I think this is true for the most part in my day to day life. I've learned (especially from attending Present Quests) to walk through my fears, and that by doing so I grow and experience life more fully.
2. I have genuine love in my heart and a desire to connect with others. As I shut the voices down in my head, this channel of giving and receiving love is more open and fulfilling.
3. I still have a hard time being rather than doing. Even at the Present Quest, I find myself thinking, "Okay, what do I have to do next." Even though I know that I can sit things out, I have a hard time not adhering to the schedule. I allowed myself to sit on the dock for 20 minutes before another group started. I wanted to keep sitting in the sun and enjoying the moment, but I felt the need to get back. Maybe it's about being responsible or not wanting to miss out on something that I know would be good for me. However, like my day to day life, sometimes I try to fit too much into a day. I know all too well how to be busy and to feel anxious and overwhelmed. That's something that I'd like to change.
It was hard for me to get to this and put it all into words, but I want to do this before it all dwindles down to a smaller memory. Although I don't know how that can happen, what an amazing weekend it was! As with my first year in 2007, I feel I have expanded my world with some wonderful new friends and got to know better some of those I met last year. It's hard to pick out just a few things of the weekend or certain people as all contributed to making it so memorable.
Ways I was different:
I'm happy I was open to receive messages, there were lots of them over the weekend. Especially the messages that helped me to better understand my country and look at that country with eyes of a small child in a dream. Thank you Ed for making that amazing experience so safe and I will always have that with me.
I loved the labyrinth. I'm so glad I participated, not only with all of you that also were part of that wonderful experience, but the "others" that were there walking with us. I know that we had several "past" participants in our company, from several past lives. It was a wonderful, spirit filled feeling.
It was brought to my attention and I learned I am grieving yet another loss, that I know I've had many losses in my life, and I have and do mourn those losses, go through that grieving process that I know "oh so well". But I didn't realize this loss really and I will certainly do what I need to do and take those suggestions I was given. Thank you to my small process group and especially Barbara and Sally for helping me see what I was feeling, I had no idea!!!!
Ways I was (am) the same:
I continue to challenge myself through those "voices" that tell me I can't do things, or It's not good enough! Getting past that uncomfortable feeling and getting in front of a group of people even if I don't want to. THROAT SINGING OF ALL THINGS ????!!!
Fear... I hate it!. My fear still keeps me from speaking up, especially during our mens/womens group. I feel as though I owe the men an amends. I was even a little embarrassed to be sitting there. I did feel the impact of their group. They were candid, intimate and did some honest work. I wanted to honor that with them, but couldn't find the words. Some of the comments that were made, I felt that it was made light of, and maybe made it not as real as I felt it truly was.
I continue to aim for the appreciation and know from loss and of past experience, life is so very short and precious. I don't want to regret not doing things or saying something to those that are so very important to me or any of God's kids! I appreciate all of you that attended and participated and hold you all dear to my heart.
Thank you all so very much,
I am struggling with a response to those question. How I was the same and the experience was the same is - I felt safe immediately and was able to share anything I needed from my most vunerable spots. I really enjoyed being introduced and introducing someone. That exercise feels very childlike.
How I was different and the experience was different. I stayed up tll 2-3:30am talking. I am usually more measured in my sleep patterns. The dance night felt more inclusive and I felt more relaxed and present.
I feel more than ever that this is a family reunion. It is a gift that brings up a wave of gratitude. This year was very challenging for me and has prompted me to reach out in a way that is scary for me. I'm trusting God is making me a part of this family and that does not fit into my framework of being able to walk away from anything. But at this present moment I am a part of it because I can feel the love in my heart for you.
Like any family member I am closer to some than others and I sometimes feel like I should have the same deep understanding with all of you . I mention that because some of you spring to mind more readily than others. I have seen wonderful miracles over these past four years and I know Marianne, who made contact with Robin and I a couple of years ago, has deeply and wonderfully touched me in a way I would not have imagined when we first met. So God's doing something with me I can't perdict or discern, but I am amazed at the feelings I feel for you as my family.
3 ways I am the same:
Delight in the chance to find out new things about you.
Delight in the chance to recite poetry with you.
Sheer joy in watching the talent show and all the other ways you show your talents and gifts.
3 ways I am different:
Feeling more energy flowing through me in a way that challenges me to grow into it.
Understanding that I am a part of this family.
Missing you more.
I am unable to describe the gift that Debbie gave me when her dream of Mongolia became real....or dancing with Nancy...or Pat sharing who she is...or sharing my little boy with Bill and Robyn...or hugging a waterfall...or rooming with Noel....or listening to Joanie's amazing fantasy life with her cat, Opie Taylor...or all of you.
Bhajelo Ji! Hanuman!