Day zero here at the Shambhala Summer Institute here in Halifax. The staff of the ALIA Institute have been working hard to get everything ready for us, and today people started to arrive. Over the past could of days the faculty have been meeting in a little pre-institute retreat, building our own field and grabbing the chance to have conversations with one another. We’ve been getting a little taste of each other’s modules, playing with some of the creative process that is going on and generally catching up with each and getting a sense of our field.
Today we held a little open space and one of the things we were invited to do was give some thought to what is alive in the field of the Institute this summer. Sensing like this helps us to be able to pay attention to the collective experience and gives voice to what is showing up, and what we can serve. At the conclusion of the Open Space, we checked out and I harvested a little poem that captures something of the flavour or what we’re in. Part of the set up for this poem is knowing that today the weather has been wild with high winds and driving drizzle, and even though the air is warm, there is a sense that the winter/spring part of the year is keen to leave its legacy on the summer/fall part.
Here’s the poem:
What’s alive in this field
We’re going to be at home.
The depth of passion that we own
expands out to connect
the alternatives that sing, circumspect,
from the hill tops,
that reach the ears of the young
who stand in the storm, sung
songs of drenched longing,
wanting to tap creative energy
to quiver with the joy that
lives in the edge of death and life
the light that redraws the breath of summer.
The directions are called,
the integration invites a falling into place
a space of compassionate embrace
of all we are related to.
My daughter – an image held in the hand,
at arms length, on a touch –
there is much that is held here,
much that isn’t here.
What is clear is not-knowing –
uncertainty growing like the clouds
of drizzle that shower our container
Can you feel the wind?
Can you feel the breath?
Settle down. Then step.