Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shambhala ALIA Institute 2009 - Day Two

Another wonderful day at ALIA. Started this morning with 45 minutes of mindful meditation - went better than yesterday - almost kept my eyes open the whole time :-). I found the experience restful and at the same time difficult - lots of adjusting to find my centre and trying to clear my mind - it's obviously a life-long practice that requires a lot of commitment and practice.

The module session today was good - some very cool exercises to build community and we went through both an appreciative inquiry and world cafe exercise. One of the exercises involves putting people in a circle then selecting someone who folds their arms over their chest, closes their eyes and is launched into the circle by someone - they keep walking until someone on the edge of the circle stops them and sends them off in a different direction. You then slowly add more blind walkers to the mix and watch the fun happen - people on the edge holding walkers so they don't collide and sending off in a clear direction - I think it would be a great ice breaker for classrooms, and at our own faculty and staff development program.

The afternoon session on calligraphy was amazing - who knew drawing lines could be so spiritual and involve the body as much or more than the mind... We weren't trusted with ink today - a very good thing :-) (we get ink on Thursday :-)), so we drew lines with water on paper - a very cool, focussed, and yet relaxing exercise. Also did some body movement to get the feel of how the body moves through calligraphy - Tai Chi based. Barbara Bash was the facilitator and she is amazing - she has such a calma nd commanding presence. She passed on a poem about calligraphy from one of her mentors:

Bone Heavy
Spirit Light
Heart Even
Intention Far
True Interest
Self Expressed
Upright Energy
Dives and Swirls

(Professor Chong Man'Ching - translated from Chinese)

It captures the art and life of calligraphy perfectly for me.

So much is floating around in my head after the first two days of ALIA - I'll keep twittering and blogging my thoughts, but some of the things I've captured so far are:
  • Heaven, Earth, Human
  • Do everything with intention
  • Wealth is all around us and in many ways has nothing to do with money
  • Silence is as important as noise
  • Let communities form themselves from within - guide, don't direct (already knew that one!)
I've taken a few photos of what we've been creating together and I will eventually get them posted to my Flickr photostream.

Another day full of ideas, and notions, and intentions and a lot of things that made me go Hmmm...

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