Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thursday, June 11

6:45 - Woke late, dressed in a hurry.
Acted on a gut feeling and wounded a friend's feelings.
7:15 - Did my sitting on the picnic table outside our cabin with birds.

On the way down the hill, thinking on how to manage AT in Sandra's absence and also honor and include Kim's AT experience/offer to teach on the course, a solution arrives. I've been wanting to work with the BNI kitchen team and she has a presentation on tensegrity that will take 15 minutes. We can split the BNI group at OM's regular time, making sure everyone gets a chance to work with both of us and relieving each of us of having to present individually for more than 15-20 minutes. This idea was met favorably by Kim.

8:00 - Breakfast was especially good.

I missed an opportunity to sign up for a personal meeting.

9:30 Staff meeting
10:30 AT in dining room w/ Kim and Erin

I go overtime with both groups. There is much we can work on when it comes to being present in the kitchen and my enthusiasm sometimes causes me to run long. Something to be aware of.

10:30 - Intro team with buddies
11:30 - BNI in Ballroom

The opportunity to support a friend presents itself. When we part ways best wishes are sent.
Some private reflections on this being the middle. The course has definitely sped up and issues which seem characteristic of the middle are rearing their heads.

1:00 Lunch

Comments and questions during lunch. The hero's journey.

2:30 - Intro Team AT lie-down with Erin
3:00 - How to make a mistake with Tom
4:00 - Tea

My missed opportunity to sign up for a personal meeting is remedied.
Private AT lessons with Alex, Sarah, and Joe

5:00 - Intros with Robert
5:00 - Keynotes with Frank

I acted as interpreter/amplifier/translator once more. This time Frank asked no commentary be given. One observation was particularly intense.

Caught Sandra up on recent events, some of which have potential ramifications for the course. How to deal best with these? A meeting helps clarify our course of action.

7:00 - Dinner with several performances

I'm sitting, facing out of the dining room towards the lake. Outside, dusk is approaching. I'm looking at the center of the table where a pitcher of water, a few glasses and a couple of plates sit. I notice something I had not before - the circular, yellowish light of the overhead lamps. I'm sure they have been on the whole time, but I didn't notice their light until it was contrasted by the approaching darkness.

A reflection on meaning in regard to my question about opposites and my tendency to label one side of the pendulum bad and the other good. Here it is clear there is neither, just a necessary relationship.

After dinner a short meeting with Patrick Smith, seeking help.

8:45 - Ladies in the Wonder Room

A personal experience from the course is shared. The discussion seems to go well, but still better for some than others. Nonetheless, I believe what is necessary has been discharged.

On a personal note, it is interesting to see how many of us feel responsible for the well-being of one another. It is unclear to me if this is healthy or not, just as it is unclear to me where responsibility begins and ends. It is muddy. I don't feel qualified. There also seems to be some difference in comfort around consensus. Some seem to want agreement while others are more comfortable with just being heard. I find out later, at least one person present does not feel heard at all.

10:00 - Ballroom for repertoire

Pieces are called out and we split into small groups.

Worked with a small group in the lady's bathroom on Hope. It's evening. Most of us seem to be giddy-tired and it is still remarkably hot out. I am a terrible leader and have to ask Sarah to count us in. Our numbers grow. We move to the hallway and are joined by Curt who outlines for us the structure of the piece. We are also joined by a small group capable of working the circulation. Sarah leaves and rejoins, flute in hand. Yay! The tempo is a bit slow and there is an inclination to speed-up, but it's coming together.

11:15 Repertoire run through

So much fun. Some great playing. So much so, I forget how tired and hot I am and just enjoy it. Adrian and Collin's work together sticks out in my mind. Several curious Intros were about. So far, this may be the best representation of what we are able to accomplish together as a circle.

I am driven back up the hill to my cabin by Sarah, grateful for the air-conditioning and laughter.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Wednesday, June 10

6:45 - Woke
7:15 - Morning Sitting

Passing into the Ballroom I notice several Intros in the Ratty Room. I join them, thinking RF will be presenting the exercise. When he doesn't arrive, I worry. This is, by far, the shortest-feeling 45 minute sitting I've ever had. After raising a false alarm, I find I had either misunderstood or failed to hear that he was presenting in the Wonder Room this morning.

Breakfast of slimy, tepid porridge.

9:30 - Staff meeting
10:30 - Orchestral Maneuvers
10:30 - Guitar Mechanics Intro team in Ballroom with Curt and I

"Curt, are they allowed to breath?"
Afterward, a moment's rest is stolen in the cabin.

1:00 - LUNCH - Borscht

Short meeting with Sandra regarding tomorrow morning, short meeting with Joe regarding a good time to work with the kitchen team.

During housework, a table is moved to the patio just outside the Ballroom for my use teaching private lessons. It has a view of the lake.

Have I mentioned it's bloody hot? And humid.

3:00 - Intro team in Wonder Room (using our arms and legs, looking around the room from the occipital joint, etc) / BNI repertoire in ballroom

It is a tight squeeze in the room (which is bright, with hardwood floors, a green chalkboard on one end and windows lined pleasantly with rainbow-colored curtains). As with the previous day's teaching, there is a moment where I wonder what the hell I'm going to do and whether or not anything I'm saying is making sense to anyone. I stick with it. This is a responsive group who are, for the most part, holding open a space for the teaching. Several great questions at the end of the session by several students who have hung back. In some ways, this moment is the most instructive. I see how one good question from a student can change things for the entire group. Some hesitation and curiosity about what the BNI team is doing in the adjoining room.

4:00 - Tea

Curt skipping stones.

Sitting on the bench with Frank overlooking the lake. This is the closest I've gotten to the water. He's interested in the fish - how they cross from their world into another the moment they break the surface going after a bug. He's hard of hearing, but can understand me. Have I been trained? No, but in the last few years I finally got up the guts to sing karaoke. Which songs? Julie London, Cry Me a River and Stray Cats. Would I translate for the meeting? Of course.

5:00 Keynotes

My observation from the previous night: I am sitting in the outer circle and the lights go off. My immediate feeling is of relief: I don't have to feel self-conscious anymore. But something comes with that, a feeling that I'm no longer held responsible. I mentally begin accusing my fellow musicians of having let something necessary for music go. Then the thought, "How do I verify this?" and I remember to listen.

Accurately repeating what people said was difficult, a bit of a performance. The tricky part was measuring/lining up my own ability (or inability) to correctly remember what was being said with the natural pauses/line breaks/breaths of the speaker. A very interesting experience for me.

Gave a chair turn to Dave and afterward a floor turn to Tim.

6:30 - Qi Gong with the gorgeous tree next to us in the wind, the rocks behind, lake in front and a sense of the moving energy between my hands and that I don't know what I'm doing. I felt very awkward. It was a good feeling though.

7:00 - Dinner

I sat next to Tony who sat next to Frank. I've been avoiding sitting at the head table. Not sure why, but no real need to press myself for an answer.

A clear moment of recognizing and labeling the sensation of being physically tired. Connected to that are thoughts that are slightly self-aggrandizing. I've done well. I try to resist taking credit or feeling special. It seems I am just tired and there are fewer filters. Certain kinds of thoughts slip in when and where they can.

Our work for tonight? By show of hands, two options are most popular: sitting in the Upper Lodge or Ballroom with guitars.

Back in the cabin, guitars are out. There is casual talking.

9:45 - Sitting/Ballroom with Guitars

I imagine myself sitting in the upper lodge and put myself in the ballroom with my guitar strapped on. I have a clear sense that both of these are a No for me. My cabin-mates leave and I slip into my pajamas, which are comfortable. My bed beckons. I'm standing in the bathroom when I realize two things: first, that this sensation is familiar, like the self I left at home who is sometimes a little too comfortable, and two, there is a third option I haven't considered. I'm an AT teacher. I can show up without my guitar. There is some waffling, some inner wriggling, but to this thought there is no clear NO, just the embarrassment I'll feel showing up late. I dress and run down the hill to the Ballroom where Robert works from within the circle. Circulations. Whiz.

There is a moment, watching when an association rises up in me - an emotion from the past connected to something I see in the circle. I begin to tear up. Again, a familiar sensation. I've made an association and fed my emotional reaction. Now it has grown into tears and I am losing touch with what is going on in the room. I ask myself if this is something I am willing or able to put to the side so I can re-engage with what is actually going on.

Walking back the phrase "don't feed the animals" pops into my head. Part of my habitual make-up is to feed certain thoughts/emotions and not others.

Afterward, some bad news necessitates a trip to another cabin where reasons to laugh are found (dildo cozy) and the bravery of one woman is apparent to all present.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tuesday, June 9

6:30 - Rise and dress

7:15 - Morning sitting

A moment walking in, a choice is made to sit on the right-hand side of the room. I realize as I am following my feet that there is sunlight falling on this side of the room while there is still darkness in the corners of the other. I take a seat, feel the cool air from the open window behind me on my shoulders and back. 45 minutes. First, circulation of attention through the body, two rotations of LHM and once through the 60-point exercise. A very asleep left foot needs awakening and I'm up.

8:00 - To breakfast. Eggs and oatmeal with strawberry yogurt. Silence visited, but I was not there to greet it.

9:30 - Staff meeting in the Small Room

Aim: Allow myself to follow the right impulses as they show up and support the presence of AT on the course.

The meeting is underway. Several scheduling bits and pieces are called out. I have a clear sense that the right place for me is with the Intro team at 3:00 pm but, I hesitate. I feel unsure. Is this the right time? Perhaps I should save it for after I've had a chance to get Sandra's feedback. Lunch maybe?

The meeting adjourns and, as we walk out, I realize I have just missed an opportunity to follow through with my Aim. I mechanically move to fix this mistake. I pull aside PG, who is in charge of the scheduling and let him know my 3:00 p.m. intention to work with the Intro team. TG overhears this and seems to assume responsibility for my mistake.

10:30 - Orchestral Maneauvers (OM) with Sandra (first two relationships) - I am late due to an unforeseen complication.

Leaving OM, I notice my Intro AT with the Intro team at 3:00 pm is not on the schedule. I mention this to the person standing next to me who suggests I write it in the schedule. It doesn't feel completely right, but I do it anyway and again, immediately regret it.

10:45 - Intro team's first notes with RF

11:45 - Beginner/Intermediate (BNI) in Ballroom with buddies Tony and Curt. Circulating C-Major in one to three octaves, with return, plus variations. I sat in the corner with Frank.

1:00 - Lunch

Our work for today? I am preparing myself to speak when Curt calls out my 3:00 pm Intro meeting. It is clear how my emotional startle/reactivity has created an energy leak, squandering several other people's energy in an attempt to right my small fail from earlier. If I had been patient and trusted the right moment would come, I could have lessened the impact on myself and others. Also a clear sense here of the potential effects of simply labeling something a mistake. How might this have gone differently had I not?

A brief chat with Curt outside the dining room looking out on the lake about the pendulum swinging and what it means to walk on two legs. I've been holding a question about opposites for several days now.


2:45 - Intro Team Intro to AT with Erin in what is now known as the Ratty Room
(According to RF it has ratty chairs and tacky carpet. It does.)

At approximately 3:00, we have circled up in the Ballroom and begun exploring habitual patterns of tension, giving attention to our bodies from the soles of our feet to the top of the head, a basic definition of AT, locating, experientially, where our joints are and a new idea/way to sit and stand, with me going around the circle putting hands-on. Curt enters and observes. One individual gets playfully called out for looking at his cell phone. Somewhere around 3:10 I experience a moment of self-doubt. A muddled call for help. Help appears.

3:30 Guitar Basics with Erin, Sandra and guitar buddies (adjustments are made)

Walking to tea time I am busy answering the question of one intro student. I am aware that there is a certain creative energy bubbling up, running over, from having taught. This is exactly like the energy generated in a performance. I am not fully present. I am, in a gambling sense, right now a big spender, a high roller. I am trying to answer the question in such a way as to look knowledgeable, even though I sense the person I am right now is not the right person for questions. We round the corner to find RF on the landing. I receive a shock. Even so, I am, for the next hour, unable to shut my mouth.

4:00 Tea time

Re-connecting with Hellboy Tom on our way up the hill. I find myself running down the hill, late for Keynotes.

5:00 Keynotes with Frank

We are introduced to Keynote-style observations, first-person, present tense. Several are given with comments from Frank.  

6:15 - Curt a floor turn in the Ballroom. A few laughs over my energy-leak creating frenzy to fix my earlier "mistake". Received positive feedback about my teaching. It seems I'm beginning to come into my own. 

Curt pointed out a porch which will likely become my teaching space for individual lessons.


7:00 Dinner

Several comments on Keynotes. Witnessing has been a theme - both on the course and in my personal life. Adrian asks how to apply Frank's advice to his guitar practice. Dave is asked to hold his question about calling upon an outside witness for feedback.

Our work for tonight? House of guitars! I chimed in, following a slightly impish impulse to support Leslie. After further reflection, the timing of this may have been off. 

More positive feedback from Adrian in regard to my teaching. I'll take it.

A conversation with SBC. I am grateful for her generosity at having made room for me on this course. SBC suggests I assume the role of AT teacher as she is now OM. Even though there is considerable overlap between OM and AT, this feels right. I'm given the green light to take the Intro team.

10:15 - House of Guitars. The outer circle seems unevenly divided, with more experienced circlers on the right-hand side of the room and intros on the left. I take a seat on the left beside Henry. The first 20 minutes or so sound timid, but musical. I have the sense that people are listening.

The lights go out, bringing with it a few internal struggles. To me, as we go, it seems we are more and more in the grips of relentless strumming and the good ideas of a few who don't seem to want to let the moment go long after its natural completion has arrived.

Exiting, I find Hideyo and Julia playing a piece in the corridor I recognize from the Mexico extended course but can't name. A welcome sight.

A walk back up the hilly shortcut to our cabin. Not so winded this time.

12:00 am - To bed.