Friday was mostly a travel day. Saturday and Sunday we spent a lot of time out in the mountains hiking and taking in the breath-takingly beautiful scenery that is Estes Park National Park. We got into the YMCA this afternoon around 3:30 and checked in, unpacked and met up with the other presenters for dinner before we all met in the auditorium for the Opening Ceremonies. It was a lovely evening. John spoke a while, he introduced his staff and then he introduced the presenters. He asked us to speak about how our life and practice has evolved over the two years since the first Grand Gathering. It was really cool to hear my friends and colleagues reflect on the journey and to share a bit about how they have grown and shifted.
For me, the last two years have been full of tremendous growth and the thing that really stands out for me about it is the way I feel like I have grown relative to community. I have always loved and valued the community and have taken great delight in the company of my friends and fellow teachers. But over the last two yeas I moved into some much more profound levels of intimacy with many of my friends in the kula. Instead of me just enjoying people and knowing I had friends, the last two years- largely through some personal difficulties I reached out for support with- I found I could rely on people to help me grow and I could be sustained by these connections in ways I really hadn't known was possible before.
We start the conference tomorrow with meditation in the morning with John and then class with him and the whole group- close to 800 people- and then I give a talk on sequencing in the afternoon. I am pretty excited about it.
Some pics- the first one of us presenters on stage. The next from our hiking adventures.