After a wonderful weekend at the Healing Hearts Winter Day Retreat for Women, I spent time contemplating the magic that often occurs at Healing Hearts and other Camp Earth Connection (CEC) programs. A Magical feeling happens, when people open up, share from the heart and make connections. Yesterday I listened to Thich Nhat Hanh and heard the message that is resonating all over our nation from spiritual leaders, “To find joy and peace in your life, live in the moment.” In order to be available to these magical times, we need to be present each moment.
After about three months of searching for a new “logo design” and “tag line” for CEC, I was referred to Ari Evergreen. I took a look at Ari’s website and knew that she would understand what CEC was all about. As she worked on the design, I focused on the tagline, and it came. Diversity – My personal journey is directed by all the inequities amongst people that I witness continuously throughout my life. This awareness demands that as I create programs which are equitable, inclusive and effective. In order to really value and understand diversity I needed to learn about diversity by opening myself up, reaching out and connecting with people who dealt with racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. on a daily basis. As a result of my commitment to this process, my life has become rich with loving friendships. Which brings me to the importance of Acceptance.
Tolerance is unacceptable to me when it comes to diversity. I was so happy to hear an MLK speaker, Ash Beckham at Ithaca College who recently spoke of the same thing. I related to her message that she didn’t want to be tolerated as a butch lesbian, she wanted to be accepted for who she was and be seen for all she was, a lesbian being one part of her but not all of her. At CEC, I also want everyone who visits and participates in programs to be accepted for who they are. Therefore Acceptance became the 2nd key word in the logo.
I believe the true magic that results by embracing Diversity and Accepting People for who they are, is Community. As I learned and connected with folks that had different life experiences then I did, I also found places where we had deep connections. I think of my wonderful friendship with Phoebe Brown. Phoebe and I met almost 20 years ago. Although our life paths have been very different, we also related to each-other in many ways. We both committed to facing the way addiction affected our lives and our family lives. We connected in our work, both of us desiring to bring women together to support each other in community. As time passes and our families continue to cross paths and our children grow up and have children, we will soon be able to connect as grandmothers. Phoebe is a little ahead of me on this!
With an open heart and mind, connections deepen and empathy and caring fill in the gaps of fear and isolation. Loneliness is replaced with connection and community, and magic happens. My dream is to be able to continue to make connections with people and continue to experience the joy and peace that comes from connecting at CEC. My hope is that you too find this in your life, whether it be at CEC or in your daily journeys on your own personal paths. I look forward to crossing paths with each of you. Peace