Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Labyrinths and Other Journeys

Occasionally, despite the bright glow and blue skies of summer, life ruptures and one loses the path. So I found myself this summer. Looking back upon this year, I will recall it as a triad: the most rewarding, the most difficult, and the saddest of my life.
The pressures of 2014 were beyond forecasting: planning, marketing, launching, negotiating, and defending a new Master's program in China - a world 180 degrees around the planet; renovating and re-envisoning a new EMC complete with Maker's space; a very short time line to fund, gather partners, plan, deliver, and assess BREAKAWAY in El Salvador; changing of leadership at Champlain—and then my staff; and most monumental of all caring for and then losing my parents.

The rewards—lovely new students and friends and a new perspective from half world away; a new "family" in El Salvador and discovering that love does not hold language as a boundary; finally verification that BREAKAWAY changes behavior; a new starting point and new vision for emergent media at Champlain; strength in partnerships at Champlain; and knowing that my siblings and myself alongside our spouses, and our children honored our parents and surrounded them with love in their final years.
And yet life winds about in and back on itself. I feel lost without the true foundation of my parents' presence. I keep turning back to find them but they are no longer here. I twist and fall like a top out of balance.
Today Coby Brownell shared a beautiful design piece he was working on inspired in part by the collections of paraphernalia on our desks at the EMC and in particular a folded paper Pegasus given to my by Brendan after completing BREAKAWAY. I was reminded of an email my father once sent responding to a 2010 post in this blog. Perhaps in this way he was answering my search.

Icarus and Pegasus
Ann
 Home from the hospital and opening your blog brought tears to my eyes.
Your paintings are fantastic.  The way you describe how and why you paint is pure poetry. Your art and poetry dazzle me. 
 In the story of the winged horse Pegasus, wings represent imagination.  If we lose our imagination we fail and fall. If we persevere we shine like the sun. You and your blog shines like the sun. 

Love
Dad 

Pegasus took his rider on flights unimaginable, so mentored I have been pursuing pathways and vistas beyond my day-to-day. Through Peace Village I have experienced the meditation of the labyrinth and with a new set of eyes I discovered, alongside my sister Theresa and sister-in-law Joanne, the Priory Retreat House with its wise woman, and the labyrinth embracing an old pine. A labyrinth allows us to symbolically and metaphorically follow life's path to a central point and then follow the path out again as in the Hero's Journey with wisdom to share.  Birth leads us to death leading us to rebirth. 

In less traveled places our paths can wind. Traveling upon them we can once again marvel at the beauty surrounding us and shine.

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