My name is Graham and I am on the 3-month, residential, Heart and Craft of Storytelling Course. I have been living at Emerson College for almost four weeks now. The College and the local villages of Forest Row and East Grinstead are not new to me, as I lived in the area three years ago. However, what is new to me is community life and being a student again. In this weekly journal, I will share some of my thoughts and feelings about the course, the College and their relationship to the many initiatives taking place throughout the world that are re-examining the way we live and work together. I will begin by sharing a few words on why I chose to study at Emerson.
There have been many times in my life when I have felt that the decision I was about to make would change the course of my life. When I reflect on those times now, they stand out vividly in my memory and have a particular colour and feel to them. What distinguishes them is their intensity and the sense of meaning that come with them. That sense of meaning is a deep feeling, a feeling of heightened awareness and knowing. There is also the sense of what I have come to call "yesness", a sense that has developed in me through a dedicated path of inner work. And so when I meditated on whether or not to pick up the phone and call the College to inquire about the course, that sense of “yesness” was clear and true.
Many people who come to Emerson say that their destiny brought them here. This journal is not the place to discuss the nature of destiny, but I do understand what they mean. If you are the kind of person who thinks and feels deeply, and who is sensitive to Nature, then walking around the campus at Emerson can bring up a special quality inside of you that makes you feel like you belong here. I ascribe this to the intention of the founder, the activities that have taken place for over 50 years, and the thousands of people who have studied, taught, and lived here together. They have left their unique impressions. Every tree, bush and flower has a story. Every bench has supported the weight of many people lost in thought. The rooms and halls have heard thousands of singing voices, watched hundreds of hands shaping clay and witnessed countless personal transformations. And the landscape surrounding the College, with its thick woods and rolling folds of green, long horizons and Sussex earthiness, completes the picture; a picture that has inspired many poets and writers, most famously A.A.Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh.
So, back to the present. I am in my room in Linden Avenue. There are 10 of us on the ground floor and 10 above me. It is early, before dawn, and I hear the gentle snoring of one of my colleagues vibrating through through the walls. There are no sounds apart from this, but soon, when dawn comes, birds, cows and dogs will all call to the sky and students will begin their slow ascent out of sleep. Alarms will be snoozed. Heads will be scratched. Giant-mouthed yawns will not be suppressed. Another day at Emerson will begin.
Next week: the “teaching of Salvatore”, the ups and downs of community life, albino squirrels and the legacy of Rudolf Steiner.