Public Lectures 2012/2013 -
An in-depth Retrospective
Preamble from purgatory
I am compelled to begin this text with the pain of loss, the challenge of embracing impermanence and the invitation to lose everything in order to gain everything - otherwise I would freeze into the rigidity of inauthenticity.
One Sunday morning I was inspired and wrote this retrospective with passion and creativity fueling a stream of words, sentences and metaphors that easily fell into my lap and onto the page. By the end I reviewed the text, and like God in Genesis I saw everything I had made, and behold, it was very good. Then, I clicked the wrong button and all was lost. The precious hours gone, the force of my writing destroyed forever, other demands of the day now beckoning me. I was furious, images of my laptop smashed into a million pieces in a corner of my study racing through my mind. Free-floating anger, then desperate and futile attempts at recreating what was lost, high Adrenaline and Cortisol levels in my blood I am sure, stress, tension, then finally despair, resignation, wanting to give up forever, swearing (screw this!) - until ..... I began to reason as I imagine God would.
OK - it's all good! A moment of genius (or at least of perceived genius), or a moment of completeness, wholeness, unity. Then the click on a wrong button - geez, maybe the right button! The one that DELETES, that mercilessly kills your ego and reminds you of your attachments; the one that insists on the truth of impermanence - the button of death of past and future in the cemetery of the present moment ... the button that ensures your resurrection!
What amazing force in this by-mistake-delete button - it sends me off the deep end like a stampeding buffalo herd falling off a cliff - smashing, destroying, raging, stressing, despairing, giving up and pulverizing into dust. That's OK, too, God tells me. It is all part of everything God made and what God saw was good. Go for it, rage against destiny and savor your exhaustion. Let me ask you, God tells me, do you really think reality cares? And once you realize that what is is, do really think there is any corner of reality I don't deeply love, including your little temper tantrums?
I really appreciate the great wheel of return spinning its tapestry of destiny from the illusions of paradise to those of hell and back to the reality of purgatory and mindfulness. I am now free to
recreate create my retrospective anew - so now, may I press the right button, please?
I don't remember the exact circumstances around which Robyn and I first met, the way I also don't remember the day of my birth. I do know however that there was a day I popped out of my mother's womb and the full catastrophe of a lived life ensued. I also know that Robyn and I share a common Yoga mother, Helen Duquette, who still teaches at the Creating Space Yoga studio. When I first met Helen many years ago I discovered that her teaching was unlike anything I had ever encountered before. Although I was deeply steeped in the mindfulness tradition when I originally came to meet her, I had not yet experienced how mindful awareness can be so deeply honed through movement. Helen's core teaching was to help me undo the idea that I was coming to 'do' Yoga. Instead, she taught me to be in Yoga and honour the wisdom of undoing. Coming from the same Yoga womb, no wonder Robyn and I can read each other's mind on this score. I suppose this makes us rightful siblings - and kindred spirits we are as we unexpectedly find ourselves sharing a common journey in mindfulness.
To compare our collaboration to the full catastrophe of a lived life would be wildly overstated. Our journey together has felt more like a meandering evolution with twists and turns, doubts and bouts of confidence, dead ends and open freeways, always blessed with a healthy dose of questioning what we are doing. At the core of our Yoga family is mindfulness, and at the core of our mindfulness family is Yoga. 'Yoga' comes from the Sanskrit for 'yoke', 'religion' from the Latin 'religio', meaning 'reconnecting', and 'tantra' from the Sanskrit for 'weaving' - can you see the common thread in these three metaphors? In our work we strive to reconnect with the essence of human life and reality as a whole, to yoke the visible to the invisible and weave the tapestry of unfolding life into the mystery of awareness. Life is movement with stillness at its core; reality is stillness manifesting as movement. I see myself finding through Robyn the movement that keeps the stillness alive, and Robyn finding through me the stillness that inspires movement. This is the dance of form and formlessness we are all part of.
The public lectures are testimony of our synergy. Through our collaboration a community of like-minded students of wisdom has emerged. Robyn sends her students to me for mindfulness meditation training, and I am told that they come back to Robyn transformed, more deeply attuned to the faint whispers of their bodies and souls in the present moment. In turn, I can observe my students sneaking away to Robyn's Yoga classes to deepen their awareness through movement. When they come back to sitting meditation they have a deeper appreciation of the embodied nature of mindfulness. After all, Yoga is meditation, and meditation is in Yoga. I feel privileged to be part of this unique community of like-minded students, who explore the cross-pollination between awareness through movement and awareness through stillness, and manifest a passion for this dance of love, this dance of life's impermanent eternity.
In Robyn's own words:
The Mindfulness Lecture in Numbers...
It is hard to believe that we just completed our 3rd year of the Mindfulness Lectures. While the numbers are impressive, what they don't reveal is the blended magic that has come from combining the Creating Space Yoga community with the Mindfulness Centre community. The product has been an incredible network of like-minded individuals which has created a curious, supportive and growing community.
I always walk away impressed by the diversity and intelligence of the group of people that participate each month. I feel very grateful and very proud of the slow growth of these lectures and the quality of information and discussion that is shared.
A big thanks to Dr. Treyvaud for leading us down this insightful path and an enormous thanks to all of the participants who join us each month. Only through a strong and active community are we able to continue to bring you these lectures. We thank you for supporting us. We enjoy spending the time with you.
Earlier this month we sent a survey out to those individuals who attended the lectures this year. The response was great and the feedback so valuable. It was so insightful that I wanted to share some of it with you.
Have a wonderful summer. We are excited for the upcoming fall lecture dates!
From Robyn's database:
1. This is what you had to say about the lectures...
"The series of lectures have made a difference in my life personally and professionally. I was able to take into my life what was presented and put it into practice in my everyday life.
In a nut shell I feel calm, relaxed, vitally alive and engaged in interactions with others on a deeper level. My mind is much more free and I find myself using my creativity and imagination more. It is like re-covering something that has been mis-placed!! Somehow it feels as if something MAGICAL has happened and I cannot explain it. It is a wonderful, joyful sense that I have not experienced on a consistent level before."
"They (the lectures) were brilliant. I feel very fortunate to have such a resource as Dr. Treyvaud offering these kinds of programs locally!"
"The lectures are always a respite from the hectic, blaring, frenzy of other delivery methods of information experienced in our society."
"You all rock!!"
"Keep them coming!"
2. Here are some of your suggestions to us...
"Please include an official stretch break and more comfortable chairs."
Some of you who have attended the last few lectures may have noticed that we have included short breaks into the lectures if needed. We would love to provide luxury chairs for you but for now these will have to do. We do encourage you to use the blankets, bolsters or whatever else you need to bring from home to make your time spent at the lecture more comfortable!
"More interaction with the audience during the lecture (ie. using audience members to highlight points)."
Dr. Treyvaud has incorporated more of the audience into the lecture formats in the past few lectures. This has worked very well and we have all benefitted from their participation. We will absolutely continue with this format when the topic lends itself to this type of participation. Thank you for those who have been brave enough to share!!!
"Please include more questions and answers...it's my favorite part!"
We agree! Next fall we will be asking for your questions in advance. This will be a way of incorporating some questions that you may have before the lecture and then also provide some time for a follow-up Q & A session. We all benefit from questions. Please don't be shy! In order to accommodate for this important part of each lecture, please be sure to arrive on time. The lectures will begin promptly at 3pm!
"Maybe a little yoga before the lecture?"
Don't tempt me! :) This may be on the agenda in the upcoming lecture series. If a short yoga practice blends well with the topic, we will consider combining the two.
3. Some future topics that you suggested...
"...how to start children on a mindful path."
"...mindfulness and food."
"...bringing mindfulness into the workplace."
"...the art of mindful listening."
"...mindfulness to support those with sleep issues"
"...how mindfulness supports attraction"
"...please dive deeper into the spiritual aspects of mindfulness."
"...continue with the topic of the SELF."
"...mindfulness for an ordinary day."
I wish you a great summer to unwind back into shape.