Letter from PFTS Participant:
I wanted to write and thank each of you in Aviva's workshop this past week. For me, it was an extraordinary experience. Driving home on Sunday, and on Monday, and even today, my mind has been filled with images, memories, and appreciation of the gifts each of you gave, to the group and to me. I've been to personal growth workshops, yoga workshops, shamanic circles, Buddhist groups, you name it!, for years and years, and I've never experienced the degree of COMFORT, trust, and intimacy that WE created, together, in just a few days, with Aviva's guidance, of course.
For me, at least, this great ease came from my own belief that we all shared a willingness to entertain the possibility that a Source does exist, that it's beyond our normal conscious small ego, and that, furthermore, we can be willing for that Source to express itself through us. With that shared foundation, I then found each person's completely unique, different expressions not only acceptable, but mysterious, powerful, and wonderful, and I mean both our expressions in Paint AND our expressions in Personality.
Whether true or not, I assumed everybody else also accepted my own spontaneous expressions without judgment, and so I experienced an ease and naturalness in doing, in speaking (or being silent), and in painting, which I seldom if ever have experienced in a group of people,let alone a group of "strangers".
As an educator, I've long been committed to "valuing diversity", and in our interactions with each other, and in our painting together, I really experienced what it FEELS like to appreciate and delight in all the differences we brought into the same room, paradoxically making our shared humanity all the clearer.
The commitment to being open to Source, and to not judging anyone else's way of connecting with or expressing their own experience, was different than sharing a set of religious beliefs and practices. While I've certainly benefitted from my many years in various Buddhist groups, it was such relief NOT to have any "doctrine" built on top of that basic commitment. The specifics of belief and "right" and "wrong" didn't seem relevant . . . what a relief!!
Aviva's prayer, on the last day, seemed to describe my experience: she prayed for us humans to discover that we could put down our weapons and tools of destruction (and now I see that judgments are a thoughtform that can evntually manifest as guns) and would decide instead to play guitar for each other, or sing, dance, create beauty for each other. It seems so simple, yet so powerful. What we created, together, gave me a taste of what that would be like as a living, breathing reality, not alone, but with others. The ritual we spontaneously co-created at the end, when Eileen invited us to put purple trust dots on her painting, powerfully embodied that new way of being together.
After most courses and workshops, I'm eager to return to my peaceful house on the lake, with my cats. For the first time I can remember, I wished I could just stay there, painting, with all of you, completely unpractical, but on a feeling level I could have done so.
Blessings to you all and thank you again.- Lark Hammond, High School English Teacher