Thursday, July 30, 2009

graduation 2009

a four-year metamorphosis

In support of my colleagues who are graduating from their four year summer teacher education program, I attended their evening ceremony. Pictures from the night would have been nice to see, but as I am finding out with many of our events, we are all so in the moment of the experience of a song, or verse, or dance, enthralled by the swirling energy, consumed by the force of a collective spirit, it is often hard to step away from that and snap a picture! No wonder so many Waldorf teachers become poets - it is a way to translate and express those moments later on.

So, with that said, I must say, to express the evening in a blog will not do it justice. With a sense of awe and pride, I watched as the twenty-eight graduates entered the main hall of the college as they sang Pachelbell's Allelulia. The song swelled when their processional reached the stage. Applause and reverence.

Patrick Wakeford-Evans and Irene Francois welcomed the graduates. Irene greeted us in French, as some of the graduates were a group from Montreal. Bodo Langen, my woodcarving instructor, was honored as the opening faculty speaker, and he spoke of metamorphosis. Truly, the path is one of change, of birth, and awakening. Much in the same way as rough, natural wood is transformed into a vessel or lyre or something else functional and beautiful, so do we undergo a metamorphosis, one of a spiritual nature.

Student speaker, Marisol Thellier, addressed the faculty, graduates, and guests. With her French accent, she spoke about their shared journey. Along that journey, she spoke of painting, and in the word painting, is pain. She used the process of art as a metaphor for the act of working the will, of the intensity needed to create something beautiful. Surely, the work on our own selves is a task that can be painful, perhaps in a sense that conscious effort can be emotionally and physically taxing, or the act of releasing preconceived notions can be difficult, or the act of opening up to receive new thoughts can be a challenge. To learn new skills, new paradigms, to trust change - yes, all come with the initial pain.

But, if I may add, in the word pain is in. So to take the thought thread further, after the pain, is the blossoming of one's in, the inner life. And another step further from that, in the word in, is the i - or I. The singular aspect of who you are.

Songs were sung beautifully, Indianalieder, The Veil of Destiny, from the Magic Flute, and Siyahamba, an African freedom song. And eurythmic pieces were performed, Gibraltar, Der Wolkendurchleuchter, and Autrefois.

Closing faculty speaker, Antje Staub, delivered an eloquent blessing for the graduates and all in attendance. She sent us forth into the world as living artists. It is what we all should strive to be in our work and play as Waldorf educators, as citizens of the world. To express the beauty of the universe and the individuality of the inner soul, this is being a living artist. To share it generously and joyfully, this is being a living artist. To respect the processes of creative transformation, this is being a living artist.

The graduates were honored with a short verse from Patrick Wakeford-Evans, and sent across the stage, and under a rainbow veil, to complete their metamorphosis. Changed individuals, the pain behind them, enlightened and enlivened, educators who will love their children, living artists.

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