“I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.” Ram Dass (1976) Grist For The Mill.
The last week of the year, I spent my time as camp nurse and advisor for the Rocky Mountain Region Winter Teen Camp for the United Centers for Spiritual Living. A total of 54 youth came together to create the most amazing experience for the evolution of young souls. The theme for the week, All Day Namaste’ opened us to explore the various ways Namaste’ shows up in our lives.
I felt transformed by the experience from the very beginning. Each interaction melted away any separateness and created a space of unity. Everyone had the courage and security to be their true self.
On Monday, we opened with a workshop on honoring the self. Each youth in my family group was guided to share how they already practice Namaste’ in their lives and to use that in preparation for practicing Namaste’ within the family group, in the camp, in their schools, in the world.
At first, my family group stayed silent. Although many of them knew each other, this was the first time for each of them in this particular group with these new family friends. So I opened the discussion to anything that may have been on their mind. One simple phrase united the group instantly. “I wish it would snow.” Most of the kids in my group were skiers or snowboarders, so the absence of snow was a big downer. The unity the snow discussion ignited carried us through the week. The bond had been sealed. They were present to do the work that lie ahead of them.
The 3 breath hug gave us all an opportunity to really feel and give an embrace to others.
Web of Di-verse-ity allowed them to see that they were unique expression of a Whole.
A&B’s are an amazing affirmation of All Day Namaste’. The camp is divided into two groups A&B. Group A spreads out throughout the room and stands with their eyes closed. Group B then moves through Group A giving hugs and sharing warm words of regard. This is done for about 4 songs before they switch. Definitely a tear jerker.
Day two took them into their deepest fears as they dove through the darkness and embraced all the parts of the self.
“If You Only Knew Me” gave each member in the family group a two minute opportunity to share those secrets with loving souls willing to listen non-judgmentally. Then each created a representation of an issue they wanted to let go of. I was able to break through some distorted beliefs I had about my parenting and see that I actually did a pretty good job as a mother. It also opened me to really see the beauty in my son as a Divine Expression, perfect on his path.
Every day after lunch, we learned a new spiritual practice. One day we journeyed down to a stone labyrinth in the middle of the woods. As cold as it was at 7500 feet, they went willingly and respectfully, honoring the practice as something sacred. They did this with each of the spiritual practices they were taught.
I had the opportunity to teach them the Pure Awareness technique for meditation called AGAPE, which stands for Accessing Greater Awareness Place Everywhere. Several of the youth told me afterwards how “cool” it was. When a 13-year-old boy sought me out to say so, I knew it’d made an impact.
We discovered our individual love languages. We came up with our own spiritual code for doing life. We learned the basics of six religions and took on the task of sharing with each of the other groups until there was a deep understanding and respect that revealed God in all of the religions. On the morning of December 31st, we all participate in the world peace meditation, which happens to be at 5:00 AM MST.
We finished the day and the camp week by really owning who we are as a spiritual light in this world. Each family member got to place a written recognition of our declaration into each other’s stroke book. A stroke book is a little 2×4 notebook, one for each camper, and everyone writes what they think about you in it. I was brought to tears when I opened mine on New Years Day and read those tender words of affirmation. I felt so blessed to have had this experience and to know so many wonderful young souls on such a deep level. And yes, we even manifested snow.
May you be blessed to know the power of children in your life.
Photo Credit: Robert Brezinski – thank you Robert for also serving.