Reflections on the Summer Camp in the Rockies, by Laurie Nusbaum
Reflections on the Summer Camp in the Rockies
Laurie Nusbaum, Boulder Aikikai
Every year on the summer camp timeline, there is a turning moment for me. Until that moment I am engaged in the planning process-getting the logistics set, having meetings, coordinating, sending communications, and so on. But then there is a distinct point at which my perspective shifts, when I can “see” and feel what is about to happen and I am, after that moment, completely excited and engaged.
What am I looking forward to? Why so excited?
For me, the images that come to mind are all of the rich, fulfilling interactions I have with my training partners, ones that are informing, fascinating and revitalizing. I get to experience the practice of my long time aiki friends again, but to sense them anew. With them and with the new friends I make each year, I have the chance to feel what they are working on, to learn from it and to allow what I feel to transform my own practice. This is where the juice is for me—in the paired and shared training experience, investigation and discovery. The act of practicing itself rejuvenates and recreates the practice for me. Sensing this, even ahead of the event, makes it begin.
I think I see this occur for others. As the week goes on, connections, sometimes unexpected ones, develop and deepen. What happens between people on the mat is engaging, challenging, nourishing—and becomes part of what happens in a conversation, or in quietly sharing lunch, which then becomes part of the next experience on the mat. Learning is occurring on so many levels—in class, in discussion certainly, but subtly as well—perhaps just in noticing and appreciating how someone walks, how they stand in line, how they express themselves. I think I see, in people’s faces, their appreciation for every other participant in the camp, and appreciation for their own development. I feel a sense of connectedness among us all, mutuality and a commitment to our own and each other’s practice. I wonder how many Facebook “friends” each of us has eagerly added to our list after camp. How many for you?
Although this all can be the case every time we step on the mat, it is different at camp. We are sharing a unique event, in a unique setting and set of circumstances. It provides us the gift of letting the rest of the world drop away, at least to some extent and for a brief time, so we can learn in this unusual way, alongside and with each other.
I am different when I leave from camp. On the training side, sometimes I am more confused, sometimes more clear but always more intent. I also always feel more joined with others. It is my wish that everyone be nourished by and benefit from the camp experience. I hope you will join us this year.