Last week we drove from Los Angeles straight through to Atlanta with brief rests along the way. Arriving in the late evening, we joined friends for coffee and conversation in downtown Decatur. We had just a couple of hours before we needed to get on the road again. How amazing it was to have this homecoming and stop along the way to share the stories of our journey with old friends and to listen and see each other in a new way.
We came together with Ben Roosevelt, Lisa Novak, Stacey Alston, and Sondi Eugene for a needed respite from our travels. We have felt the support of these friends all along the way! We also ran into Catalina de Luna with her family on the way in, which was so fabulous! Catalina has such a strong heart and love for the depths of anthroposophical work. It could not have been a mere coincidence that she was there just as we rolled into town! This group was willing to come out on a moment’s notice, to meet us at a late hour, and to receive the strong exuberance that arrived with these two traveling anthroposophists who had spent 50 hours on the road!
After time to catch up on everything that has been happening this summer, we had the chance to delve more deeply into the questions we are carrying on this journey. The responses that came back to us were so heartening in offering a picture of love, community, and good will.
Lisa shared that anthroposophy is about who we are. What if you don’t know all of it, if you’re not well studied. How then should you be? It sounded at first like she was saying it wasn’t her path, but brought beautifully forward: “It is my path! I might just be walking on a different part of it. Maybe I’m over on the gravel part of the path when some others are walking…” Sondi chimes in, “Walking on water!” A fabulous moment of levity! This is a fantastic picture of a life inspired by anthroposophy with no pretense. She says it is about believing and feeling. It is about love, and it is life, being connected to everything through love. Whoever I want to be is possible! Lisa has been the Extended Day Director for the Waldorf School of Atlanta for 16 years. She has seen so many of the children grow older. So warm and approachable, Lisa is a key link to the parents of our community.
It was wonderful to hear our friends and colleagues affirming each other. Sondi is the lead teacher in WSA’s Afternoon Kindergarten. She came to the school when she was looking for a kindergarten for her children and almost ended up in the Montessori school but thought she should at least look at another option. Thank goodness destiny led her our way! Sondi raises the question of whether anthroposophy has to be one way. To her also, it is about life and relationships. Sondi was born into anthroposophy without it being called that. Her mother was a natural anthroposophist, with a circle of friends with their own kind of study group. They were open to the deeper questions with a study formed out of friendship. Community was important, and she grew up connected to her neighborhood. Her family home was open to others; you never knew who might join for dinner. Do we know our neighbors now? How are we living anthroposophy? Sondi remembers being a teenager attending church and inwardly questioning the sermon. On the way home, she spoke up in the car with her challenges to what she had heard in church, thinking that she was going to upset her mother. Instead, her mother smiled and encouraged her in her questioning. A beautiful picture that Sondi offered was that “everyone wants to be an anthroposophist.” She sees all around where people are living into deeper questions. How can we be fully human in our relationships?
For Stacey, anthroposophy is about striving and achieving in the sense of who we are, who we bring out of ourselves. Her approach tends to be to stay above the fray, above the drama. Anthroposophy is an enlightening and not being stuck in the day to day. It’s about progress and moving forward with who we are personally. It is a selflessness to move toward people with love. She is inspired by the words of St. Francis: “Let me not be so much understood as to understand.” Stacey agreed with Lisa and Sondi that anthroposophy is life, relationships, and deep conversations. She has learned a lot by conversation. She approaches life with an open door: “Everyone could be my friend.” You can see why as the Enrollment Director, Stacey is the perfect person to welcome everyone she meets!
A question that lived between us as a group was about when to take a stand. Can I fully hear the other, live into their perspective, and still take a stand when it feels right to do so? Where is the line? Where is the balance? We also discussed how we could look to share the fruits of our work outward beyond our own circles. The feeling was so affirmative: “Of course! Fruits are for sharing! What is a gift if it is not shared?”
How amazing is the spirit in this group! There is tremendous good will that can be felt between them. Even after years of working together, we found moments in the conversation to see each other anew, to be more fully human. We left with a heart pendant to protect us on our journey, truly representing this group that we carry with us!
We consider this conversation a fabulous beginning. We look forward to joining together again when Dottie visits Atlanta this September on our way to Dornach! We hope to tie in a visit to Augusta and Eliah at that time as well.