Well I'm here at the Omega institute now, having just finished my first evening session of the first weeklong in the 4-year course. YAY.
I carpooled up with friend-of-a-friend Kamela, to whose journal I should figure out how to link. We had a lot to talk about -- and it was extra good arriving feeling like I had found some solid connection with someone at the outset.
There's 16 students in the class, 5 faculty, and 3 interns. I'm one of two men among the students. There's a great range of ages, from mid-20s to mid-60s.
Each weeklong is going to have a theme, of which this one is Ground. The introductory exercise they did was to have everyone stand and get a sense of their feet on the ground, and expand that to what their ground felt like metaphorically (steady/shaky/loving/leaning/etc) and share a few words about it. Then they invited us to expand on that, to represent our ground on a big sheet of paper, which we then used as a basis for sharing our ground with the group. (Which was a roundabout, but much more effective, way of saying "say a few things about where you're starting from".)
"Ground" got me thinking in an elemental metaphor, and I think of myself as mostly a creature of water and air rather than earth, so I made those the frame. In the middle my ground was a series of concentric platforms with stairs between, being my foundations in philosophy, counselling, and massage therapy. I'm a dot in the middle facing more stairs that lead up further still. Katherine and Tom are dots on the sides supporting me, Katherine on the water side and Tom on the air side. When I spoke to the group I took the opportunity to mention my life-partner and her other partner. When someone spoke up later they said they want to hear more about that -- to some friendly laughter. So I feel good about laying out one of my risky bits early.