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Center for Action and Contemplation

Sent Alone and Together

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Dear Sendees of the Living School,

The Sandhill Cranes have flown north now; few remain in the area. But for weeks they flew by the thousands over the CAC in their chevron patterns, their wild cries reaching us even when they were too high to see. I would hear them and run outside and wave and weep with the beauty of it all. They so move me, these beautiful creatures which embody ancient knowledge that sends them off along migratory routes to other gathering homes where they breed and eat and wait. But each year they come back to this place, to this river, to this harvested cornfield, the singular particularity of memory guiding them like a homing beacon.

I think of you all also, sent out alone but in community to the far reaches of the planet where you do what you do to love the world and also dive deeply into the timeless, placeless place of contemplative discipline to offer yourself to the deep wisdom of loving surrender. We have heard some of your stories, been given a glimpse into your life of service grounded in the darkness and light of the divine dance. Thank you for that.

We continue to engage with you one-on-one or in small groups, asking important questions about how you remain connected here and engaged from far away. Living School faculty and staff have been in exciting conversation about how to best support alumni, given our limited resources and given that we are largely about empowering alumni to create educational and supportive community among yourselves. To that end, we are moving to put together:

  • A pilot retreat for alumni run by myself and alumni to deepen contemplative practices and connections among yourselves;
  • A way of continuing to support groups of alumni for ongoing education, spiritual support, and conversation around contemplative vocational specialties and social activism.

The larger picture will develop as we try things and get feedback from you and fail and adapt, and try again. So you see—you are still the sacrificial pancake!

Please read the newsletter and send feedback to [email protected]. Tell us your ideas, thoughts, needs. Offer to be part of what will be. You will be hearing more about the above as soon! Thank you for your patience. It is not easy to create something global when there is no map.

But the cranes don’t use maps either. They rely on instinct, deep wisdom, and the leadership of others. And somehow, they span extraordinary distances to be who they are and do what they need to do. Let it be so also for each of us.

With my love,




Carolyn Metzler, Spiritual Life Coordinator

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