Still Point

10-24-2014 | Lindsay

A couple weekends ago, a group of 16 people gathered here for a retreat called Restorying, which sought to help us cultivate, or re-cultivate, the stories that will sustain and nurture us in our time. On the first night of the retreat, we clustered near the head of the trail that leads through the enfolding forest to the pond, which waited in stillness below. Singing, we walked under the darkening trees, to a fire, where each one was asked, "Are you willing to enter the door that leads to the realm of heart and soul and mystery?"

This is the kind of stuff that goes on at Still Point.

Looking back over time, one could almost say that Still Point had a destiny, not just a history. Years ago, before Still Point, there was a cabin on a high hill overlooking the Shenandoah where an eccentric critic and writer lived out his years. Then one day, Bob came upon a pond hidden in a small hollow near the border of Rolling Ridge lands. The older man whose pond it was had no objection to the occasional wanderer from Rolling Ridge who might enjoy a contemplative moment or a swim, and a friendship began. When the man passed away, leaving no one who wanted or cared for the place, something stirred within Bob, a whisper that this was a special place, and he responded. Bob, soon joined by Mary Ann, and then by more folks, undertook its care, and began a dream to create a haven and a retreat home in this wilderness setting where people could come, be, listen, and learn. Bob called the place Still Point, after the line in T. S. Eliot's poem, part of The Four Quartets, " the still point of the turning world... neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is...where past and future are gathered..."

We all know that this cabin, with its magnificent and mysterious sunsets and expansive, open hearted views, is far more than a building; and the encircling woods and pond, with its serene and deep water, is far more than a swimming hole. Things happen here. Individuals, artists, writers come home to themselves and find their voice; families repair frayed edges and bonds; small organizations dream big dreams and plan accordingly; children learn to be still and listen and never lose their sense of wonder; young women own their feminine power without apology and unleash their intuition and creativity; men come to have their hearts broken open, wander in the wilderness, and begin the deep inner work of transformation; all come to understand the sacredness of their belonging to the living Earth, here in this special piece of it, on the slope of a small mountain, beside a waterfall, near a storied river, next to a quiet pond, witnessed by oak and maple, hawk and squirrel, fox and moss and orb weaver, and all the others.

We all have stories from times at Still Point, we all are part of its history, even if only for a day or an hour. On some level, this is why we have come today. Sure, there are tasks to be done; conversations to have; decisions to be made; projects to accomplish. It's hard and grubby and tiresome and not at all romantic. But on some level, each and every one of us is responding still to the whisper Bob heard years ago. If all we wanted was a vacation time share or a summer camp facility, there are a gazillion places that are easier, less costly, and probably better landscaped. But none are Still Point. We know this to be true, and so we are here with heart and soul and hands. And tomorrow with aching muscles. So be it. Amen.

Reflection given at the Still Point Partners work day in September, 2014