Reflections from the Council Immersion and Summit

Mon, 08/14/2017
By Katie Heneghan, TOF Volunteer Coordinator and Systems Steward

The Council Immersion and Summit brought together many diverse individuals from around the world for nearly three weeks of rich and dynamic Council-focused programming and Living Council.  Some traveled to The Ojai Foundation for the first time, while many made return pilgrimages to the Land Sanctuary. Some came for a session, while others stayed the entire time, helping to hold the through line of the program and ceremony. 

The permeable community consisted of visitors and Council practitioners who carry Council in many contexts, spanned from age two months to well into their eighties, and represented every continent except Antarctica. 

Ojai Foundation Elders, who were on the land when Council practice first emerged here, were joined in the circle by some who were sitting in the Council circle for the first time. All brought their unique and universal humanness in service of the circle, where we began again and again, moment to moment, in a beautiful unfolding.

Living and working at The Ojai Foundation, it can be easy for me to overlook how Council practice truly impacts the world and the people who carry it in their lives and communities. I get to see people come to the land for Council trainings and leave invigorated and recommitted to the practice two days later, but I don’t often get to hear about the experience of carrying what is learned in those trainings off the ridge and incorporating it into daily life. 

The Council Immersion changed that for me as I got to hear about, witness, and remember some of the joys, challenges, and stories that might not otherwise emerge outside of the Council circle. With that change, Council practice became more grounded and real and also began to call to me in new ways. The Immersion was an invitation to keep practicing, to continue dreaming, and to lean into partnership and mentorship both for my personal growth and in service to something far beyond me. It reminded me of why I sit in circle in the first place: to see both our unique and universal humanness and remember that if we are all more alike than different in Council, the same is true after the circle disbands. In a world where division and divisiveness often feel pervasive, this reminder brings me hope.

The Council Immersion and Summit was the manifestation of a dream and prayer that was many years in the making. Even though it has now passed, it continues to feel like a dream and prayer, now embodied and rippling out into the world.  I am so grateful that I was able to work and live in service and take part in this experience!