In 2005 my darling, funny & very wise friend John Chen gave me some sage advice on re-entry. Since he's someone I would consider a visionary & business mentor, I listened closely as he explained that the main reason most "transformational experiences" do not sustain themselves back in the real world is a failed "re-entry." People need to plan for what happens when we return to our communities as new beings, & realize that they weren't there to see what happened.
At the time I was feeling grounded, supported & clear from nine days with my Jamily at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, & about to return to D & our then 3 year-old in New Hampshire. I had left them anxious & more than a little heart-sick. Now I was bursting at the seems with ideas about giving circles, inspired philanthropy & new models of social entrepreneurism. I easily could have blow them out of the water, but instead I took John's advice & planned for a smooth re-entry.
As female, it's hard for me to be interrupted by males that I love. So I filled my notebook with photos from the week & said nothing. Yes, nothing. When they picked me up from the airport I listened to their adventures, how they had bonded & the tiny challenges they dealt with alone on the island for so long. When they asked questions, I just said, "It's all here in this journal." And it was.
By putting my own transformation aside I was able to take in theirs. My son was taller, able to stand up to his neck in the lake & leaned into his father in a whole new way. My husband was taller, having proved to himself that he was entirely self-sufficient as a parent, able to deliver tenderness, discipline & security without my wifely peanut gallery.
By holding my experience sacred & not trying to have anyone else get it, I got to keep it.
3 weeks on, my family still hasn't seen my photos of Squam Lake. They have a couple of paintings up & some goodies I brought home from Reform School, owned my roommates Billie & Tootie. What they did see is my name tag up there, & 3 short videos over the course of the week. The first one is what, to my mind, is what kids most want to know about Squam Lake but never ever heard of. The Uber-Crazy team effort that is ice-harvesting. Secondly is a short on how Derek (+ Laura, though you never see her) harvest his honey. This is relevant because they live in the City, so they'll actually meet them someday. Andi in our family we maintain that honey is always, at all times totally relevant. And thirdly is the swoonfest SAW slideshow by my honorary roommate, Merrilee.
I arrived at SAW at 2:30 am before it all began & was assured no one else was there. It was pitch black, the driver was lost & nervous & I had a sudden intense bear phobia. I was being as loud as possible, yelling to the driver & slamming doors before I realized Merrilee, Eileen & in my cabin. They were sleeping before I got there & needless to say, I was mortified that I had woken them, but they insist they were waiting for me. Merrilee was one of those gracious ladies, trying to stay warm before moving out. They assured me I wasn't loud, but I know for certain that I was.