In Alumni in Action, Coming Home to Pacifica, Events

A Slow Miracle

as witnessed by

Beth Anne Boardman, Ph.D. (Myth 2012)

Watching the unfolding of Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association’s “Coming Home” weekend was like watching the blossoming of an impossibly beautiful flower. Even those who aren’t card-carrying saps like me might have found themselves misting over a bit as one amazing scene followed another.

One can prepare a garden bed with cultivation and aeration, nutrition and irrigation, plant seeds carefully put away from the last harvest, and cover them with fresh soil. The weather can cooperate with fresh breezes and delicious temperatures. Rain can fall at just the right moment, and in just the right amount. One can never be sure how, though, or even if, what’s been planted may grow.

For several weeks prior to our “Coming Home” weekend, I had the honor of witnessing and assisting Pacifica’s priceless alumni liaison, Dianne Travis-Teague, as she envisioned, planned, and planted the possibilities for the Alumni Association’s annual meeting. Every detail of this weekend received her own expert touch, every moment received her care. Still, although all the gift bags were filled, the programs printed, and the feasts ordered, we didn’t know for sure how events might transpire.

And this is why I say that experiencing this weekend was like watching a slow miracle. I got to watch as one after another of Dianne’s seeded ideas burst into bloom. She imagined alumni sharing their research via posters, and Classroom A became a grand salon of idea-exchange. She envisioned alumni authors signing copies for their peers, and the lobby became a hall of audience, where twenty alumni-writers stood and delivered their work into loving hands. She dreamed of a day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Barrett Center became a church again, where our own alumna, Dr. Jennifer Selig, presented her latest work to a standing ovation. One after another of Dianne’s ideas bore fruit, and the grandest blossoming of all came at the end of the weekend, when a formerly unhappy boy stood up, a man—and drummed us to tears with his genius, then recited verses with a passion that moved us to silence.

As I moved about the grounds, I realized what a truly remarkable collection of talents and treasure we alumni represent! How humbling to be a part of this grand place where we listen to the promptings of the animae mundi each in our own uniquely genius way. What quantities of insight and innovation stir in the hearts of each individual that I looked at! Pacifica alumni, I feel sure, are some of the most valuable resources on our planet, though we may work quietly away in our corners of the world.

Never before have so many alumni come back at once to the campuses, and we all, staff and alumni, stared at one another in wonder! Staff here feels like cherished family: irreplaceable and essential. All over the campus, alumni were greeted by the welcoming faces of people who care for the facilities and keep them running, stock the bookstore and feed our literary addictions, and provide us the most gorgeous, delectable food-service of any campus anywhere, and you can quote me!

Lastly, it occurred to me that as a Regional Coordinator, I hear one recurring plea from almost every alumnus or alumna that I talk to: we want a place to network, to connect, to exchange ideas and resources! We want to find each other and see how our life’s work fares! While some of us are making these connections via the internet, this weekend of “Coming Home,” I realized, gave the alumni in attendance just what we’ve been longing for. We hugged each other in person, heard one another’s voices present ideas as only Pacifica graduates can, spoke our mythic language, asked questions we’ve been carrying around unasked, and hatched ideas we didn’t know we harbored. And we haven’t even begun the harvest yet! Stand by, fellow alumni! This network is continuing to grow; and only our imaginations can limit our possibilities!

There are such rich possibilities. I am ready to “Go, girl!” The alumni
gathering was so important to me, and even though I sat in the back
corner for only the last two days, I met some wonderful people…. I was
doing underground networking. For me it was truly a coming home of
parallel minds…. I am brimming with ideas.
                        ~Marsha Bentley Hale, Ph.D. (Myth 2012)

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