Dr. Stephen Aizenstat serves as Chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute, which he served as Founding President. Reflections from the Chancellor collects Steve’s posts to Pacifica’s growing family of alums.
Inspired by the alumni toast
| originally posted on 8 Jan 2013
Talking with Dianne just the other day, tears began welling up.
Remembering the Toast Heard ‘Round the World evoked a profound wave of nostalgia and deep feeling for me akin to a sense of “deep belonging.” I described to Dianne my experiences of that day: waking up with the sunrise and writing a first post for the Alumni/ae Facebook page, walking into the mountains and sending a picture back to Dianne of a “heart” consisting of hundreds of rocks intricately placed on a high mountain plateau overlooking the Pacifica campuses and ocean, and continuing into the sunset at the ocean announcing the last day of the year and the promise of the next, where, of course, I could not resist snapping another picture — another Toast to our extended Alumni/ae community. That day and evening were so powerful for me and continue to resonate even now. As James Hillman would characterize it, I felt part of the “Blood Soul” of the Pacifica Body, a unique tribe of folks gathered from around the world and connected through dream time to a one-of-a-kind institution. Now, sitting with Dianne, tears started to flow even more freely.
I felt how each of us, in our own particular way, is infused with the vitality of the living psyche and, in turn, offers back to an ensouled planet — the anima mundi — our distinctive contributions toward a more just and ecologically sensitive community of Being. I am touched deeply to be part of such an extended family of dear people who value the deep psyche in her multiple revelations. Oh, that Toast, our second, opened my heart in ways bigger than I imagined with emotions more than anticipated. Connecting to each of you making your Toasts moved me deeply. And to those of you dancing on the rooftops of several Santa Barbara hotel nightclubs, your exuberance and joy, if not downright delight and festivity, added to the moment and continue to do so. Our evolving tradition of Toasting to the reaffirmation of making a positive difference in the world through inviting the wisdom and guidance of the deep psyche into the collective matters deeply. Our beloved intention resonates with me now.
A week later as I write this, I continue to feel the effervescence of the Toast Heard ‘Round the World. I am inspired to continue our good work. And, too, on behalf of our entire Pacifica community, I wish you a fulfilling New Year. May the deep feeling of our Toast sustain us through the good times and hard, the challenges and opportunities, as our callings, our life’s work, and our service, animate throughout the year. Until we once again “raise a glass” in the widening circle that is the soul body of Pacifica Graduate Institute, may I simply express my gratitude and appreciation to such a caring community.