I have to tell you about last week-end...
I went away with my philosophy group. It was restricted to only 20 participants and all of us had to be under 40! Given that I am heading at a radical pace toward the big four ohhhh, I though I had better take my chances while I could.
They had called themselves The Acorn Group. (I found this interesting given my "One Little Acorn" business name.) And this past week-end was our first trip away. I arrived at Allanvale farm, just 12kms past Ararat, ready for an exciting week-end on the farm. It was cold when I arrived - 7 degrees with a weak sun in a clear sky. I was already wrapped in extra layers of clothes and carrying a multitude of bedding and work gear to get me through the week-end. Apart from the cold there were few expectations.
The accommodation was in shearers quarters - two to a room. It was basic, with bare wooden floorboards, a single window, and a door with a wide gap at the bottom, which stubbornly refused to close properly and opened directly to the great outdoors. The furnishings fitted the setting well. There was a basic shelf for personal items, a small table between 2 narrow cast iron single beds and one wooden chair. There was no form of heating in the room and I was relieved to see an electric blanket on each bed, an advantage to being female that became apparent later when we realised the men had not been given the same creature comforts. There may well be a God after all!
In addition, the toilets (dunnies in true Aussie style) were outside and a brisk walk from our rooms. The showers were bore water and were in a small shed with cement floors. A boiler had to be heated by a fire underneath for hot water. I'll admit, it was more basic than I had imagined.
The central 'meeting' room where we dined, studied, meditated and talked, was warmed by a big country open fire and a kitchen adjoined it so that the smells of sweet vegetarian cooking drifted throughout. It was the hub where we all came together and it was welcoming and open. The setting (despite my apparent complaints) was perfect.
There was a wide variety of participants. From early twenties to late forties, men and women, single, married, students, workers - the only connecting thread was a shared love of philosophy.
The days were structured around studies, team activities, moments of stillness, group meals and fun and was both challenging and stimulating. We were continually reminded through our discussions how much philosophy had influenced our lives and thinking. Many participants said The School of Philosophy and it's courses had changed their lives. In regard to the week-end, I would be confident to say that every-one had a great time and we all look forward to the next opportunity to get together again. To all who participated - thanks. It was a great week-end.
So. One little acorn in a group of acorns. Hmmm. Seems appropriate really!