Earlier this month, the facilitators and affiliates of The Painting Experience came together for a week at Still Meadow Retreat Center outside of Portland, Oregon for our annual gathering. This is a time for us to explore the experiences we’ve had during the year leading process painting workshops and classes, as well as to deepen our practice as painters and facilitators. This year we invited members of the new online course, Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts, to join us for a portion of that time. Welcoming new members into our community was satisfying for everyone, and the sense of connection we formed will continue to deepen as our circle of process painters and facilitators widens.
The final weekend of the retreat was a combination of process painting and Zen meditation practice, co-led by my friend Rinzan Pechovnik of No-Rank Zendo in Portland. Our time together was especially poignant because of the political upheaval that was then just a few days old. Many people were struggling with the internal adjustment required to meet this new reality, and our group discussions and practice sessions delved deeply into this concern. There was a palpable sense of shock, disappointment and discouragement over the divisive level of discourse taking place, and a desire to integrate these new circumstances and to move forward in a balanced way with integrity and clarity.
In the dharma talk on Saturday evening, Rinzan addressed these issues with an eloquent integration of Zen practice, process painting and real-life common sense. He offered a healing and coherent way to be present with this unfolding reality with all its unknown ramifications -- a way that is consistent with creative expression, meditation practice and workable, day-to-day life. In the end, Rinzan makes a case for embracing this reality with tenderness and strength, along with a good dose of unpredictable audacity. We are happy to share his talk with you today. (If you're receiving this post by email, please click through to the website to listen to the talk.)