I just returned from leading a weekend workshop on Alchemical Acupuncture at Sugar Ridge, a retreat center in a cedar grove in Midland, Ontario. I will never forget the two-and-a-half days I spent with the graduating students of the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto and Mona Bolton, the visionary Director of the program. The night fire, the morning walk, the grace, warmth and devotion to the healing process that I experienced with the students has energized and inspired me.
But there is another image from my journey that I will not soon forget – the gray carpeted room with the blue industrial chairs lined up against gray walls that met me at the U.S. – Canada border crossing. Standing in line with other travelers, waiting to show my passport to the uniformed customs official sitting beyond the shatterproof glass wall of his cubicle, I reflected on this space that felt so completely different from the spaces that Benjamin and I create to support our work, and the space I was to discover at the retreat in Midland. Here in this pass-through place, nothing but blank drab walls. No windows. No easy conversation, no laughter, no eye contact, no touch.