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High in the hills that rise above the town of Hatton in the Bogawantalawa Valley is a cluster of four bungalows formerly occupied by plantation owners.

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Each is staffed with a private butler. A resident tea master demonstrates the ages-old tea-making process: planting, leaf plucking, and artisanal processing. With tea-infused cuisine, tea-based spa treatments, afternoon tea and trails that traverse the tea-blanketed hills, one can literally get lost in tea. High Tea is a regal affair served on elegant William Edwards fine bone china. With unrivalled views across the Irish Sea towards the Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran, this opulent Edwardian country house offers a serene yet decadent environment to indulge in finger sandwiches, Viennese bridge rolls and assorted pastries.

Tea sommeliers guide guests through an extensive selection of Twinings finest, served using a samovar, a traditional hot water dispenser. A royal classic Jam first or cream? ICompassPoint Project Director Lupe Poblano challenges readers—white and people of color—to confront white dominant culture within your nonprofit as the best way to move your organization toward equity. Lupe also provides practical, real suggestions on steps you can take to initiate change. Confronting my own internalized oppression.

Examining my relationship to power. The importance of staying grounded in your purpose. Read other blogs by Lupe: Resistance, Courage, and Hope. Recent Posts. Planting the Seeds for the Transformation of our Workshops Program. More information about text formats. Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

entering the life of the exquisite past Manual

Lines and paragraphs break automatically. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Well, to start with, by being honest in our openness and direct in our empathy, we can minimize what stands between us and our experience of life.

In actuality, living as close to our experience as possible is what it means to be authentic, and it is arduous, so we need each other to do so. This is the purpose of love and friendship and spiritual practice. And this is the purpose of will: to correct our inevitable drifting with a paddle here and a paddle there, not trying to do it all ourselves, but trying to restore our native position in the ancient and immediate current so it can carry us into tomorrow.

This image also gives us a way to understand our humanness and our need for inner practice. For when a canoe drifts left or right, or gets stuck in the roots of an old willow, it is not wrong or evil or lacking in character. It is just being a canoe. Likewise, our rush to judge ourselves and others for what goes wrong, or not as we planned, is a distraction from engaging the nature of living, which is drifting and steering. Think of it as a canoe.

Anyone who has been in a canoe or rowboat knows that if left alone, the boat will drift. In a stream or river, the current will carry us, but we need from time to time to paddle or row, to steer our way back to where the current is clear and strong. This gives us a way to understand our journey on earth. For at the center of the stream of life is the unstoppable current of Spirit, the energy of Oneness, that vital Original Presence that all beings have longed for. Some call it the Tao.

Ceylon Tea Trails in Hatton, Sri Lanka

Others call it the Holy Spirit. Jung called it the Unconscious.

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And Buddhists call it Dharmakaya, the stream of suchness. Whatever name you give it, it never stops rushing or carrying whatever dares to enter it. We only have to find our way to the center of its pull and our strength will seem to double, and the journey will seem easier. The delicate way we are all connected cannot be overstated. The family therapist John Bradshaw uses the image of a mobile, saying that every family operates like a suspended sculpture of individual pieces tied together with string or wire.

When one piece is touched or moved, the entire mobile shifts. Family dynamics are like this. Relational dynamics are like this. In truth, the family of existence is like this. Around the globe, what happens to one living thing impacts all living things. We are all suspended and connected in an intricate mobile called life. We are not alone in this perennial task to be who we are and stay connected. For every spiritual path asserts a belief that everything is connected through a net of influences that each path names differently.

And every tradition acknowledges that it is our human struggle to hold on to this fundamental connection. The Native Americans are wise teachers in this, in how they believe that all things are related. It is not by accident that Native American medicine men put these questions to the sick who are brought to them: When was the last time you sang?

When was the last time you danced? When was the last time you told your story? When was the last time you listened to the stories of others? It has always been clear that the life of our expression and the life of our stories are connected to our health.

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How we think about this matters. It is how we learn.

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It is how we integrate, one experience at a time, our human with our being. Time and time again, we are offered the chance to truly learn this: We cannot hold on to things and enter. We must put down what we carry, open the door, and then take up only what we need to bring inside. It was the beginning of spring. It was a sunny day and I went to the park and sat on a bench.

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  • I was one of many coming out from under our rocks to warm and lengthen. He was two benches down, a gentle older man staring off into the place between things, beyond any simple past, staring into the beginning or the end, it was hard to say. And so he shuffled over and sat beside me. At this, he looked away and the sun came out and I realized: This is what the lonely sages of China were talking about, what the moon has whispered before turning full for centuries, what dancers leap for, what violinists dream after fevering their last note.

    But I was awkward and unsure. He stared, as if to search my will, and after several minutes, he just patted my hand and left. I watched him darken and brighten in the sun, and vowed to look in the folds of every cry for a way through, and hoped someday to meet him there. Indeed, how can we be who we are when no one is around and bring that holy presence everywhere? This leads us to a core paradox: how no one can live your life for you and yet we need each other to be whole and complete.

    How often we cycle through this struggle: fighting off the influence of others to discover and be who we truly are, and then fighting off the loneliness of such truth in order to feel the sweetness of belonging. Imagine that each of us is a spoke in an Infinite Wheel, and though each spoke is essential in keeping the Wheel whole, no two spokes are the same. Clearly, in a spoked wheel, the spokes separate as they each move out to support a different part of the rim.

    And clearly, they are all connected in a central hub that gives them the strength to form a wheel. We could say that the rim of that Wheel is our sense of community, family, and relationship, and the common hub where all the spokes join is the one center where all souls meet. So, as I move out into the world, I live out my uniqueness, but when I dare to look into my core, I come upon the one common center where all lives begin.