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The Hero's Journey: Chautauqua at Mt. Madonna


I'm not where I was yesterday.

This is a condition to be wished, believe me.  I left home and wandered off to the northeast a bit and found myself in the company of people who are thinking about deep stuff high on a mountain top.  And they're not getting paid to do it.  As a matter of fact, they're paying for the privilege.

In a framework of taking The Hero's Journey made so famous by Joseph Campbell, about 50 varied and sundry adults who are connected in some way with education, community building and organizational development - among other things - have assembled at Mt. Madonna School in Gilroy, California.  The presence of Angeles Arrien and Peter Block, who have written a dozen books between them, coalesces the energy of the group and gives it form, guidance and wisdom.  But, as they like to say, the wisdom is in the room.  As Angeles has said, "Let's find out what's workin' you."

It calls itself a Chautauqua, a special meeting of teachers and students focusing on one subject, be it political, educational, religious or scientific.  This chautauqua is meant to explore that which inspires us and propels us forward on our spiritual or intellectual journey in life.


Peter and Angeles as well as many of the teaching staff of Mt. Madonna School have crafted a program through which we, the assembled, are exploring ideas about how to be more effective in our jobs, examining government and teaching systems, and delving into areas of self-development.  We're taking time to reflect, inquire, question and listen to what we are dealing with in our pursuit of community and self-realization.


Today we took the hero's first step - The Call  to action or purpose. 50 people have stepped out of their usual roles as educators, scientists, researchers, community leaders, and students to face challenging questions and explore difficulties that usually prevent success or progress in their work.  We got acquainted, spent some time thinking about what our personal Call might be and what we as a group might do to answer the Call.  It's kind of fuzzy and nebulous stuff, but the facilitators are skilled, wise and patient, supporting our efforts to express ideas and form friendships and a brief community in this particular setting while gaining new perspectives.

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This sounds like a wonderful

This sounds like a wonderful experience, Christine. I love the photos you took; they are so descriptive of where you are. I imagine the journey, taken along with others, helps to provide more clarity. My journey feels like it’s been in a vacuum, but I’m slowly following my instincts to move beyond that quiet space.

I enjoyed learning about your experience, and I look forward to learning more.

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It is definitely challenging and a total environment of learning and being around people who are looking for solutions for problems.
Thanks for your comment!