This is a continuation of the post above.
The day following the event’s closing, we got to introduce the L/L crew to the Village, which is just the name that our Asheville friends have for their loose intentional community where many of the group live near one another. We enjoyed one of their daily communal meals. We met for a meeting to discuss the plusses and deltas of the Coming Home event and to plan for next year.
And the day following that, we embarked on a six-hour roadtrip back to Louisville! As a full group this time, with Tiffani in the van. (Cumberland Falls is just a few minutes off I-75 in Kentucky on the way. We stopped for a minute. The second largest waterfall east of the Rockies after Niagara, it is beautiful.)
Preparing for Homecoming
Upon arriving home, our six-person crew—Daniel, Tiffani, Austin, Joanna, Trish, me—forgot all about the event that just occurred in order to clear our minds and bodies for the event that was just 2.5 days away! In all my years, I never thought we could pull something like this off. Homecoming is a very intensive production effort, converting a suburban home into a weekend venue for usually up to 40 people, for whom we provide five homecooked meals and transportation assistance from/to airport and hotels. It is a long L/L tradition to help assist people flying into the event that is important, not only to help reduce the cost for attendees, but to help them to feel welcomed and at home from the moment they exit the airport.
From receiving the tent and setting up the circle, reengineering and cleaning the house, preparing the meal arrangements, making big Costco/Kroger runs, coordinating with attendees, and so forth, it went surprisingly smoothly and was less stressful than it’s been in years past. We have a really good team. And we were aided by Anthony, an alumni attendee who is an intensive reader of the L/L library with seemingly infinite personal energy (at least I have not sensed a limit to it), who arrived early to help out.
Thanks to his loving tending from late winter onward, Jim’s gardens were a bounty of beauty and color. And minus some pain in his hip for which he would get a replacement surgery in late October, Jim was in great form and ready to receive the coming invasion with open arms and a corresponding heart.
Nothing ever goes completely according to plan, though. Jim’s basement had flooded at some point during the pandemic. This destroyed the boxes of meditation cushions (for the seated backjacks) stored down there, along with the burlap curtains we purchased and cut to string around the perimeter of the 40x40ft tent to block sun and add an aesthetic comfort to the large canopy. We discovered this the day before Homecoming and had to improvise.
The hours leading up to the start of the event are among my highlights. I love seeing people who haven’t seen each other hug and shared updates and smiles, along with those who are new to each other embrace in open spirit. The exuberance felt particularly high this time around. Primarily, I think, because there was a three-year gap since our previous Homecoming. Many of our friends have been coming for years. It had an air of a family reunion, along with several new faces in the mix.
Except for some baked chicken, Trisha prepared an entirely gluten-free vegan dinner that included: the aforementioned seasoned chicken, tofu, stir-fry vegetables, homemade stir-fry sauces, rice noodles, rice, garlic green beans, and sesame cabbage salad. And when stomachs were full from that, she brought out vegan/GF chocolate cake and vegan/GF pineapple-passionfruit cake.
She began work on this a month or so in advance, freezing what she made knowing that we’d be at Coming Home the weekend prior. It is an incredible amount of work that she has volunteered of her own initiative for nine Homecomings now, beginning before she was a staff member, and now undertaken in addition to her staff responsibilities. She is a sight to behold. Though tending to all that during the weekend in a kitchen not designed for 30–40 people causes her to miss much of the event, so this year she is finally showing signs of relenting and considering alternative options for future events. Fingers crossed.
As mentioned, this all takes place in a suburban home. We rent a canopy and pay the company to set it up in the backyard behind the garage. Because we got started with Homecoming later in the year than usual, every tent company was booked up for September. On a hail mary, we found a company who would make the 1.5hr drive from Cincinnati… at a premium.
The canopy goes in the one semi-open space that Jim hasn’t occupied with stone structures built by hand over the decades, mostly using limestone that he hauled from the Avalon property he and Carla used to own. (Avalon was nestled away in a small valley next near the Ohio River about an hour away. No electricity or running water, just an ancient shack with a foundation of stacked stone, it was a lovely place.)
Due to the lack of space for breakout areas, we cannot create a true Open Space Technology format with the circle pitching their ideas each morning. Instead, we build the schedule in advance from attendee submissions. We received 18 total that we were able to split between the tent and the living room. You can read the curriculum here, if interested. Everyone contributed great material, whether it was a lecture, a discussion, a practice, or a slideshow.
Homecoming tends to be a little bit more left-brained and a less embodied practice. It is, however, a great complement to Coming Home. As always, it is a socially boisterous event, balanced by moments of silence and meditation.
It carried that same spirit of gratitude for connection, with several of the attendees describing that feeling of absence making the heart grow fonder. It was a boon to our spirits that made a wonderful consummation of our journey of three major events and one minor in the span of five weeks. This was enhanced by the sense of being in our home space with family members.
At the Prague event, I mentioned that Austin, Trish, and I had the opportunity to cross a barrier and channel in front of others for the first time. The Homecoming also presented a similar opportunity. Unfortunately, I was too pooped to get energized and clear enough to channel, so I reluctantly bowed out. However, Kathy, one of our channeling circle members and a dear friend with an angelic gentleness about her, made her first go at it(!), alongside Jim, Trish, and Austin. Trish was particularly impressive considering that she’d gone through everything I had—including two weeks of people hosting + rotating driving duties with me to/from Asheville—and spent a lot of the weekend busting hump for the food production. The channeling circle did wonderfully together! I was filled with gratitude and a sense of home watching them channel Q’uo.
Throughout this writing I’ve referenced the energies and orientations of those sisters and brothers who joined us in these sacred spaces. I’ve spoken in highly positive terms because that reflects what I saw and experienced. But the joy and the meaning experienced by each arises in a context of suffering in the journey of service which unfolds in a hard, sometimes cruel-seeming illusion. Buddhas do not attend—except in the sense that, in truth, we are all buddhas—but people with wounds and scars, loss and limitation, confusion and episodes of privation, despair, and anguish.
What each shares in common is what they seek to do with that pain. There is a whole menu of options available in our third-density plane, from playing victim, to becoming embittered, to waging war, to seeking answers through material gain, to distracting the self, to… nothing. The spiritual seeker, instead, seeks healing, learning, and growth. In other words, they seek to use their catalyst—that wonderful word the Confederation uses to describe all life experience, the pleasant and the unpleasant. This is true of any embarked consciously upon the path of seeking the Creator, whether or not they read L/L’s work. The Law of One just offers a particular frame and platform for that seeking, and creates a common vocabulary for those who come together in its study.
And that is probably what most impressed me about everyone. There is an aspiration for the light. There is a desire to learn the ways of love. There is a need for healing the self. There is a quest to use the hard experiences for positive growth. There is a current of service.
I loved the personal stories I heard. I do have one representative example to share that doesn’t come from the events, actually. Because it was emailed, I can more accurately represent it in the person’s own words. This is a seeker with whom we’ve had some correspondence from India. They wrote:
Also wanted to inform the team that last Sunday (6th and 7th Sept) I had a heart attack, a symptom that was being built up for about 60 days with symptoms of fatigue, frequent headaches, blocked nose and gastric. On 8th I went for a healing treatment and on the same evening before I could begin, I had a massive attack, almost deadly. I somehow managed to breathe enough to get to emergency and surgical procedure was done on same night. So I survived 😅. Perhaps isn’t ripe enough for harvest
They put a stent on one of my arteries (LAD) which had 95% block. Whilst the experience was scary, due to the Ra Material I learned how to harness the love of one eternal creator to embrace, love and internalize this catalyst. I continue to pray for effective learning from the catalyst which I believe with the love energy of the creator I will learn it. I was peaceful throughout the experience, except for extreme painful situations where the mind was disturbed, but otherwise settled down with complete acceptance.
It’s not so much the Ra Material’s role in supporting this seeker that I wish to highlight here, though that too is of note, but rather, this being’s consciously intended and cultivated acceptance of their catalyst. This attitude, however variously and imperfectly embodied, is representative of what we witness at gatherings. And it humbles the self to be in its presence.
It is so good working on a team, together seeking the Law of One in shared mission. Austin, Trish, Jim, and I all loved meeting Joanna and Daniel in person, and reuniting with Tiffani. I will not do any justice to the fullness and complexity of the three new team members, but maybe I can offer an infinitesimal window into their depths.
Meeting Daniel in the physical was a seamless continuation of the work we’ve done together for a few years over messaging apps and video. He is gentle and preternaturally calm. His voice has a meditative quality to it. With me driving and him riding shotgun, I learned pretty quickly that it was easy to be silent in his company, which is something I greatly appreciate as I am not a natural extrovert in social situations (I typically have to turn it on).
Though possessed of a gifted intellect, particularly, obviously, in the realm of web development (if you could see the magic he’s worked), there is an uncomplicated spiritual simplicity to Daniel that is easy to feel affinity with. The positively connoted simplicity that the spiritual seeker strives toward.
We have become great collaborators on the website, but it’s not just us leading ideas forward. He is constantly staying on top of the workflow, initiating new projects, and innovating new design strategies to meet and exceed the potentials of what’s possible. (There are great things in the pipeline.)
This was his first trip to the States, and his first two Law of One-centered events. In his opening introductions for both events, he mentioned that one of the primary values for him was getting to interface with some of the actual readership instead of the programs, numbers, and abstraction of web design. I think that it really inspired him to see the living impact of L/L’s material and of his work on the website.
I mentioned his meditative-like energy. At the Homecoming Gathering in the living room, he led a guided meditation that he created. Those gathered were very surprised that this was his first time. He took the group to a place of serenity and focus. One male attendee was even in tears at the end, feeling his heart very open. Daniel has plans on designing a meditation app that will integrate with the website and allow us to finally be able to support meditation practice and interactive shared meditation events.
I’ve learned some of the snippets of Joanna’s own life journey in this incarnation, so I was greatly looking forward to deepening my understanding of her unique path. That, fortunately, was fulfilled. To a degree at least, as learning about an other-self is never-ending. Born in the Philippines, she spent the first portion of her life growing up in the slums of Manila. After her family was able to relocate to the States, and long before she knew what wanderers were in the Law of One-sense, she had distinct experiences of being different. In fact, her first US ID card listed her as “alien,” seeding or maybe intensifying an awareness that she was other-than that set up a condition of learning in the years to come.
There is a strong conscious drive in Joanna. A desire to examine herself and to confront those areas of where growth is needed. Combined with a desire to advance her understanding, in surrender to the inability to fully understand, of that which is beyond the boundaries.
What I think is one of the keys to her integration into the L/L team is that quality of the heart that exercises those spiritual disciplines Carla liked to speak about: praise, prayer, and thanksgiving; seeing the beauty of the human experience; finding creative ways to bring out the interconnectedness of all things; and bringing alive the magic. I think that this core attitude helps to develop the magical personality through the challenges that arise.
She’s also a great pun master, which makes sense as she earned her degree to become an English teacher. And she has been such an appreciated addition on multiple levels, including leading up the prison ministry and her support of the seeker ministry. She puts a good deal of effort in to meet seekers as best as possible.
We had the opportunity to be with Joanna and Daniel for two solid weeks through two gatherings, with both staying at Trisha’s and my home. A couple of my most cherished moments from that period came from just relaxing with a glass of wine and conversation at our place with these two between and after the events.
As I’ve talked about in a podcast that Tiffani joined us for (oh, that dusty podcast… someday soon we shall return to you), Tiffani and I met the same weekend we both first met Carla and Jim. It was April 2002, in Louisville. We were different people then, but we were both alive in the relative newness of Law of One study and the spiritual path itself, but where she was self-confident, I was not. Tiffani has had a long journey of friendship starting with Carla, Jim, and me that has grown to include Trish, Austin, and others at L/L.
As described in the BW report when we announced the new team, Tiffani was the only applicant who had any experience at L/L Research events. Almost 20 years in her case. So after proper vetting, we, in consensus with Jim, designed the new role of Event Manager. Holding space for spiritual seekers at in-person events is an important priority for L/L, but it is intensive and more than our existing workloads can accommodate.
We have various divisions of duties and specialties at L/L Research. Since Carla threw me into the ring in 2006 and asked me to produce an event with no experience, I’ve been leading up their production, learning how to improve every year. So this year I put in a lot of time and showed Tiffani the ropes of event management through three unique events–one international, two stateside. Coming Home was where she had the most opportunity to shine, and shine she did. She was like a multi-armed Hindu deity, holding together the various logistics of the event while playing hotel manager while liaising with the venue staff. She was able to take a lot off my/our shoulders. We’ll see next year she’s ready to more independently lead up production of gatherings.
We’ve explored in the podcast and I’ve written previously about her strength of will in the direction, as she describes it, of surrender in recovery from alcoholism. What I also admire about her is her social fearlessness. She doesn’t have my social hang-ups, awkwardness, or frequent avoidance of social situations. An extrovert by nature, she can talk to anyone. Unlike the quieter Daniel, when Tiff is in on-mode she externalizes her thoughts in a steady stream of consciousness. She did great speaking to the group, blending warmth, humor, and information.
What strikes me most when I consider her spirit is the strength of her will and faith. To pull through what she’s pulled through, and to come out with a cleansed and forgiven heart that takes responsibility for her creation, the shadow included, and sees always the best in others. Tiffani, like the others, is strong in the ways of the heart.