From Linda Anderson, Director
The first months of 2008 have been flying by and all of a sudden
it is May and this issue of the Echo is overdue. My words
for this edition will describe some of the realities of life and
some thinking about how it is that we might live with health and
hope through the worst and best of these realities.
January 1, 2008, my plan for beginning a 3 month sabbatical on
January 15th was firmly in
place and I was looking forward to it. However, by January 11th,
it was very clear that my personal plans needed to be changed so
that I would be present at the Centre sharing with other staff
as we would work our way through very significant staff change.
On February 5th, The Board of
Directors unanimously passed the following motion: "That
after extensive investigation of Calling Lakes Centre’s
financial records from 2006 and 2007; and after further
consultation with legal advisors; it is with regret and sadness
that the Board of Directors terminates the employment of
Christine Whiting with cause, effective February 5, 2008."
am so impressed with the dedication and resilience of the staff
at the Centre. While all staff were dealing with their own
emotional and spiritual reactions, they pulled together to
address the needs of the Centre and particularly, the needs of
the people who come to Calling Lakes for a variety of reasons.
In addition, two wonderful women came on board as contract staff
to help carry the load and sort things out. Thanks to Carole
Matkowski and Jayne Whyte.
a result, our guests were still able to come to the Centre to
learn, to give and receive support from meeting with others, to
explore new ideas, and to find peace in this sacred place.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, staff have been revising all the
systems we use to coordinate group’ and individuals’ visits to
the Centre – financial systems, registration systems,
information flow about special needs, coordination and advance
notice for food services and housekeeping. We feel that the
systems are still evolving and we are grateful for the feedback
and help from those of you who arrange for groups to use the
And as for me – I did go on sabbatical during March and April
and plan to have a third month in the fall. I drove east with my
partner, Bill Dearborn, and visited family and friends. I also
had several days at Five Oaks Centre and had enriching
discussions and learning as I consulted with Mardi Tindal and
other staff. I am researching how Education & Retreat Centres
cope financially and what methods are used to raise the
essential funds for daily operations and even more importantly,
for capital improvements. The most significant learning from
these consultations, (not surprising when I consider Calling
Lakes beginnings) is that building relationships with individual
givers is the most important step an organization can take.
While we were visiting my son, Kelly, in Northampton, MA, we
went to a lecture by Richard Heinberg, author of Peak
Everything. Heinberg is trying to raise awareness of the
foolish path that has been chosen by North American society.
Within the next 10 to 15 years, many of our non-renewable
resources will have passed their peak production (oil peaks by
2010) and after this point production will fall off markedly and
prices will rise rapidly. As well, our society has based its
foundation on the assumption that everything will continue to
grow – stock markets, economics, energy sources, food
production, etc. Thus, our society, with its dependence on
extravagant consumerism, is following a false hope. The crowd at
the lecture was very aware and the most encouraging part of the
evening was listening to the representatives of a great variety
of small community groups who were providing community and
support for one another while all working to reduce energy use
while improving quality of life.
What has all this to do with Calling Lakes Centre? Here are some
of the questions I offer to us. Can we limit or change the way
we use energy? Can we commit to using locally produced wholesome
food? Can we encourage and support one another as we find
creative ways to cope with a chaotic future? Can we hear wisdom
offered by others, such as the words from a Hopi Elder.
A Hopi Elder Speaks
"You have been telling the people that
this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the
people that this is the hour. And, there are things to be
"Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And, do not look outside yourself for
Then, he clasped his hands together,
smiled, and said:
"This could be a good time! There is a
river flowing now, very fast.
"It is so great and swift that there
are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the
shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and will suffer
"Know the river has its
destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push
off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our
heads above water.
"And I say, ‘See who is in there with
you, and celebrate!’ At this time in history, we are to take
nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For, the
moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a
"The time of the lone wolf is
over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your
attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in
a sacred manner and in celebration: We are the ones
we’ve been waiting for."
~ Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona