Coddiwomple Sailing.

March 30, 2022

Coddiwomple Sailing.

May 29, 2023

The waves came rushing up around us at about the same time all of our phones started blowing up. I had been on a sailboat, learning to sail in the Sea of Cortez (bucket list, checked!) and we were coming back after 5 days with almost no cell service.

It was March 20, 2020, the day the world was shutting down due to Covid. We had sailed out being careful to wash our hands, and sailed back to a global pandemic. Among the calls waiting for me was one from the Modern Elder Academy (MEA), telling me that the long awaited workshop I was about to start 2 days later, on the other side of Baja, was canceled. Ours was the first pandemic casualty at MEA and I was the only one already here.

Enter the wondrous Christine Sperber, MEA co-founder and Experience genius, who said “Well, we’ve stranded you here. If you want to come and stay here till you figure out what you’re doing, come on over.” Leave it to Christine and MEA to not only take responsibility for a poorly-timed global pandemic, but to also open their doors, hearts and arms to a virtual stranger in the face of it. I trudged across the peninsula with my bags and uncertainty and arrived at MEA’s bougainvillea-framed doorways. For those of you who have been here, you know what it’s like to first walk in. It is a wonderland of beauty and calm and friendliness and wisdom and spirit. You can barely imagine how much more it felt at that moment: an oasis of safety as the world was falling apart.

Of course, all was not calm at MEA. As this stranger walked in their midst, they were in the process of having to face this crisis and shut down the very heart and soul of what they did. Well, nope. While they did shut its doors for 8 months, MEA reopened in October 2020 with the brilliant swerve known as Sabbatical Sessions, the more open-ended, lightly programmed, communal stays that saved many a heart and mind during the first 1½ years of Covid. Mine included.

Instead of the weeklong workshop that wasn’t to be, I booked 2½ months from January - March 2021 and spent the cold winter months at MEA. Working, participating in programming, making lifelong friends, eating too much amazing food and falling in love with the place, the people, and MEA’s vision. So basically, I refused to leave. Or at least until I knew I could come back and be a part of this magical place. Fortunately, we saw in each other a desire to learn and grow and work together, and here I am. Still. Again. Back at Sabbatical Sessions, now designing programming, facilitating and supporting the amazing growth and development that are underway at MEA.

It is no small irony that much of what we teach about here is Transitions and I am smack in the middle of one. I am neither fully out of my former life, nor fully settled in this one. And MEA is in transition as well. Sabbatical Session is no longer what it was when it was brilliantly swerved and Chip, Jeff and Christine held down the fort during the pandemic. And it is not yet what it is to become as we imagine the opportunity for deepening this program even further.

So here we are, in the joyous messy middle of possibility, creativity and evolution. While things are, indeed, sometimes messy, we know that we are moving together toward greater opportunities for learning, growth and community. Amazing people come and go, we are fed the most amazing food by the most amazing staff in the most amazingly beautiful place, and we explore the most amazing topics. We have had sessions on intention and purpose, movement and body awareness, writing, visual art, and ceremony. Coming up, we have sessions on values, storytelling, spirituality, community development, wellness, music, regeneration and……? It is hard to reveal everything as some of what we do emerges from the offers and opportunities that arise in the moment. We call this “planned spontaneity.”

This is what I learned on the sailboat as well: to get really good at coddiwomple, which translates loosely as “to travel purposefully toward an as-yet unknown destination.” While we can’t control the wind (or lack of it), we can learn to swerve into it and with it. The unknown in front of us is a constant that invites us to be present, ready, adaptive and creative. Learning to navigate open seas has become both a necessity and a gift. We are excited to coddiwomple Sabbatical Sessions with and for you. We would love to see you down here. We have a good amount of SabSesh space available in April. We don’t have SabSesh again until the second half of July. C’mon down for a week or two! It just might change your life.

Barbara Tint has spent her whole life dreaming of living near the sea. In the meantime, she has been a university professor, global trainer, and facilitator, author, storyteller and improviser. She gets her mojo from creating and facilitating dynamic group processes and can’t wait to infuse Sabbatical Sessions with more amazing offerings in that special, spacious MEA way. It’s a good thing she has many other talents, since cinematography is clearly not one of them. Enjoy the video!

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