By Landis Stewart, Summer Intern in Website, Marketing, and Outreach, 2015
Reflecting on my experience in the internship program at Laurelwood for the past two months I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities to live work and learn in the environment on campus here. Especially at such a transitional age, it is so incredibly important to take a step back from the endless hustle and bustle of life and settle into your present. The simplicity of Laurelwood offers a perfect opportunity.
Throughout my summer I found myself happy at far simpler things, and thus, spending a lot more of my time happy. A particularly good peach or slice of raw raspberry pie could make my day, a trip to the beach or a hike to a waterfall the highlight of a week. Every single night the sunset over the mountains allowed me to stop and just spend a few moments looking and experiencing. To live in such a constant state of simple joy made working and learning a far easier and more light-hearted experience than spending my summer immersed in an office in a city. Plus I didn’t have to wear shoes to work.
The support in the internship program at Laurelwood is unique. Daily meetings for intern circle and weekly intern hikes and “satsangs” (discussions) kept me consistently connected to the community, and the conversation between my peers and I open. There is little room in a small intentional community for people to slip through the cracks, everyone here has such an important contribution. I was almost immediately, and seamlessly, integrated into the system here, and happy to feel my part was important.
Living in routine and in such close community provides some challenges, but far more chances for increased focus and clear minds. Never was I overwhelmed with tasks to complete or choices to make, and spirituality and appreciation for my situation easily became my biggest focus. Quiet experiences meditating with Babaji overlooking the hills and mountains or walking with friends along the farms and fields were treasured just as much as exciting trips farther away. Beautiful moments like completing 108 sun salutations at sunset on the solstice, impromptu sing-a-longs on the beach, and chanting and meditating in Ape Caves under Mt. St Helens will surely linger in my mind, reminding me that every moment is a good moment to be mindful and present, to be joyful for where you are as well as where you’re going.
Now, as I leave Laurelwood I must shift my attention to the days and weeks ahead, the upcoming opportunities and challenges that will come my way as I leave the internship program and go out to complete my final year of undergraduate school. I am so thankful for this summer and the joy and simplicity Laurelwood has helped me to habituate. More even than my new credentials for my resume, this practice will be the thing that helps me most.