Closing Messages from the Board
To my CMind Familia:
Much gratitude for helping me discover my voice - my face - and my Jazz:
“Jazz was an attempt to codify an entirely new language. But it was more than that: Jazz was an attempt to rearrange the molecular structure of the universe, to obliterate recent history and replace it with expressions of joy, inventiveness, and grace. This new music was nothing less than an attempt to achieve salvation through the tonal reordering of time and space. The music was an affirmation of the human spirit, a declaration of the present tense.”
-The words of T.J. English
With much gratitude,
Love Letter/Song to CMind:
I was thinking, what would my love letter/song be to CMind? I recall the first time I attended an ACHME conference in 2013. I’d read about it in the Shambhala Sun, then researched it and registered based on the fact that maybe there was finally a place that supported my imagined, alternative ideas of creative, contemplative student engagement. I drove from Baltimore to Amherst. Admittedly, I barely understood much of what I was experiencing until I attended a session with Jane Carpenter of Naropa University. At the end of her workshop, I walked up to her and said, “You are the one I’ve heard in my head all of my life.”
I soon learned that there were many folks at CMind that had the same calling. CMind saw us. CMind saw “me.” CMind saw others like me who were ready to turn the whole idea of contemplative pedagogy on its side. The organization continues to love and nurture and say “yes” even as it closes its eyes. There is much love here.
CMind allowed me to grow in ways I’d never imagined. It made it easier for me to survive academia. It allowed for all the pieces of me to form into something whole. It was also served as a guide to leaving the academy and new beginnings.
There is a love song that is ringing in my ears at this moment is a tune I heard in 1972 when I saw the Broadway musical “Pippin.” It is a simple song that I find myself humming from time to time. It is a reminder that even undefinable love, when nurtured, leaves each of us with a powerful love trajectory, a vision for the future.
“So how can you define a look or a touch?
How can you weigh a feeling?
Taken by themselves now they don't mean much.
Together they send you reeling.
Into a love song…”
This is my love letter/song to you, CMind.
Always and forever,
My sincere appreciation and boundless gratitude for the home you have provided me over the years and the many sacred connections that have supported my healing, growth, and thriving.
You have given me so very much. My heart will be forever fortified with memories of our the in-person summer sessions, retreats, conferences, dialogues, and deep, open hearted sharing, one soul to another. And of course our annual Karaoke tradition at Fitzwilly’s! It all lives within me.
My deep thanks to my ancestors, elders, teachers, and friends Brad Grant, Daniel Barbezat, Mirabai Bush, Stephanie Briggs, Arthur Zajonc, Carolyn Jacobs, Rhonda V. Magee, Rose Sackey-Milligan, Glaisma Betances Silva, Katja Hahn d’Errico, Jennifer Canon, Vijay Kanagala, Steven Thurston Oliver, Ancestor Oliver Hill, and Renee Hill, who have become my inner circle of wisdom and encouragement. To Carrie Bergman, Maya Elinevsky, and Ivy Davida -- words are inadequate. It’s been an amazing ride and you are simply awesome!
My loving thanks to each kind soul who served on the CMIND board. Thanks for your generosity of spirit, time, talents, and finances. It has been an honor to serve alongside you.
As we carry on in our respective corners of the globe may we remember that this work is intimately tied to anti-racism and anti-oppression. As we endeavor to honor the dignity of all human beings, we advance justice, healing, and liberation. May we serve in that spirit and may our Practices imbue us with the courage to persist.
Jazz vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Ancestor Bernard Ingher (1945-2017), sings of the immutable truth of impermanence in his classic piece, Everything Must Change. May his wisdom comfort and inspire us into our glorious next!
Dr. Michelle C. Chatman
CMIND Board President, 2020 – 2022
Everything must change.
Nothing stays the same.
Everything will change.
No one goes unchanged.
The young become the old.
And mysteries do unfold.
Cause that’s the way of time.
Nothing and no one goes unchanged.
-Bernard Ingher (1945-2017)