When there is no place to go, where will you go?

I knew that I wanted to join the adult Cultural Design Program the moment I heard about it. The reasons were clear and the way I’ve explained it to family and friends is how I’ll explain it to you: “Visions, dreams and ideologies of what a culture could look and feel like have been offered in books I’ve eaten up and short term retreats I’ve participated in; Springhouse is the living breathing possibilities of creating cultural change in practice. The Springhouse community is at the individual level and collective level designing and experiencing cultural change.” When applying, what I did not know was how much it would take me beyond the places that I knew, and I am only 10 weeks in.

I am Anna Kopacz, a whole-body coach and facilitator, a certified observer of human relations (grateful for my anthropology degree), a voyager of words and silences and their accompaniment of our life experiences and a novice at accepting the emergence of me in the interdependency of the world around me. I was born in Poland, grew up on the east coast of the USA, spent a chunk of my adult life in Switzerland, while travelling many times around the globe to find my home, a place to belong. One of the first “beyond places “ that the course has taken me to explore was commitment and, more specifically, commitment to place over time. Place over time that comprises the land, the water, the seasonal changes of the natural habitat, the people, the relations, the cyclicality of the relations. And most profoundly at the moment, the commitment to me in one place over time. Where I am not jet setting to another place for a warmer winter and concomitantly not letting the coldness, the darkness and its wisdom be felt by me.

The below verses had come to me as I sat with the course reflections of the completed first 10 weeks. Week after week, tuning in to the online course study, meeting with my peer mentors, completing my verbatims and practising my commitment to being in one country at the cusp of autumn and turning into winter. Now very much in winter and very much with no place to go but right here, I trust in the ripples of the water.

When there is no place to go, where will you go?
I go to the woods and walk barefoot
I go to the shore and smell the ocean breeze
I go to the path unpaved and walk without direction
I go to the poets and activists and their hard soothing words
Each of these places connected me to the nature of humanity at a safe distance and for a long time that had been enough. All these places habituate me in the deepening of my conditioned life experience.

When there is no place to go, where will you go?
I know where I will not go.
I will not go back to pretending, to faking it that I have it all figured out
I will not go back to the places and people that don’t feel life in every breath.
I will not go back to the jobs that suffocate me and find my purpose childish.
I will not go back to what I knew before Springhouse, before a community that orients towards life.
I will not go back to believing that, because this is how it seems it all works, this is how we’ve known it to be – this is the only way it will always be.

When there is no place to go, where will you go?
Now I go towards community
Now I go towards vulnerability
Now I go towards being broken, shattered, in the void and still being held and seen.
Now I go towards the muck, the wet, the dark, the paradoxes that make up life.

When there is no place to go, I come back to my centre.
There is always a place to go. That place is within. That place is dark with fears and doubts when we believe we are alone in it.
This program – Culture Design Program for Adults
this portal, this community reminds me I am not alone.
This group of interwoven dreams, wounds, sub personalities, Loyal Soldiers and Wounded Children showing up Monday after Monday, Wednesday after Wednesday with tiredness, with expectations, with and without hope is the fertiliser for the soil of my life. Thanks to the sourced wisdom, undivided attention, broadening of belief systems and endless search for the drumbeat of life thriving shared my soil is becoming richer. I know this soil is not just for me, it will bear food for the hungry, offer safety and wings for the wild souls and decompose with grace to provide for generations to come.

When you have no place to go, and yet you know that there is a place unlike any other – you come to Springhouse. You come to Springhouse for shelter, for wisdom and for a living system that lets the unknown be discovered. You come to where water springs ripple out and you know that you are part of the ripple, here to create more places where one can go, when it feels like there’s no place to go.

You can find Anna on LinkedIn.

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