Around 1980, I started attending a Unitarian Universalist church. Soon thereafter, I heard about an eight day family summer camp that was held at Seabeck Conference Center every year. It was sponsored by Eliot Institute, a regional Unitarian group. I was so excited and knew I wanted to go.
At that point my son was five and my daughter was two. I decided it would be too much for me to take a two year old to camp, so made plans for Sreejit and me to go. When we crossed the bridge into the conference center that first time, it was like entering another world. A world of unbelievable beauty, where one could relax, make new friends, get hugs, and simply breathe. I felt like I had found my “Home” in the universe.
My son had a wonderful time there as well. As the day to go back to Seattle came closer, he informed me he wouldn’t be leaving Seabeck. Since the staff ring a bell when it is time to eat, he would know when to get his meals. In his mind, there was no reason why he couldn’t stay. He was not at all happy that I would not allow that to happen. (Interestingly, for most of his adult life he has lived in an ashram where bells ring whenever it is time to do specific things!) I understood where he was coming from though. As I remember, I also had lots of tears about leaving.
I didn’t attend the church for very long, but both of my children and I participated in every August Eliot Institute summer camp for at least 13 years! I also looked for any other opportunity to take myself back to Seabeck. At that point in my life, I was organizing a lot of workshops. I definitely took as many of them there as I could.
When I met Amma in 1989, I had another experience of “Home” and I felt the same when I went to India for the first time in 1990. While I rarely have the opportunity to go to Seabeck anymore, I still feel that same sense of Home whenever I am there or even when I think about it.
Below is a slide show of some of the wonderful times we had during those summers. If you want to see them up close, click on a slide and it becomes a slide show.
Written for The Daily Post: First Sight