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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Doughnuts and Ceremony

Yesterday morning, our leaders of the day (Nils and John) put together a surprise for the group. Rather than go through our morning check-in as usual, they met at 6am to plan a ceremony and prepare a space for it.

As we milled around eating breakfast, they were conspicuously absent, and employed Griffin to act as a bouncer to prevent us from going upstairs before they were ready. When we were invited to join them in the top floor classroom, we entered to find John holding a plate of doughnuts, incense burning, and hot cocoa prepared for each of us. Pretty good start to any ceremony, I’d argue. When we’d all found our seats, they led us through two quotes and prompts, asking us to leave behind a judgement we’d made (the pieces of paper in the incense basket), and to commit ourselves to something we’d learned that we wished to take home with us (we pocketed those). It was a thoughtful, meaningful, and playful start to the day, and a wonderful change up to our normal morning routine.

Ceremony, or as we sometimes refer to it, “magic,” has been an important part of our course – it helps give gravity to moments of transition, creates space for reflection and celebration, and connects the group with our shared experience. We, as leaders, love magic, love ceremony; having students come up with their own is an amazing testament to their capacity to welcome these values into the way they’re moving through this course, and the way they’re engaging with one another. Even if it’s light-hearted and involves a comedic aspect, just taking the time to share space as a group provides a welcome pause, a deep breath to slow down for a moment and collect our thoughts. We’re thankful to John and Nils for putting in the effort to make it happen, and hope to see more and more of it during the last month of our journey together.