reunion in the castle of Mir
For each of the past two weeks, there has been up to 15 participants, some of them (but far from all) bringing their personal helpers or assistants. In the morning gathering, we start by saying our names – as there is usually one or two new faces among the assistants – and everybody present is given a moment of attention. After that, and having settled the when’s & what’s & who’s of the day, a silence happens in which I light a tiny lantern. In our middle, there is a fairly large heap of sand, which now turns into the land of Mir as I say the beginning of a tale… On Monday morning, the heap of sand is nothing but a dry desert, and the beginning is all I know. But since we all partake, the tale evolves with every day – until, on Friday, it’s completed and the land of Mir has become visible with all its features. The setting and actors are mostly created by the participants during the days: out of modeling clay or papier-mâché or from what could be found in nature, or simply drawn or painted. One week, the tale becomes highly dramatic with the interaction of gods and demons. Next week, with another group of people, it is more of a carefully undertaken expedition ending up with a reunion and a great feast. Apart from the tale, we also turn to the different colours – investigating how they work separately and together – and make self portraits on the walls. And, of course, we eat together and have time for a walk or a bath in the lake outside before returning home in the afternoon.
Now we have done this – with variations, and under varying circumstances – for seven years in a row. I have lost count of how many participants there has been altogether, but most of them return more than once and nowadays there isn’t place for everyone who applicates – unfortunately.
There are so many ways of being human. When we see and appreciate each others just the way we are; when we are together in a playful mood, listening with awareness to ourselves and each other; when we overcome outer and inner difficulties; when we enjoy our sensual perceptions, and develop meaning together; then what is the meaning of the word ‘disabled’?