Nothing to Hold On To: Fire, Energy & Potential in Shifting Times

Dedicated to the Naropa 2020 Graduating Class

By Candace Walworth, Interdisciplinary Studies/Peace Studies Professor

As we near the end of spring semester 2020, I think of Jeremy Marple’s digital story of loss and change, which he wrote and produced this fall for my class “Conflict Transformation: Theory and Practice.”

After COVID-19 cut short Jeremy’s semester abroad in Bhutan, he returned to Westford, Massachusetts, where he is currently gardening while completing his semester studies.  Reflecting on his digital story, Jeremy wrote, “Now that college is coming to an end for me, I’m becoming afraid of what may happen next: Where will I go? What will I do? What job will I have? All of those questions, which are totally valid, are expressions of the fear of impermanence. I’m afraid of stepping into that open space where I may not have control over what happens.”

Drawing strength from the energy of new possibilities and from all we have learned at Naropa, Jeremy and I invite you to listen to his story of embracing impermanence.

Video transcript below.

Jeremy Marple will graduate from Naropa College in December 2020 with a major in Religious Studies and a minor in Peace Studies.  While in quarantine, he is studying Professor Anne Parker’s Earth Alchemy: Aligning Your Home with Nature’s Energies and Secrets of Sacred Geometry to understand the earth as a living, dynamic entity.

Candace Walworth ends her 30th year of teaching at Naropa with gratitude to students in her spring 2020 courses—The Diversity Seminar, Socially Engaged Spirituality, and Integrative Inquiry: Ways of Knowing—for the deep dive into how to teach and learn during a global pandemic. In June, she will step into a new role as one of three Associate Deans of Naropa College.

Read Video Transcript
It was my senior year of high school and within the next year, I would leave behind everything that gave my life structure. My friends were all going to different colleges and my Grandma had just been diagnosed with cancer.

Towards the end of the year we went on a class trip to Disney World. As I was waiting in line to get in the rocking roller-coaster, my sister called and told me that my Grandma had just died. Holding back tears I got on the ride.

Summer came and I graduated but the loss of my Grandma still shocked me. I started hanging out with my friends and all the change that was happening created a tremendous amount of energy because I had nothing to hold on to. For the first time in my life I was seeing fresh new perspectives. One night after fishing I was at the lake down the road from me.

The sun was setting and I couldn’t help but think about my Grandma. At that moment something clicked and I had a new perspective on death. I felt that my grandma was still with me. Now as I get closer to graduating college I recognize the process happening all over again. Remembering my experience I feel called to embrace the change.

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