On a lovely afternoon Foundation co-workers and invited guests gathered to celebrate Ana Rhodes Castro and Camilla Bredal Pedersen in the magnificent space of Cluny Dining Room. With its high plastered ceiling, warm wood panelling and chandelier lighting reminiscent of an earlier time, and an atmosphere imbued with memories of many past celebrations, the dining room was a fitting place to honour these two young women who have dedicated themselves in service to the Findhorn Foundation. Ana, our outgoing Chair of Management, gave us an amazing five years guiding the Community. Camilla is our incoming Chair, newly appointed through a decision-making journey that involved Trustees, Management, Findhorn Foundation Council and the co-worker body. We are delighted she has chosen to say yes to stepping into this role.
The afternoon, a mixture of fun and laughter, of tears, of heartfelt sharing and of ceremony, was jointly held by Micaela Aminoff and Judith Bone. Thank you to them both for having the insight to create a space where joy, and even a bit of frivolity, could be expressed while the solemnity of the handover was also paid attention to.
We began the proceedings with upbeat music and greeting one another through dance, interspersed with the various departments offering their appreciation to Ana and their welcome to Camilla. Aprons from Park Kitchen, bouquets of flowers from all the gardens, a wreath for Camilla's head from Cullerne, a 'bus pass' for Ana from Transport, a song for them both from Programmes, a cleansing of their auras from Cluny Homecare and a poster dedicated to Ana from Communications were among the many gifts offered. Also giving a voice to their appreciation, good wishes and hopes for the future were the NFA, NFD and Jonathan Caddy.
After a break, Ana and Camilla were each given the opportunity to share with us their thoughts and feelings. Ana spoke of her gratitude for the love and support she had received from so many people during her time as Chair, of the boundless love she has in her heart for this centre and the community, and how this centre changed her life. Here she learned the meaning of love – an action freely given, a commitment and an everyday choice. Ana also paid tribute to Dorothy, who came back to the Foundation when Ana was at the beginning of her time as Chair. Sharing a bit of Dorothy's wisdom with us, Ana related how she had one day asked Dorothy, What is the magic that keeps you so happy? Dorothy's answer — flexibility.
Beginning with a thank you for the support she has received and the trust we have put in her, Camilla went on to give us a glimpse into the shared journey she has had with Ana over the 12 years that Camilla has been here. Speaking of the huge amount of respect she has for Ana and for this centre, Camilla expressed her wish for us to bring our inspiration and dreams into form together.
It is worth noting that at the recent Trustees' meeting during which Camilla was appointed Chair, the fact that she was the youngest person in the room was recognised and celebrated. And it was not lost on anyone that Ana had been of a similar age when she first stepped into the role of Chair. Both of these women came to the Foundation when they were young (Ana, 17 and Camilla, 20) and by saying yes so fully to the journey, wholeheartedly taking the opportunities offered, both grew tremendously, eventually reaching the point of being in a position to lead this centre with inspired vision.
An attunement followed during which the baton — a magnificent, intricately beaded staff — was passed from Ana to Camilla, and an open invitation to offer our blessings to each of these incredible women was placed before us. To end the afternoon, we joyfully accepted a call to dance a familiar Findhorn Blessing Dance. Looking around I saw beaming smiles on people's faces and I gave thanks for this wonderful time together.
We look forward with excitement to the next several years of co-creating the future together with the help of Camilla's vision and leadership, and to still having Ana's beautiful energy with us as she serves this centre in other ways.