Googling for Guidance

By Elise Desjardins

Hello, my name is Elise! I am a 2nd year Life Sciences student, and I have been involved with Open Circle since February 2013. Unlike most students who get involved during Welcome Week or after seeing posters on campus, I discovered Open Circle at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. I had been going through a difficult journey with spirituality and, in a state of wild frenzy, I googled the words “McMaster spiritual guidance and reflection”.  Or something along those lines. So that’s how Open Circle and I first crossed paths. If there’s one thing my life has taught me, it’s been to appreciate the perfect timing of experiences and individuals that you meet on your journey, and so I know wholeheartedly that I was meant to find Open Circle. There’s something so mysterious and beautiful about asking for something, and receiving in ways that you never expect or could have imagined.

That morning I emailed Marybeth to set up a meeting for spiritual companioning. I had no expectations about what this experience was going to be like. I certainly had no idea that my experiences in Open Circle would change my life and the person I was going to become. I just had to trust that life knew what I had been hoping to find, and life was willing to present me with something even better.

It’s difficult to find the right words to explain just how much Open Circle has contributed to my life. It baffles me that I can find words to explain mundane moments, but none to capture the life and light of the experiences I’ve had with this club. Finding Open Circle was like being in a really dark forest, and then coming to the edge and discovering the brightest sunrise. Being involved with this community has been like living a life where every day feels like the first day of spring, and summer, and autumn, and winter all rolled into one. This constant feeling of growth, and wonder, and purpose. I hope these words can justify what I’ve lived.

Open Circle has made my campus feel like home. Through participating in our winter retreat, planning events on campus, or taking the Personal Discovery courses, I feel included in a community of remarkable and awe-inspiring individuals, whose presence in my life is so very humbling. This community offers support, guidance, reflection, and most importantly, a shared value of awareness, spirituality, gratitude, growth and individuality. This community has helped me find and nurture my light and my home within. Open Circle provides this space where I can live authentically and creatively, and be accepted by others who understand my journey and have experienced similar intentions. I stay rooted and grounded by going to Reflection Circles, like Meditation circle which helps me find meaning and growth in the messy ins and outs of my life. Creativity circle inspires me to be artistic and to build a world and dreams that are in alignment with my values, and that will help me become a better human being.

Every day, I have this deep and flowing gratitude for Open Circle. For helping me live a life of continuous sunrises, and noticing the wonders of this world.