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Upton Hall School

Here I Am!

This year we are working with the pupils on a new project called ‘Here I am’. From the first day at Upton, pupils will be encouraged to become articulate learners, able to speak fluently and participate in classroom activities. All pupils will be encouraged to speak out, question and test out their ideas in a safe and supportive environment. Staff will be working hard to adapt their lessons to encourage and make time to hear the girls speak. By doing this we hope to help them be confident speakers and feel able to:

  • Be involved in form assemblies and Year masses
  • Be involved in extra-curricular clubs such as Drama clubs
  • Speak at school events such as open evening
  • Be involved in House activities and events

When our pupils leave school, we want them to be able to make valuable contributions to society. We want them to have the confidence to be involved and present in whatever they choose to do. This is something that requires skills that we often take for granted.

“Some years ago I was leading an interfaith environmental spirituality retreat near Seattle. My co-leader and meditation teacher, Kurt Hoelting, asked us to do a “walking meditation” where we would mindfully walk. This meant that while we were walking (and we were not to try to direct where we were walking) we tried to be mindful of each step, focusing on the place where we put our foot down and trying to be in the present moment of each step. In practice, this kind of walking is much slower than regular walking but is wonderful to focus the mind on a sense of the present in time and space. We were given around half an hour to do this meditation.

After a while I found that I was walking along a path beside the large pond (or small lake) that was on the retreat center property. As I put down each foot the Hebrew word Hineni came into my mind. The word means “Here I am” and so with each step it was, “Here I am. Here I am. Here I am.” In each place and in each moment, “Here I am.”

On that walking meditation, I answered “Hineni,” To every moment when I heard “Where are you? I responded with “Here I am.” Here at this moment I am in this spot and in this time which will never be repeated in my life or in the history of the universe. Even if I were to return to that same spot, at the same time of year, it would not be the same. So I must try as much as I can to hear the divine question and respond, “Here I am in this precious moment of my life. Here I am in this sacred spot of Creation seeing the Glory of God filling the world. Here I am grateful for my life at this moment, grateful for the beauty all around me wherever I am. Here I am, ready to work to preserve this beauty for others in the future. At Your service!”
 

Here I Am: Responding to the Call in Creation
by Lawrence Troster  November 20 , 2011