Marcia Norcia Phillips

(Note: Just last week I told myself, I should get in touch with John Odenthal. It's been too long. See how he's doing and how Brighid is. And then this news. Ah.) I met John at the first combination Levels 3,4,5 he organized and directed at Dorje Denma Ling. He held the ground, was fully present and caring and patient with us, new to this Shambhalian world. That he was able to do that was critical to the health and well-being of the participants. Doing those 3 levels in 10 days, we could have easily spun out, but John's presence as a real human being, keeping the container, kept us on our seats (although we didn't know it then). The teachers were free to teach unbounded. It was extraordinary. John and I kept in touch as I continued on the path through Warrior Assembly and Seminary he always had cogent comments and guidance. We each had a child, born just months apart (mine a Seminary baby). I remember talking to John, Boulder to Halifax, rocking my infant son, and hearing him marvel at baby Brighid and of his deep, overwhelming love for her. As parenthood overtook us, our connection dropped off. And then years later, as my 17 year old son, Jesse, was heading off on his first international trip to Denma Ling to work on a crew building a hemp bale structure, I emailed John out of the blue. Would he be an emergency contact for Jesse? He not only agreed wholeheartedly, he invited Jesse to spend a couple days with him and Brighid in Halifax, taking Jesse on a beach outing and giving him valuable advice on Canadian colleges. Although 16 years had passed since we'd last been in touch, John readily opened his heart and home to my son. John was an extraordinary being. In my experience, there are few of his caliber. We were dharma siblings, no matter the space between us. I will miss him. Sarva Mangalam !