What is Two Rivers Farm?
As we turned off a bridge near Aurora, Oregon, I asked Jake, “Do you know where we’re going?”
“I think we’re supposed to look for a rock,” he said, and I laughed. So, rural then.
He handed me the directions, a very long paragraph that included passing a hazelnut orchard, a stand of redwood trees, and orders not to go past the bend in the road. All I knew was that Jake and I were to meet Mary at a place called Two Rivers so they could do Taketina and I could take some photos.
Miraculously, Jake did spot the little rock that marked the entry, and we headed down a long gravel driveway. When we got out of the car, we were greeted by a couple of friendly dogs, and the call of a peacock from just beyond the trees.
This annual gathering brings about 70 people to work on various projects, join in communal meals, and in the evening participate in guest-led workshops and events.
We were led on a tour by Matthew Eveleigh, a nearby resident who had done Taketina once before at Mary’s house and asked that she come and lead a journey at the Farm.
In his soft, welcoming voice, he told us all about the buildings and their various iterations:
As we walked, goats roamed an apple tree orchard, balancing on hind legs to scarf down as much fruit as they could.
The First Taketina
After the dishes were put away and all was cleaned up, it was time for some 50 people to experience Taketina for the first time. In a large, upstairs room with hanging lights and wood floors, Jake strapped on his drum and bells. As people filed in and sat down, Mary introduced the journey as a way to wonder about why we are here on this Earth.
She explained that sometimes there is flow and sometimes there is chaos, that to “fall out” of rhythm is inevitable and okay. She closed with an intriguing statement, especially for those who had no idea what they were in for:
“How you do Taketina is how you do life.”
“Exaggeration is a great learning tool,” Mary said as she had folks pointing across the room or reaching to the sky before turning the movements into claps. The call-backs began, and the group seemed to relax. They got the flow, until they were immediately thrown off, of course, but they seemed to get used to expecting it.
When it came time to wind down, everybody laid down almost all at once. At first it felt like a clamor, but they settled quickly and continued to sing the call backs, softer and softer until just a murmur could be heard. The murmur of 50 people created quite a beautiful, resonating hum.
After returning to a circle, Mary invited the people to share anything of their experience, and asked with a smile, “So, why on Earth… did Matthew want you all here?” The people chuckled, but no one spoke. The silence hung awhile, and I could feel racing thoughts wanting to burst out of chests, but they all waited to see who would dare speak first. Who would set the tone?
After Taketina – the reactions
"The first time [I did Taketina] it was a new idea that chaos could be welcomed. Not only welcomed, but celebrated. That for me is transformative. My first thought was ‘these people have to come to the Farm.’ ”
A younger man with long blond hair, tied back in a pony tail, joined in from across the room, “I got to see in myself – what are the impulses, resistance, agreements that arrive in me? – and then be as impartial as I can.” He added after a moment, “I still feel like I’m dancing.”
The idea of letting go seemed to resonate with many in the group. Acceptance within or despite chaos became quite the theme.
A young woman remembered “how much joy it brings me to mess up completely” and another said “I had the support of the group –when I was lost, the others indicated the way.”
“For me to experience chaos with all of you is very comfortable.”
“The fun over-rode the chaos.”
“Self-judgement comes up. Something about doing this tells me [self-judgment] is learned.”
“I was happy to participate with the chaos, and that’s not who I am in life.”
Mary nodded and said, “That’s how children learn, but they don’t see it as chaos.”
The group laughed, the conversation could probably have gone on for awhile, but it was getting late. After thank yous both ways, the people began to scatter back to their tents and cars and homes. I couldn’t help but wonder what other insights would be shared from this contemplative community in the coming days.
photos by Chelsea Schuyler