A note from Carl:
A poem that I return to most frequently is this beauty from William Stafford:
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
One of the gifts of being in long-term, intimate relationship is to be able to witness the unique thread of another being. Erin and I have been together for 18 years, and we were close friends for 4 years before that. Over those years I have been able to see all of the twists, turns, surprises, blessings, confusions, insights, and ass-kickings of someone who keeps a fidelity to following her unique thread in life.
A couple years ago, at a retreat, a Buddhist teacher and friend told me: “I don’t completely trust someone who has not stayed in a lineage, and I don’t completely trust someone who has only stayed in a lineage.”
I think what he was saying was a profound consideration for our times. Traditions and lineages provide exquisite and necessary containers for unfolding, and we need to stay in them long enough to be cooked. We get cooked into ourselves. Cooked beyond our preferences, identities, habits, and patterns, cooked beyond the tendency to bolt when we meet our uncomfortable edges.
At the same time, adhering fundamentally to a container that was created 2000 years ago for training young monks might miss the unique call and needs of the world we are living in.
In witnessing Erin’s unfolding thread through these years, I find she holds that paradox with grace. Staying with lineages to be sufficiently cooked, and listening deeply for what is freshly needed in these unique times.
In looking at the description of her Answering The Call workshop next weekend, I see the coherence of her years of following her thread shining through beautifully.
If you are a Utah local, I would highly recommend it.
Here is her description:
Have you been feeling overwhelmed with concern about the state of the world, not sure how best to respond?
Please join me for this powerful community gathering, seeded with the intention to aid in healing ourselves, our culture, and nature, guided by the principles of Embodied Life, inspired by the Healing Spiral outlined by Joanna Macy.
I believe we see more clearly when we come together.
In a sense, this workshop wasn’t my idea. It came to me and wants to come through me.
All I can do is cooperate, and give it my best. :) I hope you’ll join me!
We are called to come together.
We need to slow down. Way down.
We need to listen deeply. To take time to sense into our deep heart and gut wisdom as well as our struggles and confusion.
We need to listen each other, and to Life.
We need to speak in courageous ways that don’t diminish our deepest knowing.
We need to call each other out of our habits of amnesia and anesthesia and into awake, embodied presence.
We are called to be courageous. To be wholehearted. To show up.
We are called to be faithful witnesses to the beauty and tragedies of our times.
We are called to share our gratitude for the beauty of the world, to praise life.
We are called to courageously share our deep grief for what ails us and for what ails our world.
We are called to think outside the box of “that’s just the way it is” and to vision a bright and life-giving future for ourselves and for the generations who come after us.
We need to learn and revive harmonious ways of being on the earth and with each other.
We are called to share our stories and our deep dreams.
I believe we need the support of a warm-hearted community to do this deep work of witnessing, of honoring our gratitude and grief, of daring to vision a life-giving future, of daring to speak our visions aloud, and going forth to act on our wisest impulses with the full support of our community.
As Francis Weller writes, “This is the solitary work we cannot do alone.”
We need each other.
We are called.
I’m honored to facilitate this gathering which is inspired by the spiral of Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects and my 25 years experience as an Embodiment Mentor. To get a taste of the spiral, please read Joanna’s beautiful reflections (below) on Gratitude, Grief, Visioning, Getting Involved, and “Acting Your Age.”
Over the weekend of Earth Day, we’ll gather to make our way through this healing spiral with embodied practices and community support.
Our time together will include:
- embodied practices, including gentle movement and guided relaxation
- quiet time for inner reflection/embodied listening
- community circle sharing
- lots of inspiring poetry
- time for writing
- guided sitting meditation
- a community gratitude and grief ritual
- and more
- No experience is necessary.
- All genders are welcome.
“Personal Guidelines for the Great Turning – by Joanna Macy
Come from Gratitude
To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe–to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it–is a wonder beyond words. Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.
Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, for these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings. To suffer with is the literal meaning of compassion.
Dare to Vision
Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts.
Roll up your Sleeves
Many people don’t get involved in the Great Turning because there are so many different issues, which seem to compete with each other. Shall I save the whales or help battered children? The truth is that all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain. So to heal one aspect helps the others to heal as well. Just find what you love to work on and take joy in that. Never try to do it alone. Link up with others; you’ll spark each others’ ideas and sustain each others’ energy.
Act your Age
Since every particle in your body goes back to the first flaring forth of space and time, you’re really as old as the universe. So when you are lobbying at your congressperson’s office, or visiting your local utility, or testifying at a hearing on nuclear waste, or standing up to protect an old grove of redwoods, you are doing that not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billion years.”
Clearing by Martha Postlewaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.
Please join me to create a clearing in the dense forests of our lives, and to allow the blessings and benefits of our powerful time together to ripple out into our world.
Friday, April 20 6:30-9pm
Saturday, April 21 10am-12pm, 2-6pm
Sunday, April 22 10am-12pm, 2-6pm
We’ll gather at Vitalize from 6:30-9pm on Friday the 20th.
On Saturday, we’ll meet at an outdoor location in a local canyon (to be disclosed once you register) from 10-12. We’ll take a 2-hour lunch break, and reconvene at Vitalize from 2-6pm on Saturday. Sunday, Earth Day, we’ll again gather in our outdoor location from 10-12, take a 2-hour lunch break, and reconvene at Vitalize for our final session from 2-6pm.
No partial attendance is allowed. To support the coherence of the weekend, we need you there for the whole spiral.
Tuition is $185 for the 3-day weekend workshop. I am offering two 1/2 price scholarship spots. If you need a payment plan, please let me know. If you are strongly drawn to come and cannot afford the tuition, please be in touch – I’d love to find a creative way to make it work if I’m able.
(Please read my cancellation policy before you register.)
To Glow – by Mark Nepo
Like light in the sun
spilling out of the sun,
the spirit within
beams its way
through all our cracks
till our most treasured
walls come down.
The coming down
of those walls is the
blessing we crave
The coming down of
those walls – so the light
of the soul like the light
of the sun can help the
world grow – this is
the call of calls.
As Deena Metzger writes,
“Therefore, we are called to restore and piece together the broken, burned shards of once vital histories, to dare to know what we know, to see and understand with our hands and feet what is irrefutable, to listen to the ancestors and the future, to the dreams and the signs, old syllables and unborn orations, birdsong, whale song and howl, the glorious and tormented recitations of wind, water, light and earth, to bring together a luminous grammar of connection so that through such shared conversations and our own emergent literature and culture, we make ourselves places to live that can survive these times.”
From my heart,