The sun setting can be a daily practice to let go of things that we are still holding on to too tightly.
The old way of holding things
sank into the sea
with the diving god
and sprouted dawnwings
as an owl flying out of one hand
caressing the earth with the other
with mycelium strung between
finding nutrients in every thing
I barely had a chance to say goodbye
to the old way
Before the way to say goodbye
became the treasure
at the bottom of each breath and day
the bottom of each moment’s play
Which was also how to pray hello
and mean it
like one of the great lovers
of the world
Without fists or fortresses
and only a cosmos to call home
Sunday’s Full Moon Hike was absolutely fantastic and powerful. After a sacred pause in silence with the moon shimmering in the waters of the bay and a couple earth poems, eight of us up on the rock immersed ourselves in a discussion on the theme this month: Hunting Our Wholeness.
Everything in nature tends towards wholeness, towards its unique and powerful expression. Everything in Wild nature is unabashedly, unashamedly itself.
What is it in us that can get in the way of our own Wholeness and self-expression? Can you imagine a river saying, “Well, I’d like to go to the ocean, but what would the red alders think of me?” Or the Sitka spruce wallowing in self-doubt about sinking roots and growing new bright green needles? What if the purple flower hid behind its thistles?
There was a time when I was unaware of whole facets of myself. Slowly, and often painfully, I discovered tools, contexts, resources both within and without that could help facilitate my expansion. When I learned some of that, I still had plenty of those bogeymen of doubts and anxiety about the perception of others if I was too (_____ fill in the blank).
Nowadays, I take plenty of moon and tree and river medicine and practice waxing my wholeness continually, knowing that I am not and the world is not served by hiding.
As the bats flitted about and harbor buoys rang out, the moon lent its bright wisdom to us while we shared individual experiences of hunting our own wholeness, as well as the ways we hide, how we sometimes get in the way of our own light.
Moon is an Elder that teaches many lessons, including how to stand in one’s power. Yes, there are times to wane, to rest, to hide–all important modes and energies. But there are times to claim one’s fullness and round out one’s wholeness.
It reminds me of a quote by Bill Plotkin:
“Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you’re able.”
With the light shimmering impossibly across the bay, one moonbather shared a poignant haiku:
Broken and broken
again on the sea, the moon
so easily mends
And so, with rolling waves completing the soundscape, and a great horned owl meeting us at the end of the trail to tuck us into our dreamscapes–we departed a little more rounded, a little more still, and a little more mended into our wholeness.
We’ve held a few gatherings now called Ecogrief Healing Circles: Honoring Our Pain and Resiliency (now monthly in Humboldt, and soon an Online Circle), and it is clear: there is a dire need for these gatherings. But another thing is equally clear: this isn’t just about ecogrief, the pain and fear we feel, this is about love and connection. It’s about reclaiming our birthright as humans, which is community, which is joy/awe/pleasure in nature’s beauty and abundance and all that life has to offer, which is our natural Wild Resiliency.
“Pleasure and Joy is our birthright!” one of the participants exclaimed. Damn it’s good to hear that. Yes, we feel the grief. Do we have to/should we live in it/from it/wallow in it all the time?We feel it to move it through and become more whole. The sunset and sunrises still offer their stunning tributes and pull us from our slumbers. The wind still has secrets. Connection to others stimulates us. The wild river meanders through our souls.
We gather in Circle to hold the Uncertainty. And in this approach of humility is an acknlowledgment that we don’t know. We don’t actually fully know EITHER that EVERYTHING’S FUCKED, or EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE ALRIGHT. We are fallible, with limited knowledge. The blessing of that is that we can come back to the simple things that our heart wants and needs to do anyway for the cultivation of belonging and healing and the co-creation of the world we want.
“I’m always moved by the authenticity with which people choose to show up in circle. Each time I have left with gratitude for the deep exchange, which unfailingly includes so much compassion and love for our planet and each other, renewing hope and instilling a sense of community around the challenge ahead of us.” Kelly Noble, Wild Nature Heart Circle Co-Facilitator
We gather to hold the breaking down of the old and the birth of the new simultaneously. Witness the new huckleberry bushes, ferns, and mushrooms out of the rotting redwood. Life/nature wants to thrive. It knows how to find balance. Wild Nature (and in our own bodies) teaches rebirth moment to moment, daily, seasonal, epochally. RESILIENCY – both our own and Earth’s. Endless.Brilliant.Wild.Resiliency.
“I loved the experience! A combination of spiritual and therapeutic and the natural beauty couldn’t have been better. I felt like I shared so much that was important that I could join a circle with more people now and do more listening and thinking about what others are going through. Thanks again!” –Nan S., participant.
The thing that continually floors us and makes us keep coming back: How we are medicine for each other. How much wisdom, heart, perspective, creativity, each of us brings.
We gather to hear each others’ stories and experiences. This is fundamental human need: to witness and be witnessed in our authentic truths. At the end of each sharing, we say, “We hear you.” Because we do.
I have to admit, autumn is my favorite season. But I may say that at the beginning of every season. 🙂
I wasn’t always like that, I would often resist the changing of seasons in various subtle ways inside. Perhaps it was a reflection of things things I was resisting inside me. Over the years of reconnecting with wild nature, I’ve learned to notice the ways I resist change, and learned (still always learning) to not just welcome, but fully embrace every season. It’s one way I practice being present and belongingness.
I honor it by Harvesting the fruits of my life with an attitude of gratitude. By slowing down and making room for reflection and interiority. By confronting my shadows. By letting go of the old stories, false or no longer true belongings, and ways of being and seeing that take me away from my Wholeness. And by celebrating the miracle and mystery of the changing wild nature of things both outside and inside.
May we embrace the season. May we belong to earth’s season, may we belong to the season of our lives.
The highlight of my weekend was our community gathering co-facilitated with Kelly Noble to honor our pain and love for the world at Trinidad State Beach and to cultivate our resiliency and wholeness.
After arriving and grounding, we each poured water from our local watershed into a bowl, then picked up a rock as we expressed our truth, what was alive in us as we confront the difficult things happening in our world. We then carried the bowl down to the waves rolling in to shore, giving it back to mother earth in gratitude for holding it all and releasing some of the weight of our grief.
How nourishing to witness and be witnessed in our difficult (and joyful) emotions in circle and ritual, cultivating earth community, and sharing ways of taking care of ourselves and engaging in empowering action.
It is not easy to absorb the enormity of the crises we face, and yet we know it is not meant to be borne alone, but in community. Grief is the other side of love. We are in a collective initiatory moment. How can we show up, feel all of it, including the difficult emotions, while moving forward in wholeness?
“I feel honored to be able to hold space for the difficult feelings that come up around the changes in our world, and what our collective future looks like. I’m humbled by the level of compassion and openness that our attendees shared with one another,” says co-facilitator Kelly Noble.
We will hold these gatherings regularly now, the FIRST SUNDAY of each month, 10am at Trinidad State Beach. The next Ecogrief Healing Circle: Honoring Our Pain and Resiliency, is Sunday, October 6.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be on the list.
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