Archive for October, 2009

Finding What You Didn’t Lose

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you,
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you,
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

~ John Fox ~

I got this link via Chris Corrigan, and it reminded me of a conversation we had with a few women recently in London – the day after ending our Women Moving the Edge gathering there. One of the quotes that stood out in that conversation was: ““To listen another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service any human being ever performs for another.” by Douglas L. Steer.

In our conversation this quote was adapted to:
The almost greatest act of service one can do for the World,
is to listen it’s Soul into disclosure and discovery.

That really stood out for me!!

The constraints of matter

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I mentioned in an earlier blogpost this week that I had brought the sentence with me ‘Don’t believe in money!’. As this line wove itself through our conversation, it became clear that it is not money itself that is the problem, but the scarcity of it and the one type of money that we have. In many communities there is a lot of workforce and a lot of work to be done, but there is a lack of money to connect both; which is a weird thing in itself. For myself, I realised more than ever, that I would never let the scarcity of money come between me and my life, between me and what I sense is the right thing to do.

We also talked about the collapse of the monetary system as we know it now, and how far away the system is from real value of goods and services. A recent blogpost that I read talkes about ‘the conceptualisation of money’, and how this conceptualisation is a sign of a complex society, but also that it announces the collapse of the society at hand. As much as a collapse might disrupt a lot in our lives, there is a good thing in it probably as it will bring us back to what we called ‘the constraints of matter’. When we can’t use more resources than we actually can handle ourselves, within the limits of our own physicality, then life will slow down and we will be able to see and notice again the wonder that is in nature and all of matter.

WMtE7 barktree smallThere is something life-affirming around constraints and boundaries. If I can see the real differences between my three sons, and really recognise and acknowledge them, then I can see how their soul shines through them. I guess it is the same with tools, with nature, with artefacts. If we can really see them, we can notice the sacredness of it again. We will value the quality of the making, the quality of the materials etc. It is all part of the world soul, the immanent light that is hidden in matter. Not visible when you don’t pay attention, but ever present.

Then somebody asked if a constellation wouldn’t be the right thing to do. Amazing how this proposal always comes from one of the participants and I never think of it myself! As in previous gatherings of Women Moving the Edge it was again an amazing experience!

There was Stillness supported by the Trees; and the Immanent World Soul came to lie on the ground. Stillness was sometimes reaching too high in the sky and then loosing its balance; which then the Trees would compensate for in support. The main point of the constellation was that Stillness seemed to be in opposition with Juice/Creativity/LifeForce. And Humanity was so drawn to the energy of the Life Force that it would go into frantic behavior; like it was drunk. It even didn’t understand the question of Do you feel well? It had no relation with it’s body, didn’t know what was its deepest longing, but finally could come to rest on the floor, next to the World Soul. That was the point when the Trees could rejuvenate and standing tall again. Stillness found it’s place behind the Life Force, both opposite of the Trees, and slowly, slowly Humanity could stand up again in total awe of the World Soul.

We had a long conversation afterwards of what this all meant to us; how we could understand the messages of this constellation (was posted later); then we went into dinner, into the evening and into the night.

Aligning with the World Soul

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

WMtE7 center smallIt was Wednesday morning; half way into our gathering. Again at 9 o’clock in the morning we gathered in our little circle, cushions and plaids on the carpet; colors, markers, paint, flipcharts, drawing paper and notebooks at hand. Lots of different talking pieces in the center and a few candles.

WMtE7 bowing smallSilence settled in, and we were all listening inwards to our next impulse; the same as in the little exercise that Karen offered us the day before. The impulse that came up in my body was to bow; a very deep bow; as deep as laying on the floor with my hands turned upwards in receiving position. I did that and explained that I wanted to bow deeply for the mystery that is the World Soul. This World Soul I got out of the book I mentioned earlier, Return of the Feminine and the World Soul, by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Later on, Karen, our London guest, would do just the same but she didn’t use any words, which made it even more powerful as a statement.

I got to understand some more of what this World Soul means. Connecting in with it, this living substance of the Earth, makes that right timing and right place is sensable and can be discerned. It explained to me how I am able to spot when ideas and plans offered by others are grounded or not; if they will make it into manifestation or not. Collectively we became more aware that there is nothing ‘to do’, or not even something ‘to get’.. it is all about surrendering and aligning to Life itself; be it named as our individual Soul or the World Soul.
WMtE7 titlebook smallPay attention
Show up
Move with it
Wait
Come back to not-knowing
Sense the impulse from stillness

Is this what they call Wu Wei? Action through non-action?

Karen had used the phrase “open a path in your body to let the movement unfold”. Openings, cracks… that’s where Life seems to go!

There was the story of the taxi driver from Afganistan who felt grief for the loss of his simply but good life. Aren’t we all grieving for that? For the purity of simplicity? It seemed to us that there is where the well-being is to be found. Maybe when more of the current, unsustainable system breaks down it will be an opportunity for many to rediscover this simplicity?

Full participation is coming from Source

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I went to bed with this question: What if the Feminine would take up leadership of the world? So, that was also what I brought in in our morning circle. Also a left-over from the day before was a quote from the book of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: Full participation of the feminine allows the energy of Oneness to manifest. So what does this full participation really means???

I was pretty much a lot of the day with this question. It felt like there was something ‘more’ to do for me – or for us – but I got totally confused about it… so, I was in the not-knowing a lot…

WMtE7 fullparticip med

In the morning the conversation went of in questions like Is there a request we would ask the men/masculine? What would the masculine need of us in a healthy balance? What is the difference between women nurturing each other in the feminine energy and a healthy balance between masculine and feminine in a couple?
Can we ask to hold us?
Can they hold a slower pace?
Can we trust him?
Can we trust the vast cosmic feminine?

Somewhere in the afternoon we came to a shift, an energy that felt as a breakthrough. We were still with this question of What is wise and full participation of the feminine?
I wrote down:
Collective body wisdom
From stillness and presence
Wait for the next impulse
We know exactly what to do!

Judy said something like: How to dance with Source, the Earth itself?
Lisette said something like: What if full participation is coming from Source?

Of course!!!

That is exactly being like nature; then there is nothing between me and Life! I am then totally in my body and even my mind doesn’t interfere.

WMtE7 meandlife med

Judy asked Karen to guide us in a body exercise that invited us to sense our bodies, look for an impulse, give it a way to express in the body and then come to rest again; cycle after cycle… I don’t know what happened with me but after this I needed to lay down, I needed to close my eyes and just be with that. No input from outside. My stomach was upset and probably the message was that my pattern of eating too much keeps me away from sourcing… I would need to do some action research on this.

I’m so curious of what is more to unfold.

Making love with the future

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

On Monday morning we continued with our conversation as preparation for the real gathering to start in the afternoon. Two ladies would join us and it was an easy, fluid integration.

I can only give you a small hint of what happens in these circling conversations, as there is no linear tread to follow, and one line of thought would spark another one and later it gets interwoven with what was said earlier and so on.

True wealth is generating more life-force, that’s a better definition than money equals wealth! And what we exchange seems to be about our true gifts, and not about coins or papers or anything.

WMtE7 juice smallAnother tread in the conversation was around the question: What has real juice for me/us? Expressing our true desire, and living it, makes for attraction and seduction; allurement as we named it in the previous gathering. For me there was a strong experience when I deeply realized that I feel a lot of juice in the collective silence that is waiting, expecting… when we are together in the not-knowing. It feels like making love with the potential of the future. Just like in lovemaking you are totally open, ready to be surprised, and not exactly knowing how it will be this time. Being in love with this future potential, moment by moment, that seems to me the best definition of being alive – and it is basically the core practice of our gatherings!

Again we were challenging the idea that everything is going in a wrong direction, and that changing our lifestyles etc will be a difficult job. What if it is easy? Came up again. Yes, what indeed, if a non-linear, emergent shift is easy?

For myself I rewrote our question in an attempt to take it from a wholeness point of view, and not from the fragmentation and separation we are so used to. This is what I came up with at the end of the day:
How can we more fully embody the resonance with the potential future – as part of being nature – which will regenerate society?

Listen to Life

Monday, October 19th, 2009

WMtE7 trees smallIt is Monday morning right now. I just got up in this quiet place with only some far away noise of traffic. When I look outside of my little room I see a huge park, the Richmond Park, in autumn colors; trees and open spaces in all shades of green, brown and yellow. The park was once a hunting ground of Henry VIII, one of the famous English kings. And here we are in this convent, a nunnery with only 3 nuns left; an amazing combination of masculine and feminine energies.

We came together yesterday with four women, the hosting team of our 7th Women Moving the Edge. And we jumped right away into the conversation. We only expect two more participants to joins us in this collective inquiry, but we noticed over time that the depth of our conversation doesn’t rely on the number of participants; more on the contrary maybe. The question that will guide us through our time here is:

How can we more fully embody
the wholeness of the evolving feminine,
in service of the regeneration of society?

As much as we don’t want to go into the opposites of masculine and feminine, it seemed we were invited to look at how the unbalance between them is still shaping us. I had brought in from previous thinking how deep we are ingrained with the capitalist system and how difficult it is to see that it is build on concepts and ideas, and not on what is real in terms of life-affirming or life-generating. In our conversation it was all said in this one line: Don’t believe in money!

Cari, the caller of this gathering, a young pregnant mother, told stories of the violation of women’s bodies in our current medical system. This brought us to questions like:
Do we dare to be wild and fierce, fully open to the life force?
How does I look like when we our listening ‘to our own groove’ and speak and act from there?
When we leave out all kind of experts – medical, spiritual etc – and listen to what Life itself speak to me, then what?

If we practice that together in these kind of inquiry circles, then we create ‘an ego-dojo’. It becomes just obvious what is ego and what is life-affirming. More to come!

Circles

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The moon is most happy
When it is full.
And the sun always looks
Like a perfectly minted gold coin

That was just Polished
And placed in flight
By God’s playful Kiss.

And so many varieties of fruit
Hang plump and round
From branches that seem like a Sculptor’s hands.

I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly
Shaped by a soul within,

And the Earth itself,
And the planets and the Spheres—

I have gotten the hint:

There is something about circles
The Beloved likes.

Hafiz,
Within the Circle of a Perfect One
There is an Infinite Community
Of Light.

A poem by Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

Trails instead of highways

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I probably never told you that I hardly ever read a newspaper or that I don’t watch television since at least 25 years. Still it seems that I know a lot about what is happening in the world. Maybe I don’t know all that is happeing in the world, but I do know what is happening on Earth, on our planet.

For my news I don’t follow the highway of mainstream entertainment and news gathering but I follow the little trails of blogs and a little on Facebook. I have my favourites and I follow the links that they provide me, which – of course – lead me to other interesting stuff.

When I recently opened a lot of the pages announced in my Google Reader it struck me how system collapse, the reasons why and what to do about it was one big red thread that showed itself. All of the blog writers that I follow don’t argue about the collapse of the current civilization model we live in in the West. They know it. And I hear more voices that say something like “if we are to save the planet, we have to throw out our economic model.” I go this link via Dave Pollard. His blog, How to Save the World is my best newspaper. He has been announcing the collapse since a long time and is both serious and vulnerable in what he thinks all of us should do about it. The Archdruid Report is another good newspaper to me, with just now an article on the Metaphysics of Money. It explains in a very clear way the difference between money and value.

Dave Pollard provided also the link to “a third alternative to smashing the system or working within it, is working alongside it.” That is what my inner sense has told me since a long time, and that’s why I do what I do. That’s also what a lot of other blogs are about. Ever heard about crowd sourcing gardens? Do you know that more and more people are really living sustainable and sharing their knowledge and experience with us? Casaubon’s Book, a blog from Sharon Astyk and Stony Run Farm are some that I like. Especially Sharon is a real writer – she writes good and a lot! – and combines a knowing of both the world and the planet.

Chris Corrigan’s blog I’m following the longest, as I know him personally through the Art of Hosting community, and I learned a lot reading his musings and afterthoughts of his hosting work. He is a deep thinkier and every week provides the best of his links. Tenneson Woolf, one of his friends, now followed him in this and calls it From the Trail. (He probably doesn’t mind that I used his metaphor.) One of Chris’ recent posts is tittled: Beauty in the midst of Impermanence. He writes about the beauty of community, both in conversations and in making music together.

Along the line of beauty, another dear friend, Amy Lenzo named her blog Beauty Dialogues. She is a real advocate of making online space beautiful and inspiring. More beauty you find in Karen Speerstra’s Kelsy Mountain Hats. They are gorgeous!
Her blog is called Sophia Serve and she just wrote about Sophia or our inner wisdom. She is a fervent reader and writer so in every piece you learn something. She also writes most of the posts on Luminous Ground, a project I am related to, if only by pointing Karen to a person or an idea on the web, which she then turns in a piece of writing right away! Another one that is really, really beautiful all the time: True Nature, a visual blog!

Rest only to point you to Tom Atlee’s inspiring writing in his new blog. He is another one of those folks that always points to what else is possible. He basically says: engage with what is going on, it is not about solving the problem! The last inspiring blogpost from my list was “Four Conversations that Build Community”, by Jack Ricchiuto. Again a message about dreaming and engaging in small and possible actions (alongside the system). This is the second post in a short time from him that I really appreciate, so I probably add him to my feed. Another track to follow.

The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

Monday, October 5th, 2009

I arrived here in Axladitsa on Tuesday evening and went straight to bed. So let’s say that my writing retreat started on Wednesday and now it is Monday morning as I write this. It is the first morning I feel really well. I opened my eyes before the day actually began and the sky was still more orange than blue. The two dogs I am ‘babysitting’ are still quiet and only two from the five cats showed up yet.
These last five days were more of: sneezing, feeling very weak in my legs, dripping nose, sour muscles, no energy ‘to do’ anything… so what I did was reading two books.

The first one was on Action Research (AR) (Systemic Action Research. A Strategy for Whole System Change, by Danny Burns), because I have a sense that the way we look at ourselves, at our collective learnings, and the constant attention for next questions and patterns are exactly that: action research. Of course, as in every discipline there are different schools with different focus points, but what I noticed so far, besides what I/we can learn from it, is that AR could learn something form the practices and models that we use in both Art of Hosting and Women Moving the Edge. So, I am looking forward to find a synergy that is a win situation for all of us and for the planet too!

More inspiring was a book by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, (The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul) which I only knew from a few quotes, which made me think it was the name of a woman. But no, it is a man, well versed and totally committed to a particular Sufi tradition. He has amasing insights to tell us! In the introduction, the shaman Sandra Ingerman writes: “In this book Llewellyn puts together his teachings on the feminine, which he stresses again and again is central in working with global healing and transformation and life’s regeneration. In these writings he reminds us of the primal secrets of creation that belong to the feminine. He emphasizes how this deep knowledge is by nature an inseparable part of the woman’s body and her inner knowing, and how it is especially needed in this time of great crisis to revitalize life as it is meant to be lived. He also reminds us of our ancient understanding of the anima mundi, the soul of the world, and how vital her presence is at this time. It is time for us to bring back the soul of the world by once again honoring this life-giving force.”

It is especially this notion of World Soul that was new to me, at least on a conscious level, and that inspired me a lot. Regular readers know that I developed the Spirit-Source model and I hardly ever came across anyone who – like I do – made this kind of distinction between the transcendent and the inner sacredness of matter/world; let alone in such a clear way. Llewellyn now offered me some more language and a framework that fits and enhances my own model.

One of the chapters’ title is: Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World. It speaks about the world, not only as a living being, but also as a spiritual being. And that as we all have a soul that is pointing us to our own unique life and spiritual home coming, the same is true for the world. It has a soul, a sacred substance, an inner realm and not only the outer manifestation that we all know too well. The author states that women have a special role to play in this work that contributes to the healing that is needed and the emerging of the new.

How I will be able to integrate all this in my own writing I’m not sure yet, but as the introduction of this book states: “I know everyone reading this book will be inspired. So please read on.”

The Evolving Feminine

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Life can take quick turns. August ’08 I moved, and last weekend again, I packed all my stuff into boxes and stored them with the furniture on an attic and in an old stable. Life seems to push me forward, much quicker than I had thought or sensed myself.

The cards told me that this move, this transition is about my mastery. And my mastery seems to be to write a book. I seem to be pushed and pulled toward it. I have been looking around, searching for the book that would give language to what I see and experience, but it doesn’t seem to exist. The practice of Art of Hosting comes near; Theory U is brilliant in naming Source in business and academic environment and also Spiral Dynamics gives part of picture, but there is more that is going on these days!

Yesterday, sitting on the bus driving from Athens to Volos, to bring me for another two weeks to this peaceful and natural place called Axladitsa, I understood something new. In Women Moving the Edge, we have been talking about ‘the evolving feminine’; how the archetypal feminine is part of evolution too, and is looking for its contemporary expression through us; the women who are living now.
What I realized yesterday – driving through the moonlit evening – was that we need to integrate the masculine or yang capacities in service of the yin/feminine knowing.

The process we have experienced – and continue to experience – in the series of Women Moving the Edge gatherings, is not only a deeper dive in the feminine archetype – which is more than valuable in itself and very much needed! – but it asks us now to make distinctions, to find language, to describe this nebulous, intangible way of knowing and sensing. It asks us to use the yang energies to speak and teach what came to us in insights and inner knowing, from this feminine place of Source.

That’s what my book will be about: make clear distinctions, find accurate language, see the different steps in this Great Turning, this Transition time. And how we are heading towards a next step in the synergy of yin and yang, on our way to a life-affirming co-creation.

If you feel called to engage in this evolving feminine archetype, these are the guiding questions we will work with in the coming months:

How can we more fully embody
the wholeness of the evolving feminine
in service of the regeneration of society?

(London, Oct.19-22; Kairos Center)

How do we embody the collective feminine in order to transform the wounds of the past in service of the future potential?
And in what ways will we apply the collective feminine in service to ourselves, our communities, and the Earth?

(Cape Ann, MA, Nov. 13-16, Inn Magnolia)