Archive for November, 2009

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

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Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

by Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875 – 1926)
English version by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

Offered by one of the participants in the circle of Women Moving the Edge in Cape Ann, as a description of our way of being together.

Need and receiving

Friday, November 27th, 2009

(continuation of harvest Women Moving the Edge Cape Ann)

It was Monday morning now, the last half day of our gathering here in Magnolia. I had a lot of notes from the day before that I didn’t grasp enough to be able to talk or blog about it. There had been this ‘flipping’ around the notion of women and need, but I didn’t understand it really… I didn’t ‘get’ it. So I raised the question if someone was able to help me out in the morning circle… this seemed like an invitation to dive deeper into it, until the last moments of being together in the circle. It had grabbed most of us.

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Throughout the whole gathering we had been repeating one of the agreements in Circle Council: Ask for what you need, offer what you can. This is a splendid agreement to make every group into a leaderful group. Everyone is supposed to take responsibility for their own needs and passions and to offer in service of the whole. But what we had come across was more than this. It seemed to be beyond the paradox of need and offer. As one woman said: “No person can follow their own soul’s calling.” If we are on the level of soul my need seems to be an offer, or at least an invitation…

Some notes from Saturday afternoon:
This is an invitation to dramatically alter the way women can be together.

This is the feminine way of what it is to be on a team for men.

Because it is about wisdom, we each need to stay unique and link from there; receiving each other and see the need as receiving. The reception creates the next unfolding! I don’t understand this; I need to sit with this a lot, but I sense it!

Maybe it explains… needing in the context of peers, needing in the context of consciousness…

At the very minimal level it is about receiving the gifts from the others.

We are needing something from each other in order to co-create.

What is the level of honesty that is asked for here? First it is about going inwards; then there is the come out through voicing it; last is to be received in authenticity.
When you receive my gift then the cycle of gratitude works, and it cycles, over and over…

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There followed different stories of remembering and pain…
… being initiated in re-connecting with the Earth in a very physical way… wanting to weep: Where have you been? I’m so glad you are back! How lonely we have been throughout history. And now we are not alone if we pursue what we pursue.

… a story of Enough is enough! against abuse by priests and church… I needed someone who stood with me. I need people who can stand and make a big noise if need be.

… a story of fear… if I ask for what I need, I might not be able to get it… particularly with women… now experiencing the solidarity…

The wounding is collective, not just individual.
The story is old, not just this lifetime.

Somewhere in the night appeared this sentence in my awareness:
I need you, because of us.
(more in next blogposts)

I need you!

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
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Soon after lunch we were all more than ready to go for a walk and to be in nature. We were guided along Shore Street, over the beach into a small walking trail that led a little bit uphill to end on Ocean Lawn: a splendid open view on the ocean, with some beach trees in full autumn color. Everyone of us followed their own impulse and we went in all directions; to sit on the bench, going to the trees or straight to the ocean… It was more than marvelous. When we came back many told about an empty head, a stillness inside and so on.

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I had been sitting on the huge boulders of granite, right in front of the waves, with the sun trying to pour through the grey of the sky. It made some soft glow in the sky and some twinkles on the water, and it didn’t blind my eyes; it was just perfect for me on that spot. Some headache had been going on for me, which is always a sign that some energy is moving, that something wants to break through. It feels to me like a pressure that is just below my skin, both in my head and in my face. Sometimes it is quite uncomfortable, but now it wasn’t too bad. Sitting on the rock in upright position like in meditation I realized on a deeper layer what the aboriginal elder had told Birute: Men hold the love, women hold the wisdom; that is how it should be.

It seems to be a challenge to us, women, to move from love within – which we have came to know from every possible angle – to knowing within. I expect it to be as challenging for men to move from knowing in the head to real love. It seemed to me – sitting on that rock – that what is asked from us is Clarity of Knowing. A knowing within, a knowing related to nature and the cycles of life, a knowing that was present in these women called witches, a knowing that asks us to re-member.

Back in our circle a poem was offered: The Unknown She, she who watches… I thought: she who knows…

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Then a deep knowing came through the circle, the collective. We need to look at women and needing, and we need a new language here. I need you! Not in a neediness way, not the old dependency on a man, but a needing beyond our being strong and being able to do it alone. A needing that is an interdependency. A needing that is needed to stand together.
This stirred both a lot of emotion and resonance… we had hit a pivotal point; a breakthrough in understanding…

When needs gets reciprocal it is effortless.
Is this a new kind of energy?
There is something emerging in women and I have a need to be part of that.
Talking about it is creating ley-lines across the country and across the globe.
I need each of you in your own way!

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It was also touching me on a very deep level. All the times that I had invited the other women to speak from the place within and to drop from the head, and the already known – the memory – I had asked them from my need to be with me. Be with me in this quest of remembering to be in reciprocal relation with all of matter: the threes, the rocks, the ocean, the flowers and much more.

There is magic in relating with ‘life within matter’; magic that we will need in order to heal the wounds of our world and to solve the many intertwined problems on the Earth. But the memory of the witch-hunts and the collapse of Atlantis, due to abuse of magic, resides also on this level of knowing within, and I am very, very afraid to use this power in way that is not life-affirming and maybe manipulative. I need all the other women to go there with me and sense together with me: Is the knowing from within pure or somehow distorted? And only together we can see the whole puzzle.

Judy then offered her gift of synthesis: Clarity of inner knowing leads to magic and our next step is how to do that together. She named some elements:
There was something in the body;
There was wounding, fear and vulnerability;
There was clear asking;
There was moving to ground and to Earth itself;
The Earth is calling each soul to voice its inner knowing;
Then there is a spark and something is ignited.
In the inner stillness the trees, the rocks etc can speak to us.

Stand together

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
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A new morning on Sunday, still grey but with the promise of some sunshine sooner or later in the day. Judy asked to check in with whatever was present. In the morning I had been going for a walk along Shore street – just like the other day but this time with no rain – and I had been wondering if we were really on the edge, where we really in a space where we felt totally alive?

Lisa immediately offered us her edge: to sing another song for us. What a fabulous voice! What a gift!

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And the message that came with the song: the answers are blowing in the wind…
Susan offered the sentence that came to her in the morning: It needs to be stable. Not understanding what this sentence was really about she looked up the true meaning of stable, which is: to stand together. This is what we need, this is what we can offer: to stand together in our soul’s calling, because it cannot be done on our own anymore. Someone mentioned Aikido and someone talked about Joanne of Arc, it seemed to point out that a new warrior archetype is born in women. An archetype that isn’t afraid from aggression or denial, but that – like in a true Aikido move – can use the movement of the opponent as an emotional recycling. The question came up: when we feel vulnerable is it really ours, or does it come from memory; either individually or collectively? And can we leave the memory for what it is and relate to situations in a new way and with inspiration? In this way take 100% responsibility for all of what happens in our life? This is truly a challenging concept but do we want to go for less? Isn’t this the difference between a warrior or being a victim?

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We had a break and we tried to figure out when to go to Ocean Lawn, according to Edveeje, who lived here for ten years, the place with the most magic present. Some wanted to go now, some wanted the freedom of not to rush back… anyway the sun called us out and with no agreement or conversation about it we ended all up on the lawn in front of the house, talking in little teams of two, three or four. This is what I like about living in emergence, some things are spoken about and agreed upon, but there are still things that just happen, as if the collective does its own thing and we just go along. It was truly nourishing to feel the sun and we were called for another great lunch.
Our caterer takes a lot of effort and care to provide us with excellent food that is local, seasonal and organic as much as possible. It really feels like a blessing and it is totally aligned with the purpose and intention of WMtE. Also the house we are in, called the White House, but actually a little pink, is full of details that show the care and quality that has been gathered since it was build in 1880. If you were a photographer you could spend a day or more here to capture all the little details of beauty. In this regard it is a feminine energy that is present, which is so different and a lot more supportive than being in a conference center, even when it is situated in a beautiful nature surrounding.

A sacred exchange system

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Saturday afternoon wasn’t easy. As much as the morning was flowing and inspiring, lot of the afternoon we spend in the groan zone. Somewhere in the chaos, trying, groping in the dark for where the new and shared meaning would appear.

I had brought in the thread from previous gatherings and from our preparation time around the system and the culture of the current money system and how to think about that in the new paradigm. As I said, not easy…

Do we need to invent a new system?
Talking about money doesn’t seem to hold a lot of passion; actually it feels quite dead.
Although we are not economic experts, through history it were the women who held the keys of the households. So it seems that women – together – are now holding the keys to the world household.

Keys? Do we hold each a key?

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Soon I changed the word Money System on my big piece of paper into Exchange System. It is clear that we need something to exchange, but not the current money with its disfunctionalities.

Somewhere it was said that Money will be replaced by Love. Great and interesting idea, but how will that look like??? And what is Wisdom in this domain? There wasn’t coming much on my piece of paper; not much that was inspiring… we were sure in the chaos…

Wasn’t this a mirror of the bigger system? Because the economic system seems so complex, so big and so overwhelming that we just don’t start thinking about it; we withdraw or hold back? or we all try to solve it on our own?

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The break seemed to shift things and the conversation got full of passion, full of great insights; some of the keys that we hold became visible. I think the greatest key was that we need a sacred exchange system and we would need to put our soul’s calling in the middle; not even our competence or profession, but our true authentic gifts that are surfacing bit by bit. If we do that and exchange around that in a circle, in a web of interdependencies then something starts to happen and that something is like magic. But it always requires our full participation; our full engagement; our Yes! Yes! Yes! Even if it is our tiredness or our doubts if we bring them in the circle then we are engaged and new things can happen.

It was clear for all of us that we don’t want to prostitute our soul’s calling anymore in supporting the old system. What if all women would follow their passion; wouldn’t the outcome be that Earth was saved and all local and global needs met?
So one of the keys is: go where the juice is! Don’t let a lack of imagination hold you back; but keep on sensing what is life-affirming and what is not. Keep your senses open not to energise the old system.
At one point one woman used a little woman figure as a talking piece, a really tiny one. Someone else felt drawn to take a look closer by and asked to see it; then the woman who owned it said: You can have it!
That’s where the juice was! This generosity is surely a big part of the sacred exchange system that we are all looking for.

The magic of knowing from wholeness

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

The first thing that I wrote down from our circle on this misty grey Saturday morning, was: Who does the knowing?
This question didn’t get an answer right away; as in all good and generative conversations we walked different paths to finally come to an answer at the end; having found many other valuable insights in between.

We were building on the concept of Ho’oponopono and the question was raised: What if the collective feminine would take 100% responsibility for it all??? Wouldn’t that be something radical that hasn’t been tried before?
Later on it was mentioned that we would need something simple; like laying the white scarf – a habit from Afganistan that would bring everyone to stillness and stopping the conflict; like standing next to someone.

Another very present topic was the circle as we heard it in this little poem:
Someone drew a circle that left me out,
But love and I had the wit to win,
We drew a circle that took them in.
(Edwin Markham)
We have felt many times outside the circle, we have felt as victims. But we have kept the men outside this circle we drew for ourselves too.

Taking on responsibility… it was never not our responsibility… and sometimes we took too much responsibility; other times it was not recognized…
Responsibility is not an obligation… it is a response-ability…
To transmute everything from love.
Can we step off the stage from our cultural thinking and redraw the circle?

What is the feminine voice?
The feminine voice is simple.
The feminine voice is strong.
The feminine voice says it is Enough.
Instead of ‘taking on’ responsibility, – which sounds quite masculine – can we put the responsibility in our circle? And love it into wholeness?

Some wisdom from an old wise lady:
Men should hold the love,
women should hold the wisdom.
Waauw! I never heard that, but it makes a lot of sense! It would require for both genders to step into and act from vulnerability. That would indeed change a lot.

Then came a paradigm shift for me. If we, as women, should hold the wisdom, and we leave the love to the men, then how to ‘translate’ this responsibility? Loving into wholeness then becomes Knowing into wholeness! Maybe that is our magic: the magic of knowing from wholeness, from the depths of the World Soul. Receiving the seeds, receiving the information…

Inviting the magic?

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

I repeat myself, but this was another amazing start of our Women Moving the Edge gathering. In our tradition we started with some music, not just to dance – but possible if you felt inclined – but to settle in and listen to want your body wanted.

Then silence

Then the opening by Edveeje Fairchild, and her amazing poem:

Return oh Daughter

For deeper than the pain
And deeper than the misery
Of this fallen
And falling world,
Is the gift of woman,
WMtE8 InnMagnolia smallA soul created to embody
And meant to bear the mark,
Not of shame,
But of eternal glory.
Eve was her name:
Mother of all Living.
The womb and the heart of the Creator
Birthed in Eden as an Ezer Kenegdo,
A lifesaver and sustainer,
A mirror of Beauty in the world.
Return oh Daughter to the Garden,
You who bear the Creator’s Glory
In a fallen
And falling world.
Take up your Crown of Roses
And the one of thorns:
This is Earth’s most desperate hour,
And the Kingsdom’ s keys
Lay within your gentle hands.

She invited us to share what made us come here, what was calling, what is the edge we are on. Amazing stories followed, an amazing weaving of threads… I try to picture some of them…

WMtE8 Magnoliapier smallOne thread is about the power of place. We are in this ‘magical seaside village of Magnolia’, surrounded by the sea at three sides, and it seems to call forth the feminine. Apparently it is situated on a leyline with gives it a certain quality of energy. Through this little village runs what is called the Old Salem Road. Salem was the place in this region where the witches of the time were burned.

This relates to another thread that is very present to me since yesterday: Where did we loose the magic?
Is it holding the mystery of life?
Where is our wild woman?
Is it the magic that we long for?
Is it through living the magic that we are alluring?
How to reclaim the magic?

And how are both threads related? How can we call the powers of a place in service of moving the edge?

I want to birth who I am.
We want to birth who we are.
Moving into fears in order to live fully.
The unknowing is closest to wisdom.

Do I belong to the elders?
Rediscovering my fire
Tolerating the not-knowing long enough
A receptive movement

Do we dare to invite the magic in?
What is it that we don’t ask?

Of course, the magic is here! Are we aware of it?
Magic is being totally alive; magic is alchemy; magic is mystical.
Wanting to know magic from an earth place. When am I nurturing the light?

How can we heal the future?
Pain, held together, becomes something important.
Holding pain in an impersonal way.

The story of the practice of Ho’oponopono turned something upside down for me. It is a Hawain practice that means “to make it right with the ancestors, or to make right with the people with whom you have relationships.” “The one who was hurt would forgive the other immediately, because it is inappropriate for anyone to carry guilt any longer than they had to. We call this the Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness, and it’s an important thought, because when we forgive others, who are we forgiving? Ourselves, of course.”
Remembering all this hurting done to women and the feminine over decades and centuries are we staying the victims and let the masculine carry the guilt? Or can we see the pain the men and the masculine are in? Can we say: I love you?

Is this the magic we need to do?
Is this the transformation of the wounds of the past in service of the future potential that we named in our guiding question?

Is this the new story that we will attend to, releasing the old one?
Or is there more? The next days will tell…

Money and the feminine

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Amazing to notice that the money system (how it is organized) and its related capitalist culture (the values that go with it) are coming to the center of my awareness. I’m in the preparation days leading up to the next Women Moving the Edge gathering and money and other related topics around boundaries, roles and agreements were very much present yesterday.
Judy and I tried to unravel it and we saw how the combination of capitalist culture and (catholic) religion made us not talk about money; at least not openly or when it is for ourselves. Part of it is seeing more clearly how the feminine values and capacities of taking care – for each other and for the community in general – is not rewarded and stays many times invisible in our current culture and system.

WMtE7 clay2 smallAs people living in this transition from the old paradigm to the new (which is both the system and the culture), and providing teaching, guidance and mentoring for this transition, we have to deal with the current money system that is not valuing what we do and a new paradigm that is not translated yet into agreed upon new ways of value exchange.

For the first time in the life of Women Moving the Edge Time dollars are offered to us and are used to pay the people that cook the lunches and dinners in our preparation time. I’m looking out at how we can expand and innovate these new ways of exchange that will support all who are involved in it, participants and hosts alike.

As we know from the Art of Hosting practice, hosting relates to space, process and harvest. Hosting and designing the process that leads to self-organization and emergence isn’t that difficult. Many social technologies are there these days that can help you out. Hosting the harvest; making sure that the shared learnings and meanings are captured in a way that will feed into next conversations and wise actions is an art many are still learning and experimenting with.
WMtE clay1 smallEven more intangible and more difficult to grasp is hosting the space. Because next to creating a hospitable environment – with attention for a beautiful invitation, a welcoming room, some flowers etc. – there is a lot more to sense into and host.
Is the overall question nurturing the potential of this group or organization?
What are the needs of the participants and the collective as a whole that needs attention?
Are we reaching the deeper topics that will lead to more life-affirming actions?

All these intangible elements make that hosting is not just a technology but an art. If we then apply hosting to the topic of feminine consciousness and feminine ways of knowing, we end up with a ‘double intangible’, a double feminine. No surprice few can see its value and pay for it in the current economic paradigm that wants to measure and prove for individual gain.

(All the amazing pictures of recent blog posts are made by Helen, you can look them up at Flickr.)

Ecosystem and simplicity

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

There are two ideas or experiences very present to me now. One is the notion of ‘being an ecosystem of conversations’. This is very much how I identify myself these days as I see myself as a constant interweaving of different conversations. They all are kind of related, they build on each other, they weave concepts and ideas closer together or weave a new color in. The cloth that is woven is never finished, keeps on changing and becomes wider, bigger and deeper.
And this doesn’t only happen for myself, it also happens in the collective I’m most related to. Mostly women, I notice now.
WMtE7 yellowleaves smallTo take the notion of ecosystem as the main identification means I drop more and more any attachment to form; or maybe better to say: any attachment to stable form. What I am seeking for these days is dynamic balance. There is nothing linear in that, but it is an always moving in many directions and levels.

A second notion that is very present with me is simplicity. Not for the sake of itself, but as a necessity to come to a way of living that is really life-affirming. It is probably not a simplicity in technology – I think we will need a lot of innovation in this area – but a simplicity in processes and relationships. I think it is the simplicity of self-organisation and emergence: just enough design to let it happen, and not too much.
WMtE7 leaves smallIt makes me return to gardening: learn to make good compost to nurture your soil; observe what happens anyway and build on that. Gardening is kind of simple when you work in synergy with nature. The really complex processes are done by nature itself, we can only improve the conditions where these processes can thrive and where they have enough resilience to respond to different circumstances. It seems to me that a lot of our planning in linear time (chronos) makes things complicated and build up a lot of stress. It is weird to say maybe, but there is simplicity in trusting synchronicity, trusting the experienced timing (kairos), trusting the mystery of life itself.

We stayed on for the afternoon to harvest our learnings

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

WMtE7 walkAs usual, as the hosting team, we stayed on for the afternoon to harvest our learnings of this gathering. But first we took our coats and walked off to Richmond Park. We enjoyed the autumn sun, the trees coloring, an impressive sky and we paused near a little pond. We watched the ducks and noticed some young swans not yet totally white, but already with the posture and the movements of the bigger ones.

Back in our room, with another cup of tea, we could only restate: This process works! Cari wrote the recipe (with some little adjustments):
Lie in stillness
Connect to World Soul until you feel the juice
Move as long as you feel well
Take sisters with you
Move till silence comes again
Repeat as often as needed

Silence
WMtE7 roses smallWe noticed this time there were more periods of silence. Not as an absence of words, but there was a quality of freedom in it; the freedom of being present and being able to listen for the next impulse. It was a real restful quality, as opposed to the frantic behavior of Humanity in our constellation the day before.

Culture of Authenticity
Our culture of Women Moving the Edge is a big invitation to be as close to your needs – or better: impulses – as possible; because it is each contribution to the whole. Through this practice acknowledgment, recognition and huge acceptance are just natural; almost as a byproduct, but so deeply touching and life-affirming.

Guiding Question
In our gatherings our guiding question(s) is always present. Mostly we will paint and draw it out on big sheets of paper and hang it on the walls. But our conversation is not moving in one straight line – and we don’t want it even – but it fills out in many, many directions. It seems we are creating a space – maybe a sphere or a container – of answers.
The process of sensing into these questions, again and again for every new gathering, and finding and naming them is very core to what we are able to accomplish. This is the real preparation, besides what is needed for organization and logistics. As hosting team we spend a lot of time on this. We have on average a 1,5 hour conference-call every two weeks, and this mostly for at least 3 or 4 months. That means that we can cover a wide and deep area of sensing, out of which the question arises. It is our collective felt sense who finally says: This is it! Then our final invitation can go out.