It’s about how we choose to release things. Or not. My brother, sister and I recently rented a storage unit for some items from our dad’s house. The last one of any size available in the area, it was much larger than we needed. We considered offering ballroom dance lessons to offset the monthly rental cost.
There are currently 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space in the US. Seven square feet for every man, woman and child making it physically possible for every American – all at the same time – to stand under a canopy of self-storage roofing equivalent to three times Manhattan Island. We are a nation attached to our stuff.
To call this a religious attachment is not far off the mark. In 1955 economist and presidential advisor Victor LeBow came up with a solution to bolster our post-war economy which has been adopted with increasing enthusiasm over the years. However the booming storage industry would indicate that while we excel at consuming we are not so good at discarding. At least not completely. Out of sight, out of mind, but not out of our lives. Continue reading →
When Dennis lit the fire it almost exploded into flame. We looked at each other silently. This was going to be a hot lodge. The circle of women gathered around the fire had come to this sweat lodge ceremony to burn away their collective past and forge a new beginning. They were ready for this work and clearly so was the fire. The power of their shared intention had created the invitation. It would be a hot lodge.
People often ask me how hot the lodges are. While I moderate the heat through working with the fire, stones and water, the heart fire each individual brings to the ceremony impacts and influences their personal experience of the heat. And it is this heart fire that holds the possibility and promise of sacred transformation.
Our divine and sacred nature always holds a deep desire for greater expression whether we consciously know it or name it. When we step into an opportunity to embrace and nurture this divine spark it can burst into a fire of sacred passion, a fire that can catch us unaware and off guard. Such was the experience of a beautiful woman in a lodge a few weeks ago. She came to this, her first, lodge at the urging of others and with the intention of simply ‘doing’ a lodge. But her spirit came with an entirely different agenda and, as a lodge-keeper sister would say, she was cracked wide open.
In her words she was changed forever. Weeks later she still holds the deep peace, grounding and spiritual knowing she opened to in the lodge. She names that day as the best of her life, surpassed only by the birth of her two children. That day when she opened to the transformational power and healing of her heart fire.
This transformation is available to each of us. Our spirits are always ready. The question is whether we will call our heart fire to life.
Colm was thrashing around in the back seat as we sat in the empty car park outside the pub. He was invoking the holy family. Praying to, pleading with them that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe we got the wrong night. Maybe we got the wrong location. Maybe we should just go home. From the driver’s seat Maureen murmured calm yet firm assurances that no, we were just early.
To be accurate the car park wasn’t completely empty. There was one other car with doors open as a woman tried to fold her very elderly and incredibly inebriated father into the back seat. He wasn’t having it and after much kicking and struggling he staggered back to the pub’s front door. She drove away in exasperation. We had been sitting in stupefied silence watching this scene but when the daughter was gone and the father had stumbled back into the pub the thrashing started again. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph be good to us. Maybe they cancelled the party at the last minute. Let’s go home, Maureen.” Continue reading →
The men sang as they walked in procession from the campsite to the ceremonial grounds. We were lined up waiting for them. They told us later that as they approached they couldn’t recognize us, couldn’t distinguish us one from another. Not surprising, I suppose. We were wearing every piece of clothing we had with us and were wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags. Sacred lumps of the divine feminine, they called us.
The men arrived to dance, sing and pray throughout the day as we women had danced, sang and prayed throughout the night in the high deserts of Idaho. And it had been cold. The lamp oil had frozen solid in the lighted tiki torches that circled the dance ground and so we danced by starlight, moccasined feet on frosty ground.
Singing and dancing and praying. It’s what we do in this spiritual community, this sacred tribe. We sing and dance and pray throughout the year and every fall equinox we gather together for days of ceremony. Sometimes in sleet and snow, and winds and rains that threaten to carry away our tents. Sometimes in temperatures over 100 degrees farenheit. Sometimes in lightening and thunderstorms when there is no space of waiting or counting between the thunder booms and lightening flashes.
For each event there is much preparation. Some years each of us making thousands of prayer ties to decorate the ceremonial grounds. Some years folding thousands of paper cranes with a prayer written inside each bird. Every year creating sacred songs and dances. Creating ceremony. It’s what we do in this spiritual community, this sacred tribe.
We pray for the people and especially the children of the world. We pray for the Earth and all life. We pray for an awakening to Spirit Truth, that the divine spark within every human being on this planet will shine a great light of love, joy and peace.
We know our prayers, our vision for a better world, will not be fully realized in our lifetime. But still we sing and dance and pray. It’s what we do. Woven together through our shared values and experiences, our weaving is tight and strong. It’s who we are, this spiritual community, this sacred and tenacious tribe. As is the way and weaving of any true tribe.