One of the participants brought a card to Circle yesterday. It read "In the Cosmic Dance, All are ONE!" She didn't know it yet, but ONENESS was precisely the theme for this Circle.
Having been inspired by seeing the new MLK monument in DC, and attending a magnificent tribute to Dr. King on Monday at Christ the King College Prep in Austin, I had spent the past month inspired by these words:
"In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality."
by Dr. Martin Luther King
We are participants in one cosmic process, members of a unified field. There is no "me" and "not me" as Lynne McTaggert highlights in The Bond. I had experienced this in DC, watching the Inauguration especially with Richard Blanco's reading of "One Today," and now here in my backyard. WOW! Words simply cannot do justice to these "too big for words" experiences.
For a long time now, philosophers have been trying to awaken us to this awareness. Take Heraclitus who in 500 BC said, "For those who are awake, there is one common universe." And more recently, Albert Einstein said, "A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'universe.'" Certainly, we have each experienced moments of Oneness. My focus in Circle yesterday was to practice bringing these experiences out into the light, to share our awareness by expression in a safe space. For three years, these women have been practicing setting the field, modeling a new culture, changing the conversation.
As usual, words got in the way. And we persisted, sharing deep resonance as each woman did her best to articulate moments of oneness - bonding with trees, the lake, and other human beings. A new culture is being born through us. For those of us who are awake, this is the next step. Expressing our awareness. Try it - you'll like it! It's how we ought to be in this evolutionary moment! Dancing as ONE.
What a wonderful Winter Day it is in Chicago - a balmy 50 degrees and sunny! I must be dreaming. Having just recently woken up from a longer winter's sleep, I'm having that Rip van Winkle feeling. In fact I may be dreaming, but play along with me.
It's like watching a soap opera (no offense to my namesake) - months later I wake up, turn on the news and discover the same ugly refrain - doom and gloom. Is that the reality in your world? Not in mine. There is plenty of really cool, innovative, community-building stuff happening in my very neighborhood!
For the past three years, I have participated in a self-imposed "news fast." I highly recommend it. Here's how it works. You choose what news enters your energy field. With so much good going on (and so much still needed), I just don't have time to listen to what's not working. There are millions of ordinary folks out there, just like me and you, who are accomplishing really amazing stuff, all in a day's work. Let's shine the spotlight on them/us! We know there are only so many hours in the day anyway, so you choose what you do with them! Turn off the news!
This weekend, I had the good fortune to participate in a workshop at The Well with Barbara Marx Hubbard, grandmother of conscious evolution. What a gift to humanity this octogenarian is! I love the way she can tell a story - complete with vocational arousal and suprasex! Instead of bemoaning what's broken-what's wrong-and-what's bad, she encouraged us to think of ourselves as the good news.
So, I ask: What good news do you have to share? What is working? The next time you get together with friends or bump into neighbors, share something really wonderful that you've seen or done. We are the story tellers...and we live in a world desperate for a new story.
I think we all came to do something bigger and better than we are presently engaged in. As Barbara says, this is a pivotal moment in the story of homo sapiens. Evolve or become extinct. Step outside today - breathe the fresh springlike air and dream big. The world needs you! What gift are you giving?
As I enjoyed my first ever mini-sabbatical (5 days of pure bliss - by which I mean eating, sleeping, reading, doing whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, all along the shores of Lake Michigan - Ahhhh!), I watched the sun rise and then set and wondered why I only enjoy these liminal moments when I'm on vacation.
How can we incorporate sunrise and sunset into our daily routine? Moreso, can we use them as moments to express intention and set vision? Sitting on the beach for hours just taking in the vastness of the lake made my soul soar. Looking up at the night sky filled with stars opened my heart and made all my troubles fade away. When we place our mind on vastness, such as the sky or sea, it is unable to focus on one thing such as our thoughts or worries, and instead, the mind begins to settle. Try it right now - go outside and look up. What do you notice? For one thing, you don't notice the weeds while gazing at the stars.
What a wonderful shift in perspective a vacation and an expansive view can bring. Coming back into the concrete jungle, I contemplated how to integrate this lesson into my daily life. By looking up and letting go! By waking up slowly, moving into my day more mindfully, marking each day's arrival with intention. Beginning again. And at night, rather than collapsing into my bed, by marking the day with gratitude and opening to my vision for tomorrow.
I thought about my three kids who were all away at camp for the first time, who were beginning their days with a polar bear swim and ending with a campfire singalong. So soon we forget or rather choose to let go of the basic rituals which provide meaning. Sunrise, Sunset.
As the last weeks of summer sizzle by, consider your waking/sleeping rituals. How can you mark them more mindfully? Does your view change when you cast a wider gaze, simply by looking up to receive a gift that's always present? Enjoy!
I sit here at my kitchen table, eager to begin the brand new Awakening Activists Circle today. I love introducing Circle to a new group of folks, settling into the ritual and creating the space for dynamic dialogue. Ahh!! The topic of this Circle attracted so many that I quickly created a second Circle and have a waiting list for the third. Having only been in this business for less than two years, I am in awe. My dream is coming true!
Activating these women, engaging in a topic of this caliber promises wonderful opportunities for all, not the least of which is that Birute Regine (author of Iron Butterflies, one of the three reference texts for this Circle) and I have agreed to collaborate to form a Circle template! It is also affirming and inspiring for me that the seed of an idea for this Circle came from one of my former Circlers. When women collaborate - watch out! Yes, we can change the world.
These are exciting times and I am privileged to be here now! Stay tuned!
“If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely for the good of humanity, it will be a power such as the world has never seen.” Matthew Arnold
This is the premise for my latest Circle offering. I envision Circle meets book group -- unplugged! Thanks to my friend, fellow community activist and yearlong circler, Catherine, for planting the seed for this Circle. When I watch the news or even just hear about the devastation and loss whether it's a mile or 1,000 miles away, I am overwhelmed and feel powerless. This doesn't sit well with me for long. I know that we can use our innate skills and wisdom to act differently, to activate our powers to make a better world. Yes we can! Having been privileged to facilitate Circles of all sizes, ages and conversations for more than a year now, I dream of a Circle where we reach deep within to bring about deep change. These three books are among my favorites of all times and I look forward to sharing the wisdom with you and using it to active your own inner wisdom in a transformative way.
As signs of spring peak out from under the disappearing snow and daylight lasts longer, I am feeling hopeful. Lucky me - I've spent the past month in not one, not two, not three but four different circles. After searching like crazy for the past 10 years, I'm ecstatic to share that I am experiencing the place where my "deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet" - quoting Frederck Buechner. And it is good!!!
The Mindfulness Circlers are entering week 5 practicing a new form of meditation or mindfulness. I am impressed at the depth of connection and inspired sharing this circle has attained. So many middleschool girls wanted to circle around that I started a new session. Here's what one of the girls journaled last week: "I feel I can really express myself in friendship circle....I feel like a new me!" Does that make life worth living or what? And, drum roll please... I started my first boys' circle. We are slowly developing our own rituals and routines. Stay tuned for more!
What a wonderful opportunity we have this time of year, every year, to glance both backward and forward, seeing where we've been and where we're going. I love to make a list (and check it twice) of all my accomplishments, both big and small. This year I am fortunate to have quite a long list and for that I am grateful. To think, one short year ago, I wasn't facilitating circles, one of the most enriching rewarding practices of my life to date. As I take note of all of the circles, I will share some of their comments. Middle-agers and middle-schoolers alike have contributed to and benefitted from the circle in amazing ways. They are asking for more!
Going forward, I don't claim to know where I'm headed, but I do like to set some intentions, dream a bit bigger dream and sow some seeds for the future. All of my research and me-search is presently pointing me toward living more deeply and practicing mindfulness/meditation. This is rich stewing and brewing time for me. Stay tuned as I create Circles 2011! I can't wait to share them with YOU!
In the meantime, I wonder - what are you stewing and brewing for the new year?
The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, the sunny days are shortening.. I feel a hibernation coming on. I try to listen to my body even moreso this time of year, as it beckons me to bed earlier and begs me to linger longer with my journal. In the pause, I take time for gratitude. Over the past 10 years, having searched passionately for the intersection of "the world's deep need" and "my deep gladness," I am elated to report it feels fine!
A concept I birthed just a year ago has come to fruition. Six circles later, I am in awe at the power of people connecting in circle to inspire, stimulate and create. Something amazing takes over once we connect at this level! Thanks to Tama Kieves for helping me bring this idea into the world and to all of my friends who have taken the leap of faith to support me in this amazing endeavor.
The fall circle (now engaged in transformational transitions) is composed of eight members, representing five different decades of life well-lived, and is enriched by their incredible diversity of experiences and lifestances. We are spending sunny afternoons relishing each others' stories and sharing shifting beliefs, all as we find our voices and improve our listening skills.
The girls friendship circles that began this summer (focusing on transition into middle school) absolutely insisted on continuing, despite their busy schedules. While I think they could easily spend the entire circle time in meditation, we have delved into friendship, celebrating our uniqueness, goal setting, activating our assertive voices and brainstorming solutions to all those pesky middle school problems.
And the organic circle that formed over a year ago continues to meet every month. It is a wonder to behold the support, insights and actions that have been taken as a result of the empowerment the circle provides. We are currently working on standing in our feminine power, bringing these unique gifts into balance with our previously learned masculine gifts.
One thing all of the circlers express routinely is their gratitude for the gifts of the circle: connection, support, insights and most of all, listening to each other's stories. It is true as they say, stories connect us. I have also seen how they can heal. In this time of great need for new stories, beginning with an awareness of our own story is primary. Who am I? Why am I here? And an inner knowing that, while the journey may be long, it begins right here, right now, with a single step.
Having facilitated three Circles over the past months has given me the inspiration and support I needed to continue this amazing process. My deep gratitude to all of the wise and wonderful women who have taken this risk to follow my lead. What a wonderful pregnant pause we have had!
Over the course of the past month, I have also been deeply inspired by a free online series called Women on the Edge of Evolution. It is a wonderful weaving together of the outstanding work being performed by women in the world today, from their own voices!
As I continue to search for the words to adequately describe the CIRCLE experience, more circles are being created around the world, convincing me that deeper conversation in small groups really will progress us to the next level.
Please check out my summer circle offerings and consider joining one. If the days or times don't suit you, let me know. I can be flexible. One thing I know, having experimented thus far, is that there is no perfect time. And yet, I know that the time is now. Never before have we had the combined luxury, freedom and will to connect. We are the ones who are needed to create the shift. Let's begin!
Life can feel pretty lonely sometimes. Although the path is lined with gorgeous views, I have often yearned for my team, my tribe, or as my niece calls them, "my peeps." Where are you? Come out, come out! Luckily, a wise woman told me to find "similarly situated women" to walk the path with me. Although it took some time, I did indeed find my peeps. And the path became easier to walk.
We are in a constant state of transition and it seems that life isn't going to slow down anytime soon. So, here we are - leaping from one career into the next, walking from one doorway into the next, ending and beginning relationships, closing doors, raising children and sending them in to the world, constantly turning the page on the next chapter.
The supportive and creative power of a consciousness-raising circle is an awesome thing to witness. Over the course of the past year, I have had the privilege to facilitate many of these, what I call, "Centering Circles." The topic is not important. nor is the location. What matters more is the intention and participation of the persons present. In the safe context of a Circle, I have seen inspiration, empowerment and creativity catch spark, radiate and then flow. Inspired by many circle-creators and circle-tenders on whose shoulders I now stand, I know the necessity of reviving this ancient tradition. Will you join me?