I contributed yesterday to The Circle Way. In support of their 2020 Fall Fundraising Campaign. As they theme it this year, “to inspire hope and to support community transformation.” I gave what I could, and stretched it a bit more — which is my practice for giving.
If you are looking for a place to add some energy and $$ to social change work, I want to invite you to do some of that with The Circle Way.
There is a lot to be learning these days. I like it that the edges of “normal” are being challenged. Both in the external world, in what we “do” — as well in the internal world, in what we “feel.” Or, perhaps nuanced a bit from “like” is an appreciation for attention given the deeper why and the deeper learning of these days, that can only be seen in disruption. It doesn’t have to be fun, this journey into the depths, to be utterly well-timed and helpful.
I’m staying today with another passage from my book, referenced this weekend by one of the Soultime participants. The passage is actually an epitaph that speaks gratitudes for the deeper why of it all. And I hope, speaks some encouragement.
Gratitude to you, all of us, who stay with these most difficult yet important paths of learning, into the dark woods.
Gratitude to you, all of us, in these arcs of healing, that begin with honesty and friendship.
Gratitude to you, all of us, who offer our gifts found in courage, and trust of a cadence.
I’ve just spent the weekend in Soultime Men’s Retreat. It was five sessions online, spread out from Friday night through Sunday evening. About 12 hours total online. But then, the online portion is only part of it. There’s also dreams. There’s also informal coffee, also online. And there’s the way that a shared space carries the psyche to invitations that are not held in time. There were 13 of of this time, journeying our way through a story to share the simple arts of noticing and sense-making.
I’m glad to be reminded of this poem, shared by one of the men of Soultime. It’s a poem that a I wrote and included in A Cadence of Despair.
In The Simple
I love the way that horses graze in a nearby field.
Sometimes the young ones run in short spurts.
I love the way that birds sing in morning sky.
Sometimes a chirp, sometimes a whistle.
I love the way that horses and birds remind me to live in the simple.
A bow to the men of Soultime that have stirred the rather complex together, yet also the rather simple.
What’s not to like about such a title and invitation. This is the book that I started reading yesterday. I received it as a birthday gift. I’ll let myself meander through this one. With ease in pace. Resting with it when it seems right, like stopping to rest in the sun on a long walk.
The invitations to clarity, beauty, and presence — well, these are goto steps for me personally and in trying to bring out the best in groups. If in doubt, look to beauty and awe and appreciation. Because when we cultivate relationships with these, they give us access to much much more in our brains and in our being.
The author, Jacqueline Suskin invokes the American poet Mary Oliver early in the book:
When it’s over, I want to say: all of my life I was a bride married to amazement.
And later, calls upon Mary Oliver again for her ongoing invitation and permission to go with curiosity, acceptance, and celebration.
Yes, I have learned that these qualities are available — awe, curiosity, acceptance, celebration, love. Even in the worst of circumstances. They are available even if it is just to notice for a moment. That’s much different orientation than life vacated by awe and wonder.
So today, a nod to the poets, to this this poet for invoking beauty as a path to both follow and create.