Wholeness — Toni Cade Bambara

Toni Cade Bambara is an activist and writer from the 1900s. I appreciate her words about wholeness (from “The Salt Eaters”).

Because wholeness is to be welcomed, sought, aspired to, surrendered to. And in the end, it changes everything. I picked up the quote from Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy.

“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well. “

Stirfry

Stirfry. Yummy. Made earlier this week. With my friend Quanita. To go over rice. Green onions warmed slightly. Zucchini from my garden, sliced and cooked only a little, to preserve firmness. Chicken. Mushrooms. Green peppers. Carrots. A bit of teriyaki sauce. A bit of sriracha sauce. Some garlic. Salt, pepper. I love cooking this kind of meal. Because it is yummy. And, because of the feel of pulling things from the fridge, just to be creative. I love the stir of it all, not really knowing what it will grow to be.

So, learning of the last few days. First, let’s say it’s good to return to being with someone in a face to face way. This was design time. Friendship time. Planning time. Learning time. Connection. Most of it in relation to our upcoming Fire and Water leadership retreat, The Journey, Facing of Ordeals. CoVid modified, yes. But oh, how sweet to be with human, not just on a screen.

I have learned over the years, many times now, of the tangibility of “field.” It is the connected space, the connected energy of people in a space together. It’s format. It’s structure. It’s play. It’s circle-based process, lightly held. I have learned over the years, many times now, that when connected in such a way, it changes the insights that I have in quite substantial ways — yes, who we are together is different and more than who we are alone. It’s like the sourcing get’s richer. There are more ingredients in the pan contributing to the stir of it all. I have learned over the years, to really value the moment of it. Because when a “field” is released, when it’s time to go our varied ways, it’s like my brain changes. I become an ingredient again, rather than a stir-fried whole.

OK, that’s fun imagery to play with.

I’ve learned to pay extra attention to what arises when together. Thoughts. Insights. Questions. Metaphors. Images. Wonders. It so matters that any of us learn to track, or perhaps surrender, to the whole of it. I would say this is some of the core evolution of story of our times — this reclaiming commitment and practice of wholeness. I often find I get great summary principles, values, or practices — that then nourish me for the next steps (days, months, and sometimes years).

This time, here’s some of the learning. I think of it as a simplicity that comes only through some complexity. These are essences from which one can always expand with practice and experiment.

  1. Willingness to encounter self, each other, and circumstance is of utmost importance.
  2. All of life is a stirring together.
  3. The stirring helps us to access, and to come into more relationship with the 95% of reality that is mystery.
  4. Encountering mystery brings us into relationship with life itself, which enables us to both receive and contribute in much more life-affirming ways.

I’m glad for the time this week. For remembering these feelings of being alive. For connection. For learning. I’d suggest it is what we are all up to in our respective communities and organizations. Stirring together.

Stillness

Perhaps stillness is what a lillypad flower looks like, like these taken recently at a nearby lake.

I’m thinking a bit about stillness as Quanita Roberson and I prepare for a second online wisdom series that centers or Presence (begins September 9, 2020), with weekly themes of Stillness, Courage, Embodiment, and Joy. All of that to cultivate more wisdom, not just more information, and that has everything to do with teams, groups, communities.

When I think Stillness, one important thread is more freedom from distraction. There is much that competes for our attention isn’t there. There is much that defaults us to movement, which sometimes is our own personal campaigns to avoid a deeper integration of ourselves, each other, and our circumstance.

Stillness, like the lillypad flower.

When I think Stillness, another important thread is ironically about more, not less. The more is about connection to life. Some might say to spirit. The more is about added oneness, that words just aren’t enough to represent. Stillness brings opportunity of path to nuanced connection. It’s a bigger world folks, with oodles of intricate detail, much nearer than we often think.

Stillness, the way the lillypad flower is expression of life, nuanced by sourcing that is pond.

Here’s to practice. Here’s to being students of stillness, and of life. Here’s to being contributors, sometimes just by our being.

Richard Wagamese, A Prompt, And The Call To Be Willing Noticer

Richard Wagamese is a writer and story teller that I find myself often appreciating. He is Ojibwe. He sweetly blends indigenous teaching with contemporary life. As I hear it, to invite harmony, oneness, kindness, and wisdom — all in support of healthy human family.

One Drum” is a posthumous publication released in April 2020. He died in 2017 where he lived in Kamloops, BC. One Drum was a found collection of writings, musings, ceremonies, and insights. Ah, what a gift. I find with this book, as I did with another of his publications, “Embers” that there is oodles of material to use as prompt to invite so much thoughtfulness, connection, and learning.

From yesterday with a friend, randomly chosen from One Drum (…pick a page number, any page number…), page 62:

Everything begins with humility. The great circle energy that comprises our being is driven by it. Without the guiding energy of humility, all other spiritual principles are diminished. It’s possible to learn them, to practice them, but their vital foundation, their best intent, does not function as highly without humility at the helm. In the Long Ago Time, as the legends say, the Animal People existed with humility at their core. They spoke to each other as equals. They helped each other. When new beings appeared among them they sought to help, to guide, to teach. There was no hierarchy. They did not need hierarchy because the spiritual byproduct of humility was sharing.

The prompt is simple. It isn’t explicit in the book. It is just how I encounter material like this for myself and with groups to bring connection and learning.

“Is there a particular detail from this passage that stands out to you, that invokes a particular part of your attention? A phrase. A word. And image.”

This kind of prompt is so much not about a right answer. It is not about correct summarizing. It is about being a willing noticer — which I see as such a big part of my work with groups — to connect outer seeing with inner seeing.

And then here is the extra prompt — What does that noticed detail have to do with who you (or we) are or who you (or we) are becoming?

I believe, friends, that the invitation to harmony, oneness, kindness, and wisdom — this is critical work for our times. This invitation can be quite simple in practice, and yet so very lasting and impactful in the simple process of being willing noticers.

Enjoy this with the prompt above, or pretty much anything you observe in the “outer” world.