There Is A Field

It was the 13th century Persian poet, Jellaludin Rumi, that wrote so beautifully of fields. Of expanded minds. Of oneness. Of the less visible that is “field” that is often beyond words.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

Yesterday I returned from the field above, at the Aldermarsh Retreat Center. Out beyond Maxwelton Road in the Maxwelton Valley, in traditional lands of the Snohomish, Suquamish, Swinomish, and the Lower Skagit, over the wood-chip paths, through the marsh of Alder, there is a field, in which Marsh House exists. I love this little gathering spot. Bunnies hop out there. Coyotes howl at night. There is room to amble. There is space to be held. And this little building holds us in circles. On chairs. On cushions. On back-jacks. With a candle in the middle and some questions to guide us.

It’s been 20 years now that I’ve been going to Aldermarsh both to convene groups and participate. It’s the retreat center in which, looking back, I’ve done so much of my life learning from my mid 30s to mid 50s. And that learning was refreshed a bunch this last week for The Circle Way Practicum.

There is a point at which we are no longer circling, we are no longer doing the circling. But rather, we are being circled, we are participating in something much larger and energized by a deliberate and sustained encounter with one another. It does feel like the space beyond right-doing and wrong-doing.

I’m grateful.