Facilitator’s Report 2015
Life poured down upon us this year. It gave us a challenge and it was not what we had expected – not what we thought we had asked for. When we ask to be ‘enlightened’, we might expect ourselves to be affected but – ‘spiritually’. Instead, the winds came and blew down the olive tree that had held our hammock, it took down the big Spruce and laid it in the swimming pool, and then the hail came, and the rain, and the waters, burying our Sanctuary in rocks, debris and sticky mud.
During the 9-day conference – beginning two days after the flood, all participants were willing to be here in spite of the mud and mess. Clean-up continued and we were together in it. The psychological – thus spiritual – challenge was not yet evident but hidden within it, already catalyzing us into new spheres of ourselves. Only many weeks later did we begin to feel the effects of what had been working on us, what had been developing in the sub-stratas of our community’s process. Only now – a couple of months after the Spruce tree had been dismembered and pulled out of the pool, after everything had been removed from the carport, the cold room and the computer room, all cleaned and replaced, after the Spruce branches were carried off to the chipper pile, mud, silt, rocks, gravel, branches, the little red wheelbarrow and various pots removed from the pool, rocks rolled and carried, debris collected, after we’d talked with the Insurance people, the City, Disaster Relief and the neighbors, after the heavy equipment had done its work and the sweat lodge and camper were no longer perched at the edge of a precipice, after the sweat lodge had been dug out, chairs and buckets and porches and lumber washed down, woodchips wheeled about and days and days of Mark raking, scraping away the caked silt and gravel, leveling the ground, building new rock retaining walls and planting grass – only now are we recognizing that much has been happening in the collective psyche at the core of TMF. There is still new grass to water, there are still letters to write and bills to pay, but our Sanctuary looks lovely again. Now what are we doing with our gift? We got what we asked for – what are we doing with it?
Our work is about listening to our Source. But we cannot hear our Source and know it is Benevolent if we are not in tune with It – if we are not ourselves benevolent. We have to practice benevolence, and we are all just learning how to practice. The time of our flood has provided a time of stress, thus a time to see what we do when pushed past what is normal or even possible to hold with our usual equanimity. This is the time to practice.
How do we practice?
First, by allowing ourselves to be permeable – the whole body available to the energies of life. If we are not permeable we cannot feel life around us; we feel only our own reaction to life around us. If we do our best to be permeable, we will fail over and over again and that is when we can observe how we react, contract, withdraw from the moments of our lives that do not show up in ways that make our egos – our ‘habit-selves’ – our ‘imposter’ – feel good. In the times when we have reacted, if we pay attention – if we observe our reactions – we will see how we do it, what mechanisms we use. We will see how we manipulate ourselves and one another in order to avoid relationship – in order to avoid what we have been asking for – what we have been inviting. Then, ever-so-slightly more conscious, we can explore new, more creative, more intelligent, patterns of behavior – behavior more in alignment with our Source.
May we, as community, now and as we proceed, choose to no longer – consciously or unconsciously – avoid our moments of learning, but instead may we be permeable to what shows up even when what comes to us is not pleasing, not comfortable, not what we want to hear or see. May we observe how we manipulate reality in our heads in order to avoid the Truth that life offers us day by day. May we discover that we have choices other than manipulation or withdrawal – other than reaction. May we endeavor to serve one another as catalysts – catalysts that disturb but also provide guidance. May we truly learn what it is to love one another, so we may proceed along the path to knowing we are not, never have been and never will be separate from our Divine Origin and Destiny.