Caring for the dark

In our activities, we always light a candle for the focus, but we also always blow out the candle together.  We stand in a our big circle and blow but we are too far away to extinguish it.  We have to squeeze together, huff and puff, laugh and bend into the middle supported by the others until we blow it out with a sigh of accomplishment and relief.  

Although all the angels we pick for the week are positive, we acknowledge the shadow side as well.   My angel of play might have a shadow of boredom, sorrow or being too serious.  

We spent one morning session thinking about the state of the world.  We did this using a model created by the International Forum for the Future.  It helps us look at the world from a systems perspective by looking at the relationships between 12 factors like , climate, water, trade, governance, ect.   We looked at how a crisis in one or two areas can lead to catastrophes in waves in the whole system.   An example is what we have been seeing in the world in the last year, as trade increases with emerging countries, the demand for energy is more than the supply, so energy prices rise.   To compensate, the government encouraged food land to be converted to fuel crops, this caused a large increase in the price of food.  When energy and food prices rose, people could not afford their large mortgages and increasing defaults caused the financial sector to implode.   It is all more complicated than this of course, but the trends and interactions are there. 

To help us deal with the powerlessness we can sometimes feel in the world, Hanna took us through some Deep Ecology rituals which are part of Joanna’s Macy’s “Work that Reconnects”.
The activities follow a spiral path starting with gratitude, honoring our pain, seeing with new eyes and then going forth.   We made gratitude mandalas by drawing images that represent parts of our lives like a special place that I loved when I was young – going for a picnic with Eric in Old Orchard, the people who inspired me – my parents, things I like to do and what I love most about being alive- gratitude and the simple joy of living.    It is so important to start everyday with gratitude.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Growing up in a country that is in peace, having all the food and clean water I need, education and love.  
It also means I have a lot to loose if the challenges of peak oil, climate change and food and water equality are not addressed with wisdom and long term thinking.    We moved into the “Truth Mandala” ritual to honour our emotions of anger, fear, sadness, emptiness, and the unspeakable.  We sat around a fire in the wood and said a prayer and then people entered to the centre to express the emotions to which the group replied, “We have heard you”.   People shared very openly about their lives as well as their fears and anger about issues in environment and justice.   To be free to express these negative emotions without judgment and to be simple heard and honoured for them is a healing exercise.     By honouring the pain, it can dissipate and we can become more clear in our vision and see the world afresh.   That evening we held a meditation of seeing the human body with respect to how it has come from nature through the ages as we explored the hands and legs as our partners.   Then we can go forth into the world with a mindset that will make a better world.  We said a poem together listing joyful activities on earth with the group replying “May it Continue!”

The next day several group member were still feeling depressed about the day before.  They were able to express this in the morning check in and ask for the support that was needed.  The group happily gave them the love and attention if it was asked for.  So often in life, the space is not made to share feelings and nobody knows why the other is angry or what to do about.  By making a safe space, it helps the issues come out with honesty instead of coming up later in more destructive ways. 

The light and the dark are two sides of the same coin.  To shine the brightest light possible, we must lovingly honour the dark.  This may be the most important lesson of my life.  Thank you Findhorn.

One Response to “Caring for the dark”

  1. Says:

    I really think that your are very optimistic. Living in today’s economy is a bit challenging and I think you definitely have a good spirit to overcome a lot that the world can throw at you!

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