Paddle Your Canoe Carefully
Paddle Your Canoe Carefully
“E hoi waa meka aka hele” … Nelson, our first story-teller of the evening, spoke these Hawaiian words with deep conviction. “As we move together in team, as each of us in our place dips our paddle carefully into this life, then we propel ourselves forward on top of the waves.” Nelson has tattooed this life-message on his back — that across the generations, we need one another to help steer our course towards the goal of the divine finish line.
Over 40 of us gathered around the fire-pit last night here at Stonehaven, and even though hordes of hungry mosquitoes relished our exposed skin, we sat raptly as our wise Earth stories played out for the next hour. Honolulu HI, Audubon PA, Missoula MT, Nordenham Germany, Nova Scotia, Villanova PA, Egypt … and so many others … we introduced our Earth homes, our heart-places, that link us around the globe. Christina Baldwin has said that “It has always been scary to step into the circle of firelight, to show up in the company of strangers, to ask for entrance or to offer it,” but we did it! We risked picking up the talking stick and speaking from our hearts to strangers; sharing stories that expressed our personal connection to Earth, to each other, and to the long line of ancestors who have gone before.
Most of us only knew a handful of the people there. We were a remarkably diverse cultural group that found each other here in the heart of Main Line USA last evening. One group of four women friends came at the end of the day after celebrating one of their 9Oth birthdays. Teens and grandpas laughed at the story of Jenni-Kay’s precious nanny goat that needed a 44 DDD bra. Three-year old Luna played among us while her mother’s drum spoke its resonant story that has been heard in aboriginal circles since the beginning of time – a sound that sent shivers down my spine. A sound this land rejoiced in hearing.
So what brought us here? Why did one couple, just off the plane from once again leaving their homeland England, make their way into our midst, despite jet-lag and barely knowing a soul? I wonder. What was each of us seeking? As I write, the sweet joy of the evening still lingers in the moonlight, the brilliant “supermoon” casting her shadows throughout the garden. Yes, surely a garden party and a potluck dinner can be an invitation to community adventure, but is it possible that even deeper in our gut, we all are longing for safe spaces for our souls to show up? Do our iphone satiated souls hanker for face-to-face-circles of truth-telling? Do we long to listen to the deeper resonance of how truly connected we are to each other and to all of nature’s beings on this planet?
Maybe like two mid-life women, you discovered as you met that you were born on exactly the same day. Maybe you might be wondering where God, or Allah, or Spirit is in this chance synchronicity and what other gifts wait to emerge as you unpack this experience. Maybe like the man who traveled for an hour and half just to sit in community conversation, you will be willing to do anything to unleash the fierce, wild love inside yourself, that creative courage that can build a more sustainable world and will welcome your grandchildren into the seventh generation.
It is my fervent prayer that this is only a glimmer of the understanding that we are being called to explore and act upon at this time in our history. As a peripatetic earthchild from Angola, Africa, who has travelled many miles to be planted here in this spot of land, my soul calls me to draw these community circles of diversity together, and to wait and watch with anticipation as we are led. Maybe it’s your turn to show up next time! July 28 … Aug 25 … after that – who knows?!
Let’s remember that we are all in this canoe together – and Earth’s storms are surely upon us in many ways. Let’s each find our authentic soulplace and listen to the mysterious, yet clarion call of Mystery that invites us to dare to fully show up on this Earth.
It has always been scary
to step into the circle of firelight,
to show up in the company of strangers,
to ask for entrance or to offer it. Our hearts race —
Will we have the courage to see each other?
Will we have the courage to see the world?
The risks we take in the twenty first century
are based on risks human beings took
thousands of years ago.
We are not different from our ancestors,
they are still here, coded inside us.
They are, I believe,
cheering us on.