I've only been home just over a week after 12 days of teaching on the Illinois River, in southern Oregon at the annual women's gathering called Spirit Weavers. This year I was gifted with the opportunity to return as a teacher and be able to offer Earth Is `Ohana, fresh out of the 10 month incubation period that was The Spiritual Ecology Fellowship. I am still filled with energy from these long days spent beneath the sky, integrating all that I experienced and missing the many women who have become dear friends. Here are a few of my clearest reflections so far.
Women held and women led spaces are vital for the health of our larger societies. Often when I would walk from the forest into the clearing that made up the gatherings communal space, a sense of peace rang through me. All around were the voices of my sisters, quieted by the winds running through the trees and the concentrated effort of classes in action. Babies and children were barefoot and moving freely through our space. For 12 days I caught glimpses of how some of our ancestors might have lived. The concept of "a village" is strong at Spirit Weavers. We women, as a village, felt competent and strong. Re-learning as a whole what it means to be in right sisterhood with one another is just the start of re-matriation.
The reality of a lived experience cannot compare to screen time. This thought is not new, nor original, but I find an incredible and hopeful irony based off the fact that Spirit Weavers is in part so successful due to social media. Although platforms like Instagram play a part in the history of this space, there is a conscious and deliberate effort to stay off of our pocket screens. No one is walking around with phones glued to their hands, and when one drops into conversation with another the consistent interruption of checking a phone, that has now become 'normal' is not a reality. The shared state of continual presence to the space and to each other created real opportunity for embodied learning and healing. We need more of this, everywhere.
The root of the word resistance is both affirming and grounding. At the start of Sun Session, Star Gazer Li came up to me and said, "I have the perfect essence for you based off of your classes (during the first session I co-taught Sacred Activism and Ally-ship & Reconciliation with Morgan Curtis). The essence is called 'Resistance' meaning to return again and again to stand in our place of origination." This teaching stayed with me throughout the rest of my days, because after all Earth Is `Ohana is about supporting individuals in finding their way home. What could be possible if more of us were learning to stand and work from our place of origination?
Sharing Earth Is `Ohana is my greatest joy. After placing the implementation of this project on hold for an entire year in order to work on internal development, it felt like a giant release to actually name it as an offering. Each class saturated my being as I learned new names and the stories that accompanied them. Each participant offered such an incredible amount of attentiveness that I felt humbled to be in the place of the facilitator for so many incredible women. Their stories continue to find their way into my head, fueling me to support this body of work into being.
Below is a small list of resources for those who were in attendance and for anyone else looking for powerful guidance into their next steps. If you have something you feel should be added to this little list, please respond in the comment section below. Open source learning is our future!
- Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth -Llewellyn Vaughan - Lee
- Active Hope - Joanna Macy
- 100 Days for the Earth - Åsmund Seip
- Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer
- The New Monasticsm - Adam Bucko and Rory McEntee
Bodies of Work
- The Work That Reconnects
- The Four R's
- Spiritual Ecology
- For The Wild - Ayana Young
- Democracy Now!
Social Justice Specific
For those of you who participated in the 'Reconciliation & Ally-ship' class or who were part of the lunch time conversation on, 'Smashing Systemic White Supremacy.'