"When was the last time a small group of caring, competent adults held you at the center of their attention for two full hours with nothing on their minds except creating and protecting a space where you could hear your soul speak?"
Never. Ever. Not even once, as far as I can remember.
This will be a challenging assignment for me, as I have few friends that are capable of holding this sort of space. It seems I've always been the one listening. No matter where I go, people will approach me and just start telling their woeful tales, rarely even slowing down to discern if I'm interested or not. (I actually am.) By 5th grade I was the 'go to' person for anyone wanting advice on relationship concerns, such as they are in 5th grade. In high school I knew more about sex than anyone else, thanks to living on a farm and having a highly experimental nature. I read every book in the high school library, looking for references, but never found much. As a real estate agent, I listened carefully to what people wanted and, more importantly, didn't want, so I could show them the houses that would match their desires and needs. For the last 14 years, I've heard every terrible tale of sexual abuse and perversion imaginable in my work as a sexual healer. Nothing shocks me.
And yet, I've never found anyone, other than therapists or other paid professionals, that I can fully disclose myself to and feel completely safe and respected for who I am, with all my kinks and craziness. It would be so wonderful to have an inner circle of people that actually cared to understand and support me, without me having to pay them.
I am hoping to start my circle of trust with my dear friend, Laurel. She and I share the challenges and delights of our moons in Scorpio. She is a retired psychiatric nurse, and adept astrologer. We can say anything to each other and laugh about our dark sides. Laurel is chronically ill due to a botched mastectomy in 2003, and suffers constant nerve pain of the chest wall. She has her days and nights mixed up and is hard to make plans with, but as I develop the questions for her to ask, I will start to share the concept. I'm sure she'll be on board, it's just a matter of finding a time when we are both awake!
I want to explore an idea I've had for a while, now, of developing a consciously evolving co-housing project with some Naropa students. It would require finding the perfect property, one that has facilities for a few horses, and a caretaker's cabin (that would be where I live). I recently came across a book by Starhawk that seems like the perfect guiding tome for this sort of adventure:
Letter into the ethers...
Naropa Community Living? Plus Horses! Sent March 14, 2014
I have been wanting to write all semester, and am just now getting a note out. Thanks, A! Your note inspired me to start writing a bit about what I envision, as well as invite more people to consider the possibilities, and add to the list of desires...
Just to start us off, Starhawk has a book called The Empowerment Manual ~ A Guide for Collaborative Groups. This book will be a guiding tome for us as we arrange ourselves around community living, with a spiritually-focused flavor, but no religious or practice expectations.
Participants coming in agree to minimalist living, in other words: fight the clutter, keep things simple!
Feng shui focus for decor, temple space-type scene in common areas;
One room dedicated to healing/ guest room for traveling friends;
Big, maybe industrial kitchen, group meals organized so that everyone has a turn cooking and cleaning up;
MMJ fine with license, maybe recreational, but no big potheads;
No hard drugs, maybe occasional psychedelics with sacred journey frame and lots of non-tripping container holders and guides. Also plenty of support for sobriety!
Weekly check-in meetings, working with co-creative, artistic expression of emotional content and processing if needed. Honesty, integrity, desire for experimentation.
This summer or next: Finding the perfect property, with owners that are appreciative of what we are doing, and flexible with rental income. Lease for one year as a 'test.' Figure out how to purchase the property, if for sale, in that year. Develop a non-profit? Find an angel investor? We could become a model for creating healing space for both residents and clients coming to us for healing. Maybe offer residential immersion for those with severe trauma/ environmental illness, so that they can stabilize and get better.
If you don't want to be involved, just let me know and I'll take you off the list. Who else do you think might be interested? Feel free to have them write me to get on the email list, or forward this on.
We'll see what shows up!
Strangely, there was dead silence from everyone on the list. Not sure what to make of that...
I've lost my Circle of Trust partner. Laurel has been very ill and is unable to visit on the phone in any kind of reliable way with me right now. I guess my partner will have to be...
a horse! This is Jacky
Jacky is the lead mare at The Mustang Center, a horse facility west of Longmont, where I volunteer and see clients. She is also the horse I ride when I get lessons. Jacky is a very patient teacher, along with her owner, Linda Raulino. I had been on a horse only once or twice in 17 years when I climbed up on Jacky for the first time. My horse experience took place in my childhood. I owned horses from age 10 - 17. No one in my family knew or cared about horses, so I learned from books and my herd. I rode mostly bareback, and had a Western saddle for parades and long rides. Linda talked me into trying an English saddle, and I loved it! It's so much lighter to lift, and I feel like I have more contact with the horse.
Jacky was donated to our programs. She is a very fancy Quarter Horse, with an excellent bloodline. She was a working cattle ranch horse, and a brood mare. She was 18 when she was bred for the last time (54 in human years), which is a little old for a horse to be a momma. She delivered twins (a rare occurance) but they were born dead. They were buried on the ranch, in the pasture. Jacky would not leave the grave site and it was obvious to everyone there that she was grieving. About this time, Linda was grieving, too, over the sudden death of her horse, Jakey. Somehow, the owners of Jacky were connected to Linda and she was sent to be with us. Linda and Jacky have done their grief work together.
Jacky is a very wise momma horse. She is patient and kind, and can be very nurturing, but she will also straighten you out if she thinks you are off track. She may not be able to ask the questions, but I know she'll have some good guidance with the answers...
I will have to do this on my own. This assignment is bringing up all my isolation issues.
Perhaps I can imagine that Jacky speaks for Soul, and I ask the questions...
Self: "Soul, why did I incarnate into this mess?"
Soul (AKA Jacky): Big brown eyes turn toward me, and as I'm leaning against her solid shoulder, she says, "You forgot, once again, how hard it is to be a lover. You never learn. And you could have rested a bit in between lifetimes. I mean right out of torture and starvation in the WWII death camps and into 1952 - Amarillo, Texas? Anybody would see that as a set-up for struggle."
Self: "Do you suppose there are other planets that don't have duality and all this crazy oppositional bullshit going on?"
Soul: "Maybe, but this precious jewel in our very own solar system is THE place to come to learn about the love that drives all creation. Not all life-forms have the mystical human heart. In fact, only humans have the capacity for emotional depth combined with intellectual intelligence. Mastery is harmony between the two, thus Earth gives constant lessons about dualistic nature."
Self: "OK; that's all I can handle for now. Never knew horses were so deep."
April 20, 2014
The Mustang Center with Jacky
I went out to finish my Circle of Trust conversation with Jacky. It was a mostly overcast day, with quick bursts of sunshine. We have a back pasture that is not being used for turn-out, so the grass is especially deep and rich. Jacky loves to be turned loose to graze - it's a real treat for her, and it's the place on the property where I do my best thinking. The view is amazing:
I buried my 'Little Girl' kitty in the middle of this pasture,
when I had to put her down last October.
She has a view of the Front Range, from Boulder all the way up to Lyons.
This dead cottonwood tree is symbolic of the land, and of my vision for a Wailing Wall here, to support healing from loss and transition. The grass is greenest right where I envision the location of The Wall, in front of the irrigation ditch and behind a screen of brush. The design will allow for graffiti on either side of a rock wall, where notes and memorabilia may be left by loved ones, and those practicing release rituals. There will be a memorial bench, and a curve of The Wall at the north end, to shield from the wind.
Jacky always goes straight to this patch of grass when she is first turned loose. After working to get some of her winter coat combed off, I decided to lie down in the grass and continue to ask my questions of her...
"So, Jacky-as-Soul, do you think my childhood dreams will be eventually fulfilled? When it started out, it was a working cattle ranch. I fantasized about camping around the fire, going on cattle drives and breeding fine cowponies. I knew I would be with people like me, who understood me - and that definitely wasn't my family..."
Soul: "Big dreams take a lot of time to manifest. And you've just admitted that the details of the vision have changed, over time. Perhaps there is already Divine Timing in place, so that this will happen with ease and flow, as just the right people gather who can support the vision and add their own expertise to make it even better than you can imagine. Patience is a virtue you have never been able to master. Perhaps it is time to release the urgency and trust the timing. What if the more you relax, the easier it all gets? You've tried struggle, impatience and urgency. It's not very comfortable, is it? So why not try relaxation and enjoyment? Can't hurt: might help."
Jacky is grazing all around me, as I lie on the ground in the middle of the green patch. She begins entertaining herself by getting big mouthfuls of grass and then dropping them on me. It's a little disconcerting to have a big animal standing over me, spitting out grass! It lands with a plop on my leg, my belly, my arm.
Soul: "Why are you worrying about the dreaded 'hows?' See the abundance of the grass in this field? I could eat for days and there would still be more: it keeps growing! Everything is provided when trust is in place. The seasons bring the changes needed to keep abundance cycling back around. All is well in this moment, and this is the only moment we truly have. I suggest that you stay tuned to Present Time and be grateful for how far you've come with this life-long dream. Move through life now as if it's already happened, carrying the feelings of joy and fulfillment. This energy will magnetize the right people, the right place, and the perfect timing, in Ease and Flow."
Jacky eventually tires of dropping grass on my head and seems to weary of the conversation. She snorts and wanders off a bit. I turn and snap a picture of her through the grass and the purple wild flowers that have sprung up everywhere. "I'm going to add Beauty," I think. "'Beauty, Ease, and Flow' is my new mantra."
"Impatience sets up counter vibrations and you are set back. You can never hurry anything in which Soul has control for It is never in a hurry. It has all of eternity in which to do It's work." Rebazar Tarzs
I just re-read the POV # 5 assignment, and realize that I failed to write about the film, Fixing Juvie Justice. The class presentations on Zehr's books are addressed in POV Experiment # 4.
I was distracted by the narrow vision of the film while we watched it in class. Everybody looked squatty and like they weighed 300 pounds, and the cars were stretched into limos a mile long.
In spite of the technical difficulties, I was able to determine that the gist of the film was to take a look at two very different cultures, Baltimore, Maryland, USA and the Maori people of New Zealand. The question asked was, "Can the wisdom of the Maori help slow the explosion of children in the Baltimore jails?" Young people there are being caught up in the juvenile justice system in astounding numbers, and tend to emerge worse than when they went into the facility. The restorative justice principles of the Maori were offered as a possible solution to what was happening in Baltimore.
On sacred ground in Maori, victims, the perpetrator, and those involved with the case are all called together. During the meeting, called a family group conference, the entire group decides what the consequences and restitution will be with the best interests of the youth in mind.
The family group conference has been so successful in New Zealand that it is now being used in Australia and some U.S. cities like Baltimore. In Baltimore, 290 cases and more than 2,400 people have gone through the process in the first 5 years with 95% of the cases being resolved successfully.
The preliminary indicators show that the young people who had gone through the conferencing were far less likely to reoffend. In fact, less than 10% committed new crimes, compared to 25% who go through the courts. It is believed that the reason the family group conference is successful is due to the expression of emotion of everyone involved, which allows a "shift" to occur from mainly negative emotions, to more positive ones. In addition, conferences cost 90% less than a court case and take place within a few weeks of the incident, keeping content fresh in everyone's minds. The idea of allowing emotional expression from everyone present is a very important piece to this, and one that is missing from the criminal justice system as it exists in America today.