Just a week ago, as I sat on my mat in a morning Yin Yoga class, forehead to knee bent over in “shoe lace”, my most favourite deep resting pose, my body suddenly heaved with sadness as tears filled my eyes. As I moved slowly to “supine butterfly”, my chest wracked with a silent sob. In that moment, had I not been mindful of my surroundings, I know a wail of unexplained depths would have broken the studio’s stillness.
I’m always appreciative of such releases, silent as they are, grateful for the heart opening they signify. That morning I pondered its meaning. Cobwebs of Christmas pasts on which hung bits of personal and familial grief? Amplified by hundreds of others’ stories of personal loss and dashed hopes for the perfect “Hallmark Christmas”? Hours later I learned that the world had been violently torn apart in the “Hallmark” town of Newtown, Connecticut. Two days later, my body felt the deep fatigue of a grief too big to process; my chest grew congested with tears that would not flow. Easy to dismiss as the “bug” passed on from The Scientist, who curiously awoke with it last Friday morning, yet I knew better. So, too, my mother, who wisely wondered in her own deep sensing, if this was my response to the world’s stop dead news that twenty children, their principal, and teachers had been shot by a young man broken beyond belief.
All week long I’ve tried to do something in response. I’ve tried the ton glen practice of breathing in the pain and breathing out compassion and loving-kindness. To no avail. After two breaths, I’d become distracted and start a spasm of coughing. It was simply too big to breathe in. Yesterday, I finally felt tears again, springing up with the least provocation. Reading an email sent from my mother, hearing a client’s story, feeling gratitude with my hairstylist who gifted me with my haircut for a slightly too short trim, and the studio owner who called back to say there’d be space for me at tonight’s yoga Solstice gathering, after she was absolutely sure there’d be none and didn’t want me coming on a hope and a prayer. And just now, I’ve surprised myself with the sudden realization that at a very personal level, a worst nightmare had come true.
When I worked for the school district, I co-designed and for many years co-coordinated the crisis response services for our schools. We were there to provide support to principals, staff and students in the face of tragic events. I was one of few people who saw over time the shift and knew just how real the potential for this kind of madness had become in our schools. Several years ago, my body signaling with a nearly frozen shoulder, I stepped away from that work when my Cassandra like concerns fell on ears deaf with systemic denial. “ We no longer have the little one room school house on the prairies,” I’d said.
As I lay awake early this morning, impelled to rise and write this post on this particular Solstice, I thought back to twenty five years ago, when I gathered with a couple of hundred people in a local park by our river, at dawn in one Sunday in August to celebrate Harmonic Convergence. In that same park, where a few evenings earlier, on a Friday, crystals were planted deep in Mother Earth to ground our community’s sacred intent. That Sunday, a sunrise ceremony convened by an Ojibwa medicine woman moved by Spirit to come to our city earlier in the summer. A Buddhist monk from the west wove and invoked energies and deities with chants and bells. An African American woman from the south. White Buffalo Woman from the north. The circle cast and held strong then and over the years in the hearts and minds of who knows how many of us, but certainly me.
It was during that time that I first heard of Jose Arguelles and his writing of the Mayan Calendar foreshadowing today’s momentous ending and beginning. Last week a horrifically momentous ending. Today, Solstice, since ancient times reminding us that in the deepest darkness, there returns the light, and the perhaps today, the beginning of a new world.
Yesterday I received Peter Senge’s Solstice Invitation. I include it here in its entirety for you, together with my wish for you to know, be and have deep peace, heart-full joy, a body brimming with light and vitality, and love given and received.
Last week a small group gathered in the Mayan forest in the Yucatan to explore what the ending of the 5,125-year “long count” on December 21 might mean to us. We came from diverse contexts: education, medicine, governance, science, conservation, spirituality, and business. We were connected by our commitment to contribute to the evolution of our own consciousness and the transformation of key institutions that shape our society.
We came knowing that December 21 and 22, 2012, represent not only the end of one cycle but the beginning of a new one–a “chance for humans to start again,” as one of us expressed it while in the Yucatan.
There is a Mayan myth, retold on many monuments in sacred Mayan sites, about day 1 of the just-ending long count cycle. Nine wisdom holders gathered, “had a cup of chocolate and a conversation,” and reflected on how to re-establish harmony after such a long period of chaos. In this conversation, they identified seeds they wanted to plant for the new cycle.
We are sharing this message with friends around the world, each of whom is connected to networks of collaboration in their work. We are inviting each of you to consider the sacredness of this moment. On December 21, starting at the international dateline in the central Pacific, for 72 hours, people around the world will hold a space of love, respect, and appreciation. Each in their own way, people will reflect on this new cycle through prayer, in silent contemplation and meditation, in dialogue, by sitting and walking in nature, or through ceremony and ritual.
During our time together in the Yucatan, we posed several questions upon which to reflect. We would like to share a few of them with you, to also reflect on in the coming days.
· What am I committed to transforming in myself?
· What seeds do I, and we, want to plant and cultivate for the well being of people and all life on earth?
· What is the story that will be told in 100 years about what was transformed in this new beginning?
We offer a second invitation: to see the sacred places all around us as hubs of amplification for the collective practice of holding planetary well being. The invitation is to go to a place that is sacred for you and to visualize planet earth and all living beings as an integrated living entity. This is no political agenda for a new world order. Rather, this practice builds on what many older cultures have known for a very long time and brings it into this moment: to connect and integrate with the field of higher vibration that is created naturally when enough of us concentrate our intentions, prayers, meditations, chanting, rituals, and visualizations on the well being of the whole. It is a time to feel fully integrated with oneself, the group that you may be with, and the larger wholes of which we are a part, including the human community and all our fellow travelers on this small microcosm of life in the universe.
We invite you to visualize and strengthen our radiating light as the Aura of the planet. The potential of this collective practice is to create an internal experience that can free up blockages, individually and collectively, and liberate the life force and universal energy within.
Take this time to awaken the awareness of our capacity to regain the states of balance, harmony, and integration, moment by moment, and the awareness that we have the capacity and the tools to transform, the ability to shift:
· From fragmentation to integration
· From aggression to kindness
· From being absent to being present
· From tension to relaxation
· From doubt to clarity
· From denial to commitment
On December 21-22, we will take a “pause” in our habitual activities for two days in support of the conditions for living that we would like to see, feel, and manifest, as we start the first day of this new era. Please consider yourself invited, together with others in your personal networks, to join in this intention setting in whatever form feels best and most natural for you.
SPECIFICALLY WE INVITE YOU ALL TO STOP AND TUNE IN 4 TIMES A DAY ON BOTH THE 21ST AND 22TH OF DECEMBER 2012.
WHERE EVER YOU ARE
AT SOLSTICE TIME (YUCATAN) 11:11 GMT
IN THE EVENING