em-bodied: to bring soul and spirit to physical form
Our own life is entirely continuous with the life the rivers and the forests, our intelligence is entangled with the wild intelligence of wolves and of wetlands, our breathing bodies are simply our part of the exuberant flesh of the earth - David Abram, Depth Ecology
Dearest friends & allies, Greetings from a winter-wonder-land. Here in the Crystal Valley we are accompanied by days and nights of the most subtle sound of falling snow,a a landscape blanketed in white, the sincere scent of pine forests, and pristine, perfectly intact snowflakes kissing our cheeks --- awakening us from any unyielding trance. We offer greetings and thanks to the beauty of Earth. Since our last newsletter, our winter programs have been so rich with aliveness and exquisite wonder. We began the turning of the season by romping through 7 feet of snow and more at 11,000’ for the New Year Visioning Passage. As a group, our moments together evoked deep-time ---nonlinear, deep undulating pulse. Being in deep time opened us to initiation and paradoxes: stillness and play, introspection and communion, nonconceptual awareness and concepts, the sacred and the mundane, chopping wood and channeling our inner fires, deep ceremony and shooting-the-shit. Together we cried, we grieved while dying to the old stories, we romped through deep snow, we laughed, we played, we embodied innocence, we went sledding, we walked slowly through pine forests hearing the whispers of earth through our bodies, we meditated, dreamt, and awakened to an inner light, an inner navigational beacon --- a great inner ally to accompany our passages. The registration for 019-020 Winter Visioning Passage is open. This program/passage can comfortably accompany a maximum of 6 guests. Early registration for this event really helps us to create an accommodating space, accessible, safe and reliable transportation to 11,000’, and prepare for the ordeal of arriving to the site, so with that, we offer a -$200 discount from the regular tuition. Early registration will end in August, 2019.
What initiates us also strips us down to the inner essentials and releases qualities and powers that were hidden within (Michael Meade, 2006, p. 17). After the New Year Visioning Passage, we returned back down the mountain to the valley to a dry desert landscape that was once the sea floor. We grounded ourselves as guide-assistants in the Mid-Winter Vision Fast Ceremony with The School of Lost Borders in Death Valley, CA. During the 12 days of the vision fast ceremony, our psyches also worked through the three phases of transition --- both through the participants and the guides. I feel indescribable privilege/opportunity/honor/grace to accompany 12 fellow humans as they generated their own ceremonies to mark an initiation, flesh-to-earth, empty, without shelter --- and return with a story -- *their* story --- carrying their Truth in the myriad ways of being, as the late John O’Donahue puts it, baptized in the name of the wind and the light and the rain. Reflections, Musings & the-like | Returning To Earth Through Body This winter season has carried me deeper to the practiced-mystery of inhabiting the body and feeling from the inside out --- the mysterious practice of embodied presence. Ancient, earth-based cultures throughout time have contemplated the subtle energy body as a microcosmic map of the earth, the elements, and the cosmos. “The currents of energy within us were rivers flowing through the vast landscape of the body; the spine was a mountain cradling the cave of the heart where the fire of consciousness burns. The sun was the vital energy of the body, and the moon was the inner nectar” (Rea, 2014). Embodied presence is cultivated deeper through this extension of Earth Consciousness --- in which Awareness or Consciousness touches and experiences itself in the subtleness of breath, the pulsations of life. The expression of this presence comes from the weaving rhythms of earth body, breath, heart, and human body. This expression of presence/awareness/consciousness flows and expands to experience the felt-sense of the interconnection of all of life -- the pranic force which is pulsing and “permeating with the same elemental creative intelligence that gave birth to the stars” (Reinders, 2017, p. 7). The wilderness rite of passage vision fast ceremony, as it has been passed on from The School of Lost Borders, evokes a steady container for the sacred and unseen while simultaneously evoking the intimacy of human psyche through the empty(raw), unsheltered(exposed), and alone(receptive) body. The empty, unsheltered, and alone body serves as an inner compass which communicates the subtle messages of the larger systems of Psyche --- all part of Earth. In this way, the ‘known’ and ‘conditioned’ systems naturally dissolve and the unseen realms of psyche, spirit, and the (sometimes) hidden gifts, are being called forth at the threshold to be carried, opened, and initiated in the passage. Within the passage the unseen realm of spirit, and the inner-gifts, are emerging with and returning to the empty, exposed, and receptive body. This is embodied presence -- to bring the soul and spirit back to the body. Our bodies know they belong. - John O’Donahue Why Wilderness Rites of Passage? “Your body is as ancient as the clay of the universe from which it is made; and your feet on the ground are a constant connection with Earth. Your feet bring your private clay body in touch with the ancient, mother clay from which it first emerged” - John O'Donahue This engagement with the Earth through our human bodies is perhaps the primal gateway into and through the threshold in which we initiate embodied conversation (the act of being in harmony) with the land through sensory reception and intuitive perception. In this way, a wilderness rite of passage is a returning to our most ancient connection towildness. Author, professor, and researcher, Peter Kahn PhD. (2009), addresses this in his research on bridging the human-nature dynamic. Dr. Kahn’s studies suggest that the architecture of the human body and psyche is that of wildness. This common thread of wildness, the natural unbounded energy, can be accessed through embodiment. I consider the clear-eyed stillness in which I return with as I cross the threshold -- an animal-knowing and an initiation into the family of life-force, of Earth, the Cosmos, the Great Mysteriousing. These eyes so clear in such a way that the one who is looking through the eyes is clear, present, awakened in the moment -- which includes being in this body. The energy within is wildness -- natural, unbounded energy. My senses are attuned to the rhythms and vibrancy of pure life-force and the Earth, from which I first emerged. To live in a way that honors the natural currents and rhythms and drop into feeling the subtle reverberation of light through our chest and belly is perhaps the guided ally to our most sacred belonging. Embarking on a journey to embody and be guided by the passageway of this light is our birth rite. To feel this inner yes, the unbounded presence, and follow the pulse of initiated, embodied wildness is to live in total reciprocal, loving presence with all life forms on Earth.