I loved doing the e-course. There were nearly 600 people receiving the emailed essays on “Restorying Your Life.” Most of these people received the emails and wrote in private, or tucked them away for a less busy time. I am reading on Facebook that folks are just now settling down by the winter fire and starting (or continuing) to follow the writing prompts.
This is true for me too–looking forward to following my own advice in the long evenings this season provides. (Hint: turn off the TV, and design a corner of calm in the midst of busyness.) As I write this I think of our Australian friends–long evenings of another kind happening in the southern hemisphere… Up north we write by lamp and candle, down south you write by long, sunny twilight. Either way, works.
Before moving on, I want to note a few things from the cyber environment that warmed my heart. In the Practice Circle, 263 people checked in, introduced themselves. Even if they didn’t share their process beyond that, it gave the whole group a sense of who had shown up–made the reading more intimate, and certainly encouraged the posting process.
Then in the following weeks, dozens–maybe up to a 100 voices–did at least one posting about the writing prompts in the emailed essays. We held circle. I wrote to them–many strangers to my larger body of work, a brief description of circle space:
When bearing witness in circle, which is where I spend most of my listening time, everyone speaks to the center/centre. Say we are in a comfortable, quiet room with a candle on a coffee table in the space between us… one by one we hold a talking piece, maybe a rose quartz stone in the shape of a heart: whoever holds the stone speaks his/her story, the rest of us listen. At the completion of the story, the stone goes to the next person who, if s/he is ready, speaks their story. … Round the stone is passed and the ear of the heart opens and we receive the stories… All the stories are placed in the center around the flickering flame. We don’t carry them, but we can have empathy and honor and place them down.
We know this rhythm: it is in our bones, an inheritance from millennia of before there was any technology beyond the human voice and our capacities to tell a tale and learn from one another. Sweet to see this rhythm here in this virtual space. May we protect and trust and observe this rhythm together throughout our time together.
Everybody observed such care/full/ness with one another. The Practice Circle was organized by topic: each essay had a designated place to respond. There was also a place for “Community Support, Prayer Requests, Off-topic Comments,” and this became a sweet spot of shared concerns–still following circle protocols.
I was astonished and am still marveling at our ability to tend one another and bear witness in a group that had never met. I remember in 1998 when a friend who worked in this world wide web environment paid us a visit and said, “Ladies, you have to get out on-line…” We resisted, saying, “But all our work is about creating face-to-face connection!” He said, “You’ll go out of business if you don’t figure out how to connect in cyberspace.” Maybe as a human community we are learning how to bring and share the deeper aspects of ourselves in these new ways.
Thank you, all, for learning with me. Now… find that quiet light and tap into your own heartspace.