How do we deepen our connection to the living world?
As human beings, many of us realize an innate longing to awaken to our relationship with nature, sacred places, the weather, the animals, trees and plants, the singing and dancing world around us. But where do we begin? And after we begin, how do we continue the conversation and continue to build our friendship with the world for the benefit of all?
In honoring the natural stages and transitions of life in our Lifeways programs, we affirm our deep connection to the cycles of life. Most traditional cultures had, and some still have, numerous major ceremonial events throughout the year that connected them to these cycles. For example, the Huichol people celebrate 16 major ritual occasions yearly, and the Cherokee honored seven related to the planting, growth and harvesting of corn. Traditionally, as humans, our yearly cycle was filled with preparing for and celebrating ritual and then returning home to begin preparing for the next. These cycles were a crucial part of the lifeways of the people: they helped the communities stay connected throughout the year to all of life, to Divine, to the living world.
Our present-day Thanksgiving celebrations in the US and Canada offer opportunities for celebrating the harvest to some extent, and many of us will join in. For those who want a deeper level of engagement, in our community, Nahuatl weatherworkers in Mexico, Canada, the US and UK are hosting annual harvest festivals in their regions. You may participate in harvest ceremonies from other traditions. These represent opportunities, not only to come together as communities and deepen our gratitude, but also to touch on the fulfilling and fulfilled relationships our ancestors enjoyed with the living beings all around us. That’s what Sacred Fire Community Lifeways is all about, as well. We offer rituals and deep experiencing of the phases of life: birth, youth, transition to adulthood, being a woman, being a man, exploring the opportunities of love relationships, deepening our relationship to life through prayer, peaceful transition into dying and then coming around again. Why is this acknowledgement of sacredness, this celebration of our dance with life important? How does it change and enrich us, our families, and our communities?
In the spirit of thanksgiving, we thank all of the participants in our international community, and specific to this article, all of you who have been bold enough to dive into our Lifeways offerings this year and in years past.
Many people have discovered the benefits of honoring these cycles of life, of stopping our daily routines to come together and engage with each other and to dance our appreciation with the living world. Joy Lewell is one of the many of us who have discovered something precious in our Lifeways offerings. Here’s her thank you to the Sacred Fire Community; Roger and Reyna Menadue, our Alice Springs Australia Firekeepers; and Karen Aberle and Cristian Valenzuela for their Getting Ready for Deep Relationship program that was offered in October. This was written for our Alice Springs community’s local newsletter, and is reprinted here with permission.
I will try and write something short for you Reyna but you know I am not very great at ‘short’ stories and if I went to the end you would not be happy as it would read like, I went to this group and now I can barely function in the ‘real world’ as there is so much going on inside, an explosion of joyousness for this journey I find myself on – The end.
Having attended many personal growth retreats before in my life, I already knew that attending such a workshop with a group of people who are both courageous and adventurous enough to enter into such a dialogue was about the most favorite happening I could ever show up for. Why? Because having an opportunity to be in authentic communication with other human beings who are willing to share themselves in this way and with such an important focus is so rare and this makes me able to live my life.
What was really different about this workshop was that, first of all, the facilitators were shamans and the sessions were conducted around a fire, which seemed like a heck of an ask in temperatures we are currently experiencing in central Australia. The difference ‘The Fire’ brought to this group was something we all felt deeply and personally enabled me to deepen my own appreciation and connection with the Sacred Fire.
Given the minefield of relationships for everyone, the facilitation and tools we were given on this weekend were and are inspiring, profound and yet so simple to engage with. Comments arise in the weekend like, ‘How on earth did I think I could navigate myself thru such an important and central theme in my life without any tools and a ‘coach?’ I am so excited now to begin to use these tools, not just with my partner, who by grace was on this workshop with me, but hopefully as an ongoing conversation with the other participants was we go back into the day-to-day living we came from. The fact that Karen and Cristian will continue to ‘coach’ me in this journey is just so exciting and so essential, I cannot really express this just yet.
We laughed, we cried, we affirmed each other, we were validated and made human by this courageous journey we made and have begun together. Karen and Cristian are master facilitators.
I offer this little note in deep gratitude to Reyna and Roger for the stand they are making in the world for intentional community, heart-felt communion with each other and the land we find ourselves in, and a commitment to helping each of us find purpose and connection in our lives with the support of the Sacred Fire Community worldwide.
Let the wild things play I say,
With much love Joyful
Don’t miss the upcoming Lifeways webinar with Karen and Cristian, “Getting Ready for Deep Relationships: The Trust Factor,” happening on three Sundays in November for $50. Find out more and register now.