Sample Class: Class One of Inner Landscapes
We will start with our geology, our foundation.
Let's sink into this space with each other, into our bones and into the earth.
November in the north is when the lay the of the land becomes bare again. The rock forms revealed, with a hint of death, as other life forms die back, decay. For some of us, November is a welcome rest, for other's it feels lacking in vitality as they mourn the vibrant summer's passing.
"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it,
the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."
There is an aspect of surrender, of trust needed to come into relationship with our foundation, our bodies and the land. To sink in.
breathing out wind
I stretch my branches
sinking into the meadow
I step out of the muck
face against the grass
I press my belly against the ground
porous skin and crumbled earth
we melt into each other
I pull in the roots, pebbles, worms
with each inhale
I push down into the miles of bedrock
Through quieting our busy minds and sinking into our physical life we can find the space to begin to create the sacred texts of our own lives by intertwining word and image. The known and the unknown. The seen and unseen.
It all begins with deep listening.
Rocks are more about being, not so much doing. About the eternal and receptive. A stone is ingrained with geological and historical memories. All spiritual traditions have a reverence for rocks.
In the Jewish tradition, 'Matzevot' are sacred stone pillars; in the Buddhist tradition there are stone 'Stupas'; in Islam, the central point of worship is the Ka'aba (black stone) at Mecca. In Chinese medicine, one of the 5-elements system is the Earth element:
"The earth element is primarily yin, which is feminine and receptive. However, it can express in a more active and masculine form, as well. Much like the planet earth, the energy of this element is stabilizing and centered. There are four seasons and five elements, so earth represents the in-between of seasons where they transition from one to another."
In the shamanic traditions of Peru, pachamama is Mother Earth, the rocks, the dirt. And she can absorb all your pain from your body. You can whisper to her your fears and anguish and she will endlessly relieve you of suffering. There is no need for you to hold these burdens as a separate body.
And then there are the petroglyphs.
Among the Rocks
Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth,
This autumn morning! How he sets his bones
To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees and feet
For the ripple to run over in its mirth;
Listening the while, where on the heap of stones
The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet.
That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;
Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows.
If you loved only what were worth your love,
Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you:
Make the low nature better by your throes!
Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!
Some of the art I am most drawn to is what we refer to as "prehistoric" stone art like this piece from 1,000 BCE. Its simplicity of form speaks to something very base and universal.
These present times feel full of unsteadiness, lacking in a foundation. But through taking this time to carve out intimacy with yourself and the land around you, we can all find a solid rock of awe at the beautiful world we are a part of.
"Active Hope is not wishful thinking. Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued
by the Lone Ranger or by some savior. Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life
on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world.
The web of life is calling us forth at this time. We've come a long way and are here to play our part. With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store, strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with."
- Joanna Macy, Active Hope
So where do WE begin?
Let's take our first steps together...
Do you know what rocks make up
the land you live on?
How long they have been here?
Who lives on them and among them?
Are rocks alive?
How do you 'ground' yourself?
Being grounded means being present in your life. Your energy is firmly rooted. You feel a sense of support, connection, strength, and balance. The Earth carries with it energy that nourishes your energetic body. Trauma can create a shaky foundation in a body. We often tend to be off the ground - while transporting from place to place or simply with our head in the cosmos.
I invite you to see what resonates for you on this page. What sparks your curiosity? Are there words or an image on this page you would like to respond to with your own creation?
Here are a few suggestions over the next few weeks: