29 March 2011

Be - longing

Dear Drummers,

Welcome, oh air-blown wanderers, oh, pilgrims seeking some inner dawn! Welcome, oh you winged creatures circling over this gorgeous earth, welcome to the drum this Friday in the friendly basement otherworld of First Universalist Church, 34th and Dupont, in Fairy-kissed Uptown, Minneapolis. Welcome, all! No need of drumming skill or experience, no need to own a drum. Only one requirement: show up. Spirit will take it from there.

Below is a meditation on "belonging" - the general theme for this Friday's drumming. But first I want to announce two items that may interest you. 1) It is time to make your reservations for the Annual Earth Ecstasy Spring Wahoo Drumming Retreat, May 20-22 (Friday evening to Sunday noon). Honestly, this weekend is so fun, freeing, relaxing and cleansing for the spirit - and it's an unbelievable price ($250 includes accommodations at what the Star Tribune calls "one of the five best resorts in Minnesota). Go to my web site for more details! 2) Saturday May 14th you have the opportunity to release and transform grief through a ritual facilitated by Terrileigh Schmidt. Click here to see a flyer. Contact Terrileigh directly with any questions.

On Belonging

On the Celtic wheel of the year, we are now firmly in the mythic direction East, the direction associated with spring time, dawn, the element air and with "abundance." Abundance is a loaded topic for me and maybe for you too. Maybe like me, you pine and cry out for just a little more abundance, maybe you are nervous or ashamed of abundance, maybe you long for it and fear it at the same time. Maybe you yearn for a different kind of abundance than you have. Maybe you are blind to the abundance in your life. All of this happens to me constantly.

Last week I was on a family vacation on Isla Mujeres ("Woman's Island") near Cancun, Mexico. We rented a house that gave us privacy and our own winding path down to a secluded beach. I spent much of the week thinking about abundance in its many forms.

I stood in the water watching the smallish waves roll around me. I saw that a bright line of silver light rides the wave crest until it crashes on the sand, where that silver explodes into golden shards of glittering light. It was hypnotic, calming, beautiful. I lost track of time and identity as I watched this sight over and over. I thought I heard the voice of the Sacred (perhaps it was the Mayan Goddess Ixchel, the goddess of this island, of the sea, the moon, of medicine, art and of new life) saying, "Look, human! You are awash in silver and gold at each moment, if you only you have the eyes to see the abundance." At that moment, I was swimming in gold and silver; the richest man who ever lived.

The voice said something else to me: "You belong to me." I took that to mean I belonged to this lovely earth, these roiling waves, this light dancing on the sand, the breeze dancing through the trees, all of it - all that Ixchel is, and all that she guides and creates and protects, I belong to. But perhaps Ixchel was laying claim to me directly, I don't know.

Later, in the middle of the night, after all on the island were asleep, even after the parties in Cancun, four miles across the water, had sputtered into Tequila-dizzy silence, unable to sleep, I wandered out under the full moon, to the edge of the quietly shushing sea, where I sang prayers for you to Ixchel.

Yes you: Each of "my tribe," you who come to drum all the time, you who stopped by once four years ago but remain on this email list, you who have not yet come to the drum but still receive emails, even you whose spam folder I live in permanently. I prayed for abundance for each of you - whatever abundance you really need. Rumi says "There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth" and I prayed that each of you recieve the kiss you need.

The abundance we need may not always be the abundance we think we want, Ixchel said to me. I turned to go back into the house.

A sudden, startling, immense wave crashed up on the rock behind me, spattering sea-and-moon-drenched diamonds all around me into the luminous night air. I took it as a sign to stay for awhile longer. I stood silent for awhile and perhaps it was Ixchel again who said: To belong is the greatest abundance of all. "

Belonging" is the marriage of "longing" and "being." The human heart is naturally restless, but also naturally seeks a home. It wavers endlessly between wanting to wander and wanting to belong. We live in a time where belonging has devolved into simplistic, often cruel litmus tests of identity. Many of the traditional institutions of belonging - family, church, marriage, career, political parties - have crumbled for us. False belonging is sold to us again and again. False belonging rises from being connected to (one of my favorite phrases from philosophy:) "bad infinity." Being connected to a bad infinity creates false belonging. So, belonging is difficult for us. And yet in some crucial way, we understand that we are made "real" by what we belong to, and if we belong to nothing, our realness is damaged. John O'Donohue, the great Irish scholar, says that where he comes from, the traditional phrase for people first meeting one another is not "where are you from?" but rather "to whom do you belong?" This is an excellent question, and it will form the the focus of this Friday's ceremonial and shamanic half.

But before that we will drum up silver, gold and diamonds with one another in a treasure trove of sonic abundance. Wahoo, tribe, Wahoo, indeed. See you soon,


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