Written by Gail Peekeekoot RN, DMin, a living example a woman who cultivates community~
Nothing I say will be new to you… and it comes after years of consideration, longing, and lots of reading. The book that pulled it together most recently for me is by a writer called Charles Eisenstein. It’s called “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible”. Just hearing that title gives me relief.
I want to start by inviting you to imagine the faces of the people in your life… We all belong.
Some of us trust this or believe it more than others. And yet, here we all are.
We each found our way to this journey because we knew there just had to be a better way for us to live and work in a world in which we can express our most authentic being.
Truth be told… just being more comfortable in our skin and happier is a good starting place. I’ll take it.
Before we get to talking more about community, I want to touch into story. “Finally!” you might think.
It’s strange and sometimes uncomfortable to be in this Roots to Thrive community where we really don’t know much about each other! And yes…our stories brought each of us to this place, but it’s not the details of those stories that matter here.
What matters is how we come back into relationship with our body and our Inner Being when jumped from behind by our painful stories or the chaos of the world.
Since we are going to finally talk about story on our way to talking about community, I’m going to tell you just the beginning words of three possible Creation stories.
As you hear each of them…think about where the story would go from there and how that would shape the lives of the people who hear them.
Close your eyes after you read each one.
Here’s the first one. The fires of Creation are burning. Out of the fire steps First Man….
Here’s another. The fires of Creation are burning. Out of the fire steps First Woman…
Here’s another. The fires of Creation are burning. Out of the fire steps First Wolf…
All of our stories are rooted in the rich soil of the Creation Story into which we each were born. And, until we learn differently, we think ours is the only Story that’s true for everyone.
How we live our personal stories is very much shaped by the story we inherited and were taught and absorbed in every act and word and the very energy field that surrounds us and moves through us… containing the history of our ancestors and so much more…until we see other possibilities for living our lives.
And then things start to change for us and our communities and our world.
Before there were sky scrapers and oil tankers and traffic jams…way before…we all lived in small communities in balanced relationship with the Cosmos, the Earth, ourselves, each other, our culture, our history, the Sacred and on and on. This is not a myth. It is our heritage.
It wasn’t always easy. People struggled and went to war for resources. We also coped with greed and cruelty and all the things that take people out of relationship.
The point is, we needed each other and the quirks and work and gifts and creativity of every person in our community. With intention, we lived in interconnectedness with All.
When Indigenous people say “All my Relations”, I hear these words as a graceful reminder of the intention to respect and sustain interconnectedness…and deep gratitude for the gift and blessing of interconnectedness.
At the human level it doesn’t happen by itself it happens by intention. At the cosmic level it comes as a gift of infinite and unfathomable, creative, unfolding design. Both.
Living in the story of interconnectedness, we knew ourselves to be part of a benevolent Universe in which we were loved and seen, and our needs would be met.
Human relationships tended to be equal not hierarchical. Power came from within and was shared for the benefit of all. People were held as worthy simply because they were alive.
Individuals had direct personal relationship and experience of the Sacred through their Inner Being.
At some point, a new story was superimposed forcefully over the story of interconnection. This story is one of separation.
You will recognize it. In this story, we are seen as being alone in a hostile Universe in which we have to fight to have our needs met. We must earn our worthiness and even our love.
This is how we become Human Doings. If we fail or step out of line, if we age, or get ill we can lose that hard won worth.
Power is held by those at the top of a hierarchy of wealth and influence and education who wield power over the rest of the population and the world’s resources.
Depending where you landed at birth on the hierarchy, you must work even harder to be deemed worthy and be granted resources for survival.
Perhaps the most painful part of the story of separation is that we are taught that we can only access the Sacred through one of God’s representatives on Earth who is – no surprise – at or near the top of the hierarchy.
Charles Eisenstein proposes that the increasing number of people who are experiencing anxiety and depression today is because we know in the depths of our being that we are between stories. The one we grew up in, the story of hierarchy and separation is unsustainable and is falling apart and quickly coming down, taking the Earth with it. The story of separation contains our jobs and pensions and mortgages and our sense of who we have been in the world.
The ancient story of interconnectedness is calling to us. We know there is a better way of relating to ourselves, each other, and the Earth but we aren’t sure how to get there.
We may have a foot in both stories or jump back and forth. We may not be sure about anything anymore.
Against high odds, many Indigenous peoples have served over the millennia as firekeepers of this way of interconnectedness and there have been many non-Indigenous people who have stepped away from the story of separation and created a path to the ancient story that is not yet.
So, we find ourselves in liminal space between stories as a culture and as individuals. And, because it has been painful to be in our changing world, we came together in Roots to Thrive where our snow globe has been shaken even more.
We long for community – real community where we see and are seen, where we hear and are heard. When we aren’t sure our wish for this is even possible, it is so hard to trust and stay in community and so hard to over-ride the patterns that seemed to keep us safe before.
We all want and deserve to be in healthy and balanced relationships with ourselves and each other and sometimes we just get scared.
I was once told that there are two ways people handle fear: by being skunks or by being turtles. When skunks get scared, they make a big stink and when the air clears…they wonder where everyone else went. When turtles get scared, they tuck their heads in and when things settle down and they stick their heads out…they wonder where everyone else went.
It’s good to know that going to centre is a viable third option when fear comes up.
In the past, we could have found ourselves alone having “turtled up” or after making a big stink.
Now, even if no one is there with us, we are held in a particular energy field that is growing as each person brings their unique beingness and humanness into Roots to Thrive.
We all sense the growing strength and beauty of this field as we heal together. This will continue with each cohort who join us. How does this happen?
In the story of separation, we all begin and end where our physical bodies begin and end. In the story of interconnectedness, there is no beginning or end to any of us or anything – we are all energy beings vibrating at different frequencies in different overlapping and nested energy fields.
These fields carry our histories and stories and hopes and dreams. They carry and communicate our way of being in the world.
We have the fields of our ancestors, our families, our professions, our interests and on and on. I am shaped and am shaped by the fields of woman, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, aunt, nurse, midwife, singer, celebrant, minister, lover of trees and moons and stars, and psychedelics and on and on and on.
And now we can add being part of the energy field of the Roots to Thrive community. The healing and growth that happens in this field ripples out to the rest of our lives and the world.
In the story of separation, we are told that we need to go it alone. In the story of interconnectedness, there is no “alone”. We are walking each other home to authenticity and the sweet rewards of living inspired and inspiring lives.
This is our intention and our joy. We grow in community no matter how tricky it can be – maybe especially because of how tricky it can be.
The point is, we need each other and the quirks and work and gifts and creativity of every person in our community. As we grow and heal, the World grows and heals ~