Wind sheds chaos in the trees, light is a subtle shade of brilliance and 67 people are acutely aware of how precious the time remaining is. For that I am humbly grateful. I am one of them. Very few are privileged enough or even see the point in carving three days out of time to focus on the biggest perspective. Most of us are so busy making a living it is easy to forget what a sacred and rare thing living is.
For AGE, in addition to Kate Shela, a multitude of teachers from each decade—20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s— shared their wisdom. Together, we dwelled in the past, relished the present, wondered about the future. Hour after hour, day after day we danced and drew and wrote through a particular lens: how life liberates us and how it can freeze us as well. There was refreshing liberty in personally clarifying the meaning of this by choosing random life experiences to investigate.
As an adult, I know liberation is an inside job. It has nothing to do with what life throws me and everything to do with how I choose to respond. It begins with unequivocal surrender and is stymied in the presence of certainty. It has vulnerability and humility and utter presence at its core. My head likes to obscure it and my heart has its back. It happens when I stand on my own two feet and trust…trust myself, trust the circumstance, trust the mystery. Liberation is slippery in challenging moments and sometimes the most radical change in perspective is required to create it.
What I know about freezing is that, as a child, it was instinctual, a survival response to threat. But then, at a certain age, it shifted into the habitual. In the light of mature awareness, it too has everything to do with how I choose to respond. And what is really exciting is to feel how, at the far end of the age spectrum, it happens so rarely and, when it does, I am able to witness it in current time. And usually it is not freezing at all. It is more like rolling. “Oh that….yes, I know that one…I’ll just roll with it or maybe it will roll over me or through me or under me.” It moves, it doesn’t freeze.
By the end of three days the shapes and flavors and stories of liberation and freezing went hand-in-hand, felt totally related, informed each other with the stamp of my personal style, magically and fluidly morphed from one to the other and back again. When it came time to write a letter from my elder self to my current self, the words leapt onto the page. My ancient self implored: don’t forget this sacred time of honoring the deep. I know you: quickly you’ll busy yourself, distract yourself, bury yourself in triviality. There is no time left to waste. Remember to ask for help when you need it. You are not doing life alone and are foolish when you pretend you are. Wake up. This is no rehearsal.
Stay in service….to yourself. Tend to that tender heart, that increasingly vulnerable body, that wandering mind. Nourish your soul with work you love and know spirit will manifest if you get out of the way. Surrender to the mystery. Stay in service…to the people you love. Find the fullest expression possible. Capture, foster, make the most of each moment. Do not wait for love to come to you; extend yourself to love. Reach out, make the first move. Be sorry, forgive, be wrong and own it. Trust, be steady, be vulnerable, be real. Stay in service…to your community. They are your life-blood, they are sometimes the reason to rise in the morning, they expect your best. Give it to them. They will hold you and back you and support you. Show up. Be honest. Be open. Be empty. Be….
Continuing to move toward liberation…..love, bella