I went to the 6th month reunion of Kindred Spirits. From my journal:
Reunion was utterly amazing. The first night was mostly housekeeping, maybe we sang a song or two to connect. That night I didn’t sleep at all, and was very dazed and lost and wobbly in the morning. In the morning we did a breathwork exercise led by Penny. She talked about kinds of connection: eye contact, touch, and energetic contact. I was too tired to make any effort, except to breathe as instructed, and fairly soon I just lay down with my eyes closed. Did make some effort to connect energetically and then just let go.
I started feeling much better after lunch, enjoyed Sue’s group singing, and Mick’s life-shop on friendship.
Saturday evening, sitting around singing, I had such a wonderful sense of the group as a whole. Some way we were all connected by love, woven together by notes of voices and familiar songs. I was totally enjoying other people’s enjoyment.
Sunday morning we did a healing circle. Everyone got 4 minutes to ask for what they wanted from the group. At first I thought about talking about death & aging and realizing that I’m losing physical fitness and won’t get it back, what will I do with the time and energy left. But somehow, what came was to talk about building Neskaya. Something I’ve never done before, except to people who have been there. I told the story of “Let’s build it!” How we got the name, and the geometry. And my prayer to the Spirits of the Notch. I didn’t mention dancing in the trenches with Sibyl, chanting to Kannon while the foundation was poured, the feeling in my heart when the steel got connected. Somehow sharing that brought a complete flowering of joy.
On Sunday when we were packing up, I often sat alone, hearing snatches of conversation and feeling connected even though I wasn’t talking to anybody. I had a couple of deeper conversations with two women, in which they both told me they had been beaming love to me during the breath work, and one of them said everybody was. I was not aware of the love then, but I realized that was why I started feeling so much better after lunch.
I think that I finally have a feeling/experience/understanding of what love is. It’s that sense of connection in community. Not some nice thing that you feel, something deeper than that. But not just some hard thing that you do — the “hard thing” is the practice. The love is that deep knowledge of connection. That’s what I felt the last day at Kindred Spirits Camp in 2018, as we were cleaning up, and that’s what I felt the first day at Neskaya Dance Camp in 2018, as I was sitting with my tea, and others were doing meditative dances. The sense of being surrounded by love. In both cases I felt it when I wasn’t interacting with anyone.
Elizabeth Goudge says: “Love is not some nice thing that you feel, but some hard thing that you do.” This was very comforting to me because I rarely feel that gush in the heart that lets me know I love someone. This deep sense of connection is something new. Not an emotion, but not just a thought. Maybe a realization, something is made real.
This morning, as I walked Mocha in the rain, I heard that strange croaking call. I looked up and saw two wild geese winging northward. It brought the lines of Mary Oliver’s poem to mind:
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.