Circle of Hope

A Conversation on the Circle Dancing e-list

February 18, 2004    9:40AM
Dear Fellow Dancers,

I have signed the petition against nominating George Bush and Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize (no its not a joke), I have faxed my Secy of State of NH to express my concern about voting machines, I have sent faxes to my Congresspeople to oppose the recent attempt to undermine Roe v Wade…  and I’ve trashed lots of emails asking me to do similar actions on behalf of other equally worthy causes.
I’m tired and discouraged.  I feel like I’m trying to move a mountain of sand grain by grain.  The only thing that keeps me going is Circle Dance, and the belief that by dancing in a circle, dances from around the world, we do indeed change an energy pattern from the hierarchical/dominator/war=peace paradigm to one of equality/reverence for all beings/peace/harmony/compassion…  Are we engaged in a hopeless task? or are we the butterfly flapping its wings that changes the climate a continent away?  Is there anybody out there who agrees with me?  Please let me know,  I’m feeling pretty alone with it right now.

Jenny at Neskaya

9:53    California
I absolutely agree with you. I have always believed that singing, dancing, and being in Sacred Circle makes a difference. I believe each each little thing we do counts. You are never alone.

10:02    Argentina
Unbelievable that they should be nominated. But after all, what was it Alfred Nobel did for the world???
You are not alone, Jenny, there are thousands of dancers working for peace and millions more people doing it in other ways. Keep going!
lots of love,  Julia
May peace prevail in the Universe!

10:04   Concord NH
Good morning Jenny,
I hear your despair . . . and often things do look so bleak and overwhelming. Maybe this is just a dark time before the light and that our work of dancing, loving and prayer are that much more important. I recently shared the same concerns with my husband and he did remind me that this darkness has been in history for a very long time so I feel it is important to focus on the light.
I often refer to a quote I love from a sufi poet Hafiz, ” . . what love
mischief can I do today?”
Hang in there and know there are many of us struggling to hold the light & love we are meant to share and that we appreciate your e-mails of classes and gatherings!
Smiles, Nancy

Here’s the whole poem:  “When the Seed Cracked Open”

It used to be
That when I would wake in the morning
I could with confidence say,
“What am ‘I’ going to Do?”
That was before the seed
Cracked open.

Now Hafiz is certain:

There are two of us housed
In this body,

Doing the shopping together in the market and
Tickling each other
While fixing the evening’s food.

Now when I awake
All the internal instruments play the same music:

“God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do
For the world


From The Gift: poems by Hafiz, the great Sufi Master,
Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

10:10   Newton MA
Dear Jenny,
Just your email has made a difference!
In Galatians 6:9  and 2 Thess 3:13 it says, “so let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up”
Also, Mother Theresa says:
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it
was never between you and them anyway.

Now, my friend, how do I sign this petition?
Love, Judy

10:27   Montpelier VT

Thanks for the message, Jenny. I had no idea. I too have been a bit discouraged because I was one of the 57 people that got fired last Friday. I didn’t finish sending my note to all my friends, so you may not have heard this. I will give you more details later. Spirit is calling me to something better, I’m sure.
I will try to do the same with this message, meaning contacting my senators etc. ….UNBELIEVABLE! Peace prize!?!??!?!?!? Give me a break. This gives me somewhere else to put my anger which I still have lots of.
Sure do appreciate you and your passion. Know that you are not alone and that I love you.
Blessings, Dianne

10:46    Fairfax VA
I’m with you. Judit.

11:04 California
Dear Jenny,
We’re only one. But who else is more than one?
We can change our own inner environment
to one of harmony and hope
or not.
If everybody took the task
of holding the harmony and the hope
we would meet the dark stuff (that does seem to be part of
this world’s karma)
in balance
moving through.
And that’s exactly what Circle Dance does for each of us.
One by one.
Please keep dancing.
. . . and then there is joy

11:10   Hardwick VT

Hi Jenny
As our dear friend Sally would say “Dont feel like the lone ranger”
You have spoken my truth!
Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by it all and in the shamanic work that I do Black Elk came through and the words that he had were “always remember  to sing and dance and smoke the pipe”
So thats what I try to do –even when it seems hopeless
Sending love and peace

11:20 Virginia
Dear Jenny:  I sometimes share your discouragement, but I prefer to believe that I am a butterfly.  I use as my model the story of the woman who wanted to become enlightened, but no monastery would accept her because she was a woman.  Finally, she is accepted and spends 30 years meditating, but no enlightenment.  One night as she is returning home from the well with a bucket of water, she is entranced by the stars and the moon she sees reflected in the water.  Then the bottom of the bucket breaks and all the water runs out.  In that moment she becomes enlightened.  There are many ways to interpret this story, but an interpretation that has meaning for me is that we dedicate ourselves to behaving in a way that will produce our deepest desires–enlightenment for her, peace for you and me–never knowing if we will achieve our goal.  But–and here is the kicker–if she had not spent all that time meditating she would never have had her moment of enlightenment.  While we cannot guarantee that we can make important changes by our actions, we can guarantee that if we all do nothing, then nothing will be the result.  So, I prefer to give my best, and give my doubts to the Mother Goddess.  Much love, Judie

12:59PM Argentina

3:01    Thornton NH
You are not alone.  Yes, we will disturb the universe because we care and will calm the waves of chaos with dance.
Last night at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church:
They held there meeting in a very small(taken up by tables with chairs) room which was unusual for them; yet, another group was meeting in the larger rooms. (All Tuesdays)  I asked and played the entire cd on very, very low volume while people filled the room.
A dozen people were in this “Upper Room”  and most seemed very stern about  “matters at hand”….and, they looked very conservative.  After the clerk’s report and a couple of additions to the agenda it was my turn on the agenda.  The minister had prompted me to ask for my specifics first; he had also worded the agenda that I would give a demonstration.  So, I asked for a specific room for a weekly dance.  I asked for use of the larger sanctuary for four times a year.(Seasonal…)  I told them we would just have a donation basket…
Before the meeting I checked for a sound system and there is none. (They rely on the pipe organ and live music..)  Then, I asked for two volunteers to stand in a corner with me to show KOS; two immediately “circled up” with me.  They were embarrassed but good about it…  No one had / has done any circle dancing before; one said she had done some folk dancing.
They will let me know….
Well, if they don’t consent then I’ll try some other places….two more people danced for a short time last night that wouldn’t have.
“We can not make our sun stand still but we can make it run”
I’ll try to block the hypocracy of the annominations for Nobel Peace Prize somehow…
Take Care Of Yourself,
Sandy C.

3:38 France
Hi Jenny,
Hey, if you think you feel alone you should be sitting over here in Paris trying to stay connected by internet with what’s happening back in the US !! I don’t know how many petitions I’ve signed, emails sent to senators at al etc etc. I think we just have to hope that we are just a small part of a big movement and that the overall effect will be to have some influence on the future of our country and the world.
I, too, have dancing which is pretty much the most important thing I do. But dancing here is more of the folk dancing variety and no connection is made to others in the world. But just doing dances from around the world with people of different nationalities gives the dancing meaning even if nothing is overtly spoken about it.
Gotta run now…keep signing and emailing and especially keep dancing…I’m sure it makes a difference.
love and hugs, Ann in Paris

4:46 Tennessee
No, Jenny, you are not alone. I know the feeling you describe, burnout , and I get discouraged too. But I believe there is such a thing as balance, and interconnectednesss. every action, however small, sets up an energy of motion, like throwing a small stone into a pond-ripples spread outward, evergrowing, and finally reach all the shores. When we dance together, holding hands, dancing ancient dances from far away lands, we send out a message of unity, of peace- a tiny light in the darkness perhaps, but all our tiny lights around the country and the globe keep away the Dark, and send out a beacon of hope. I do believe this.
keep on doing your thing.
chrys aka dancing spirit in tennessee.

5:16     THANK YOU ALL
Dear Dancing Friends,
I got 6 replies to my cry of help within about 20 minutes, and 7 more by later today.  Thank you all so much.  It’s so wonderful that we can connect that fast.  Maybe we CAN change the world…
love, Jenny

5:44 California
Never alone, dearest Jenny.  I BELIEVE that when we dance, we form the instrument through which the invisible beings of light can do their work, and help us do ours.   I KNOW that I do my best approximation of being human — one who loves — dancing in the circle.  I HONOR you for your commitment and perseverance, without which I (and countless others) would probably still not even know this form of circle dancing existed.
Of course, I do share your feelings of discouragement and overwhelm.  I get most of  those same e-mails (although I hadn’t heard about the Bush Blair thing yet) and feel exhausted as I try to respond to as many as I can in between doing the seemingly meaningless work I am getting paid to do.  The task seems mythical — Sisyphusian in my own case.  But that is quite possibly just the old stuff I am still caught up in, stuff that will eventually fall away to reveal the new “way” for which we are preparing.
Please keep dancing, letting the light enter lovingly into the weight of the burden, being with whole-heartedness, surrounded by BEAUTY, and thank you for SOS-ing into cyberspace so I can tell you how much I love you, which I do with all my heart.

6:08 Mexico
Hi Jenny! Im glad you voiced these feelings, i think in this time of The Great Turning (Macy) it will continue to be like this- sometimes hopeful, sometimes despairing. I accept that i have both hope and despair in equal intensities, like the duality that keeps the earth turning, the yin and yang. To feel despairing in these times when there is much to despair means that we are alive, thank goddess, and not numb. BUT i count on the following type of trivia as evidence that US people are transforming from the grassroots up-
Michael Moore is a millionaire
Tofu recipes appear in Cosmopolitan Magazine
Circle Dance has taken off in Mexico
MoveOn now has more than 2 million members
In one rainy afternoon i found more than 100 websites of hope
and i know this is just the tip of the iceberg
Fairfield County CT has a society of vegetarians that meets
and so on…
sometimes i dont know if we humans have gone to far towards destruction to be save-able
sometimes i dont know if it is even best for the earth if we save ourselves
but i do strongly strongly believe that there are more than 50 million ´cultural creatives´in the usa alone…
and that the force we generate is greatly enhanced by circle dance, and that the force of love is stronger than fear.
that the forces of resistance want us to be fearful and that
we must fight it.
love, Gwyn

6:26 Vermont
There’s a Margaret Mead quote that goes something like this–“Never doubt that a small group of committed people (or is it concerned citizens?) can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
You are not alone.  (Either in the belief about the importance of the  dance, especially the old traditional dances that carry so much in them, or  in the seemingly futile signing of petitions , sending of e-mails, etc.)–I  am with you on all counts!  You and the dance you offer and the space you  have created are making a difference!  Love, Judy

7:15   Re: THANK YOU ALL
Hooray for everybody! We love you Jenny and moreover the commitment we all have to each other to make a difference on this crazy planet that we are a part of. Notice that I didn’t say “of ours”. Each one doing her/his part and yes, this gives me hope as well. Although Dean dropped out of the race today, he proved that grassroots organizing can and is the way of the future.
All blessings, Dianne

7:41 Bali
Hi from Bali……yes, reading your appeal from NH all the way here is……well, like there is no ocean or land mass between your words and my presence here in this small island among many thousands of islands!
I’m discouraged also, and yet I feel we must go on saying what we believe in, signing petitions, writing letters, voicing our opinions, and grouping together to at least get Bush out of his position of perceived power! It’s never a lost cause, and always connecting through the dance is one of the best ways that we do it to strengthen our community bonds!
Talk about community…here in Bali…that’s what it is. Always!  Everything is done with the sense of family, and community…doing offerings together, sharing food, shelter, hanging out in the temple, marketplace, porch, you name it, it’s done together!
It all helps.  Don’t despair.
I’ll be back on Friday after a 30 hour journey back to the country that I am so ashamed of because of what it has become.  So need to reemerge from this sacred place to do the work to allow our USA to become something else again with my energy in the circle of circles!
Love to you…you’re doing the work too, Jenny!

8:17 Lunenburg Vermont
Hi Jenny, Miss Ya,
If you must move that Mountain grain by grain, at least you are taking ACTION. You go girl!

8:22 Barnstead NH
Hi Jenny,
Yes, there are a lot of us out there feeling and thinking as you.  We, too, are sending letters to Congressmen, sending loving thoughts to the world, speaking our hearts about what needs fixin’ and on and on.  It seems depressing, but when you look closely, you’ll see so much good is happening out there as well.
I’m sending you a heap of love tonight so be on the look out.
Love, Alberta

Thursday 1:47AM North Ferrisburg VT
Dear Jenny,
Thank you so much for reminding us how arduous this peacework can be. I very much liked the image you drew of trying to move a mountain of sand grain by grain. In fact, that is precisely what each of us is doing, in much the same way that Buddhist monks build their sand mandalas — grain by grain. What enables them to work so assiduously is the fact that they focus not on the result, but on the process. This is a valuable lesson for the West. The I Ching teaches that we should plow our fields, not expecting a harvest. The harvest is not our concern; it is only the plowing that matters.
In response to your plea, I can offer only what I learned growing up in Friends meeting about what it means to benefit from the endeavors of an active life. Whether we succeed in our efforts depends on how “success” is interpreted. There is another kind of success outside that of seeing the result we hope for. There is the success measured by useful and important work done with devotion. There is the success of having responded to what one knows to have been the authentic call of God/dess and of having remained faithful to that guidance, whether seeing any results or not.
When society has fed and housed the poor and nursed the sick, and when it has educated the disenfranchised and offered them a useful place in the economy of mankind; when the brilliant and advantaged have been educated for responsibility rather than for personal gain; when no one is standing around rejected while others feel themselves over-entitled; when war has been renounced and its instruments disassembled, only then will it be possible for us to consider whether our struggles offer us any sense of worldly success compatible with our convictions.
In the meantime, this work we do forms us in character and conscience. We do it because it involves bearing witness to a “testimony,” which (contrary to what many people think) is not a response to an external problem. It is a leading that comes from that authentic guidance from God/dess. In that respect, we do it because to do otherwise is unthinkable. We do it because we cannot conceive of not doing it.
Of course, you know all this. I write it, I suppose, to remind *myself* of what lies behind my own peace efforts. Your plea has helped me affirm my own commitment, and I thank you for that, in addition to your having reached out so sweetly.

8:38  New Boston NH
Hi Jenny
Just catching up with my e-mails this morning….
I just want to say you have many,many comrades of like mind, and this machine is/can be quite an instrument for connection of us, as you already are witnessing…I’m a late bloomer re computers, but anyway, I send you Peace of the Running Wave..” .We are all one planet, all one people on earth; all one planet, sharing our living, our dying, our birth, and we won’t stand by watching her die, hearing her cry, or deny–we live as she lives, we die as she dies…”[song by Molly Scott–beautiful!]
Best thoughts…Mary

10:59   Freedom NH
HI Jenny,  I too agree with you and in fact feel so busy and overwhelmed at times that I disregard information I can not deal with.  I also believe in the energy of Circle Dance, was very grateful to join you for the Solstice Celebration and Thank You a thousand times over for all that you do. Take Care & Much Love, Willow

Hi Jenny,

I do truly believe that the butterfly/dancer does make a difference…at one level. Maybe not visible, maybe not today.   But it does seem so hopeless on the surface some times.   The Bush camp are desperate to try to come out of their 4 years with some triumph. The Nobel Prize thing doesn’t surprise me. It’s hard to imagine how anyone with two eyes, two ears, a heart and a brain could support those rogues, but apparently, in this museum of the world of all possible inputs and outcomes it does appear possible, though ludicrous and frustrating to me.

I would say keep on keeping on. Keep the candle burning. I suspect things are moving under the surface or maybe I, too, am a hopeful fool.  There seem to be so many fundamentalist, blind/lazy/ignorant-sheep-following shepherd type people who don’t want to think/feel/believe differently.  Hard to comprehend.

In this world of yin/yang, there is only the dance.  For those of us who prefer the light, it’s hard to accept the shadows, but I feel they are, indeed shadows.  The fact that the shadow is intensifying (Tolkein, Harry Potter, etc.) means it’s feeling threatened by the light.  Vigilance and hope are needed, I guess.  Never give up, but do let go sometimes to renew yourself.

I can’t be with you in person just now, but if I could, I’d give you a hug, an open heart, and my own conviction that “this, too shall pass,” and once you’ve done all you can, let go and go for inner peace knowing you’ve done your best.  I hope/trust that some of those more nearby will visit and be with you in the next few days, after your reaching out.  If not, call/email me again. If you’d ever like to come down here for a visit, companionship, hang out, dance know that you would be welcome.
Wishing you peace, renewed hope, and rest…..Love,  Barbara

12:57 Danville VT
Hi Jenny,
I just read your email and I feel, as others do,that you (we) are not alone.  I often feel as you do, especially in this Guidance Counselor work I am doing.  So much tragedy and so little ability to help… In fact, I took today off just to try to nurture myself about it all.  But when I am dancing I always feel the healing power of that experience.  That is one of my constants, too, in holding myself together and knowing I (we) are connected to each other, bringing peace and light where we dance.  And that radiates outward in a beautiful way.
Keep doing what you’re doing.  I have reached another “knowing” that I just need to do more of the dance, meditation and similar things and will leave one of my schools in June to pursue this further.  I know I need it and so does the rest of the world!!  Let’s really talk soon about doing something together at Neskaya.

In Peace,

9:48 Falmouth, MA
as usual, you articulate so well what many of us are feeling and how hard we are working to maintain our focus and belief in being able to bring about peace in the world – It ‘s the people like you who help us so much, because you provide us with art and inspiration and many opportunities for circles – every little prayer with our little footsteps on the earth is
a movement toward a better world – at least, we have to believe that, because we can’t do otherwise!

Friday, 10:12AM What if?   From Neskaya

What if 1,000 butterflies all flapped their wings at once? I feel reconnected with an organism that has a thousand hands to send help and a thousand legs to dance with.  If particles of light synchronize their vibrations, it’s called a laser, and you know it’s powerful.  If a bunch of people move in synchronicity, it’s called “Circle Dancing”.
I have just had the lovely experience of writing 27 email replies to dear friends, old friends, absent friends and people I haven’t even met yet who are now part of my electronic dancing circle.  My friends, we span the globe: I heard from Bali, France, and Argentina, not to mention Mexico and California.  I’ve copied all your replies into one document so I can read it again when I feel discouraged. But I have to say that all together we are doing something more than just lighting individual candles in the darkness.

I was reminded yesterday of something that gave me great hope at the time, but there was a further lesson to be drawn from it:  there’s a business called Ocean Arks, that designs systems to deal with various kinds of water waste — like the Living Machines in Burlington and at Findhorn that deal with sewage.  John Todd designed a system for a candy company, to handle 10% of their waste…
“One Friday a computer malfunctioned and sent 100 percent of the waste in to the eco-machine, overloading the system.  “A godawful mess — foam, fats, oil, dead fish — everywhere,” says Todd.  Disgusted employees turned off the pumps and went home for the weekend.  But when they returned on Monday, the eco-machine had rebalanced itself.  “They were so startled by this self-healing; that’s what turned the tide and allowed us to continue with other projects,” says Todd, who confesses surprise himself.”  (from story in Hope Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004, written by Sarah Tuff)

This is Gaia, in small, an eco-system that’s capable of handling an overload of toxic stuff.  Humans created the mess, but humans also designed the solution and when they did something magical happened: nature joined the fight. One-celled creatures and plants and fish somehow cooperated to deal with the mess. Guess what, everybody – WE ARE NOT ALONE.  Even the algae are fighting to save planet earth. Nature is on our side and ready to help the moment we open the door — remember the 40 pound cabbages at Findhorn, and the rainforest that’s regenerating under the pines of Gaviotas.  There’s this huge process working toward health, awareness, consciousness, compassion – and it’s bigger than we are, big as the planet, maybe even big as the universe (Today I believe for sure as big as the universe) and our circle dancing community is part of it.  We are part of how the human community re-balances itself — we don’t have to know how, all we have to do is keep on doing what we do.


Vast amounts of love to all of you from Jenny at Neskaya