photo by Amy Lenzo
I recently returned form a month long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area visiting with friends and re-connecting with my network of colleagues there. Since I left Germany in 1985 I lived in the Greater Bay Area off and on for 15 years. It was great to be back in the place that has cradled and enriched my life over so many years. It felt deeply comforting to drive along familiar roads, rest my eyes on the San Francisco skyline driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, participate in conversations that have familiar rhythm, and to visit the local health food shop in the town I used to live.
While there I participated once again in a three-day Solstice ceremony/retreat that brings together a special group of cultural creatives who all are dedicated to living their true vision and calling in the world. This experience is guided by a core group of people from PathFinders, Marilyn and Bill Veltrop, and Resonance, Pele Rouge Chadima and FireHawk Hulin. This group is committed to holding this retreat for 20 years with each year exploring one aspect of the Mayan 20 count. This was my third year.
During these retreats we activate our creativity, our insight and our deeper selves through play, sacred ritual, time spent carefully listening to another uncovering the deeper messages that are in need of saying, dance to the tree of life, and walk silently through the nature scape of giant redwood groves. Every year we end our time witnessing one another speaking our commitments for the next cycle of the sun. These final moments are always very vibrant as we gather outdoors where the majestic redwoods are our witnesses too. For those of you who are familiar with my blog may recall my reflections on last year’s Solstice Retreat and the commitment I made then. This commitment has powerfully shaped my life.
This year in particular I reconnected with my joy. Through the many finely crafted activities I was able to freely share my story about my life here in Australia, to dance with friends as the spirit moved us, and to push the edges of my comfort zone as I explored the element of water and emotion during an improvisational performance. These experiences drew out three aspects of my inner life—the Child, the Mother and the Lover. Seen as archetypes, the Child, The Mother and Lover are by their very nature multifaceted and complex. All of them have an inherent joy and relating to them consciously and nurturing them they can positively energize my life. My commitment for the coming year is to honor them and put their joyful energy to good use.
the Child stands for the future generation and gives rise to the purpose of my effort - the why
the Mother stands for the Mother Earth and the Great Mother that holds all and offers faithfully her service to the world - the what
the Lover stands for the creative and embodied expression and ignites the process by which I create and share my offering - the how
Strangely enough, at the end of the retreat, I also experienced that having connected to my joy I was also strengthening my capacity for idea generation, map making, and synthesizing. I am very thankful to be able to align my knowing through my body and self-expression with my imagination and thinking processes in a new way. I am currently designing the next phase of my professional life and I am grateful to know that I can better access these inner resources through the practice of joy. I welcome the invitation to open so much of who I am to the experience of greater joy. Why not?