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RBA Newsletter 2019

January 2019

Greetings from Valerie and Judy

The Moment

The moment when, after many years of hard work and a long voyage, you stand in the centre of your room, house, half acre, square mile, island, country, knowing at last how you got there, and say I own this

Is the moment when the trees unloose their soft arms from around you, the birds take back their language, the cliffs fissure and collapse, the air moves back from you like a wave and you can't breathe.

No they whisper, you own nothing. You were a visitor time after time, climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.

We never belonged to you. You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.

From Morning in the Burned House - Margaret Atwood

Today is Thanksgiving. Yes I have managed to begin this newsletter well before year’s end!

Thanksgiving – marked as a time for actively infusing the world with gratitude, mercy and grace. I almost slipped up and wrote "our" world...which in Margaret Atwood's poetic view, is a falsity.

Making meaning out of these times is like dancing on scorching desert sands....the joy, the creativity, the freedom of the dance can be lost in the heat and the burning need for self-preservation.

Some will call these dark times, others will be driven to “pathological optimism” as they try to understand this muddle of human affairs. One thing we can surely own - which few are keen to do - is the global mess!

Having spent two months in the UK, there to welcome and help as Aerin, second grand-daughter, came into the world, I could not avoid being gripped by the Brexit drama. Some who voted leave, are now pondering their choice as they learn more of what Britain’s divorce from Europe will entail. Making choices and decisions from places of fear, prejudice, ignorance and self-protection usually don’t end well. Theresa May has my respect for her resilience in getting the deal she has brokered in the face of loud opposition.

The poem above caught my attention as my relationship with ownership was in focus this year. The cries of “take back the land” began in South Africa  at about the time my family of origin marked 100 years in Uitkyk, the old Cape Dutch house that remains a landmark above Fish Hoek beach alongside the Indian Ocean. A few women of diverse lineage, gathered for a simple ritual of gratitude which also contained the sorrow of privilege and inequity. We spoke our different stories…. gratitude for the paths our ancestors forged and for all that has been given at many levels, by those who have gone before. In my case it includes this heritage house.

There was profound sharing of what had been taken or lost, as opposed to given, for some in our circle. We connected with the plight of the world’s refugees, the terrifying act of leaving and losing home to find another. It felt noteworthy that in these times of impermanence, this old house spoke to a permanence never anticipated.

This particular April evening was followed a few weeks later by a large gathering of family and friends who, with champagne and chocolate cake with 100 on it, remembered the auction of 1918 when the Mossop family bid for the house that looked very different to what it does now. Judy

Valerie writes….And now it is December and we have welcomed here, the next two generations – our daughter Kara, son-in-law and their two children – one just three months old.

We trust that they will inherit and so the legacy continues. How blessed are we to live with them and be so intimately in their lives as they join us  for who knows how long.

Mentoring and eldering, being a part of wisdom councils, and a rim-holder, continue to keep Judy engaged in one-on-one work, groups in the field of gender justice and reconciliation and more recently with faculty of an interfaith organisation working in Northern Ireland and the UK.

The Warrior journey continues with some 150 people having engaged with Meg Wheatley in different configurations, now making up the Warrior Concerto!

Chogyam Trungpa’s words remain germane….” We cannot change the way the world is but by opening to the world as it is, we may discover that gentleness, decency and bravery are available not only to us, but to all human beings.”

0ur 75th Vision Quest happened in November and yes, we will run a couple more. How thankful are we for Lucille Greeff who stepped into the breach when Judy could not be back for the preparation and mountain-time. Working with Lucille for over 3 years now, beginning totransfer this work into her hands, has been a rich, and profoundly special experience. She is more than ready to take this on.

Renaissance Solar continues and moves into new areas with larger building developments and Photo Voltaic installations.

As the New Year approaches, may it be a less turbulent one for us all. But it is unlikely, as we now need to get used to living in these wild and wonderful times.

2019 Dates that we know of as of today!

  • Year-long Gender Reconciliation Immersion and facilitation development: starting first quarter of 2019
  • Second Half of Life process – four days in September in the UK
  • Deep Listening and Facilitation Skills process 6th – 12th October.
  • Vision Quest:   21st November – 1st December 2019

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