RBA Newsletter 2017
Greetings from Valerie and Judy
“I stood in the dark and knew fear until I turned and saw that it was the love in my heart unexpressed.” Rumi
So much fear, anger and despair flooding the world these days as I stand in sadness, watching hope fade. Lessons from the past rise faintly…. the only way to counter this, is to flood your world with love and compassion. Eric Utne writes of his zeal and his certainty as he founded Utne Reader in 1984 that he would be assisting “the emerging culture, helping to make the world a little greener and a little kinder.”
Now, he is giving up hope and in the latest edition of that fabulous magazine, he describes how sometimes, despair overtakes him. His musings struck a chord in me….
“Now, there are times when I cannot locate myself. Nothing holds. Long-denied, painful feelings insist on being noticed. I search for something, anything with which to distract and busy myself – a goal, some direction, the promise of a worthy accomplishment (or at least a diverting amusement) anything to avoid the cognitive dissonance.”
He goes on to quote Joanna Macy who says “just as grief work is a process by which bereaved persons unblock their numbed energies by acknowledging and grieving the loss of a loved one, so do we all need to unblock our feelings of despair about the possible demise of our species.”
Utne continues: “now that I feel hopeless, I have been surprised to occasionally find myself feeling feelings that seem very much like hope. Hope when I meet young writers searching for words that serve life, hope when I meet young people learning to use their hands to plant, cook, build, make art and heal. Hope at the birth of my grandchildren and the children of strangers and friends.
“Perhaps this feeling is not hope at all. Perhaps it’s love. Love is active, something you make, moment by moment and day by day. Now when I feel feelings of despair for the state of the world, instead of shutting down or going numb, I open to it. The cracks are where the light gets in….. (RIP Leonard Cohen…. JB) I’m thawing, coming unfrozen and feeling feelings as if anew. Like hopelessness and love.”
These times seem to be calling for clarity and compassion…. clarity as to where I stand and what I am a voice for. Clarity in what I continue to do, wherever I am, with what I have.
Compassion, gentleness and living fully present with uncertainty and impermanence require application and commitment.
My year – long journey with Meg Wheatley and 30 others at Shumacher College in Devon, exploring what it is to be a Warrior on the Path for the Human Spirit, has been a stretch. A stretch in that I have been called to let go of any notions to which I might cling that I can transform, “make a difference” or contribute to large scale change in the world.
The Warrior work has been about being fully present to, with and in the world exactly as it is. It has been about developing stable mind and heart, living beyond hope and fear and facing deep emotions with gentleness and courage. And there has been lots of meditation and body work, sensory exploration and intuitive perception. It is proving good preparation for these wild times.
Here are some of the Warrior slogans that we have entertained this past year….simple to read and another story altogether to live into consistently!
1. First be friendly to yourself
2. Behind the gentleness is always confidence
3. Don’t fix, don’t avoid, just be present.
4. Don’t expect applause (one of my favourites!)
5. It’s no big deal either way
6. Savour the uncertainty
7. Abandon any hope of fruition (one of the more difficult ones!)
As the world explodes with reports of gender related violence, prejudice and struggle, myself and others have been busy with Gender Reconciliation work in SA, and India. Rites of passage for women will continue this year and I remain committed to training and empowering others to offer and facilitate these processes. We will offer two Vision Quests in this our 25th year. Whilst Renaissance Solar and Renaissance Business Associates continue as per usual, by the end of this year, both Valerie and I will be stepping back (a little!) from some of the work we do!
On a more personal note, we continue to share as best we can, this amazing home by the sea as well as the cob house which this month was fitted with a new upper roof! What a job and it could not have been done without Rob Roussouw and several others who laboured with us! Our love and thanks!
Daughter Kara and son-in-law Jared continue with their stellar careers in the UK and will shortly be visiting along with Neve who is coming up two. Yes we are besotted grandmothers!
Daughter Tamryn breezes in and out of our lives as her job as hotel manager on adventure cruise boats in the South Pole, the North Pole and Alaska has her working 24/7 for two/three months and then home for two months. She has moved her base to SA having been based in the USA for the past eight years.
Know that we think of you, remember you fondly and are grateful our paths cross again and again.
May you be kind to life and life kind to you in whatever shape or form it presents.
With love and courage
Judy and Valerie
Jan 12 – 22 Vision Quest
Feb 22 – 26 Gender Reconciliation Facilitator Training – Cape Town
March 18 -22 Gender Reconciliation Facilitator Training – India
June 11 Gender Reconciliation Taster – Stroud, UK
June 15 – 17 Gender Reconciliation Workshop – London, UK
Sept 20 - 26 Facilitation & Deep Listening Skills Workshop
Sept 30- Oct 3 Rites of Passage Facilitator Training
Nov 23 – Dec 3 Vision Quest
Jan 25 Feb 4 Vision Quest