It is 7 am in the morning and instead of walking the already crowded Gran Via outside of my hotel in my short 15 hour stay here in Madrid, I am writing to you. I am sitting on the 8th floor of this trendy small hotel, writing to you because I have something to say. I have something to say and yet here, with fingers on keyboards, I struggle with how to fit an experience of mystery and wonder into the limiting confines of written words.
It is clear to me now, 13 months after stepping over an invisible threshold towards a deep time of listening and pausing from the majority of the work related world, that I have been deeply changed. There was a poem that I held as a prayer during those three days alone in the Superstition Wilderness last December, that asked a female Creator to remake me…mold me…bake me…knead me, “Bakerwoman God”. Now as I look down on a land I have never before glimpsed (now from 30,000 feet above Spain on my way to London in route back to the US) I realize that the yeasty warm soft dough of me indeed has been kneaded. I have been molded though there is no form that I was pressed into except that to which we might call mine, or freedom, or wild, and I have been remade. This required a dying to so many old ways of being....some of which I may not have even been aware of. How do I know I have died? Because something has arisen in me that I have never before known….I am unrecognizable to myself in many ways. Death brings what is new. Period.
I am a mystery.
What I must say to you now is that it is true that less is more and the more that we slow, the more that is accomplished.
My entire being now knows this. I am proof.
This place that I am most challenged to describe... that I could not even see nor trust while I was in the midst of my journey, is now, magically, in of me. Softly…and silently inside of me, like a molecular adjustment, Mystery made change happen, despite me. Yes, I had prayers and intentions and practices, but I believe that there is something unimaginable in the simple act of slowing down, that moves us profoundly. It is almost paradoxical…this notion that in the slowing or stopping, we are moved, changed, assisted…and if we are lucky, catapulted forward in a kind of transformational boost that we cannot define or understand prior to it or for me, even now, after seeing the results.
I have vowed that this practice of moving slower…making space…refusing to over fill my calendar, will be a forever practice. Yes, there will be times of the busyness of attending the world, like now as I fly at hundreds of miles an hour, but I am returning to my quiet small home to rest in the coming week and this will make for more visionary change than staying busy ever could for me. We are fed by the pause and that kind of spiritual nourishment feeds us forward.
In this international travel time, I have had the benefit of observing much and rather than my historical lean towards a kind of depression in the waste and madness I see in the busy world, something new is germinating in me now. ..it is a kind of active hope, as Joanna Macy names the fertile ground of a visionary experience that kindles a kind of new possibility for action. I am returning now from the Canary Islands where I was gifted, challenged, amazed, and widened by guiding a small group of world wide philanthropists…most of whom were global citizens living lives with unending demands with little connection to stopping, or time in nature. Our 5 days together opened perspectives for them that seem to bring another kind of global yet oh so personal vision for some. This time of looking within was rare for all of them, they told me, and they left with something different than they arrived with…they were playful, laughing, introspective and some were dedicated to a new kind of caring for themselves and the mysterious world we live in. This slowing…this pause….I believe has planted seeds that will offer more than 5 days of business ever could have for them.
Shifts in perspective are essential at this time….we all need to look inward at that forgotten world, and as well, we must look under our soles at our Mother home and remember Her. And we are reminded by our elder Joanna Macy, that remembering a perspective she calls Deep Time…that calls to mind our ancestor’s wisdom as well as the voice of future generations, is a crucial and highly supportive aspect of visionary work at this time. My co-facilitator, who is a business man, entrepreneurial coach, and planetary activist from Brussels, advises companies to leave an empty chair at the board room table as a seat for future generations. This idea of deep time inspired and excited these philanthropists….the buzz in our last process around this was visceral. This kind of pausing to remember, spurs action and promotes bigger possibility for change than most linear thinking. We only have to avail ourselves to this wisdom.
I return with huge gratitude and a sense that somehow with the change that is pouring into me now, I find that my arms’ extension has grown much wider…I have the privilege of touching people whose reach is immense and in so doing, my reach is much broader. . . even global.
My stopping grew me into a global activist.