About two months ago my courageous dear friends Angela and Molly invited me to join in an offering they felt drawn to create as a kind of care package honoring the refugees of the world. They asked me if I would stitch it into a ceremony…to bring my great love and respect for ceremony in to surround and hold sacred their offerings of poetry, photography and story. Their hearts were trained on the refugee crisis and they were choosing to both bear witness and in so doing, not to avert their gaze, no matter how painful it became.
They wondered if I felt drawn to join them.
I immediately said yes, mostly for my love of these women and ceremony, with less attention given to the topic for which this would be a benefit….the global refugee crisis.
As the weeks tumbled onward, I began to notice just what potency this act had. I have often playfully warned people who sign up for one of my transformational programs, that the work begins the moment you say yes to coming. I am reminded now just how true this is. It was happening to me. This yes, to creating and holding ceremony for such an immensely rich offering, has worked me…it has called me to task…to look, to listen, to feel, to be stunned by the immensity of this crisis…to be slayed by my own descent that I hardly recognized nor knew how to be inside of while I was mired in it. Isn’t it strange how a woman can guide others in such moments in time but when she is abducted by that very same abyss, can find herself absolutely bewildered inside of it?
Day after day I found myself wallowing in…in something I could not identify. I found myself fascinated by the question of my inner refugees…my inner homelands…my sense of being an exile for so long.
I read things like the fact that there are 65 million refugees and displaced humans in the world at this time and that annually less than 1% were resettled.
I watched my friend, Angela be pulled to the greek island Chios to bear witness at the refugee camp there last year and work to serve the people there.
I was chewed up and swallowed by words:
REFUGE … TO SEEK REFUGE.
What is it like to be unable to find refuge?
To climb aboard a small boat with all your family, often not knowing how to swim, open and exposed to waves and elements, with little food or water, in hopes of making it to …somewhere "safe"?
What was it like to be forced to leave one's home and life to travel long distances, often by foot, to a place where the people didn't know your language or understand your ways?
I was stirred in a pot so big and so hot that I couldn’t lay any sense upon it.
So I swam and swam in the pot…swirling, adding salt water, bubbling and fuming.
I could find no recipe to follow…no bowl to be spooned into.
This crisis is both a global epidemic and an extremely personal one.
Those of us creating this event asked ourselves, “how DO we bear witness?”
How do we bear it?
The grief and heat of truth simmered in us.
Making ceremony was one answer and we do it because we don’t know how to bear it otherwise. We realized we had to offer up what we could with beauty, and enter consciously into a communication with something greater.
As I cooked in this invitation to bear witness in these times to the so muchness of pain in the world I realized how huge this task was.
For the majority of our existence on this planet humans have done this witnessing. As awful it has been for countless humans to witness their families, animals, homes and villages in their breaking and demise, suffering and torture, it is entirely different now to do this globally. This is the first time in our existence that we have had to somehow find the strength…the muscle…the kindness and love and compassion in us to bear witness to an entire world that is in so many forms of pain, despair, upheaval, loss, destruction, extermination, suffering and dying. With the advent of technology we were bequeathed an immense task…to bear witness to loss far beyond our own...to see it globally.
I squirmed under the weight of this charge.
It is so much easier to avoid (especially with technology)…leave the news off…turn away from that which causes too much pain; that which especially triggers my wounds...to turn the channel.
It would be easier…
but at what cost?
What muscle might we build in confronting the pain?
Perhaps this is the essential muscle for our time.
What if this is so deeply personal that in facing it we will heal our own pain as well as touch the world's?
He speaks 7 languages.
Below is our flyer and you can make a donation of any amount at www.facesofdignity.com. Every dollar makes a difference.
No amount is too small.
Every kindness makes a difference.
Please join us…We would relish your support, as would the world.
Be welcomed to share our flyer with any friends you have that would be
interested in coming
or in donating.
We had to do something…
this is it.
“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.”
– Leo Tolstoy