I sit in many circles.
A professional circle with two powerful women who have created businesses rooted in their passions.
A circle of moon sisters who watch and listen to the cycles of the Earth and the rotations of the moon.
Circles of retreat participants who are called to adventure, learn, nourish, heal, and be together.
Circles of family breaking bread.
Circles of friends…
at the table into the night,
on the side of the trail snacking before the descent,
in the raft amidst the waves,
hunched over the map planning the route,
watching the flames dance in the dark,
with feet on the old chestnut porch railing (so maybe that’s a semi-circle, but the other half of the circle, the trees and ridge lines in the distance, are just as important).
Circles in classrooms, conferences, trainings… with other students of life.
Even Online… in social media groups and any platform where every voice has an opportunity to be heard.
I feel humbled by these many circles, each of them representing gifts that are offered to me.
Can I slow my own thoughts, my own need to be heard or seen, my formulation of a response, or a need to speak? In order to listen… and then to hear... to witness the wisdom in all places and people, no matter our level of agreement. To be curious about who this person is. To love them with my listening.
I have recently finished co-facilitating my fourth Art of Self-Care retreat, with this particular retreat being the most personally impactful. Was it that the retreat was overnight and more fully removed from daily life? Or was it that Anna and I have familiarized ourselves all the more with our curriculum and it was possible to provide more flow in the experience? Is it the time of year, the delicious slowing into fall? Or… maybe it was the timing of this particular weekend, amidst significant transition in my life, but also at a time when I am coming more into a state of beingrather than seeking. I feel my body slowing into what some might call patience, but that would imply that I am waiting for some end, for some outcome, some destination. I feel it as a slowing into trust, an enhanced ability to observe all that comes and goes, and not get too attached to any one state of being, to any one emotion (be it enjoyable or agonizing). Rather to experience each phase, each stage, each moment, as something that will come… and then go. To receive it all… and see that even though some of the moments feel they will never end, that in fact they will. And with this, I can engage more fully in the listening…
I offer these affirmations as a way to support our practice of listening to the circles in our lives:
I can listen to other people, there will be time for my voice
(and I will have something more relevant to say after listening).
I can listen to the wind in the leaves, I will get there when I get there
(and I will be less scattered when I arrive five minutes late than if I hurry on now).
I can listen to my body and breath in the morning, I have the rest of the day to get to the list
(and will be more productive as a result).
I can listen to what I want, other people are capable of managing their own lives and naming their needs
(and they don’t need me to please them).
I can listen to my deep soul’s desire, and seek to fulfill it
(and be distracted by less along the journey, and more greatly attuned to the way the adventures and pursuit shape and inform my desire).
In the season of slowing and simultaneous holiday celebration, I wish for you the opportunity to be in circles and to give yourself the gift of listening…to others, to the earth, and especially to yourself.