Archive for Resonance

Solstice 07


I just returned from a Solstice celebration held in a redwood forest in the Santa Cruz mountains. This ceremony and its ‘Dreaming’ counterpart held in the middle of winter have become necessary bookmarks in my year, rituals of integration and relationship that bring wholeness and balance to the busi-ness of my life.

One of my favorites moments in this pattern cycle is the night we dance a prayer dance in a medicine wheel built into a meadow, surrounded by redwoods and anchored by a mother tree that must be at least 600 years old. People have been dancing to the Tree of Life for millenia and you can feel a sense of eternity and timelessness that comes like grace as we dance around the delicate Oklahoma Redbud, our ‘tree of life’,  hour after hour.

Leg muscles powered by the relentless beat of a large hand made buffalo skin drum (and the energy of the rotating team of drummers that keep this beat alive), the dancers alternately rush to the center and ebb back to the perimeter, again and again. Running forward with outstretched hands, raising our eagle feathers to bless the tree that stands in the center representing Life, we offer our gratitude for the gifts she’s given us all year. Then we dance back in equal rhythm, gratefully receiving life’s bounty and drawing it deep into our own centers, again and again.

When the drums have stopped and we’ve finished dancing, those who want to stay pull a circle of chairs close around the tree … She’s lit from below by a thousand candles encircling her base, long white ribbons that decorate her branches dancing in the night wind. We sit in long silence as the stars and moon move above us and the night whispers its secrets to the trees. I drink this endless moment like water in the desert, stillness pouring into my body like holy communion wine.

My deep gratitude to my companions on this prayer dance journey, and to the hosts and conveners of this beauty: FireHawk and Pele at Resonance and their partners Bill & Marilyn Veltrop at Infinite Games and Craig and Patricia Neal of Heartland Circle.


The other day I was having another mind-blowing conversation with Michael Jones where we were discussing being in tune with your audience. As a pianist, there is a quite literal aspect to Michael’s ability to ‘tune in’ to his audience, but even though the required skill is indeed musical in a very real sense, the instrument I’m interested in learning how to play is less visible. It’s more like another octave of my own body & psyche – scales I can reach and sound through my heart and mind and voice.

I can imagine this most clearly on a metaphoric level, as resonating or
vibrating within a relational field, slowing down to the speed of
discernment in order to access a ‘knowing’ about what note to strike in
any given moment. For me this is a multi-dimensional process – knowing
what is needed in order to be true to my own experience and express it
in an authentic way, having a sense of what is needed for others in the
group, and beyond that, getting a sense of what’s needed in the
relational field of the group as a whole.

This subtle discernment in the relational field is something I’ve been
inviting and trying to develop in myself for some time now, and one thing I do know is that it begins with a clear recognition and
acceptance of my own needs. If I can’t go beyond my tendency to
acquiesce to what I imagine is expected of me & suppress anything
that doesn’t fit that model, I can’t access what is actually going on
with myself or anyone else; if I am frozen by my own fears, I can’t
hear what others are afraid of, or what they will be inspired by. I’m
locked in a prison of my own making and can’t see or feel into the
larger field outside that imagined boundary.

And perhaps more tellingly, I have no connection to the core of creativity & originality in my that can actually carry my knowing out into the world in a way others can see and respond to.

So that’s where I’m starting; this is the seed I’m planting… slowing down, checking in with myself, listening carefully to what comes in return and then acting on it.

Never Shout at a Bear

This is the introduction to a true story about a dear friend of mine, Pele Rouge of Resonance, and her profound encounter with a bear while living in the wilderness a few years ago. It’s a fabulous story, written for children, about the wisdom of nature and it’s available now on DVD (the book will be out next year).

The DVD itself is absolutely beautiful, narrated by Pele with music by Gentle Thunder & illustrations by Finnish artist Outi Kuma – I recommend you pick one up for all your beauty-loving friends, but definitely get one for all the children you know because their young hearts & minds, especially, will thrive on nature’s truth, and this will touch them directly.

In this Moment

This last Friday Craig & Patricia Neal from the Minnesota-based Heartland were here for September’s  Thought Leader Gathering, the every-other-monthly invitational event that I help produce with the Neals & Firehawk & Pele of Resonance.

The conversation starter, Mal Warwick of BSR and SVN, was wonderful as each and every one of them have been since we started these evolutionary dialogues back in 1999, but it is immediately clear that the TLG experience goes far beyond the specifics of any given conversation starter.

What is happening at these gatherings is ‘presence’. The TLG calls us
to Presence… to be here, in this moment, with ourselves, with each
other, and within nature.

The methods are deceptively simple, as these things tend to be (after
all, Presence is our natural state), but profoundly effective. How many
of us regularly take the time in our busy lives just to ‘be’ together? To turn off our email and cell phone and tune in to the messages coming from our own inner being? How many of us have the deep pleasure of a community of peers where we have the opportunity to listen deeply to each other. To feel the fundamental connection between us as fellow meaning-seeking creatures, and the inspiration & catalytic impetus we can be to each other as a tribe of humans committed to making a difference in our world?

We sit in circle and speak our words, and listen to the words of others, and all the while alongside this profoundly satisfying level of connection and interaction, something else is happening. Our hearts are opening, and we are experiencing a deeper rhythm, a silent resonance between us. There is a calming of our everyday concerns and a re-alignment with the larger patterns that have a sense and reason that gives meaning and direction to the actions that will arise from our time together.

At the center of these gatherings, quite literally as well a metaphorically, is Beauty. Each time we gather, Firehawk and Pele bring abundant expressions of beauty – candles & fabric, stones or feathers or other ‘medicine’ materials from their cupboards & trunks, and flowers & plants & the all-important clippers with which they bring the outside in – and gather the elements into a beautiful patterm which is laid in a place of honor in the center of our circle. This ‘beauty in the middle’ is our anchor. We don’t have to speak it, it just is. Beauty calls us to presence, and shows us who and what we are at an essential level.