It’s been about a day since Lily and I departed from New Culture Summer Camp East in Mt. Storm, West Virginia. We were there about 10 days, living and breathing in community, focusing on intimacy and connection and growth.
I want to write about it.
I don’t know how to do justice to what I experienced.
Inner Wise Woman, of course, has a response to that last statement: Oh, lovey. Go back to what you just wrote on Facebook. Put it here. Be messy. Let go of the shoreline.
Okay. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook:
At the library in Bristol, right on the very edge of the border between Virginia and Tennessee. It seems an apt place to be, in this liminal space. I’m trying to get focused enough to write a blog post about my time at New Culture, transitioning away (somewhat) from that mind-heart-body space and into “old” culture, but as Sarah reminded us during closing circle, we are in an ever-flowing river of experience. This helps me re-immerse in the current of What Is, my constant, devoted companion, this river I/you/we are in. I’m letting go of writing anything perfect in favor of the stumbling, dribbling, gushing, seeping movement/sound of my own voice.
‘Tis the gift to be simple and free.
Here is my offer to myself: to not get it right the first time. To allow myself to circle back and keep reflecting. To make every time I sit down to write a new beginning. To feel the unconditional love of the Source, no matter what.
When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed. To turn, turn, will be our delight, ’til by turning, turning, we come round right.
What is my piece of this turning? What is my current epiphany?
I was afraid to say it, at first, but I did. I said it in a public fashion. I took the risk of being misunderstood or ridiculed, especially by myself.
I am a goddess, I said. And this allows me to see the divine in each of you.
Wow, does the gremlin smack her lips and prepare to eviscerate me in glee, shrieking, “Narcissist! Egomaniac! Who do you think you are?! Are you now going to the woo-woo New Agey side in a fit of blind, ungrounded, irrational, bullshit bliss? Is it all about you and your vanity? Did witnessing the pain of the world flip you into some other totally disconnected dimension? Have you cracked in a whole new way?”
Well, yes, actually, I have cracked in a whole new way. And it’s not about self-absorption, although this mind-heart-body is what I have to work with.
I saw myself. I saw myself through everyone’s eyes, and I was, I am, beautiful, in form, in ether, in relationship, as an individual, as a dissolved piece of All That Is. I start here, with this I who is not really an I, this illusion of an I, and I feel it in my bones and fingertips and the soles of my feet, and it makes me dance.
I am a goddess, and I get to want things. I get to take myself seriously and very, very lightly. I get to play. I get to create. I get to take apart. I get to radiate. I get to uplift and honor the divinity in each being I encounter. I get to contain every emotion, every thought, every sensation that has ever crossed my path. I get to witness the passion play unfolding before my eyes. Every bit of matter and energy that makes up Me in this form is endless, even after my human form passes. I am endlessly changing. I am the river that flows to the sea, and the sea itself.
This is power. Not the power of domination and exploitation, but the power of presence, collaboration, co-creation, all art, all music, truths unveiled in their infinite shapes. Sometimes the power is a mother, the Mother of all Mothers. Sometimes she is utterly terrifying. Sometimes she pulls us apart in order to reach the essence underground.
I couldn’t tell you exactly how this coalesced for me at camp. I think I have been preparing for this for a while, and maybe it was enough to be among people with a radical willingness to Show Up in order to facilitate such insights. I saw myself, and I saw others, and I witnessed the shifting dance of separation and no-separation. I get choked up with gratitude at such courage. I know this is the spirit that moves culture. I know this is our practice to manifest abundance, freedom, and justice in the world.
May we all know our own power and magnificence. May we own it. May we have others to remind us of it when we forget.
Our beauty transcends our speckish selves and fills the sky with a billion stars.