I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.~Dawna Markova
Dear Springhouse community,
When I drive to Springhouse, I pass a small pond on a little dirt road. It is now a ritual for me to look out my window to see if the blue heron is there. This blue heron is magnificent. Sometimes I pull over just to watch her. When she takes flight and flies over my car and me, I take a deep breath instinctively. She reminds me of what is real and wild.
Several months ago, my neighbor put a bird decoy on the edge of the pond to draw in more birds – a plastic blue heron sitting on the edge of the shore. As strange as it may sound, every time I see the blue heron sitting next to the fake bird decoy, I want to cry. It’s not really about the bird decoy; rather it’s about something much deeper, something I have faced in myself and mourned in our culture for decades now, and that is: Illusion is a powerful thing as is the denial or ignorance that cements a belief in it. Much more powerful than the human will can reckon with. Illusion can be life-giving – inviting us into the unknown worlds of our imagination and connecting us to life in creative and authentic ways. I think of all of the theater performances, exhibits, and stories I have inhabited and how they brought me alive. What grieves me is the kind of illusion that sucks the life out of us because it confuses what is artificial with what is real. This can lead to a painful, lonely existence for a person and a culture.
I co-facilitate a course at Springhouse where we are learning the difference between regenerative culture (where life is at the center) and a monoculture (where money is the center). I am thinking about facilitating it for adults – please let me know if you are an adult who would join me. There is a global story that tells us that money is at the center of our lives – a plastic heron, so to speak. If we look closely at that “heron,” we can see that certainly money is one facet of human culture, but it is not at the center of life. We have sat beside that story long enough now that many of us believe it – so much so, that we have created systems to solidify these strategies of denial and ignorance that perpetuate illusion and artificiality, rather than wake us up to what is wild and real. We are sitting next to the plastic heron thinking it’s real, and we suffer, as does this planet.
To walk away from the plastic and move toward the living, breathing, wild takes getting lost long enough to hear what is true; risking our significance like the poet Dawna Markova invites us to do; and paying attention to what is needed in this world (starting with our families and communities). Many of us have not learned to trust this, and instead, hold tightly to the plastic bird confusing discomfort with safety and valuing security more than truth. We invest in survival and management strategies rather than those that support our thriving (some of us more than others).
Springhouse is a school for regenerative culture builders – a school for teens and adults. It is no small task to live an authentic life, to reclaim what is real for us and live from it. We need places to practice, not just to talk about it. Especially adults. Springhouse is a place where we adults can get lost together, listen deeply, and see what is calling to us. What we are called to is not only for us, but it is the gift we give to the world. Join us in our work with adults, whether that is deepening into the mystery of yourself, or learning how to grow more vitality in the world – we stand ready to support you and learn right along with you.
Here’s to creating the world we want to live in, starting with ourselves. Thank you for all of the ways you participate in Springhouse.
Gratefully and with love,