Mirrors in the Sunrise

Nervous glances are projected around a circle of 15 people. Looking closely at any other person in that circle, one can see the reflections of fear, doubt, self-consciousness, admiration, excitement and love. Look into her eyes and you will see yourself glowing back at you…

I was recently assisting on the School of Lost Borders‘ program, “Mirroring the Four Shields of Human Nature: The Art of Story Telling and Listening .” In this training, participants take intentional walks in nature,  exploring each of the four shields; these include a direction, season, element, life-stage and other characteristics that are encompassed by these natural cycles. Participants come back from their walks with a story to tell the group.  The stories are “mirrored” for each other- this is a way of  reflecting the story back to someone, to empower, appreciate and give insight to the person and his story. In this process, he feels truly heard and acknowledged; this process helps connect us to the circles of witnessing community and surrounding landscapes.

As the week progressed, the mirrors went from tentative insights to incredible performances of heart. A universal language was spoken; group members discovered deep ecological roots in the Earth, while branching out towards the stars and highest potential. By the last day, these natural cycles and expression of pure love created a sense of completeness and well-being.

It is difficult to describe this beautiful experience, yet I will try to illustrate some of its intimate complexities.  The last day of the training was based on the East Shield. This is the phase of the elder, representing birth and death. Characteristics  of this shield include creativity, enlightenment and formlessness. The East is the place of spirit, the element of fire and the Spring season. It is also the direction of the sunrise- that morning we woke up in the darkness to watch the sun rise over the Southern Rockies. During this time, I wrote the following poem:

 Arising in the dark
the sunrise is calling you. 
He hums his sweet notes 
of pink and orange 
tones of wispy white. 
The woodpecker taps his beak
like a typewriter, urging
reminding you to tell your story.
Within that story is the sweet sap
the nectar, the music.
Dancing to this Earth song
the chipmunk carries his seeds.
As the songbirds harmonize,
he dances his fear, joy, work.
He dances is wildness. 
There’s freedom here…WATCH.
The flowers tremble in the breeze
reaching towards the sun
rooting into the Earth.
They feed and are fed
with vulnerability and strength
just as they are…LOVE
A woman stands from her perch
feeling the crisp air numbing her toes
wanting to join in with the musical land.
Yet she is fearful
of what they might think
afraid to be heard, felt, seen…loved
She wonders what her people would think
if she sang with the land
if she rose like the sun
wrote like the woodpecker
danced like the chipmunk
and shook like the flowers.
Why am I afraid to be? 
Why resist the things 
our bodies were born to do?
The others do hear, sense, see
and unconditionally love
the sunrise, animals, plants and people.
“Just keep singing, rising, writing, and dancing your wildness”
they say, with their heartbeats, “for we too are wild .”
We will give each other permission 
to be who it is we really are.
We step with intent, into our true purpose
as mirrors
with reflection and gratitude
for the Sunrise. 
Each story that came back from that East Shield walk 

Why don't we watch the Sunrise every morning?

Why don’t we watch the Sunrise every morning?

was an individual expression of a collective experience. This amazing experience was mirrored with the great power of love. 

People truly connect with their inner and outer landscapes when they get the opportunity for these deep, wilderness experiences. The stories of such experiences radiate into the rest of the world when they are expressed and heard…mirrored…under the same sun. 


To discover the magic of Rites of Passage for yourself, check out the following link: http://www.educo.ca/summer-programs.php/11/new-adult-wilderness-rites-of-passage-course


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