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