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Cultivating Light, Honoring the Dark

It is a brilliantly beautiful winter day. The air, freshly cleaned by the blessed rains, is cool and suffused with the morning light. The days are shortening as we approach the Winter Solstice.

I am reflecting on this time of cultivating inner light in the gathering darkness. Coming together in celebration, lighting candles, expressing love for one another. Nurturing ourselves with time for reflection, for quiet, for going inward. Honoring the beauty and mystery of the dark, and of contemplation.

I am thinking also about another type of gathering darkness, the shadowy landscape of those forces that leverage hate and fear toward divisive cynicism and short-term political gain. The seemingly unchecked, fatally flawed, distracted consumption wreaking havoc on the inextricably linked bodies of human and non-human beings, and the Earth herself. The inertia of ingrained force of habit, the allure of profit, and the compulsive acquisition of material possessions that is selling the possibility of our children, our grandchildren, maybe even ourselves, having a future that is not scary.

We are living in a precious moment of epic proportions. It is time to lean into the work of healing the darkness in each of our hearts, our communities, our ways of living and being. We can remember and reclaim ways of living that are in grateful reciprocity with the life giving Earth. We can bring ourselves back into balance and wholeness. We can ripple healing out through our communities in the way we hold each other, speak to each other, tend and befriend each other. We can learn how to grow food and make medicine. Now is the time to cultivate these skills.

On this beautiful December morning in the Commonweal Garden, the Permaculture class is reveling in the magical complexity of soil. Children are delighting in seeing the sprouts reaching up out from the seeds they planted in the last class. Singing and playing, learning and tending, Adults and children layering rich materials from neighbors' horses and our bunnies with food scraps with the Garden's woody and trimmed offerings, into the beauty of a compost pile, thereafter to enrich the soil. Here, we are cultivating essential, regenerative skills that will serve us well as we prepare for the times ahead.

Last weekend, our third Art of Vitality circle convened for our Winter weekend. As we weave strong, loving connections with each other and Nature, we are able to peer into the places, the behaviors, the limiting ways of being that need healing. We joyfully experience our wondrous beings' capacity for resilience, for connection, for presence. We feel the vitality and bliss born of yummy nourishment and from dancing to soul-enlivening music. We can face life, and death, with grounded openness to possibility and appreciation of the wonder of it all.

As we courageously face the time of collective reckoning, of seeing that which we and our forefathers have wrought, we have a sacred, noble, and essential gift of an opportunity. Now, in these remaining days of a semblance of stability, we who love the Earth, humankind and the innumerable and precious living creatures here with us are leaning in. We are turning away from consumption and degradation and toward regenerative wholeness. Giving to the Earth. Curbing our consumerism. Expressing gratitude. Loving one another. Unplugging and reconnecting. Holding hands and learning the flowers (and how to make medicine from them). Living lightly and holding this great weight with as much lightness and love as humanly possible.

I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to be alive now and to walk the path of service with so many wonderful, beautiful beings. Please join us.

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