Aligning of the Souls

this is cross posted from OlyBlog:
The Aligning of the Souls gathering was great. Many stories, prayers - and jokes - were shared amongst the participants. The gathering kicked off last night (Wednesday night) with a potluck meal and the sharing of prayers and stories relating to the topic of healing and peace in the wake of the horrible events of September 11, 2001. Some people sang songs or read poems, some people told stories and shared wisdom, everyone listened.

This morning the gathering continued at dawn (Thursday morning, September 11, 2008) with the commencement of a day long continuous heart beat drum rhythm. We prayed for peace and healing as the cool and foggy air and mist of dawn gradually gave way to a brilliantly blue sunny and cloudless September Eleventh day. A ceremonial fire was lit in a very special outdoor fire place. The fire burned throughout the day, carefully observed, attended and listened to.

Many wonderful prayers were shared. I often times wish that I had recordings after such events, because it would be good to remember and know the specifics of what people said. However, although I may not remember the specific words, the feelings are very present - and I know they will always remain so, with me. The feelings will stay true to the original intent and meaning of the words. (Maybe this is how de ja vu works - i.e. specific emotional memories trigger thought memories.) It was a full day and night of remembrance and holding the hope of healing and peace in a vigilant way. It was a great experience and I am glad that I participated.

The theme of the gathering was Living on the Bridge from Fear to Courage. It was relevant both in a societal sense and also on a personal level, for me. I appreciate approaching the horrible events of 9/11 and the following disasters from this perspective. Moving from fear to courage: how can we learn from fear - acknowledge it and understand it - and choose, separately, to act, instead - not out of fear, but out of courage, and love. Fear can knock me down. But community can give me courage - song and dance, sharing, holding vigil and vigilant drumming, awareness and consciousness and conscientiousness raising, conversation, intentionality - these can further the cause of courage and give me (and perhaps you too) the strength to act despite fear - or to, even better, eclipse fear entirely, or even better yet, to replace fear with love, pure and simple.

Again, many people shared many beautiful and deeply meaningful stories. I wish I could share them all with you! But I will share a couple of my prayers, which I shared with some who were there. First off, in the morning I asked the sun for strength to carry us and help us through the long day of presence, to stand by us in vigilant witness - witness to and of the will for healing, and of the will for peace.

Another prayer that came to me was to send positive regards to all of the people whom are in positions of power, people in places like Congress (and public officials generally), in the media, and in other positions of power (spiritual, religious, etc.) to ask them, and support them (lend them courage), to ask the appropriate and perhaps difficult questions about the horrible events of September 11th, 2001. For example, when did the US Government stop providing Osama bin Laden with material support to conduct his activities? ... I prayed (and I continue to do so) for those people (in positions of power) - and I send them my positive regards in hope that they will have the courage to stand up and begin to ask these important questions.

I also prayed for peace and healing and relief for those whom continue to suffer as a result of the horrible attacks of September 11th, 2001 (and any other related incidents as well as any incidents which are similar in nature.)

Many people died. Many families lost loved ones. I pray for those who lost family and friends. I pray that they may find healing and peace - and even perhaps somehow come out of this experience as somehow improved - better somehow, as a result of all this horrible pain and loss, this tragedy and madness.

So, out of such a terrible event such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it may be something beautiful can be birthed. A phoenix may, out of the ashes, rise. I pray for that. I pray for the birth of a culture of true peace and respect, based in love (not fear.)

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Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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