May The Circle Be Unbroken
Damnit, it happened again.
I walked by a circle of stones I had created near an arroyo close to my home and noticed that someone had taken it apart. For the fourth time this month.
This circle, a kind of medicine wheel, has been my way of connecting with the four directions and elements; of remembering the power of earth, air, water, and fire. It’s a practice that was inspired by watching my friend Katya do this on the land we lived on a few years ago, and before that by another friend Sangsuree, who was the very embodiment of that power of the elements.
So here I was, on my morning walk with Lucy when I noticed that some mysterious person had removed the stones I had so carefully arranged – yet again. Some of the rocks were quite large and heavy. This person had gone to the trouble of lifting them up and carrying or throwing them across the arroyo. They had also removed all the smaller stones that encircled the tree trunk at the center of this circle.
The first time this happened about a month ago, I felt enraged. Who would do this? How dare they destroy what had taken me time to create!
The second time, that same fire flared up inside me and an indignant “No!” rose up from my throat.
Each time, I re-created the circle.
The third time it happened, I found myself saying aloud, “This place shall be protected and respected.” And I built the circle again. But something was shifting inside. On this fourth experience, I realized what it was. Rather than thinking of this as my circle, I began to understand that the circle didn’t belong to me, and yet it was worthy of protection and respect because it represented a sacred spot of earth that I was stewarding.
With that shift in perception came a shift in my reaction. Whereas earlier I felt angry about what happened and took on the re-development of the circle with a furious kind of vengeance, this time I simply accepted it as a practice of persistence and patience. This wasn’t being done “against” me, it was simply something that some person had done, for reasons I couldn’t know. What was important was my commitment to take care of that space and re-create that circle – as often as it would take.
I thought of the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, Native people and their allies who put their bodies on the line to stand up against the degradation of the Missouri River. How were they able to show up, over and over and over, in the face of police violence and extreme weather and so many other obstacles? What source did they draw upon for their strength?
That source is essential. If it’s limited to your ego, you’ll find yourself quickly drained of energy. When you tap into a deeper Source, you’ll feel sustained and even energized.
What is the well that you draw upon for your choices and actions? How do you find nourishment in the face of repeated challenges and obstacles? That makes all the difference…. Whether it’s in our individual lives, or in how we choose to engage with issues facing our world.
One way to strengthen your own connection to a source of nourishment is to take some time to clarify your personal vows.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings about this… feel free to leave a comment below.