Deer Valley, Utah
March 28, 2007
A group of mostly strangers gathers in a tucked away lodge behind closed gates and at the foot of a generous mountain where the whiteness of the snow creates the illusion that tiny people are gracefully gliding down the folds of a woman's wedding dress. On this snowy weeks end, two conveners host a small gathering to explore what is possible at the intersection between transformation of community and the transformation of consciousness.
The stated purpose of this gathering was multi-faceted; some of those facets were clearly articulated while others emerged in the process of the event:
"First was the invitation to give language to processes and ways of being that ensure the world works to benefit all peoples. This first layer was filled with provocative questions:
- How do we name this territory? All of us coming to this gathering and in this room are here because we believe we have been in that unique space where activism and consciousness intersect—but we have different names for it. Are we referring to the same thing? What is it? What language do we use to describe it?
- What are its attributes? We recognize this territory when we are in it, but it is somehow still illusive. What is the deep nature of this place?
- How do we recognize others who are also in this space? Who else is here and how do we recognize them? Who are the kindreds?
- How do we invite others in? What does it take to make this zone visible, accessible and understandable to others?
Second was the invitation to be the change to which we are calling for in the world.This meeting brings together a small group of leading generative thinkers to truly listen to one another and the world and give language to processes and ways of being that have the world works for all. We invite you to explore how we consciously align ourselves with this forward evolution of humanity that allows us all to discover and share our unique gifts, experiencing an unparalleled shift into the “beingness” of love, integrity, oneness, and possibility."
Sometimes I am perplexed about what to do after an event like this. In the past I had an authentic desire to want to stay in-touch with all the people at a gatherings like this but now days, I find myself much more discerning about with who I want to invest my energy. Of course this says more about me and where I am at in my life than it ever says about the gathering itself or the people in attendance.
A few days after the gathering I wrote a text describing my experience at the event. I hope it is of some use to the conveners, I know the reflection and writing process was helpful for me in making sense of why I accept going to these types of gatherings that do not always seem to have a very clear outcome. The conveners were gracious about accepting my comments and I know they received my words with the good intention in which they were written.
In the end, I still do feel a strong desire to stay in touch with some of the folks who attended the gathering, and yet, all the energy I can muster up to now is only to send them a poem that I wrote many years ago that I think captures how I often feel after a gathering like this. Here is what I sent them...
In 1998, at one of the first gatherings where I met so many people who walk this path for liberation with me, we were asked to write a “message” to a group of fellows who were ending a two-year fellowship program with one another and whom we were celebrating. I wrote the poem below. It is one of the many sentiments evoked in my reflection of the less than 72 hours I spent with the folks at this Utah convening.
What I Would Have said to Dorothy Had the Scarecrow Not Been Around or What I might Say to the Fellows at a Fork in the Road
by Raquel Gutiérrez, August 1998
what do you say to someone at a fork in the road?
nothing, I believe, other than “listen”
listen to your breath and the breath around you
wait for that wind to wash over you
entering your ears
listen to your actions and the way it moves
the air around you and others
understand action like water
can produce a crushing wave or a soothing wash to the shore
with the same quantity of water
it’s all about the tilt of the earth
your earth center.
listen to your heart, beating
a rhythm capable of producing
lullabies of love to a baby
and a drum beat moving others to dance
and others to run.
listen to your faith
the unknown, known only at
the point where
essence and practice intersect.
listen to your sadness and from where it comes
recognize it for what it is
feel its importance in the moment
then, let it go so it can take
its proper place in the universe.
listen to where others are walking
and be assured that although
we may not choose the same path
we are on the same earth
and our paths will intersect
even if it is through the lives of others.