The plans for our long-awaited co-becoming retreat go awry when I have a covid scare, but Julie says I don’t care, we two could go anyway. So we come together to Sorrento, the place where a thin and crooked finger of land separates the ocean from the bay. Water everywhere.
And in the void where plans have dissolved something new could form.
At the end of an exciting conversation where trust is built and connections made, a toast, of bubbled water with neighbour’s nicked limes, poured into wine glasses, a toast to the Bunurong, the elders, and to Buckley, the first arrival, who escaped from the Sorrento penal colony in 1802 and stayed behind when the English abandoned it soon after, Buckley who was taken in by Kulin and learned to belong, and more than belong, he gained stature and wisdom in their world and ways, a beacon to us of courage and deep listening. And we spoke aloud our witness, to the 220 years since, years of loss and grief, learning and healing, meeting and melding, becoming and belonging. And at the end, we toasted our intentions to work together to share practices with others – co-becoming – a delicate, clear listening to the more-than-human world.
And then we walked to Diamond Bay where the sunset lay spilled all over the water. Cliffs lit gold stood bright against purple-grey clouds, our shadows elongated upon the sand.
That’s where was saw the rainbow arching above the cliffs. Rainbow, cross-cultural symbol of spiritual transformation, because, when the rain finally stops and the world glows with colour, that’s the feeling in the body. Rainbow, the uplifting breakthrough, the bridge from earth to heaven.
And as we took leave of the sea a huge dragonfly alighted upon my heart, and rested there, travelling with us as we walked to the lookout. Dragonfly, fast and fascinating, iridescent and magnificent, a symbol to many of transformation, adaptability, luck.
These symbols are not arbitrary concepts, but accumulated experiences of humans living closely connected and attuned with these beautiful presences. This is how the flowing world works.
Sometimes magic just pours forth, and we swim in grace. Other times, we must call it up, through intention and skill. The co-becoming practice seeks to give some shape for grace to land within. Together, and with simple, bodily, heartfelt ritual, we open up to the more-than-human world, then wait, listening, and ask to learn. We write what we hear, and then we read aloud these words. The words that come feel like a gift for all of us – the combined learnings being far greater than what we could discover alone. We’ve dived into a clear pool of ancient, natural wisdom – this can happen when we can get out of the way – and it happens stronger when we can lean into the ecological intelligence of the group. We are always more when we can surrender our sense of separation.
We can, it seems, conjure some grace. But I must also say here that it feels almost risky to state, so clearly, such a thing. So much depends on getting out of the way, of removing the human from the centre, and allowing mystery, instead, to be there. To say that we’re doing this, that’s wrong. To say that we’re trying to be less doing, and instead listening, allowing, seeking the permeable, beautiful, and soft, that’s better. Three words that could also describe rainbows – another came to us on our journey back to the valley – a bright arch across the way home.
I feel so grateful to Julie Dawson, for stepping up, with such kindness and intelligence, to allow this work to emerge more fully. And now, luck upon luck, the wonderful Phoebe Rose Lines is lending a hand too! With the support of this magical little team, I hope to get better at getting out of the way, and allow this practice to find its people. Insecurity is such a bore, but a tricky beast to soothe to sleep! It wasn’t covid, but it was a nasty virus, and sickness is a great time for the inner-catastrophiser to snatch the reins. But now, with these great friends to support the work, everything is better. They’re both coming along to this Wednesday evening’s zoom info call regarding next year’s course – here’s the details of that HERE if you’re interested in learning more.
In the meantime, may grace land upon you in sweet and surprising ways.