The Great Turning & Council Work

We are a people...a culture...a planet... in transition and transformation. We are being born. We are growing. We are dying. We are being reborn. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. But we are also collectively being cycled through a much larger process... We are all in another birth canal here on this planet...in the midst of a hard and long labour. We are in a massive mid-life crisis.

It becomes clearer and clearer to me that we are truly in what eco-philosopher Joanna Macy called the Great Turning, an intense moment (centuries-long) in the grand cycle of global evolution...revolution...

And of course, this isn't just something that's happening "out there". It's happening here. With you. With me. In our personal lives.

And in this moment, each of our own souls - our unique beingness, place and expression in this world - is being clarified...called to...called upon. We are being forced to examine our personal and collective shadows. We are each working with and through our piece in the mosaic.

It's impossibly hellishly hard and awful. And can be exquisitely breathtakingly beautiful. And everything in between.

It looks like health crisis, relationship crisis, housing crisis, financial crisis, cultural crisis, environmental crisis, death, devastation, suicide, murder, loss...and the reconnection, the rebuilding, the restoration, the reconciliation, the recovery, the revitalization...the re-membering and the re-enchantment of life. At some point, if/when we can, we pick up the pieces and we go on. But we do so having been sculpted and refined by the sands, waters, and winds of heartbreak, devastation, and loss...threrefore our lives become more transparent to our souls. And our hearts.

We are beautiful human beings.

Much of how I work and what informs how I move in the world, but also how I have and do navigate my own processes, has been and is supported by the work of Bill Plotkin, author of the books SoulCraft, Nature and the Human Soul, and his most recent book, Wild Mind (which I am looking forward to reading). I connected with his work about 10 years ago and it has been re-orienting my understanding since.

Earlier this year I felt called to create and support a monthy practice and ritual at Innerlife I have called Witnessing Circles: one for Women and one for Men. The first Circles were held in May and the last ones will be held in December of this year. We have 3 more.

This soulful practice would be considered Council Work, which Bill Plotkin defines as:

a way of empowering poeple to speak from their hearts, an ancient practice transforming the experience of contemporary group process. Council work enables us to open to the radical otherness of our fellow humans, in that way of knitting together true community, and supports us in accessing and expressing our most vital truths.

All Soul work is intimate and powerful work. And it's hard work. Uncomfortable work. Sitting in Circle and connecting to our inner worlds and sharing this with others is no exception. And the skills that are drawn upon and strengthened are critical to our human being-ness. But so is the experience of being deeply witnessed. Heard. Seen. Respected.

These Circles cultivate and strengthen the skills necessary for authentic connection. And they continue to grow me, stretch me, and blow my heart wide open. I have been deeply touched and changed by this sharing of hearts and souls in this time.