Out of Africa
I'm just back form a three week pilgrimage to Uganda. In addition to leading a 10 member team offering dental and medical treatment to 400 children and adults I was able to convene a 2 day training that combined an introduction to The Journey and The Art of Convening. While the red Ugandan dust and the amazing warmth of the Ugandan people is still settling on my heart I wanted to share a few reflections.
1. The relational technologies of The Journey and Convening are applicable across cultural contexts. That is because they tap into the perennial stream of human experience and longing. Beginning with a recognition of the limitations of the "story", the path of transformation that meanders through the fields of practice, sacred experiences and co-creation is a common human path wether one is in Africa or New Jersey.
2. Context is key. Though the path of transformation may be archetypal, language, worldview, layers of cultural experience need to be respected.
3. People everywhere long to share their story, to be listened into being.
4. I am wrestling with the question of capacity to attend to processes of intentional transformation. How does Maslow's hierarchy of needs inform one's ability to give time and attention to practice? When one's attention and energy is focused primarily on aspects of basic survival how can one attend to the "pause"? Conversely when (in my context for example) one has the "privilege" of not having to search daily for potable water and nutritious food many still find it hard to find to time to practice pause. What effect does having relative easy access to one's basic needs have on the potential for transformation?
5. Related to these questions, I find Ugandans for the most part more grateful for the gifts of life. When it rained a few days while I was there my dear friend Caleb was so happy... "The rain reminds me that life will go on, that things will grow."
6. The "Invitation" on The Journey breaks open the heart and the story that is ALWAYS too small for the soul's longing. May my heart remain open to Love's invitation to work toward a world that works for all.
3/7/2020 07:15:25 am
Yes, I too have often thought about questions 4 and 5 which I believe are inter related. More and more, contrary to all Western and most human thinking, I think the African way of life is more core. It is much more a true and essential way of living than the Western way. All the old souls of this earth are African. We lived there for 3 million years before, just recently in history venturing out. We are all Africans essentially, but we are the wayward children, the prodigal sons. How can I claim African superiority in the face of the suffering and needs you mention? Because you can life more in a minute that is true than in a hundred years that are false. I think the trip every day by every woman to the well for water provides many moments of pause many more genuine moments than a commute on the beltway that is ugly and mean. Why then the death, civil war, genocide, starvation, disease and corruption? I am not sure, but I do not the perspective changes if you consider eternity. If you consider that the soul is outside of time. Then the questions are really the same; when do you choose God? When do you choose love? I think Africans, from the dance of smiles of the children to the pure powerful voices of their churches and their villages life truer lives and more Godly lives than most of the rest of the planet, especially, forgive me for being judgmental (but it is mine to say) this silly, up-tight, too often mean country of ours. Let us learn the love of Africa. Let us learn Umbuntu.
3/7/2020 07:34:02 am
A very good read. Thank you Cuz.....Keith’s was good also. You both are much better than I at putting your thoughts into words. Deep thinking....I enjoy the conversation.....I’ll be a good listener....and try to get more “pauses” in my life!
3/7/2020 07:53:51 am
I appreciate the questions and inquiry, Terry. The sensing I have is that we all have layers of resistances that impact our capacity and motivation to change. We often need the invitation to break us open to new ways of practice as well. That has been my experience these past few weeks, being out of my familiar context. I had little appetite for the old routine of contemplative pause and practice. I allowed myself to witness this with fierce love and non-judgement. And there has been a deep shift and reawakening of enthusiasm with the right injection of Divine light...
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Notes for the Way
This is a space for Journey Guides to post "field notes" and observations along the path.