I’m looking forward to participating and assisting again at another Women’s Mindfulness and Intimacy workshop with Nancy Mortifee.
This one will be held on the first weekend in March at Cascadia Retreats in Roberts Creek – on BC’s Sunshine Coast. A wonderful way to welcome the coming of spring in 2012!
And the news gets even better!
For this event Nancy is waiving her usual fee and so there is just the cost of accommodation and food, a meta-reasonable $150 for the 2 nights (Yes vegetarian option of course).
If you, or someone you know, would like to come, this is the best arrangement you could ever imagine! Especially since the next one will be at Hollyhock, and a far more expensive 5 day intensive.
If you’ve never attended one of these workshops before, don’t worry. Nancy’s approach makes it easy to engage right away. And we promise delicious food, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and great company.
I’ve found these workshops to be so incredibly satisfying and revealing, with deep understandings just naturally emerging from the depths. It is really great to share these experiences in a group of women, too. Something very good happens from it all, which is why I so enthusiastically endorse this process.
See more at Nancy’s newsletter
I was living in Calgary, it was the early 70′s, and I’d joined a mail-order book lending service called the Lucis Trust Library. They sent out lists of available esoteric books and you could borrow them for free. Slow process in comparison with today’s world of too much information, but the library is still functioning. In the list, along with all the Alice Bailey and other esoteric books, was a title that looked interesting with an author whose name looked “sufi” to me. In an Eastern Rose Garden by Inayat Khan. I was interested in the sufis, so took a chance.
A very worn and thick red book eventually arrived in the mail from New York. It had a beautiful prologue about the garden and the gardener, then selections of lectures. I was totally astonished at the depth of thought and simplicity of explanation. It was as if I recognized it all from before. I read and reread that book as if my life depended on it! The book had a photo in it, which I also studied each time I opened it. When the month was up and the time came to return it, I recorded some of the book so I could keep it – yes, reel to reel – I read it into the microphone.
For a moment I toyed with the idea of not returning the book. It was already very very old and had been read many times. The worn cover was falling apart, I knew it wouldn’t last. But how could I steal from an esoteric library? Bad idea. I packaged it up and mailed it back.
Then a friend found that there were more of the books, 12 of them! We set about ordering them one at a time, the hard cover Orange Volumes. How was I to know then that this would become a lifelong study, that I was to meet one of the students of Inayat Khan, Shamcher Beorse, and be initiated by him, or that I would come to meet both his sons, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and PiroMurshid Hidayat Inayat Khan? And of course, early in the process, learning that his name “Inayat” was not pronounced INayat (like “idiot”) but inAYat. Through this contact I’ve also met and learned from so many many remarkable people. All this contact emerged from the magical weaving of circumstances and events that is the sufi culture – a remarkable reality that infuses this so-called reality with the presence of divine guidance. From that time on, my life was carried along on the current of my soul’s true destiny. My story is not unusual. Anyone looking into these teachings finds life treasures and potentials to be unfolded through time.
It seems I’m coming late to the new year, and we are already half-past January. The wave-shift from publishing the book of letters is still in process, as I’ve had to change from editing and preparing the book itself, and put on a marketing hat. I just hope this marketing hat isn’t too silly-looking.
It goes against everything my mother ever taught me about good manners, but these times are very different. What used to be called “boasting” and was frowned upon, is now “self-promotion”. What used to be called “name-dropping” is now “networking”. The game has always been the same, actually. I’m learning to overcome the barrier inside myself that says “don’t call attention to yourself” “don’t outstay your welcome” and other such adages that were drilled into me at a very early age. Now some people hire others to boast for them – the PR people or the advertisers who do this for a living. Without embarrassment. I’m not able to afford that.
I realize I need to do it for the sake of the book, nothing to do with me at all. I can get my mind around that. I certainly feel no qualms about promoting, recommending, and lavishing praise on the work of others. I genuinely want people to see and know about all the books, movies, sites, objects, etc. that are wonderful to me, and I just naturally want to enthusiastically share them. But when it comes to my own work, I feel the block, and have to use inner force to move past it.
One way I’ve done it is by telling myself that this is for Shamcher and his work (which it is) and I’m just a messenger of that (and not the only messenger either.) This works for me. Another help is to realize, as I have, that I actually didn’t even write this book, it wasn’t written with an audience in mind, but was always an intimate correspondence. Even though Shamcher asked me to publish the letters someday, and he always saw the book somewhere in his mind’s eye, it didn’t make any difference to what we wrote to each other at all. We never wrote for the public. So with that in mind, I can promote the documentation of this relationship – not as a book about MY relationship but about the inner impulse and resonance of the abstract message behind and within the letters.
So maybe the marketing hat isn’t so silly after all. I’m just helping the book reach the people that would like to know about it and to read it….
And for me to think that my little feelings and awkwardness are more important than the message within this book – now THAT attitude is foolish – I’m the one that’s silly! The marketing hat can be graceful and beautiful – and for the next little while it is the required dress code for the day.
With my mum gone for a couple of years now, it’s especially poignant for me to hear that old saw, “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!”
When I was just a baby, my mother taught me to recite “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Word has it that I could recite it all until I got to “The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow gave a lustre of midday to objects below.” But here’s the thing: I was only a baby. I wasn’t even 2 years old – I was one and a half. She read it to me every night getting ready for Christmas and then I recited it with her, so she knew I had learned it. Then I just said it without the book. (Have I mentioned to you that I have ALWAYS been verbal?) So now when I think of the lovely rhythms and rhymes in the poem, how I learned the words in sequence, the patterns of the word rhythms, the meanings such as I could gather – not much at first but reinforced as the years went on, I am just so grateful that my mum took all that time to love me in that way.
Now when I use words, appreciate words, think or write, I have such gratitude to my dear and loving young mother who gave me that great gift. She was just 30 years old or so, and delighted in life. She really listened to what I said, and it brought out in me the ability to speak. She didn’t necessarily correct me but allowed me to discover what I was saying, what I was expressing, and affirmed it at source. It was a way for her to love me and for me to love her back.
Later, when I became older, adolescent and more secretive, thinking that I was so very different from her and her expectations of me, I held back my words from her. I didn’t tell her what I was thinking or doing. But by then I could write, and think, and read, for myself, or so I thought. Yet when I wrote in my diary, or had my private worded experiences I was actually building on the foundation that she had begun for me so many years before, singsong reading The Night Before Christmas, or encouraging a little baby to speak, and tell, and share. Not information, but rhythm, sounds, and love, in the beauties of the English language, with all its quirks and playful twirls and swirls. At the time I took it all for granted. All those words, flying through our hearts on the wings of love!
I’m excited! So many thoughts and feelings related to bringing this book of letters out into the light of day, and I’ll be catching up on that in the next while. But for now, here is a photo of me, a proud mama of the first box of books!
Wow. It’s been a long time coming….. and now I’m so very happy to finally have the books in hand!
What’s this book about? Find out more at the website for the book: Letters: Shamcher Beorse and Carol Sill, 1974-1977
My friend Jim recorded a conversation we had a few weeks ago about the elements and the divine feminine.
It’s now posted at the Meditation Techniques website, along with some commentary and context.
I really like the site, which has a variety of quick and easy techniques that anyone can do to find their way into meditation. We all know that changing your mind and heart and body happens at deep levels. These can best be accessed through inner concentration and meditative techniques that have been known down through the centuries by the sages and wise of all the religions and traditions. It’s great to see it becoming so accessible!
I thought I’d post the video here, too.
I’m sad today knowing that an old friend is close to his final passage, and that there is nothing I can do but send loving thoughts from a distance. I’m also sensing the collapse of my own history as it reconfigures to continue without his presence, feeling these shifts and changes. Memories of course come rushing in, along with understanding that as he lets go more and more of the life in the seen universe, he becomes a pinpoint in preparation to pass through the narrow gate. Dissolution or reunion? Natural reality reveals itself no matter what you may believe. This is the greatest human journey.
“I was a young man, back in nineteen sixties. You made your own amusements then, going to the pictures….” Incredible String Band.
It was an honor to perform the wedding ceremony for Deanne and Geordie this August, adapting the standard Sufi Universal Worship service to include their love of nature. We were on the gorgeous deck overlooking the ocean, with eagles in the evergreen treetops. Along with their wonderful family and friends, the ceremony was witnessed by all the beings of earth sky and sea who happened to be nearby.
I love being able to do this ceremony, and the others that are part of the Universal Worship work, first established by Inayat Khan in the 1920′s. Shamcher ordained me way back in the 70s in Edmonton, and since then I’ve officiated at weddings, baby blessings, house blessings, and memorial services, whenever asked.
Gastown is as quiet as any residential neighbourhood this Labour Day Saturday morning. Its like this every long weekend. We went to Hon’s for dinner last night and it was quiet and empty there, not the usual noisy bustling Chinatown restaurant.
This is my first time using the iPad wordpress blogging app and it seems fine. I certainly love the way the blog looks on the iPad, and will be changing my theme from the MacBook next time I’m in there. Lately it seems I use the iPad for pleasure and the MacBook for work, and since I got it I haven’t been blogging at all. But I have had fun with journalling using the moleskine app.
Next I’ll have to organize dropbox or something to find the photos I want to use. But for now, here’s a pic of the quiet street from my iPad camera, just for today, before I head out to the trout lake farmers market.
The appreciation of nature and our intimate connection is easily visible through an understanding of the essence of tea.
With a single plant, innumerable varieties of sustaining, stimulating infusions have been created over the centuries. The tea we drink today is the result of an ongoing interdependent co-creation between the tea plant and the human beings who cultivate it. In relation to landscape, weather and climate each harvest differs from the last. Keeping the tea experience the same for the end-user, no matter what the annual conditions, is a fine art. It is an art that includes the variations of influence much like wine. And with tea the variations within each batch reveal the intimacy between the grower and plant, along with the conditions of preparation.
The perfume industry created stable artificial molecules at the turn of the last century, so as to offer their clients the exact same scent without the instability of the natural molecules. Tea does the opposite, celebrating this natural instability. Uncontrollable, as nature is uncontrollable. What is stable one year is not so the next. Yet the game is to create recognizable and unchanging teas.
Because it is perishable, in many cases tea is to be enjoyed within a limited time frame, closest to its time of harvest. The tea drinker participates in the compression of conditions expressed by the leaves as recorders of that growing season.
One leaf infused in a cup of boiling water unfolds and expresses just this – and it is an exquisite Gaian technology born of the relationship between humans and plants. A microcosm.
A sip of tea is a sip of this natural information, once stored, now revealed by infusion. Where the leaf grew on the plant, soil, harvest, how the leaf is treated after picking, all innumerable arts of tea. Then the preparation of the drink itself, with its own variables of water type, temperature, pot and cup. Time of day, time of year, place: a variable environment of location, season, weather and time. Coming to the tea drinker – with emotional variables in play also, ready to match the infinite variety of natural information the infused leaf brings in.
I am amazed!