we sat in a circle around her on the cold, hard linoleum floor… leaning forward just enough to catch her words – magical, mythical, mystical words that rose in esoteric verse.
all the while, we sat perfectly still in the dark
and the candle flickered
and her face was all-aglow in light and shadow.
as a young girl, i would spend my summers in the rural mountains of greece. they were times filled with discovery, simplicity, connection and much magic. the air tasted of chamomile and honey and the crooked arms of ancient fig trees sheltered us from the harsh afternoon sun.
the mountain was untamed … alive. and, it was the place where i came to know my self.
what i remember most are those moments where we would come together – gather around our grandmothers and grandfathers. each was so very different – so individual with particular flavor. but, they all united as one in their shared struggle – in being alive.
they told us stories of war and of faith – of fear and famine and death – and, always, a song of resilient chord would emerge.
humility. acceptance. gratitude.
we believed these stories with all our heart – we believed in the inner world that they illuminated and in the collective wisdom that they honored. they offered us a glimpse into the essence of who we really are.
and, there was something powerful about the way we communicated and connected – something powerful in how we affected each other and in how we attended to each other: holding hands during moments of unstoppable laughter alongside esoteric, liturgical chant – the sound of our one voice coming together … and all that it carried – a dialect rooted to the earth.
whereever we were, or whomever we were with, we were always in relationship – we knew what was important and we knew what mattered.
here was a space where we saw each other as we were – with shared affection … with shared breath; it was a coming together … a merging and an interacting that spun itself into one mighty thread.
and when we were alone, we communed with our soul – our imagination … with nature. we could sense our internal song with curiosity, trust and clarity. there was not much diffusion, intrusion or confusion here; obstacles were apparent to the naked eye.
… how i long for those empty moments turned full.
from here, now, the lens is wider and i’m still exploring that feral mountain but i’ve found my self with a different view: i’m still very much aware of just how untamed this life can be, however, the desire of reaching any summit has fallen away.
i hike along its many pathways, singing our song of unity and tasting honey along the way, and i can still hear the hushed tone of my grandmother’s voice as she recalled the many miracles of her life — how we would come together in the utter stillness and darkness of our room,
and how the light danced upon her face.
our life’s journey is an alter for communion and transformation.
when we are present for living – when we accept the untamable nature of spontaneous experience, without condition – empty or full – when we attend to the relationships of our internal and external conscious being, and when we awaken to who we really are, this is when we come together in harmony.
this is freedom.
moments become chords and chords summon the images and fragrance of our life.
* for more information on interpersonal neurobiology read and listen to daniel siegel, the neurobiology of we.
* for more information on spirit in education read: buddhism and human freedom, by sulak sivaraksa