The Work of the Next 5 Years
A Letter From Deena Metzger
If we want to change our mind, we have also to change the means through which the change occurs. In the process of real transformation, everything changes.
I moved to Topanga on April Fool’s Day, 1981. It is good to start one’s real life with a bit of humor.
Many visions and ways of knowing have been pioneered here related to writing, healing, council, peacebuilding, revisioning medicine and developing true and profound spirit-based relationships with the natural world, the ancestors and non-human beings.
In 1981, I was just beginning to understand the way the stories we live can reveal the ways to meet physical and spiritual illness, and beginning to conceive the forms that led in 1999 to establishing Daré – an improvisational healing community based upon dreams, council and alliance with the Spirits. Last week several of us acknowledged this site as a Village Sanctuary for the Future. Though I could not have imagined the point that we have come to, I have always known that we must search for the forms that invite and hold the visions we are given to carry. And also that these visions need to be on behalf of all beings and the future generations.
More than ever, I am looking for the right flexible and generous forms to hold the necessary work that calls to be done in the next few years. If we are fortunate, the essential work we are called to in the next five years will be realized.
I have been devotedly following a dream since January 1, 2011. In the dream, I am to be trained to live and work as an indigenous woman, according to the old, old wisdom traditions. I am not to be trained in any particular way, but in the way that underlies all the old ways.
The seeds of the dream lie far in the past, so far back I can’t identify the beginning. But as everyone likes an origin story – (it’s like the Big Bang – all of life issues forth from it) – let’s say, the origin was 31 years ago when I first led a re-enactment of the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, and verifiably experienced the real presence of spiritual energy and spiritual intent outside of liturgy but deeply connected to great respect and rigorous devotion. This continues into the present, and I have based my life upon it. I carry two related and on-going question in the face of such continuous, unpredictable and radiant experiences: "What is true nature of the world in which such events occur? And how, accordingly, shall we live?"
The question of how we live is upon us as it has never been in the history of human beings. We have never been asked to entirely change our culture within our lifetime – actually, to change even more quickly. There are no formulas and culture is so complex it must be not be defined or limited. This is an impossible task and we must pursue it.
The ultimate goal is the complex vibrant restoration of the natural world in all its beauty and intelligence with the human species in right relationship to all beings. The ultimate goal is that all life thrives.
In 2010, I developed 19 ways to the 5th World. You can read them on my Blog and on my website. They are an index to the work that I will be doing in the next years. To work with me is to work in these realms in order to become adept. To work with me is to pursue the unique and mysterious ways of Council and true alliance with non-humans and humans as a primary way of restoration. To work with me as a writer, is to work with the intention of imagining and participating in a Literature of Restoration.
Emerging from a profound healing experience several weeks ago, I heard words in my mind answering a question I have been asking relentlessly: "We cannot tell you how the times will change on behalf of the restoration of the natural world and the restoration of sanity for human beings. These changes will emerge from myriad different, distinct, spontaneous activities on the part of so many human beings, they cannot possibly be predicted or articulated. But your task is to recognize the validity of your experiences over the years and so hold to the knowledge that the change will come if all of you are devoted."
I will be 75 on September 17th, 2011. I mark the day by going to Botswana in the hope of meeting The Elephant Ambassador for the fourth time. (See my website and/or my block if you do not know who he is.) I intend it as an act of reverence, deep respect and faith. After such a life as I have had the privilege of living, I make the journey gladly – an offering to the future.
Whether The Ambassador comes or not, something will occur that will reveal the purpose of this journey and the hope it carries. I am traveling with a friend who has also devoted her life to the animals and to consciousness. Things will occur that we cannot possibly predict. We yield to what comes. But she and I are thinking of ourselves, unexpectantly, as ambassadors to the future.
My husband Michael Ortiz Hill and I just spent a week in Canyon de Chelly and were graced by the Presence once again. A Story, as I have come to know Story in these years, manifested in such a way that I speak of it with the last lines of a poem I wrote at the Arctic Circle in Norway in 1996 when I was 60:
Rainbow as covenant
And Beauty has won.
In the light of such events, aware of the preciousness of time, I am trying to determine – by deep listening – the exactness of my work as a thinker, teacher and writer for the next five years.
As a teacher my focus will be on training and mentoring. This will occur, for the most part, between Sunday Daré and the next Sunday’s Training for the 5th World.
These nine days provide an opportunity for people to come to Topanga and engage intensely with me and with each other in the work of truly understanding, integrating and inhabiting the Ways to the 5th World.
These days will accommodate those who live in the area and work with me regularly and those who wish to come to Topanga for one or more short periods of time. It can include private work, classes, councils, solitude, and/or time on the land. We can meet in person and also by telephone and via Skype. There is a yurt that people can share, when appropriate, and there are hotels near by. Much of what you experience will come from your interactions with the members of the Daré community. I am looking for informal ways of meeting rather than creating inflexible structures. This flexibility allows us to meet the emerging work with the rigor and commitment required.
The Saturdays before Darés and before the Sunday Trainings will be designated for various focused councils and in-depth explorations in the hope of encouraging heartstorming and visionary, collaborative thinking by gathering those odd, unexpected and necessary companions to imagine and institute the future. There is an ancient symbol called the Flower of Life. It consists of a single form composed of 19 interlocking circles. I am hoping that the infinitely fertile communication possible from such interlocking councils will also be seeded here.
I will devote two weeks of each month to writing and some limited travel. That leaves a little time for improvisation and surprise.
I am trying to step out of a formal teaching or conference schedule into something more organic, compelling, profound, unexpected, conscious, and indigenous – as the dream directs.
When I first started living by council, I would speak of the tradition that so many, if not all peoples, had of gathering those necessary to meet a crisis. We are in extreme crisis. We have to gather, we have to learn, we have to transform. Such gatherings mimic, in the best ways, the dynamic complexities of ecotones and small niches of natural beauty. Let us bear with each other as we extract ourselves from and discard the limiting institutional ways and devotion to material things and violent solutions that have developed in the last years in order to find new forms for new lives.
Peace and Blessings,