Past Present Future
A bite sized personal view of the European Council Network gathering in Weggis Switzerland, November 2010.
By Pippa Bondy.
European Council Network Gathering
We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered
Letting go of that and choosing this
I made this journey to the third European Council Network (ECN) gathering in Switzerland. I couldn’t know how this would be, but the call of community isin my heart and the seeds of Council in my bones. As I travel across magical Lake Lucerne the autumn leaves are golden, the sun is shining and something stirs within that is much larger than me. The Alps stand in beauty like distant witnesses. Another road takes me winding steep with forests appearing and Toblerone type houses planted in the hill side.
Deep roots and firm foundations
Seeds of Council: there are about twenty people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Israel, Palestine and the U.S – old and new friends together. I’m touched and nervous to feel such good hearts, such good intentions and all these ingredients of good will, experience, innocence, kindness, hope and vision aspiring to come together for the shape and budding of this ECN.
We open with a stone from each land as a talking piece for each person. The intentions put forward are, what is home and what do you need to feel at home?
This practice always evokes for me secrets lying buried beneath and different layers and levels. What is home? This begged my heart to shake open for the emerging of the Council. The gateway allows me to cross borders between different countries, different rhythms, between different ages and experiences. A movement begins to grow bringing connections as I arrive in the here and now.
The ‘circle of five’ tell stories of how last year had developed, what lessons had been learned in the discovery and in the continued birthing of this Network. A circle of Arab, Jewish, German and more – can we connect and begin a healing story. The ‘old ways’ always here and ever hidden. They are the foundation of a new story laced with our differences, inter-weaving and spinning like a spider’s web. Songs come from past cultures, songs from different lands and games too. Outside I hear the call of a buzzard.
Insight and wisdom arrive; the hollow bone shows we are part of something so much larger and within this our personal song-line is weaving the wholeness as this ECN unfolds. The intentions are what do you bring, what do you want and what calls you to this Network? My heart and roots tremble. A spiral opens bringing many desires and pearls, a longing for connection and support, a need to listen and share.
In the manicured fields all around us cows with clunking bells graze. Circles overlap and create a stronger connection. We help each other. Am I more useful as part of a network? We dig deeper to form the path that we walk. Where do we cross? Where and how can we offer help and support? We are more because we’re together.
The energy stirs and thickens. Everything has its own nature and function including the ECN. Who is included? We come from Europe and the Middle East. Can/ should we be one Network? This sharing of knowing and not knowing brings me to how much our personal inner work affects our work in the world. We spend time in nature, the stillness allows us to listen and rest in the inner and outer ancient knowledge. As the circle deepens a group soul begins to appear in the shape of a huge, red, fat elastic skin large enough for us all. Together we lean whole bodies into this skin, balanced, moving, supporting and holding each other. We play and laugh, caring for ourselves and others. The wind blows, yellow golden leaves fall, the blue sky behind.
Shadows – Reject nothing and welcome all
How to make a decision? Inclusion/exclusion boundaries are moving. Who will hold this place of decision making? The elders, Gigi & Marlow witness and plant seeds. All are welcome and we have an open seat. My ancestors are European. Do we have transparent guidelines that carry us through tough times? Who is a guest and who a participant in this network? We need a talking piece that connects the energy and the medicine. What would happen if everyone is given a seat? Who feels called?
Words fly like arrows, questions and struggles. I hear people say they feel pain. I see tears. I hear people say their hearts ache and they hurt and feel excluded. Suffering is knocking at the door. I feel resistance hold his place in the circle. Some are feeling separated and I feel a block arise and a river of tears, anger and blame is given its place. I don’t feel the separation and I don’t feel the exclusion. I hear those from the Middle East say they want to honor the seat of witness. I hear that if anyone feels truly called then they have a seat. Let’s move forward and include the tears and the pain, old ghosts, buried stories and a longing for something. Let’s receive the fruits all this offers.
Like a river flowing home to the sea
Like the seasons passing, something becomes nothing and nothing becomes everything. The spiral moves, a bridge appears and a shore is crossed. Elders scatter seeds, the ‘old ways’ take root once again and a way to make decisions and choices (without a vote) is accepted. A fish bowl council is called. I listen deep for the ancient knowledge inside my heart, for my body and soul to know. A decision Council is born and the outer circle witnesses. Now trust and interconnectedness begin to flow. What was full is now empty and the wind blows softly. We have a structure that is right for now and yet may change tomorrow.
In the distance a cowbell chimes. The previous circle of five steps out with honor and is thanked by all. The sun shines, Lake Lucerne shimmers. A threshold time in nature allows me to hear from the wholeness if I am called, called to take this seat. With stillness and nature’s unconditional love being the teacher the new circle of five arrives. Austria, in the form of Katrin & Barbara, steps forward and offers to host the next gathering. Separation brings coming together, coming together brings dissolving, dissolving brings the river of consciousness flowing again. I see seeds taking root in the compost of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Israel, Palestine and Britain. We are together and separate. The same dream inside one heart, one love; everything and nothing offers the path for this ECN to take its life. The nourishing spirit gives birth once again…