Gathering Soul Medicine
This gathering begins the sacred-honoring action of what our time together is all about. Its is central to The Medicine of One. We gather our vision and dreams, the energies and gifts we want to move and flower in the space of who we are. But we also gather / retrieve the forgotten, the condemned, the lost and abandoned, the hated and feared. We gather without judgment, or at least in our selective gathering we come to know more intimately this tight force that separates and judges, whose self-attacking words we often mistake for truth. This Critic of Self, too, must be brought into the circle and seen . . . and touched . . . and known. Born from the pain of the loss of value, in the tight fist that beats upon us waits the hated fear. Touch this fear and you open the door to your peace and freedom. Clear the way so what you want can be.
The Guardian is another strong force. Born from the will to survive, it too can easily rule the circle of who we are, and forever keep us from living in the center of peace. We are here, we made it to this point. For this it is honored. But this too must be gathered and brought into the circle and seen and felt as just another movement in the circle. There is one phrase I repeat to people over and over: "Nothing gets thrown out of the circle, nothing. It is the mind's resistant force of exclusion that prevents the lost from coming home. And it is the willingness to be the whole world, to be the spaciousness that allows the elements of life to move and open the door to the beauty that we are, a beauty that has always been there.
soul retrieval pain
We let the innocent presence of rocks and stones and any object that comes to us in that moment help to Sound The Soul. It may be rocks worn smooth and humbled by the persistent flow of the river, rocks with edges like knives or arrows. Rocks born from the fire within the earth, now black and heavy with the smothered fire of a raging pain. It might be a twig, a tiny yellow flower, or something discarded . . . a rusty bottle cap, a shot gun shell, broken glass held together by the glue of its label, like a person's mind and how they think / thing they are. It may be something like a cocklebur that you would ignore but clings to your pants or shirt, a reminder of the cocklebur of protection that is ruling your circle. One day we came upon a child's lavender satin shoes left at the edge of the river as if their owner had literally flown out of them. These shoes became a central presence: Mysterious but a key to movement of the other objects in this person's web. Another time a man gathered a heavy metal cable which I named a shackle. He then revealed that as a young child he had spent a horrible year in a hospital in a full body cast. He was operated on nine times for hip dysplasia and had many experiences of cruelty and mistreatment. His only escape was to leave his physical body. Ironically, as an adult he became a pilot. But he had abandoned that boy in hospital, and bringing that shackle into the circle was part of the action of touching / transforming the old pain and hurt so that he cold be at home, here and now, in his body, on the earth.
One day the rocks can be all that has been lost in a soul's journey. The next day, a different person, willing to embody one's many personalities, seen and unseen. These things, these rocks, these objects of the dream offer themselves as representatives of what needs to be honored in the circle of who we are. Many times I ask people to wander along the shore of the river and gather the stones and objects like a child gathering shells on the beach. Whimsically, playfully, without naming, without defining, without the mind's labeling interference. Frequently things will call to me to be brought into one's circle that might otherwise be forgotten and remain hidden.
This gathering is the authentic living action of self-love. It is, in fact, the action that brings us to the Center. Much can happen in a short time. It is often a few potent moments where something rearranges itself within a person, that may have been out of sync and in disharmony for years, for a lifetime. We draw out of you the soul medicine of your healing. With these stones and objects a story is told that speaks the unspoken and allows them to map out this intimate medicine circle of the soul.
retrieval The true act of gathering is part of a greater, sacred motion, a reaching with cupped hands to the waters and drawing life to your lips . . . and drinking . . . a circular motion as you are in fact the circle, the center, and the great mystery.
Gathering Soul Medicine is the core of the Coming to the Center land Journey. It is also a core component of the Bare Bones Retreat and the Medicine of One Quest.
You can view a very small portion of Coming to The Center after we have gathered the soul medicine objects and are in the process of mobilizing the frozen energies they help embody in this segment from the Episode "Finding Sarah" on OWN network in 2011.