The swirl of life continues! I’m of course always hoping for the day when things are quiet and I can catch up and take care of things like backing up my computer. But the truth is that we are living in times of escalating crisis. Even without the ongoing political drama, our climate itself is increasingly chaotic with fires, floods, and storms.

I feel really bummed to write that. But I do so to challenge myself to stop complaining and pining for a calmer moment. I want to avoid the temptation to blame it all on those in political power. I’m always having to convince my daughter that she is capable of more complexity and responsibility, like putting away her clean laundry. I’m realizing the journey towards more complexity never ends! What if I didn’t fight the overwhelm of this moment?

I am in the middle of retraining myself to engage with our world in a way that is more deeply present, more available for something new to emerge, and with greater endurance.

It feels similar to abandoning spinning plates for a simpler way of moving that I can sustain. It’s sometimes disorienting for me to be in the world this way – I have some pretty engrained ideas about what I “should” do.

This is why I find the image of fractals so helpful. In Emergent Strategy, adrienne marie brown gives a fantastic introduction to the importance of understanding fractals as integral to transformation.

Fractals are never-ending patterns that are similar across different scales. For example, spirals bind together our DNA, shape the growth of a cauliflower, and are in the structure of our galaxy.

If the fractal principle means “how we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale,” brown encourages us to see how “what we practice at a small scale can reverberate to the largest scale.” The way we care for ourselves, each other and the earth in our local communities sets the patterns for the whole system. We are the first place where we can practice justice, healing, and transformation.

As we practice the world we wish to see, she encourages us to “measure our success not just by what injustices we stop, but by how many of us feel, and can say:

I am living a life I don’t regret

A life that will resonate with my ancestors,

and with as many generation forward as I can imagine.

I am attending to the crises of my time with my best self,

I am of communities that are doing our collective best

to honor our ancestors and all humans to come.”

I love this list. It describes why I am so invested in my family, self-care, honoring dance traditions from Old Europe, supporting indigenous leadership, and protecting the water which will nourish the lives of future generations.

I hope that you are finding your own way to live a life that you don’t regret, with a connection to the past and future that gives meaning to your ability to attended to the crises of our times with your best self. This is ongoing life work.

My hope is that this vision of what success feels like doesn’t sound like more work for these already busy times. Instead it’s a possibility for being in the world in a way that’s “smarter not harder.” When our lives are more aligned with the future we want, we make it more possible.

I find myself deleting more emails (thanks for reading this far!). I’m only working on what is the most important to me, in a slow, sustained way. Sometimes I worry someone in the future might judge my actions or inactions. Right now it feels like a feat that I am not immobilized by despair or trying to build a new world from a burnt out, competitive place. In fact, for me personally these truly are awakening times. It is because I feel the Divine presence even more fully in my life that I continue to have hope for our future. May this transformation in my life support the transformation of the whole.

With love,

emily

Honoring Ancestors and the Generations to Come: All Soul’s Dance Retreat October 28

Honor all the lives that have sustained yours. Orient yourself to becoming an ancestor of future generations. This is the transformational work we will embrace with our All Soul’s Dance Retreat. No experience necessary. Early bird registration deadline October 8. Learn more.

Nurture a Fractal of Your Best Self at Weekly Practice Groups

Drop in any week to Healing Waters Qigong, a Spring Forest Qigong practice group, or to the Wisdom Dances dance practice, based in Laura Shannon’s research on traditional dances as tools for healing and transformation.

 

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