June 14, 2013

Post-Vision Quest Reflections (Precarios & Heart Things)

May 31, 2013: On the last morning of our collective tryst with Pigeon’s Point, I felt lost. There we had managed to form a wild community of sorts—to transform our unlikely group into a wild community of sorts—and now that the time was over, now that we were going back—what of our community?

Yesterday, I walked along Ocean Beach, and felt the way in which nature had been present and had participated in the forming, the coming together, the holding together of this group. It was not just an essential element, essential member of our wild community, although it was that too: it was the very condition that formed us. I missed being amidst nature and missed the ways in which I was growing to learn her ways and listen to her language and speak to her. It felt an unimaginable loss to come back to our safe, built environment where all the effort that goes into making us “civilized” is hidden, glossed over, or belittled. I felt the wildness of spirit that invites people to go make a home in the wild for the first time stir in me. I imagined going into an airport and shuddered. I imagined going into impersonal, corporate places where no one knew us—us of the strong-vulnerable mythopoetic embodied heart, spirit, psyche, presence—and shuddered. I imagined our towns as convivial, communal places where we come together to meet the needs we cannot in our wild communities and to trade, to share gossip and information. Perhaps one day it will really be so.

Of course I knew immediately, sorrowfully that not returning, cutting myself off from the “modern world,” was not an option. By isolating ourselves, we isolate ourselves from the search for solutions. The choices we make must not be just for ourselves, but also for the rest of us. There have to be comings and goings then, a travelling between worlds, a willingness to do that. I must be willing to be a messenger. I acknowledge this responsibility; I fully assume it.

This morning, for a while before I opened my eyes, I imagined myself back in my tent/under my tarp; that I just had to get up and crawl out and I would see the beautiful green of the trees, grasses, shrubs—the earth, the sky, the ocean around me, extending out into the distance around me and out of me. At least in imagination this time, this connection lives in me; and the more I remember, every time I remember, I can renew this time and this connection.


Being in a human community allows me to go out when I need to be alone or to renew my connection to the non-human elements, knowing that I can come back and find someone or the other by the hearth fire, in the circle where we gather, in the heart of our collective home. I want to feel those threads, those ties. Having a variety of people and connections threading my heart nourishes me and feeds my heart. Returning from our collective tryst, I missed that sense of diversity of connectedness, that abundance of connection. I cannot imagine making a home, a family with one other person any more: I no longer want to build that private paradise. Home has to in some way include, embrace the sense of community that we exist, thrive within. This is an idea I have been carrying in my heart for the past year or so, and when asked if I want to have children, I have found myself saying, or thinking, “Perhaps—it depends on meeting the right person to parent with and the right community, because kids need an abundance of love and connection and kids need to feel a loving community around them.” This idea—of community as family, of the abundance and diversity of love and connection that emerges in a communal setting as necessary for grounding our human selves—has, since our wilderness tryst, sheathed itself in feeling and become a sensual, living yearning in me.

Perhaps I am luckier than others returning since I live with K and T, who were there in the wilderness, peer guides awaiting our return, cooking or drumming, making uproarious flirtation or unperturbedly sunbathing, offering jewels from their eyes or fibered wisdom weaved of subtle energy, presence of fire and cool, cool water, part of my wild community. They understand. Bringing some of the energy, remembrance, and songs from the wild back into our home will sustain us, and sustain the new tendrils of connection and affection that have grown between us, the new recognition of and honoring of each other’s gifts.

For the wild community I talk of over and over again is not just any community, after all. It is a community that sees, honors, celebrates, and brings forth our multifarious gifts; our dazzling strengths; our soft, wounded, shadowed, yielding vulnerabilities. It is a community that sings together and knows the songs that bring us home together.


When I first started walking towards the Ocean Beach yesterday, I thought it was so difficult for psyche to have been shown, to have learnt what it means to be in community, and then to have that vision, that reality taken away. But how much harder it surely is for our psyches to not have seen that vision/reality at all—to not have belonged in a way in which our authentic selves, our authentic gifts, are seen and appreciated. To not have belonged in a way that we can hold and see others in all of their authentic unfolding, becoming, renewing, reclaiming.

The night before yesterday I had a dream in which I walk on Market Street by the food stalls and in the midst of all this activity, feel so alone. I see someone from my Dagara community and when I turn to go meet them, I run into a couple of old friends, friends of the kind you are not intimate with but who provide a social buffer for the occasions you do not want to look alone. Today someone posted a link to an interview by Marina Abramovic on facebook where she says, “I’m interested in the utopian communities of the past.… Because now people are so alone.” This existential loneliness in a cosmos, a planet which is really so filled with love, connection, and a full spectrum of relationality is so astounding. And we modern humans feel it, and we do not always weep. We do, we need each other and we need the earth, the water, the fire, the air, and the beings that inhabit each element to turn with us (we turn, we turn, we turn).

The most beautiful moment in my walk along the beach was when I realized that I am not alone; that there are three distinct circles and communities that have grown around me, including me—and this makes me so fortunate. There is our wild Vision Fast community; the IAST/Dagara community; as well as a circle of wise women with whom I have made ceremony. That I can draw on and recreate a sense of belonging and connection from each of these holographic circles, and leave an ant’s trail, snake’s trail, bird trail, human footprint for someone else to find.