My friend Julius “Horse” Coffman, a medicine man who conducts Sacred Listening circles, called me into the circle for a year, during which I became both a participant and one of the elders of his community gatherings. Every Friday night we would gather around a fire on the land in Stacy, Minnesota, a land made sacred by ceremony, prayer, honor and attention. One weekend a month we would stay for a day and sometimes the whole weekend.
As a teacher and coach myself, I love my work and I love witnessing the magnificence and growth of so many. Every so often, though, I need to fill my own well. So, I took that year to nourish my soul.
When in ceremony, time slows down. What is ordinary becomes extraordinary. We see each other, the fire, the land, the birds that fly over us, the ever-changing sky as sacred.
As someone who guides people through adult rites of passage,* I have always used ritual and ceremony to help bridge the passage, to deepen the experience of Self, even as the everyday self is in a great chasm of change. My Sacred Listening experience heightened my awareness and appreciation of how powerful this slowing down and honoring is.
Horse has since announced a move from the Minnesota land to Texas. At first, I was confused by this news. What would become of the land of so many rich experiences? The land where Central American medicine people came to celebrate the Eagle Condor ceremonies that only happen every five hundred years? Where a Mayan medicine circle was carefully laid out to honor that coming together? The land where Tibetan monks spent a week making an exquisite sand mandala that they then poured into the small lake just outside their cabin door? The land where people from all walks of life came together bringing diverse perspectives, beliefs and pathways, and honoring each one?
I have come to understand that things aren’t inherently sacred. What makes something sacred is how we honor it: Women’s bodies. The earth. Our homes. How we place wood on the fire. The voice of the wind. The food we eat each night at dinner...
I think of these words by Black Elk:
To walk in a sacred manner
is to make an art of life,
to attend to each moment
as though it were the last,
to take each step as though
it were the first, to breathe
love and awareness into this
body, entering the greater body
we all share.
Take out your journal, pen and colored markers.
- What is something ordinary in your life that you can make sacred today with your attention and love?
- Draw a symbol of that thing.
- What is a small ceremony or ritual you can create that deepens your experience of that ordinary thing?
- Draw some of the elements of your ceremony
- How does your ceremony expand your sense of entering “the greater body we all share?”
* Adult Rites of Passage: Stepping into Your Big Dream, Career Change, Empty Nest, Moving, Conscious Aging, Facing Chronic or Life-Threatening Illness, Loss and Grief
Lynn Baskfield guides you through rites of passage with storytelling, writing, creative expression, ritual, retreats, nature and very centrally, the wisdom of horses. A lifelong horsewoman, she partners with horses to evoke insights and learning that you cannot get by thinking, reading, or talk coaching only. If you work with Lynn and her experiential coaching approach, confidence, joy and creative solutions will emerge naturally as you move forward.
Lynn holds an M.A in Human Development and is a certified life coach, transformational educator and the author of two books. As owner of SpiritDance Coaching, she has been coaching, training, and conducting retreats for individuals and groups since 1997. She also trains and mentors equine guided professionals around the world. www.lynnbaskfield.com