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Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Sage Next Door: a Trip to Jersey and Beyond - Page 3

Written by Lisa DiFalco
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      Finally, as part of the workshop’s closing activities, we were cleansed with sage, or ‘smudged’. The intent of smudging is to rid oneself, others, or your home of negative energy and to clarify. As one passed through the air, one saw and smelt the charred sage. The herbs filled the air and clung slightly to one’s clothes. We then culminated in a “Breath Walk” exercise. For 4 minutes we walked with a special breath pattern while barefoot outside. This would increase our awareness and help connect us with our surroundings. We did this and first were allowed to speak and later walked in silence. I walked in socked feet uncomfortably aware of the gravel, rocks and moist earth. I was aware that I really like my sneakers. I carefully walked toward the end of the group. I walked with the group down paths and finally to a clearing of benches surrounding a burnt out campfire, black and gray surrounded by wet green vegetation. The whiff of the burnt blackened wood caught one’s attention upon arrival to the space. We finally sat on the benches. There were fewer members at the closing than at the beginning of the weekend as some explored independently. Those left were females ranging from their 50s to their 80s. 

       The leader, Patricia, passed around a “talking stick”. This stick was slim and held by a participant, feathers jutting from the top. We had 2 minutes each to share our thoughts or to remain in silence as we held the stick. I suddenly felt shy as I was the first one up and chose the latter. Other participants shared or declined. Some topics were: the importance of a woman’s natural role and of making a home, increasing self-awareness and associations to color and smell. The colors seemed sharper and the smells evocative of fond memories. The last member brought me to tears. We had had a gong experience earlier wherein the instructor hits a gong and makes various sounds while you are in silent meditation. 

       This last participant shared a Buddhist philosophy on the 7 Gongs and her experience. The first of the 7 Gongs dealt with acceptance and forgiveness. This was the hardest step as we feel resistance and sometimes pain from different situations and the effort to go past that moment. I find this difficult at times as I want to change or fix situations that are beyond my control. Forgiveness is just as difficult when one has been hurt or wronged. The last gong addressed second chances. This member was profoundly moved during the gong experience, she felt like the gongs had placed her in another state of mind. As she had lain on the mat, letting the reverberations run through her, she thought ‘Let this be my second chance.’ My eyes watered. Don’t we all need to allow ourselves another start or to give one to another? I know that I would not be where I am today without the possibility of second chances. It was a significant share for me. It brought me full circle from the idea of acceptance that came up initially during the Kundalini practice to finally new opportunities that we can allow ourselves and others to have. We have the key to unlock our own door and allow a new experience in.

      I had signed up for a hike in Jersey. I received so much more. A trip is when we bring ourselves to a new physical location. Usually, we can expect to snap a few pictures and have some laughs. This experience caught me off guard. When I was open to receive, something other happened. My cup had been almost empty before and others came to fill, to inspire, to give and to awaken. I saw and encountered people who generously gave in word and deed with little intention of any return. People made a choice to stop, to connect and to be open to the experience. 


©Lisa DiFalco

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Wednesday, 31 December 2014

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