Winter’s taking its time ending this year, at least here in Santa Rosa, with weeks of cold March rain, although a patch of daffodils across the seasonal creek from my house has been blooming for a month now, and the emerald green moss on the rocks outside my office is dazzling. We’re expecting springtime any day now. We’re tucked into the Mayacamas Mountains, a low range dividing the Napa and Sonoma valleys, and from the top of our land you can look across at Mt. St. Helena, the highest peak in this area. It seems like the land will live forever, but then I remember that the people in Japan are struggling with a catastrophe that threatens to poison everyone, and has already made the food for miles around unsafe to consume. My heart begins to seize up when I think about this. My community’s large organic garden is such an important part of my life here. Eating from the garden is a joy, and then in the fall season there’s time spent putting away food that will sustain for the winter-tomatoes, peppers, corn, potatoes. I feel such grief when I think about the land being contaminated.
We’re at a crossroads, where each person’s connection to life and to the living presence of nature contributes to the Great Turning, a collective shift in consciousness that can bring humans back to balance with the rest of creation. Traditional rites of passage, in the context of our current ecological crisis, are a powerful way to re-vision our relationship to the web of life-a web in which human beings are one of the strands, not the weaver. Recognition and affirmation of what we call the North Shield, the dimension of giving back, of gratitude and respect, comes with the undertaking of the journey. This takes place on many levels-for ourselves first, then our family, our community, our bioregion, our nation, our planet. This is the level of vision that we’re being called to witness: how everything is interconnected.
During solo time in nature, each person begins to heal the web, beginning with herself, beginning with himself. When we heal ourselves, we open up energies that become available to love others, to love the world. Sometimes this healing can take years, but there is always movement; like the turning of the seasons, this is built into our human nature. We grow toward wholeness and fullness, which like the winter rains pours out of us and touches everyone and everything in our path.
We’ve noticed in the past year that more people are coming to Rites of Passage who feel called to participate in healing the world. We’ve had more inquiries about our training programs, more interest in our leadership work, and those who come on a Vision Quest are returning home with the desire to make a difference. Perhaps this is a result of the times we’re living in.
We invite you to check out our upcoming programs, which are focused in three main areas:
Programs for Youth: helping young people to understand and undertake the passage from childhood to adulthood with depth, courage and beauty.
Programs for Adults: helping adults to mark their passages, to come more fully into their gifts, to recognize where their journey needs to take them now.
Programs for Leaders: supporting leaders to find balance, empathy, compassion and a connection to all life as a way to move into genuine leadership, which involves service, or the give-away.