The Joy Revolution

Yesterday, thousands upon thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets to express their desire for Mugabe to step down. Invited by the war veterans to show support for the defence forces and their actions, this was not a typical invitation, and for many Zimbabweans, these are not our typical allies. Which is perhaps part of what makes it so exquisitely beautiful. We gathered, black, white, mixed race, indian, young, old, rich and poor, street kids, students, activists, war veterans, women, men, civil rights workers and military. 

It was to ask Mugabe to resign after 37 years in power, and yet it was so very much more than that.

What was most remarkable was the absence of hatred and anger. The overwhelming feeling on the streets was joy. My being fills with tears as I touch back into it. I don’t know that I have ever experienced such a collective well-spring of joy. Joy and love and unity that transcended decades of fear, division and hatred.IMG_0384

We were dancing in the streets. We were connected. It was not so much a connection against Mugabe, as it was a connection for our country, for our freedom. It was a day of spontaneous meetings in exuberance. I would catch someone’s eyes, and we would smile, sometimes laugh, and then clasp hands, or high five. Over and over again, these moments of meeting in joy and celebration and coming together. This joy transmuting decades of fear and grief. How extraordinary that such darkness could result in such an outpouring of light and delight ;-). 

We tasted something yesterday that is now a part of our story. Something released. Something shifted. Whatever comes next, there has been a fundamental shift in the field in which we live and breathe.

And it was made possible by the military, They held space for Zimbabweans to step out after fear – and a sense of futility – had held so many of us back for so long. The outpouring of gratitude for the military was extraordinary. Whatever lies in their past, yesterday they had an experience of the gratitude and love that can flow when they hold space for the free expression of their people. Whatever happens next this will have given an experience of what it feels like to be loved, which will hopefully mean something when this moment of opening begins to close down, as it undoubtedly will.

Because life is a process of breathing, expanding and contracting. We are in an expansion. Contraction will at some point follow. As we move on from this day, I hope we go with questions of how we can work with what yesterday made possible: How can we nourish the social field that we are a part of, to support the fertility of this moment? How might we continue to connect across our diversity? 

Yesterday we joined in the march and celebrations with our children. To me this is testament to the deep faith Paul, my husband, and I both have in the fabric of this country. There was a deeper knowing that we would be safe. Yes a little jitter and wondering whether we were insane, but at a more fundamental level a knowing that this impulse is one of peace, not of violence. Service stations and shops were open to sell water, drinks and snacks to people joining the march, rather than shutting down in fear of looting. Women came carrying their babies on their backs. No violence erupted. The only property destroyed were the street signs for Robert Mugabe Road, and some posters with his face on it. It makes me proud of what is moving here. It makes me believe we can find a way. Our ability yesterday to reach out and clasp the hand of the military yesterday (by their tanks!) makes me believe that we have learnt something so vital that we must remember whatever happens.

I met and engaged with more Zimbabweans yesterday than I possibly ever have. I went home enriched with faces and souls. Beautiful old women who beamed like solar constellations; young men drunk with exuberance; the old man who walked behind us, seeing our children and repeating several times ‘they are safe here. Your children are safe here.” And I know he meant in this march, but I also felt him say in this place and country. The old white man with the enormous Boerbull dog who was so proud to be from Zimbabwe. So proud to be here now. The war veteran who was walking with his son, and who wanted a picture of our children together: “our future.” The street kid who looked like his heart was alight. The soldier who in response to my thanking him said “It is done now, it is over.” And my sense was he was speaking of the past that has been holding us back.

We returned home, and while we were uploading our photos we found that our children and their friends were spontaneously erecting a flagpole to hoist the Zimbabwe flag, which we bought in town today. And this morning when we were outside sitting beneath it, my daughter quietly said, “I love the Zimbabwean flag.”

flag

I love Zimbabwe.

And her people.

And what these days is teaching me about the love and joy that lie deep in our collective. 

I will end with the words of a friend, Amanda:

“Yesterday, after decades of living with fear, oppression and division, Zimbabweans, in one day, countered all that with love, freedom and unity. True UNITY – not a veneer of politically correct, well marketed, lets make it look good for the cameras crap but a deep sense of real oneness. We purged all that heavy negativity that we’ve been carrying around for far too long and replaced it with liberating, laughing, smiling Joy.

The most important thing for me yesterday wasn’t about getting rid of an old man or flipping the middle finger to SADC or showing support to the people that led us onto the streets. It was about each and everyone of us remembering that we really, fucking truly are all ONE. What an empowering realisation that is. Whatever tomorrow holds we will face it together and we will triumph because what happened yesterday has made us strong again.”                       

Advertisements

Here is to the next 43 Years

Image

 
43.
And I feel like my life is just beginning
The sap is rising 😉
And there is a joyous, awestruck, exhilarated Wild Woman
ready to go the next lap,
ready to dance it, sing it, fly it

So here’s to the next 43 years
Here is to dancing into freedom
Here is to singing and swinging my joy
Expressing my rage, my power, my grace, my beauty, my delight
My Is’ness
My divinity
My unquenchable optimism
Not because I have anything to hope for
but because I have touched and keep touching
the miracle of this life, this existence

A soul in a human body
learning to inhabit the freedom of soul
in the expressive, creative, and yes beautiful constraint of body

Here is to dancing freedom, to medicine woman me, to lioness priestess, to motherhood, and loverhood, to friendships across time and space

Here’s to the next 43 years
May they rock my world
Image

Choosing to Live *My* Life

Inspired by many readings with Angela Deutchsman, and friendships across many lifetimes

Something is changing in me
Deeply

I am noticing that I am more able to stay engaged
to stay open
to whatever is going on
even when a big part of me would like it to be Not Quite So

I am noticing that
I cannot close any more
the sun is shining
and my blossoming soul is unfurling
Almost choicelessly

To tend to this blossoming
requires letting my being breathe
expressing my joy
letting my love flow

Sometimes letting my being breathe,
takes me into the depths of darkness
where breath may have been suspended
for years on end – perhaps even lifetimes

Can I love the dirty, sordid parts of myself?
As I touch them, and begin to dance with them,
I discover that they may be richly stained
but not sordid, not dirty,
those very words are a judgement
perhaps of something that I have not been ready
to face, to own, to claim.
With it comes
power
Immense, raw, creative power
My warriors cry sounds loud and strong

I am noticing
a clarity
a sharpness entering my field
a sharper, clearer, stronger me
as I become more and more open
unapologetic for who I am
choosing from joy,
learning that I have nothing to hide
And what a relief this is
I can breathe freely

I am discovering that my most important work is to be Free
My most important work is to be Me
and not just any me
My responsibility, I am recognising with increasing excitement,
is to choose  that which makes me the most alive, joyful, expansive, and vibrant self –
to choose that – and nothing more

And ironically – or perhaps not so ironically –
this enables me to offer
the greatest gift to those
around me

The permission to choose in that direction too
And
The benefit of a more vibrant sparkling Maaianne 😉

I long for a world in which we can each show up,
as our vibrant sparkling stained selves,
joyful, expansive, alive!
dancing to our own beat

Until it dawns
I will dance My dance
increasingly freeing myself to dance the tune
that resonates most deeply with my heart

And I invite you to join with yours

Here I am
Here is I

Showing up
Ready to dance
Dancing

Dancing
My life

Dancing
Life

Life
Dancing
Me

SONY DSC
With Gogo Bev at Mana Pools, delighting in Life

Celebrating Freedom

Today is Zimbabwe’s independence day.
Technically we are celebrating 34 years of independence (so young!).

I have decided to join the celebrations today.
And to celebrate a slight different aspect than the political technicalities of freedom.

I am celebrating today the freedom that dances in my cells.
The freedom that is rising in people everywhere –
And in the people of Zimbabwe.
to follow and live our own deep Joy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I am choosing to make today a celebration
for all those of us, in ways big and small,
Who are making space in our lives
for that which brings the deepest joy
different for each one of us,
equally valid for each one of us

IMG_9724

For me, personally, it is the freedom
To dance each morning,
simply because it makes me feel deeply good
The freedom to love my dogs insanely (I just finished feeding all five of them) 🙂
To serve the children,
to create a safe container for their free and beautiful spirits to flourish
as we create a school that can be big enough to love and hold and support them in their journey

The freedom to follow a path of calling forth the medicine of women
beginning with my own
The freedom to fall in love each day, many times over
with whatever connects to my heart and soul
trees, people, animals, life, you name it!

_MG_5071

I celebrate today
The freedom that I am experiencing at Kufunda
As people are choosing increasingly
to show up as themselves
instead of what our culture has told us to be
Sikethiwe, Fidelis, Admire, Tsitsi, Anna Tenis, Maria, Enock, Ethel,
and so many more
slowly but surely standing up to be yourselves
I honour you deeply
I see your deep grace, power, beauty,
And thank you for showing up
Life is richer – infinitely – with you in it 🙂

IMG_0620IMG_6387I celebrate today
The freedom I am experiencing in all our children here
as they discover that their curiosity and delight
are gifts that we treasure and welcome
Tino, Maki, Joseph, Emily, Claudia, Alice, Ayemu, Ngoni…
and all of you that I haven’t mentioned by name
You are sooo beauitful
Your gifts are already taking us all by storm

 Today I celebrate 
The freedom I experience in pockets of Zimbabwean society
freedom to speak, to sing, to dance,
to express the soul of this place and this people
To make choices that go against the grain of so much of what is here
Simply because it is what our free souls must do

Freedom to choose love over hate
Simply because hate feels heavy and toxic
and love brings joy and space and possibility and grace
Today I brought Mugabe into my dance
With gratitude
for all that he has taught us
May we learn the lessons well
Aah that he would join this dance of celebrating
the deeper freedoms that are rising here
One day perhaps he shall

For now I celebrate
with a light and overflowing heart
with delight in my being
for the joy and the freedom
that live here already
And for the MUCH more of it
that I know is possible and is on its way
as more and more and more of us
begin to choose
the dance of freedom

 Dancing on into freedom

…. At 42 I am exploding into my freedom and into my Self
All the old, boring, limiting nice-ness finally being swept away
by my dancing feet, and drumming heart
All those limitations of old
Fuelling my desire and clarity for Shift
That welcomes each of us
To Fully Show Up
in connection
To be Here Now
As the Noble, Awesome, Shiny people we each already are 🙂

Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.
Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.

 

Children at the centre
Lucia at Nyeredzi

 

IMG_7080
Fidelis Masimba

 

IMG_4886
Tsitsi

 

IMG_0735
Emily, Lillian, and Mary

 

IMG_0091
Hlekisani hugging Joseph

 

IMG_9325
Mukudzei dancing with the village

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gogo Zonde and friend on their way to build compost toilets

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Community women celebrating at the funeral of Auntie Marie. Yes celebrating her life and her death with exuberant human joy

 

IMG_0205
Anna and Patricia – Stripey ladies at Women Are Medicine

 

IMG_0387
Prayer, Admire’s son

 

IMG_7367
Ethel


IMG_8996
Gratitude

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Coming

Reflections from a Dance with my Heart – Part 1

These reflections are from a recent weekend dance workshop with Caroline Carey in Johannesburg called the Four Chambered Heart.

*******************
IMG_7315I woke on Sunday morning after the first day of dancing.
I woke with grief
I felt how I was born into a world made far to small
Far too small.
How I was straightjacketed to fit into it
Becoming smaller and smaller
Being trained to fit
To fit
Into something so minuscule
Too small to contain the beauty and power of my soul
My SOUL
Full of fire, light and space

I cried for my own learned limitation
And for that of all the children
All those who once were children
being shut down, being taught to close themselves in
to fit into a world made smaller and straighter and more grey
than is the wild wondrous reality of it.

I cried that morning
For all those years of denying my deepest roots,
of shaving off my wild soul,
denying her
like Peter denied Jesus

I recognise the moment
in my vision quest some years back
where I fell to the earth
crying, howling even,
touching immense grief
in my return to Mother Earth.
The grief of experiencing how deeply disconnected I have been from her.

Yes there is joy in returning,
but first
a chasmic grieving in experiencing
the pain of separation.

So that was my pain on Sunday morning
even as I felt my soul returning
I cried for all the years of banishing
essential
parts of myself

I woke up that Sunday morning feeling the fullness of soul return
Breaking through old constrictions
dutifully put in place by my parents, and their parents before them,
and theirs before

It broke through with sobs and tears
Breathing out, gasping for air,
Aaaahhhh
Opening into
the vastness of this being that
I Am

IMG_0933

Through the 10 000 Things

In my last blog, I wrote about learning to Open to the flow of life,
learning to create space in our bodies – and minds –
and in this to allow light and joy to enter us.

I realise that I need to add an important clarifying piece:

Being open to life
does Not guarantee constant joy.
(And wouldn’t that be somewhat dull anyhow?)

Sometimes life comes through as grief,
as rage, as fear, as passion,
sometimes it scares us shitless.

The question is,
Can we keep moving?
With it?
Without being subsumed by it?

I think the joy underneath that I am finding
is that all of these experiences are forever changing.
I am getting to know the underlying energy, river, flowing –
that can show up so differently in different moments.

I don’t need to mistake the expression for the flow.

My job has become to notice when I am getting stuck, or stiff –
Hooked into one or other of the experiences, or expressions, of life.
When I notice, I can begin to create space, returning to motion.

It’s a different kind of motion than the
relentless doing that exists in our culture.
It is being Here Now,
All of me;
Embodied me.
Moving with what is here.

(The Movement helps me Presence
The Movement helps me Open Space)

It is – literally and metaphorically – a dance
Dancing what is in me
As I dance stiffness, it loosens;
As I dance anger, it shifts,
sometimes into agonizing grief;
As I dance longing it unfurls into pure beauty –
Or sometimes painful sadness.
But it keeps changing.
Whatever is there
I just dance it

I don’t judge or deny these different manifestations.
I enter them.
And let them enter me.
In entering, I am creating space.
I move with them.
In the movement I am creating space:
Their hold, their density begins to shift.

***

The river flows.
I am a dancer of all its expressions,
The more I dance, the more I find myself
moving
between dancer, dance, danced

Sometimes I drop into the dance beneath
the anger, the passion, the fear.
And in that place I find
silence, stillness, grace.
Space

***

Perhaps this is part of what the practice offers.
A place to touch, or connect,
beneath the river of expression
beyond the 10 000 things

And yet the doorway is
through the stream of expression,
Through the 10 000 things

I am Loving this Journey. 
Image

Women are Medicine Retreat.

By Bev Reeler

IMG_9774

Elder, wise woman and wild soul, Bev wrote a piece on the magic that entered our field during our recent Women Are Medicine at Kufunda in December. I have chosen to include it here. I hope to write more about our time together, but for now this touches the deep spirit of what moved through us during those few vast days,

How does one capture the stories of those few days?
What we witnessed was just a seed
a small drop of magic that danced the surface of our being
but as time lends depth to the ripple
it moves out in ever widening circles.

What we spoke of, what we danced, what we shared in a sacred way
Echoes back into our lives
carrying with it a growing energy,
a fresh authenticity,
an old/new wisdom reactivating.

We were working at a new edge
we had an agreed intention – to empower the feminine
but no plan
we worked in an organic spiral
willing to change direction
to take the risk
to follow spirit
and dance it into being.

IMG_0233

We met together with the forest
on the newly moistened earth
trees and plants bursting with abundant life
the greening earth an endless display of patterns
and clean-washed, ancient rocks
gleaming old colours.

We are part of a dream.

Love to all of you
and in deep gratitude for what you taught me in our few days together
we will meet again.

IMG_9825