Running with Lions – Vision from the future

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Beautiful Alpha Male Lion that I met on foot in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe in October 2013

Did you know that dance can transport us beyond the realm of the every day? To the land between time. To dream time. To future. To past. We can travel with our souls. Dance can transport us.

On this morning, January 1st 2014 I travelled with a small band of warriors. Brave men and women seeking more clearly, fully, strongly how to walk with Light.

We danced a dance that took us from the past, connecting to our ancestors; to this moment balanced between past and future; and finally to the future – where the souls that are not yet born are watching us, seeing what we choose to manifest, and which dreams we choose to spin into the world.

Some of the magic that danced with our circle of women in Zimbabwe during the recent Women are Medicine retreat, danced with us here. In Northern Ireland.

A vision entered me in this dance. A vision danced with me.

The beginning of the dance was filled with light. With joy. So immense, so light, so bright. I felt like an angel flying high. High.

As we moved into the dance of the future, I met the Lions. The lions of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Perhaps they were the lions of everywhere. I saw how they are watching us and waiting. What will we choose?

And I cry. I am wrecked with grief, as I watch how as a collective we are choosing to destroy them. From this place of light and freedom I connect with the deep grief that is also true. Wondering how I can feel these two so close together, and wondering if I will ever escape the feeling of immense grief. A sea of grief. A vast vast ocean.

I experience how grief sinks deep roots into the earth.

Joy lifts me up – high. Grief brings me down into the centre of the earth. Both are needed. How can I dance between them?

In the moment where I experience each one, it feels like the only reality. In this moment I am wondering whether the grief will ever end. Ever?

I dance and dance and dance and then it moves through me. And I realise that I can dance with the lions. I can play with them. And we play. We romp, we run. The grief has lifted. I feel the women of my ancestral line behind me, strong beautiful women giving me strength. I am not alone.

I am in the future dancing with the lions.

And then grief returns, fills me once more. Back and forth. Joy and grief. Entwined.

I have a sense that there is something I am missing. Something I am not seeing. This dance continues because I am not yet seeing something.

And then I get it. Lion is asking me not to wallow in this grief. Not to remain here. Not to simply mourn him, but to use the grief to help me access his medicine. To fuel the courage, power and grace of Lion in Me. He is asking me to embody him. In crying I have created space for light and joy and Lion (!) to enter.

‘Let the light in’, Lion says, and ‘Run with me. Run with me. We have work to do.’

He looks back once, and then runs.
I run with him.
The courage of lion enters my body through the crack of grief that has broken me open.
Open heart, open soul, running with lions.

As we closed the dance – in that moment – rain fell from the heavens.
Bringing blessings.
Manna from heaven.
Soft Irish rain.

I am left knowing that I am not alone.
Lion runs beside me.
Ever-growing circles of dancers, dancing light into this world, dance with me.

May we all run with the lions, fly with eagles, go gently with deer.
We have work to do.
We have lights to shine.
And they have medicine to offer.

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Living my joy

I have always loved to write. Not as a wild passion, but as a quiet presence in the background. I wrote a children’s book when I was ten. It was not published, but I felt proud for trying. I journaled my way through my teens keeping sane through my passage into womanhood. My Master’s thesis, ‘Bringing the Human Spirit to Work’ helped me reframe my transition into working life as one of learning to live a life of joyful contribution.

I straddle two worlds. I have roots into Europe from my Danish father and into Africa from my Zimbabwean mother. I have lived and loved in both countries. They have contributed to making me who I am. Zimbabwe showed me a world of connection, vibrancy and joy; Denmark that I can do whatever I set my heart to. Perhaps these contrasting beginnings enabled me to let my heart and my joy be my guides on my journey through life. Instead of a secure job, I co-created Pioneers of Change, a global learning community of young change makers. Later, I returned to Zimbabwe to co-found Kufunda, a learning village committed to fostering resilient communities. Through all of this I was writing, as a way of reaching out with the questions and ideas, that were living and maturing in my heart and mind.

Four years ago I was in another transition. This one I did not write my way through. I married, became a mother, and made my new home with my husband in South Africa. Four years on I woke up to the fact that somehow my life had become too small for me. My work was springing more from a need to contribute to my family and my colleagues than from my heart. Mother, wife, colleague, these are all important roles, and yet they are far smaller than who I really am.

Recently, we have moved back to Zimbabwe as a family. This time it was us as a family collective who chose to walk out of the normal definitions of success: To walk into another possibility. We don’t know what it is, but we know that there is something more, as we learn to work – as a family – from a place of meaning and possibility. We have moved back to Zimbabwe with the intention to follow simply, as a family, that which makes us happy, and to trust that in that choice we will contribute more fully to our world.

In this simple and yet deeply profound shift, I am finding myself back in a place where my questions and curiosity are rising, my creativity is bubbling, and a stronger more intentional desire burns in me to chronicle and share. I believe that I am part of many across the world who are creating a new world. The old is not working, and we are gradually finding our way into a different way of being human. We are still learning our way into this. We as women have much to contribute here, and for me, writing is a subtle but integral part of breathing the new into life. It is the bridge between the outer work, and the inner emerging clarity. And it is the medium through which those of us, who are building the new, can find each other.