Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Get Together

Love is but a song we sing
And fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you may not know why

I just spent the weekend with some very special people in my life at a very special place.

Located in Camp Meeker, California, St. Dorothy's Rest and Retreat Center is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the world.  Cell signal is spotty for most and the cool redwoods, quiet and beautiful ancient grounds, and kind and passionate staff make for a wonderful weekend retreat.  Add in a special group of people, and you can create magic.

A California Wind Children reunion retreat is always something special with lessons learned, relationships deepened, renewal of spirit, and/or a new appreciation gained for others or for ourselves.  This group is too complex to try to describe in a single blog post and defies understanding even for its members who were a part of the Wind Children experience from 1975 through 1983.  Hundreds of newspaper articles about the group published across the United States, Canada, and overseas cannot even touch what the Wind Children are.  We learn something more each time we sift through our memories and experiences and share them with each other.

For me, one of the most important lessons learned during the teenage years I spent with this group was the concept of "Full Circle."  Learning to share with another human being when you have been hurt or have an issue to address with them is difficult to learn at any age, and especially in high school.  It's a way of living that is always challenging, no matter how often we practice it.

C’mon people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
What we learned is that when we approach each other with respect and love and share our individual experience, we allow the other person to see through our eyes and to learn and grow.  As they share their view, we learn as well.  If all are open, honest, and trusting, forgiveness and a renewed and strengthened relationship can grow.  And yet time is fleeting...

Some may come and some may go
We will surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Thirty-plus years after the Wind Children disbanded as an active group, we are losing members to accident and disease at an increasingly rapid pace.  We honor Tim Bohler, Abigail Shippey, Mark Mueller, Gerry O'Halloran, Stella Haight, and David E. Fritz as we strive to live in the moment and take every opportunity to be with those we love and share this special bond with.  I have often said that feeling gratitude or love for another and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and then not giving it (quote from W.A. Ward).  We have a need to share those thoughts, memories, and feelings with each other, and to also address the old hurts and allow them to heal before it is too late. 

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

It takes courage to come full circle.  One must overcome the fear to bring up the hurt, accept the challenge to become a better person, and experience forgiveness for things that we often didn't even realize we had done.

Sometimes someone isn't ready for that full circle moment, and we must learn to be okay with their decision.  In that moment we let go of our need to control others, and we learn that the greatest gift we can give ourselves is forgiveness.  Holding on to resentment, hurt, and anger is only diminishing us, our lives, our potential, and dims the light of love that we hold for the world.

Some members of the group had not yet attended a reunion retreat or any gathering for over 30 years. Some shared with me that they were nervous coming, all that teenage angst and fear trying to hold them back after all these years.  Some described how just driving up the hill to St. Dorothy's created a sense of calm and anticipation in them, and once they saw people as they entered Main House, and were enveloped by joyful hugs and sincere loving greetings, all of their fears fell away.  They left with a sense of renewal, reconnection, and greater strength, knowing that this community is with them always.  They left knowing that they are loved and always have been, that their contributions to the whole of Wind Children are important, and that there is a need for them to be present in the future. 

So push back the fear and reach for love.  Forgive others, and forgive yourself.  See the humanity in all and bring out the best in them.  Love one another.  Right Now.

C’mon people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Credit to Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) for the lyrics to Get Together, recorded in 1967 by The Youngbloods

No comments:

Post a Comment