Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Today I do not have many words.
Now is the time for silence.
I am hungry for the spaces between stimuli:
Still, empty, full, free.
Like the dark that enveloped our hibernating world.
Why do we, only, ignore its inviting gravity?
These restitutionary rhythms rippling all around us?
I want this stillness
This sweet darkness
To engulf me and carry me,
It’s been a year of homing and growing at the Hearth. We were joined by a delightful soul, Orlando, last January. His open, infectiously cheerful presence has helped us through what I’d imagine most of us agree has been a difficult year. The ongoing uncertainty, the deepening of divides, and the interminable invitation to turn away from that which is essential. The proliferation of online streaming platforms and one-click consumerism alongside the restrictions of the pandemic, the deepening immigration and ecological crises have taken their toll and made it harder than usual to resist my own addictive impulses. That call to oblivion is, at times, as inviting as ever. I'm glad to say it will be the subject of our next retreat, which I'll be announcing very soon.
But there have been beautiful developments also: we ran our first official retreat, began explorations into purifying the quarry pool, held a regular meditation space, and began work on a site masterplan to improve biodiversity, productivity and flow. We’ve been in a conversation about these things since arriving and will continue to be as long as we’re here, but there have been some satisfyingly real steps taken in 2021.
We’ve had wonderful folk living here on and off and taking part in gift culture since the start, but it’s been a huge pleasure to welcome our first group of retreatants to our growing community of souls. I couldn’t have hoped for a more generous and engaging group or skilful team to hold us all and navigate the “emergent” ways of being we explored whilst processing the intensity of these between times!
Deep nourishment has been taken from the Rite to Freedom residential I took part in, from odd flashes of fun, Internal Family Systems therapy training, from the memorial service for my father held a year and a half after his death. As ever music has continued to sustain me. DJing at my brother-in-law’s 40th was a highlight! As was being in an audience again (remember that?!) in St Mary’s Church, listening to Sam Lee’s accounts of harvesting traditional songs from all corners of the British Isles whilst absconding from COP26’s game of two halves. Here's a stunning performance with Liz Fraser (of the Cocteau Twins) that speaks of the delicate, precious experience that is life.
Over this between time of 'Twixtmas and seasonal turning I’ll be doing my best to surrender to winter’s call, family festivities and the promise of fertile darkness. May we all find the restitution we need to bring our ample and unique gifts to bear on the world that's calling itself into creation in this coming year.
"Blessed are you all who answer to the call
Long life and another good year.."