Harvest of Collective Alchemy circles—21 May 2021


Since March we have been on a journey of discovery with the question:


as our guiding star.

Since our journey started, we have not spent much time in the obvious terrain ‘above ground’. Rather, our exploratory co-sensing brought us into a liminal space, learning to appreciate the gifts of not-knowing, slowing down and stillness. Next we found ourselves in a subliminal space, listening in to our bodily responses to the subtle signals beneath the threshold for conscious perception. For this coming portal day, our inquiry into our overarching question is framed through the lens of weathering the storm.

On this next stage of our journey together, we find ourselves back above ground, with all our senses informing us that a storm is coming. There is a preternatural stillness that carries with it a sense of foreboding. There is no one right way to weather a storm. It depends on your environment, your circumstances and your inner and outer resources. The wild wolf will behave differently than the well-fed dog; the branches of the tree respond differently than the trunk. Folk wisdom speaks of the stillness in the eye of the storm, while the buffalo herd faces into the blizzard and moves doggedly through it, thereby shortening the time it must endure. To move in the eye of the storm is to be guided by external circumstances: we must go where the storm takes us; conversely, there is also a stillness in the buffalo cohort that faces into the storm and moves at its own pace, together, sheltering the weakest at the centre.

In a crisis, the safest place is the truth. As we are buffeted by the inner and outer turbulence of the era shift, we sense the vital importance of centring in our integrity and a clear-eyed recognition of where we each stand on the spectrum from domesticity to wildness, from solitude to togetherness, from outer to inner orientation. While we might be traveling together as a cohort, we are nevertheless both diverse and spread out. What connects us most strongly, perhaps, is the vibrational mycelium of our shared practice field, which allows subtle nutrients to pass back and forth among us, bringing reciprocal aid where needed.

Sharing circle

(Early call)

Engaging head-on with this question,
there’s a sense of intensifying and sharpening,
of sensing in day-to-day life,
almost as if I’ve been moved out of going along day-by-day,
even with areas of concern.
There’s a sense of immediacy,
of the reality of life, decision-making in the moment.
There are those whom I am with
in the conscious navigation of the era shift.
I also maintain bonds of affection with people
who have no concept that we are in an era shift.
There is such a lot in play!
The swirls and eddies in the water…
There’s something crucial about maintaining the capacity
to stay in connection amidst all of that,
whilst also centring in our own integrity,
in clear-eyed recognition of where we each stand
on the spectrum from domesticity to wildness,
from solitude to togetherness,
from outer to inner orientation.
These are very present,
and there’s a very real, tangible constant negotiation
amongst all of those layers,
whilst moving through unknown terrain.
This is partly really enlivening and exciting
and partly it requires intense focus and energy,
so it therefore needs rest.
I keep returning to the intensity
of the lived experience in the moment,
that this navigation requires
—especially in relationship with others.
I’m drawn into the aspect of domesticity & wildness.
Drawn to being outside.
I have had the door open, the wind is blowing it all in.
I’ve been called to stand in the river running alongside the garden,
to lie out in the garden, wrapped in coats and blankets.
Yet I am also aware of a strong urge to maintain connection,
and the means of doing that and allowing that to be:
perseverance to get through a 3-day technical crisis to be able to be here
on the computer connecting to all of you.
How wonderful would it be to develop our capacity
to be together like this through our own mycelium,
without the technology that is not easeful?
What does it mean to be navigating the Era Shift together?
Constant adjustment. Constant tuning in,
finding a path whilst navigating all those factors in our space.
What’s becoming ever more apparent,
demanding to be more fully recognised:
the need to be holding the emotional space
and allowing that to be as clean and clear as possible
through very strong currents that have the capacity
to knock us over from time to time,
as we navigate through,
finding our way in relationship with other people,
wherever they are finding themselves.

Today my attention goes to the word ‘together’.
It makes me think back to some recent U-Lab case clinics,
where I discovered some Collective-Alchemy-like quality,
with the difference that the focus is more like inquiry into the personal challenge
of one person in a small group.
I have known this for 5 years, but not done in the past 2.
Now rediscovering how transformative it is,
if I allow myself to trust others, to open up
and be open for what they say.
One session where I brought the case
was so transformative that it’s like being shifted
onto another track, letting go of a lot of things, to becoming more of myself.
So navigating the era shift together means developing a lot of trust
to sink down into the hammock of mycelium.
I have noticed in the past weeks that I’m more able to do so.
About the storm that’s coming,
this nicely contrasts with a question that someone asked me.
I was feeling like I was too much in stillness, feeling stuck.
He asked “how becalmed do you want your life and work to be?”
I saw myself becalmed in a boat in the middle of the ocean, felt like “not where I want to be”.
I don’t feel like a storm is coming, that feels somehow negative, evoking fear.
I have more a sense of a lot of fresh wind—the wind of change.
It feels helpful to BE navigating the Era Shift together.
You cannot navigate if there is no wind.

I really missed co-sensing this time!
I took the opportunity to go to Scottish Highlands instead
but followed closely what was happening.
Co-sensing is such an enriching, interesting,
energizing, informative experience.
How does the lens of the storm relate to the Era Shift?
I kept thinking of how alike we are.
There’s a communal nature to storms.
Each of us has probably weathered individual or emotional storms.
We’ve experienced outer, external, weather-related storms.
I grew up in Buffalo New-York, bringing 100 inches of snow every year!
Are storms negative or positive?
Storms do disrupt us, make us uncomfortable,
require us to be very resourceful, to get to the other side.
They also clear the pathway.
Sometimes clearing that pathway
through the truth that comes out in a storm
is quite revealing and refreshing.
I see a storm as a cleansing agent.
Although it might causing (temporary) pain and destruction.
Each of us has to navigate the storm.
We can do that because we gain strength from each other.
Be it in a one-to-one conversation or a triad,
the question moves us forward, it moves us in a new place.
The refreshing that happens in the aftermath of the storm—a clarity.
Personal with me to what’s happening in our worlds collectively, wherever we live.
People are individually from a lot of different places,
highly attuned and sensitized to what’s happening where I live and in the world.

I was also drawn to the co-sensing,
but couldn’t make the times with a regular office job.
I read the notes, felt very strongly about this one.
Was indeed so beautiful to watch, to read the notes, you can feel the calls.
Everything is transcribed, you can even see personalities coming through.
Last time we were in a cave, now there are buffalos!
Somehow it all makes sense…
I had an incident.
I’ve been working weekends a lot since Covid:
engaged in crisis communications.
My washing machine broke down on Saturday
and I didn’t respond to some calls.
No big thing, someone else took over.
On Sunday I was working again,
I received an email from head of my organization:
“where were you on Saturday?”
It reduced me to tears.
I’ve been doing this every other weekend
and I’m so tired of it.
Being constantly available and on call,
then being scolded for that one time that I wasn’t there.
This symbolised everything in my life until now,
always being available and putting others first,
and not attending to my own needs.
The image of the buffalo herd gave me the answer:
I didn’t have to respond!
Normally, I would have created the perfect (professional and yet bitchy) email.
But now, the truth is protecting me, sheltering me.
She’s not my mother, I’m not her child.
The truth was that I had been available for 18 months.
This was the first time that I replied with silence
and felt OK with it. “No, I’m not doing this narrative”.
I realized we are not the herd, but we are our own herds:
I am both the strong buffalos sheltering and the weak ones in the middle.
Herd is not only outside you, but also inside.
I cried with this realisation:
I cradled my children when they were born,
because I had to, because I was told to.
But I didn’t feel it, because I hadn’t been cradled myself.
I sat cradling myself, the weak one in the herd,
here, held to my heart. The weakest link and the strongest one.
If you cradle it, swaddle it, you can weather any storm, any intensity,
because you know right here, in the heart, it will be safe.
With the idea of sheltering, you’re not completely sealed off.
The snow will still touch you, but there’s enough around you.
The buffalos won’t leave the weakest behind, but we humans do tend to!
and it’s so heart breaking. I don’t think every animal shelters its own,
but I’m not going to leave myself behind again.
And if I don’t abandon myself, I won’t abandon others.
I’ll be strong enough. I can tend the bigger herd.
Truth is a difficult word.
The idea of a silent truth keeps me standing my ground,
in the eye of the storm, being still.
Bringing it back to the collective – I wouldn’t have found that place
if I hadn’t been here in the past 12 months.
Lots of gratitude & shelter.

My initial focus went to “together”.
I sensed sadness for being so spread out and so few.
Then I sensed the whole field, with many more souls than I could see.
Shifting to “navigating”, I kept seeing “gating”:
is my mind playing tricks, or are we looking for a gate?
Something to pass through?
But it feels more like wondering and wandering,
in a mountainous landscape,
gathering information and herbs
herbs to nurture us now, and to save for the travel to come.
Is this a stage where we prepare for something?
Or is this it, and there is nothing else?

My attention keeps being drawn
—just as in our explorations of the liminal
(and what if the liminal is just ‘how it is’
and could last our lifetime)—
I had the same question about the storm:
storms could have many qualities
that are naturally occurring,
with a build-up of conditions that seek
some kind of equilibrium, dissipation, rebalancing.
Atmospherics trying to find a rhythm.
The impulse of this aspect was coming
through the cyclones in India:
how you move through that kind of weather pattern.
Reminiscent of some of my own storylines:
taking a group into the mountains and camping.
It’s a different undertaking if you are spending just one night in a storm.
More nights requires an aptitude,
an attention to detail, to withstand a different potential for emergency.
There’s a different skill acceleration when you’re in a storm for longer.
Traveling through stormy seas on a naval ship,
relies on intensive drilling:
securing for sea, battening down the hatches,
all is practiced while in safe harbour,
to ensure optimal function
for days or weeks of stormy waters out of sight of land—
where there’s no option to return to harbour.
We’re in that too.
Duration, intensity of the storm cycles in motion at this time.
Being together in that, we hone particular capabilities.
In the co-sensing journey, the naming of the storm
elevated and brought to light the nature of storms
in our inner and outer lives.
I have felt that in my own journey.
There’s a heightened awareness that is immediately available
in an emergency.
Humanity shows up in those scenarios.
This stormy energy is bringing us out of the doldrums.
In our own call for equilibrium,
and life’s call for us to be in balance as a collective,
the pendulum is swinging into the storm zone.
Show up. Get clear, connect, take care of one another,
in both the inner and the outer realms:
there’s a fractal, kaleidoscopic nature to this
that quickens our ability to perceive
at a different pacing than the sunny, calm landscapes we might prefer,
but that isn’t where the evolutionary capacity building and rebalancing
happens, at a faster, more deliberate rate.

Thinking about the herd, I realized
I feel I belong to two different kinds of herds:
people that I actively choose to be part of my herd,
and people who have always been part of my life.
It’s easier to navigate with the ones I choose.
But how can I navigate with those who have always been there?
It works in both directions:
I can navigate the era shift together
with those whom I can be with.
I cannot navigate it together
with those that I can’t be with.
And even if I can say that, I am doing it anyway!
Everyone is part of the herd.
Not just those who have always been there,
nor those whom I have added to my herd.
Whether I like it or not.
We’re navigating with EVERYONE, with all the beings that are there.
For me, it’s really good to come back to the first part of the sentence:
What does it mean to be? How can we be? And sink into that…

(Late call)

It’s a really strange period
In one way I’m lost: I lost my phone, all my ID cards have been AWOL for days.
In another I am really connected to the earth & relationships both known and unknown.
That storm seems possible.
Work is piling in, but the head is mostly confused,
holding the fragmentation.
Getting more grounded in this town after four years.
Not standing behind the bar, but hosting it.
My place and my co-creation work all becomes one,
both for me and everybody else.
Who sees what in me is no longer my problem.
I feel well in dialogue, that’s my anchor, my axis, my tent pole.
Wherever there’s no house, I can create one.
I can rely on what I know.
If we can talk to each other, that’s the goal.
If we can support and hold each other, that’s what matters.
Comfortable, without relying on what I’ve learned or who I ever was.
A new era is showing up, and it doesn’t feel bad.
What changes?

The image of buffalo,
doggedly walking straight into the storm, is powerful.
I live in part of US where buffalo roamed, in their millions
until white settlers came and shot them all for fun.
There’s a history there: it’s part of us, part of me,
that needs to be acknowledged.
It’s all there in the mycelium.
I’m also taken with the call to nature,
and the protection of the young and weak:
Nature knows how to take care of its own.
How much of that is left of that in us
in our technological wizardry?
We can stand in the eye of the storm and feel that stillness,
but I sense that something much harsher is coming.
Communities and groups like this, across the planet,
like a mycelial connection—locally, globally—
that is part of how we navigate this era shift.
There will be times when we need
the shelter or protection or care or sharing of the others,
to know what going on in their part of the world.
In the mycelial connection across the planet
I feel the magic and the power of tapping in
to different dimensional realms.
That’s where the call is for me,
and to bring that into whatever context I am,
so it can be grounded and held and embodied
for the well being of all on this planet.

First I felt constrained, connecting to that portion of wild energy
that stands still, hunkers down.
I drew figures which stopped at hands, feet, head.
The energy of blocking and locking everything:
sensing into my core, I found
my fear of losing some of you,
not doing the right thing.
Connecting to this, I relaxed:
my legs filled up, my whole body opened up.
Sensing my power and my sensors, a flow reaching out.
Space, Trust, Confidence, Smile, Life.
And then ANGER kicked in.
Strong arm.
The need to bring ALL OF ME in.
When we navigate the Era Shift together,
I have to be TRUE to MYSELF.

Tuning in, I got to a sense of being tempered,
strengthening, testing, evolving, forming
to produce something durable and strong.
It is that integrity, being true to self,
and the capacity to hold focus in that dance.
I’m experiencing as a constant actor,
a dance between external awareness and external interactions
with others in all realms of life
(this kind of group, conversations with family members,
long-time friends, some who remain, others not).
The tempering is that capacity to remain centred
in knowing what I know, being who I am,
open to change and flow and evolve and develop.
With those people falling away from me,
I sense a tension when I’m with them that arises
from my involvement in this conscious process of co-creation,
holding the focus of knowing
that what I say, think, express, do,
all creates a reality real-time.
How to respond from that place
when something very different is coming towards me
from people I’m encountering?
That’s the tempering I’m seeing:
those encounters build a capacity
to maintain that integrity, truthfulness to self,
in day-to-day interactions.
There’s also a real comfort through the mycelial field,
through a knowing through a feeling
that I’m connected with others around the world
who are doing a similar thing.
Whilst sometimes the physical, local reality can feel quite isolating,
the mycelial connection is very supportive, even without communication.
Sometimes there is communication (via tangible technology),
and a lot of times there isn’t.
I’m also aware that many, many people I come into contact with
are unaware we are in an era shift.
Relationship on that level, is a dance I’m finding interesting.
A while ago, tuning in to what I wish to be doing,
where I put energy and focus,
there was a clear impulse to be more visible
and offer my services more locally.
This brings me into contact with new people.
Setting up a market stall with my essential oils
gives me the opportunity to interface more
with really local community here in my village.
I’m excited by the quickening of activity
and people starting to do things differently,
but also a speeding up of what’s been happening for a while,
this developing of different ways of being and doing,
that’s feeling into the era shift,
stepping into a more harmonious way of being with nature.
That tempering is also a staying out of fear,
with the sense of storm approaching,
there’s a sense of unstable, rocky times for a while,
just around the corner.
It feels like where we are now is good preparation for that:
maintaining our own centre, and being that herd together,
that can stand its ground and keep moving forward
on its own path, letting the storm pass through.

The question stumped me, I didn’t have an answer.
An answer has come during this circle:
In all the time we’ve been together,
I have a deep interest in hearing what everyone has to say.
I can compare it with most situations where that hasn’t been developed.
I think that’s part of navigating together: wanting to hear from everyone.
I so appreciate this opportunity.
Then personally, I think it’s important to be true to oneself.
I had a mild case of Covid, and what first came to me,
was needing to tell my own truth, and to the degree I could.
Not say things just to say things (part of the Los Angeles culture).
Even though our world has opened up,
I still cherish this time of being inside,
because I don’t really feel I have come to the place
where I am anchored enough in myself
to not get pulled into things external
that could affect me and pull me out of myself.
To me, it’s essential to have this time
to really get to know who I am.
One facet: left to my own devices, I go to bed at 3 am.
While my body seems to belong to southern hemisphere,
I take in media from all over the world.
It means so much to me to know
what’s happening around the world.
I’m not sure how someone who needs
to sleep late in the morning would fit into things.
But I can trust that: the calls for me arrive when I get up.
Is it known that I’m not around until later in the morning?
I do make exceptions, with coffee in hand!
What’s possible: this reaching out.
One of the crippling aspects of this pandemic
is the limitations on our inability to reach out and connect.
It’s in our nature.
Things just pop up for us!

I loved hearing about the essential oils.
A year ago I had a lovely connective experience.
It was in early lockdown
and I was exploring a conference in virtual reality.
It began with all the awkwardness of a live conference,
and also not getting the virtual reality piece.
walking around not talking to people.
In the entrance hall there was a digital grand piano.
No one was ever playing.
It was just 3D object.
By the 5th day, I had relaxed,
figured out how to talk to people in a digital world.
People were hanging out at a digital beach, playing with digital speed boats.
I walked past the piano, and heard a piano play.
It was beautiful, so I went and stood by it.
Started talking to the person playing in real life,
made a request for Satie (my mother’s favourite)
and the person played it.
This person was in Switzerland, experimenting.
I’ve been thinking about how to make digital contacts
accessible to people who can’t see or hear.
Engaging in subjective layers of translating those things.
I find it a rich space to play in.
I’m meeting someone on Sunday who’s going to help us
make our essential oils.
Creating experiences online that get people to connect;
we had the idea of using scent,
co-creating a scent and exploring the impact on the emotions.
Through the call, my hands have been tensing and tingling.
Trying to express something;
they have a life of their own!

Listening to all who have spoken so far,
and recalling the earlier call.
Our practice field has plenty of metaphors,
and sometimes I perceive these metaphors as quite literal.
I need metaphors to make sense.
If I speak of the storm;
part of me senses that the storm has already been here for some time.
Another part of me thinks there’s another storm coming.
Is it a metaphor, or to be taken literally?
In any case it’s an enrichment on both angles.
I want to share that capacity to enrich my connection and connectivity with humans around me
when I don’t get stuck in my head with one way or the other way.
There is a brief story about freedom:
a starving wolf coming across a well-fed dog.
They have an exchange, and the dog invites the wolf to adopt his lifestyle.
When the wolf sees the dog’s collar, he runs away without a second thought.
Always understood this story as symbolising the quest for freedom
and how being free takes a certain level of courage, of truth,
of comfort with uncertainty, with the wild, the unknown.
Understand it as such, I forget
that other people might understand it differently.
So if it becomes a very personal story, which triggers an emotional storm,
I disconnect from mycelium of humanity.
There’s a part of us that comes from the same place.
There’s something we all share that is rooted
in the same tree of life,
where there’s an endless branching capacity.
Relying on this picture and this metaphor,
I’m left with the perception that it’s by feeling the connectivity
that I can get closer to other beings.
I used to chase storms, literally, with boats and sails;
loving to put myself into the intensity of nature,
to be present with it and far away from other human beings.
I don’t want to do that anymore.
Now I want to face the storm, with other people.

Storms have been in the history of humanity for quite some time.
What came to my mind was the experience
my people went through during the second World War,
especially in the Soviet Union.
This kind of storm cleaned up a lot of the artificial,
scouring away people’s lives, through layer and layers,
until the essential came into presence,
and everyone was essential to everyone else.
Everyone was light to someone else, and that kept us together.
All 4 of my great-grandfathers went to war,
leaving their wives and children behind.
It was really important to all of them to know
what is at the core.
In the silence I was reminded of a beautiful song:
“If everything around falls apart, I still have love in my heart”
It is so important to have that love and light,
to surrender to it and let it do what has to be done,
inside and outside.
Being light for someone else is what lights us inside.
Remembrance day for WWII reminded me of what humans
have already been through.
Looking at the storm as a blessing: that is all that is left to us:
It’s inevitable.
How we go through it is the question;
what we take out of it is our choice.

Who showed up

Deepah Kamath, An van Damme, Molly Whiteley, Wini Condic Begov, Anna Brunain, Darya Gerasimenko, Chris Hainsworth, Judy Wallace, Madeleine Schwab, Ursula Hillbrand, Louise Carpenter, Pieter Deceuninck, Marie-José d’Aprile, Aakanksha Singh, Georgios Kastrinos, Sarah Whiteley.

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Invitation Page

Our invitation to practice Collective Alchemy continues 21 May 2021

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE NAVIGATING THE ERA SHIFT TOGETHER?   Since March we have been on a journey of discovery with the above question as our guiding star. Since our journey started, we have not spent much time in the obvious terrain ‘above ground’. Rather, our exploratory co-sensing brought us into a liminal space, learning to appreciate the gifts of not-knowing, slowing down and stillness. Next we found ourselves in a subliminal space,

Read More »


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