WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE NAVIGATING THE ERA SHIFT TOGETHER?
Welcome to the first step into a new cycle. For this next cycle of collective practice, we will be journeying through a single over-arching inquiry, destination and terrain unknown. Having familiarised ourselves with the core practices of Collective Alchemy during the previous cycle, we are now ready to embark on a more challenging expedition, into the essence of what the practice emerged to serve: the Era Shift.
Checking in: what ingredients do you bring to the crucible as we start out on a new journey?
Stillness; curiosity and new eyes;
curiosity about what is unfolding and what can be;
energy balancing; ability to rest when needed; openness and caring;
poetry; spaciousness and calm; myself; staying close to myself, centredness; intuition;
happiness; a vast view on life; a sense of wonder; vision and space; the experience of heart-full-ness;
movement between the inner and outer life, and letting go so both can be expressed; staying centred,
slowing down, making order; flow: right place, right work; not-really-knowing-and-just-seeing-what’s-
coming; peace; being real in both the outer world and the inner world; playfulness, energy to
experiment; Judy’s words from the hang-out; physical discomfort – the ease of taking
the body for granted; my inner voice and my frustration at not understanding it;
freshness of the new beginning, and clarity; hope and anticipation.
Framing the calling question
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE NAVIGATING THE ERA SHIFT TOGETHER?
The Collective Alchemy Practice Guide offers the following definition:
“Collective Alchemy can be defined as a complex set of practices that, when mastered, create the conditions for right relationship and rich interaction between humans and Cosmos, in service of the evolution of Gaia.”
As we enter this new cycle, it is hard to deny that our world is also in a different place. The waves of change are intensifying and many are feeling mounting disorientation and anxiety. Many of us have given up looking outside ourselves for guidance about what is true. In this context, we invite you to lean in with us to sense into the era shift together, through the lens of our own lived experience.
Because we will be traveling with this overarching question over multiple waves, we can expect the inquiry to deepen and complexify, split off into threads that then weave back into the bigger picture. Each of us holds a unique perspective, granularity of focus, range of elevation and depth, and capacity to perceive the invisible and the subtle. Bringing all of these together over time will enrich our shared understanding of who we are (becoming) and what is unfolding within and around us.
For this first wave of entry into the inquiry, we will be focusing on the basics:
What is this era shift? How is it showing up in our lives?
What is changing for and within each one of us?
How are we each experiencing and responding to our current circumstances
and the waves and glimpses of energies coming into our field of awareness?
We are in a shift in the quality of our attention,
in the quality of our connection.
The past year – for me – was a gift,
allowing me to integrate and deepen
my practices and my presence
without being out in the ordinary reality:
witnessing without engagement.
A platform of choice, and deepening.
The harvest of the internet era:
we are creating platforms to connect.
We can still maintain the quality
of our circles, even online.
This new era…
What if we’re still having those conversations without Zoom?
Where are we putting our attention:
in what is dissolving?
Or what is emerging?
What is the quality of what wants to emerge?
It’s centred around wellbeing.
We must make choices, without knowing.
Individual and collective,
creating the conditions to support each other.
I felt the impulse to join today.
Pulled by the magnet of my absent friend.
Honour what is leaving.
I’m noticing that Belgium is the core,
with wings all around the world.
What does this bring to this question?
A lot of shivering waves are moving through me.
One hallmark of my experience lately has been acute aliveness.
Life feels very surreal in many ways.
I’m seeing through the collective mainstream narrative:
it’s like the map is in shreds,
and I do not recognise it in the territory I am seeing.
Why isn’t everybody seeing this? Am I crazy or what?
There’s a real feeling of concern.
At the same time, I’m also noticing
—and this is a spontaneous process—
how my conditioning is unraveling.
All the ways in which I have been conditioned
to dissemble so much of who I am.
It looks like identity falling away,
because that is what others were telling me I was.
What arises instead is a deep inner silence,
that I recognize as being the silence of nature.
Wind might be blowing, birds might be singing, the donkey might be braying
but it’s all held in a fathomless silence.
In that silence I feel the intimate connection to life, to creation,
also to the life/creation aspect of other human beings:
not a conditioned mind but a living heart-full vulnerable body.
This feeling of intimate connection with life arises
at the same time as a sense of alienation from civilization.
It really is like a split. That is the shift, for me.
There are waves of fear that come through as well.
And with each wave, a deeper trust
that this is Nature’s way.
Leaning towards those who live in contact with the land.
Wanting to understand that shift takes time.
This era shift cannot be rushed.
Where do you think you’re going?
It’s not about waiting,
it’s about connecting to that longer rhythm,
not the old frenetic way of living.
This last year invited us into that pause
—and I understand why we are still in it.
That frenetic pace is not how we are supposed to live our lives.
Sometimes it shows up with discomfort and uneasiness,
and the feeling of having choices.
My response is to live day-to-day.
Moment to moment.
There are gusts of aliveness,
grief for all that I must release
to connect to my true self
and to be at peace.
I’m new here,
So many words and feelings
are mirrors for me.
The era shift centres around
Letting go of what does not serve us.
Questioning healthy and unhealthy habits.
Wellbeing as a commodity.
Losing my identity in exchange for something unknown.
I don’t know who I am any more.
The foundation is broken.
I’m questioning my friendships, my relationships,
the way I function.
The biggest challenge is getting out of my head.
It’s really uncomfortable!
There have been moments where I have felt
I was losing my ‘sanity’.
And there are moments when I want to break out:
discover what is awaiting.
And recognising what I value in the present moment,
There needs to be a connection between past and future.
Reinvention is not a rebranding opportunity!
Purification: whatever is impacting my nervous system
needs to leave.
Food, ways of thinking, emotions:
barriers to sensing, to feeling connected.
Breaking social ties by refusing the food offered to me,
whilst seeking to maintain human connection.
This era shift feels like
a crumbling of who I am and what I have to offer.
I’m sitting with the tension between
seeing where it might be going,
and the society where I live: the worldly concerns
of earning the rent.
How do I stand in this shift?
How do I embody the change,
putting my energy into something of value
when I know it’s a slow process?
How to allow it to unfold without rushing
whilst part of me still wants to function in this world?
Staying closer to myself in all of that
is something I sense is important.
The feeling of not being able to function in society:
questions and doubts.
It’s a relief to know I’m not the only one
sensing and envisioning something else,
and going on that journey of exploration.
This era shift comes
with the realisation that everything can change.
Nothing is permanent.
Even the people I live with…
Being OK with that: we’ll see what happens.
All the changes on Earth,
Being aware that there is no more normal,
that has been an illusion for decades.
We can expect a lot of change and uncertainty from here on.
Personally, I’m able to let go,
after a lot of time frozen, no longer wanting to play the game.
Now I’m willing to take more risks,
play the game and not play it at the same time.
We still have to function in the world:
early retirement is not an option.
But choosing my own conditions,
holding myself to them.
Navigating the tension.
I’m a lot more open for change,
also in my home;
finishing the unfinished,
micro-practicing taking the risk of getting things done,
whilst seeing what does not matter, and what does.
I tend to be comfortable with the minimum.
Even without the internet
I have ways to practice and ground myself.
I could live with almost nothing
and still be at peace.
Just outside the picture on the invitation,
There is a waterfall. It is
is 3 hours drive from where I am.
In the silence:
I’m standing under the waterfall.
So much deafening, blinding water.
Now I’m in the river.
Peaceful, and expecting to ache all over
having been washed from the waterfall
into the river.
Where are the wounds?
Why am I not disoriented?
I was expecting something else.
How could that happen?
The river comes from a forest
full of medicinal plants
with extraordinary healing abilities.
Can I see the era shift like that?
What am I expecting out of it?
Perhaps what it is giving me is the
Fear is with me, but it is fear
of expecting something bad.
Looking back at the last year,
its been like that.
The most connection I have had,
the most belonging I have felt,
the most ready to engage with the world
has been in the last year.
Starkly opposite to how I thought.
I was trying too hard to fit in.
Last year washed that away.
Leaving a felt sense of belonging.
I’m part of a larger whole all the time.
During the silence
I sensed something at my back,
against and on top of my shoulders.
Present and completely out of sight.
You need to turn around to see it.
My eyes opened up,
my breath deepened.
Then my attention was pulled away
to the street and the green.
Pulling my attention out of my room,
to the street of society,
the green of nature
was the call to my body.
In my mental image
what was at my back was black.
As I turned around,
I sensed thick yellow,
now there are branches of trees,
growing through my belly and my stomach!
How am I responding?
There’s an inner split:
part of belonging to the ‘old’,
that also offers so many good things
but has also ruined so much for so many.
I practice bodily awareness.
If I were to ask others
how I am responding to the era shift,
they might be optimistic.
I inspire others to be more of who they are
In the professional context I am in,
as a small cog in a big machine.
but I AM A COG in a big machine.
Letting go of what no longer serves.
There’s a line that sings
from one of our previous calls:
Every story I have ever known
or told about myself
is too small.
It’s about me, us, the stories we live in.
Behind the social systems and the way we (don’t) take care
of the world together.
My practice has shifted to working with people who work with ‘somatics’
Body as a whole, where there is no more separation.
It is still an unrecognised field
for people living the ramifications of society at large.
Being present in radical ways,
with my blind spots, anxieties, hope, fear, joy.
It’s a long journey to get to know your body again,
to welcome and learn.
To allow that in my home, in my space.
Connection with the larger body,
the earth, the land.
People are so afraid.
It’s easy to slip into the blindness and separation.
The work is to return to radical presence
with all that’s there.
Maybe there isn’t a large enough story,
but I’m taking that with me in my boat!
I experience frustration
with a lack of language to express
the experience of the era shift.
It’s intense, and we don’t have the words.
I think of the two parts of life
we don’t tend to talk about:
birth and death.
The beginning and the end.
Imagine, if we hadn’t demonised
feminine, life-giving birthing wisdom
we might have this language now.
Maybe we don’t need to talk,
just ride the wave.
I experience the split:
closer to life, alienated from civilisation.
At the time of birth, the womb disintegrates.
It’s time to move out,
but how do we move from the water to the air?
We are in the radical change of a medium.
What we were conditioned in is disintegrating.
The only way we can move is through trust,
My response to my wordless frustration
is to become more quiet. I’d rather be on my own,
silent, than speak too many words, the wrong words.
It’s finding a new language with each other.
The holding space here is the practice ground for doing that.
It can be honoured at a different level than what we’re used to.
During the silence,
I had the image of the era shift
offering me a tool like a camera lens,
allowing me to zoom in on very specific parts
of myself, my life, my relationships,
And to zoom out further than ever before,
to see myself as a tiny part of an immense,
Playing with that lens
brings some consciousness of the correlations
between these levels of scale;
how the work done on one level
affects the others.
The era shift is amplifying
my willingness to learn, to practice,
my longing to walk my own path.
On the brink of taking a risk:
if not now, when?
Why wait because I’m afraid?
This feeling is familiar,
I always thought it was because I didn’t care.
But it’s not true that I don’t care.
It’s because I care so much that I’m afraid.
So what happens when I act from that space?
I remember Daniela shaving my head.
I thought it was because I didn’t care,
but it was the opposite.
It’s been like that all the time.
The surface not-caring masking how deeply I care.
A story usually has
a beginning, a middle and an end.
I don’t think there’s a shift, it’s all fluid, in motion.
This year I have started to awaken to fluidity.
What it means.
In Tai Chi, when you move with the energy of your opponent,
you are much stronger.
You won’t drop, fall or break.
Our language is not fluid enough,
although English is more fluid than my own language.
But there’s no expression of identity.
When you ‘come out’ as gay, your whole identity shifts.
But I still feel the same.
Nothing’s changed on the inside
but I’m so much more aware of what’s around me.
This awareness is what’s been sharpened,
so I see the falsehoods, the things that don’t match.
And you are a cog.
My way of being a useful cog
in this era shift
is to be quiet long enough
to ask the right question.
A way of retracting until it washes over
and has the impact.
Playing the question game
revealed to me: it’s always in the questions,
the ever expanding curiosity.
My ability to survive as a cog
is to keep asking the questions
until the silence reigns within me,
and no more questions arise.
as a honing of focus,
developing the capacity to keep returning
to the body as an internal touchstone,
awareness of where I place my focus,
and where my energy flows
is what I am contributing to.
Despite what’s happening that’s daunting,
my sense of what is happening in our circle is
positive, forceful, connected.
There is the human element in all of this.
The Element. (Sir Ken Robinson)
The meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion.
There is some connection.
I find myself with a heightened awareness
of continuously tracking.
A lived, present experience of the quantum field
in everyday life.
Taking radical responsibility for my thoughts, focus, emotional state:
what vibration I’m emitting,
and what matter will coalesce into the form of our future.
The meeting place between natural aptitude and personal passion
sums it up for me.
There is a life force there which is the natural aptitude,
and our human passion, where we focus,
can mould that life force.
I’m going ever deeper into my body
as a touchstone for truth.
As the waves of energy come through,
and something can throw my self into horror,
I return to the body,
keep a close awareness on where I place my focus.
And at the same time, I feel
like I’m mush in my cocoon,
on a branch in the coracle going down the river.
The body is touchtone in relationships and situations,
constant sensing of what is serving and what isn’t.
Holding an open space to allow things to change,
being prepared to let go of habits, people.
Being OK with the momentary sense
that I have to be separate from all the stories;
everything that’s crumbling, dissolving,
and keep focus on holding space and that
high vibrational field that can welcome the arising new.
Having an awareness that my body is changing
physically and energetically.
Today as many days, I have felt quite challenged
in ascertaining my own sanity.
Like in these days or months,
layer after layer of identity/story is falling away,
but it feels like it’s pushed out
by a much much vaster sense of being
that sees what’s happening in the world
in a much longer, larger timeframes
and much deeper narratives that are not current
in either the mainstream more alternative discourse. So I am having to hold my own counsel,
as I find myself taking some painful decisions
that aren’t necessarily comprehensible in human terms.
Such as having to accept that I might never see my mother again
because my multi-dimensional self is adamant
that I do not subject myself to any form of corona medicalization.
And this is the kind of thing going on inside
which challenges my own assessments of my own sanity.
And yet as I use the touchstone of my body,
it is rock solid.
And as I use the touchstone of my body,
my connection with my mother has never been more intimate and grounded.
And also my connection with my children.
There are certain souls that I feel so so close.
And there are other souls that I love
that I feel drifting away.
I find myself observing all of this in silence and stillness.
And really understanding that I am exactly where I need to be.
And it’s not over yet, by a long shot.
I feel the questions start to gather inside.
We have had some challenging conversations in our triad
about what it means to be engaged in this shift.
I have gathered much information that might answer that question.
The topics, the teachers, the integral nature of our existence.
Are we essential as humans?
Where does relationship fit in?
In my every-day experience:
“we will know how to behave when we remember
that we belong to one another.”
How do I embody what I think, believe, think I know?
Can I let things dissolve,
knowing that chaos is important,
that diversity is important if we are to reach higher levels
of functioning and understanding;
that the dissolution of things that don’t serve are not
necessarily things I wish to relinquish.
All these ideas are stimulating,
like bells that are rung, I can’t unhear them.
Sometimes I wish I could live in sanctuary
and not have to deal with the world.
But: the grocery store, the contractor, my family.
How do I embody these things I think are important?
I’ve spent my life in work around relationship –
to one another, to all of life, to the ancestors.
Someone recently said: liberation is not failure:
there are relationships I can relinquish
because it’s not mine to fix.
I’m no longer yearning from a place I can’t get it.
Having this constant desire,
looking in the same place for something that’s not there.
And the multidimensional …
I need to know that what I really am
is not separate from source.
I do have those capacities,
but my daily challenge is to embody them.
Every day I am changed like the Grand Canyon changes.
I need to hear how you are in this shift
that we know to be happening,
and how do you walk down the street these days?
This is getting really real.
I feel it deep in my being, in my body.
It’s not easy.
I too often question my sanity.
Is it only me that sees and knows in this way?
Am I the one that’s crazy?
I know inside that’s not true.
Appreciating and looking at and valuing
my multiplicity of ways of knowing.
We live in a world where two things have come to the surface:
a pandemic of fear, and science will fix it for us.
If I question the science with any of my other ways of knowing,
then I’m called crazy, or a quack.
And yet deep in my body
I know what I know.
There’s going to be some breaking away from others
that isn’t what I’d choose or want,
because of choices we’re making.
The era shift embraces critical choices,
to listen to who I am and to thrive going forward
without some others.
The knowing in me is so strong
it brings me a level of detachment.
I’m not doubting that at all.
I do not intend to put any treatment into my body,
and that is where the separation will happen,
because of the fear.
There will be a Great Saviour.
That is not what I see.
It is all out of alignment with nature’s principles,
Where things die, and things thrive.
In our Western science paradigm we have got so out of touch with that,
that we are going to be called back there,
into relationship with the Earth.
In my long life I have gotten used to many things
that I will struggle to live without.
How are we navigating the era shift together?
In these other ways of knowing,
tapping into the collective, energetic, effervescent, almost explosive way
feels so powerful!
This morning I witnessed ceremony at Niagara Falls.
After watching the water of life crossing into that huge depth.
We were invited to close our eyes and listen again:
The thunder of life
coming alive in each moment.
The frequency, the resonance, the power!
I have never felt more alive!
It is so important to have this space
to speak our truth, each one of us,
whether it’s what others want to hear or not.
I’m not perceiving anything as crumbling.
Things are, rather, rigid and stiff,
bureaucracies trying to do the right thing:
nothing is crumbling here.
There are just these limiting dead structures,
stifling aliveness, potential, possibilities.
I live in an over-organised place: there’s a rule for everything!
And I perceive life as life:
life wanting to live.
I’m happy when I can be in environments like this:
regenerative, rejuvenating, alive;
the minimum structure that fends off destructive chaos.
This is my mode of aliveness.
I have an era shift – I live them one after another.
I remembered a moment 10 years ago,
when I felt myself in a similar place.
Wearing the same pullover, even! Wondering what is life?
I was emerging from the cocoon, even then.
Perhaps I’m back there again.
It’s fine to keep shifting.
Cocooning time – I’m developing a taste for it!
Now I can help others to go through their era shifts.
I don’t aim to help the planet,
just smaller organs.
It’s not so unique now.
Does it really matter?
There is always a polarising mechanical approach,
pitted against the organic.
I know what I belong to, what feeds me, what I can feed.
Letting go. Peace.
I’m less worried about myself in all this.
Whatever we do, people will be judging us.
Might as well be authentic. That will always be the same.
So what is really changing and shifting?
I can only perceive what I perceive,
and maintain my own orientation, making my own day.
Nobody out there cares if I get out of bed or not.
Going out to swim every day is an achievement,
and while I love this freedom, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult
to tell myself what to do.
Staying within the ambit of what I can control, without complaining
will get me though whatever is shifting.
The constant reorientation to the centre of the Earth requires that.
So many have given words
to what I sensed in the silence
without understanding the words I wrote down.
What is the era shift? What is my response?
Now the era shift is a wall of water
right in front of me:
strong back, but no grounding.
Uncomfortable and strong.
How can I ground again? How can my feet touch the ground?
Sink into the pelvis, let go of the forced strength.
As my feet touched the ground,
my throat cleared,
restoring my breath, my ability to act.
The water washed over me,
pushed me up,
so I could surf its momentum.
Sensing what is coming, using that momentum:
I cannot avoid the wall of water,
but I can sink into it, rise up with it
and surf its momentum.
It seems that I’ve been hearing a lot of cries
into the wilderness.
And yet we are all in this wilderness together.
Except when you are at a stage in life
when you are no longer in the matrix.
I have spent decades
letting things go.
Sitting with presence.
Not figuring out what is the era shift
but living in it.
It feels like it’s all presence
and my trying to manipulate something
doesn’t invite me right now.
I’ve let go of people I love very much,
without it being all right.
What’s true now is going into the place of
presence, without putting words on things.
Words don’t express what is, as I experience it.
Here in India, we are good at killing each other
with riots. Three in my lifetime so far.
Communal riots, always manufactured.
When Corona hit and the fear started to rise,
the felt sense was similar.
Humanity’s response to the era shift
has been to wage a riot on itself.
The madness seems to be increasing.
In this country, nobody really cares much for human lives
so the restrictions and the atmosphere you are sharing
doesn’t quite exist here.
We are trying to prove we are well-equipped,
but we just need some numbers to show the world,
leaving the ground reality as business as usual.
We have done our worst,
and shown it to ourselves.
Any ounce of doubt I might have carried
about whether I should have listened or considered some advice…
thank God I didn’t!
The only thing now left is to listen
to what comes from inside.
I’m beginning to experience,
as a sane response,
the quietness in my mind,
like in the middle of a forest.
The body feeling the stillness of the silence.
That is my response.
From there, whatever comes feels harmonious.
Some harmonising is happening within.
Being present with this in daily life
is the most common-sense thing to do.
All that had to be cleansed from the outside of my life,
a natural purging has started to happen.
I wouldn’t have been able to do it
without the era shift as my enabler.
Everything has dropped away. Easy.
I enjoy living with the silence more and more,
even as I engage with the world.
CHECK-OUT – How am I leaving the call and what am I taking with me from this first wave of our new journey?
Energised and inspired by the whole group – belonging together!
Inspired, nourished, sustained.
Nourished and grateful – resonant connection
Nourished – zooming out and seeing the bigger picture
Energised and happy that I came! Confident the right thing will happen
In love with the call – we are together in this, loving the beauty.
Multilayered – every story is too small, and words don’t grasp reality but it’s beautiful to try anyway.
A deep sense of belonging and shared experience and community
that’s both welcome and reassuring
Appreciation for the stewards, love for myself, loving the questions. Riding the wave of my inner knowing in my wish to create a new language for the era shift
Peaceful. We’re not insane, we’re still balanced. Aware of Sarah’s presence & absence. Leaving with sense of community, quite unique!
Peace and unconditional (self)love, a sense that I’m part of something greater, without needing to name it. The sense is enough
Wordless and at peace with it. Taking with me the curiosity of imagining Sarah watching the video.
Today is a new era for Collective Alchemy. The toddler is starting to walk.
The sharing and witnessing are so precious.
The magic is in the middle, the magic is in the being together, each person and each sharing creates the magic. There is so much more… I’m taking awareness of language, sincerity of engaging with the practice.
I’m leaving feeling SMUG. Like the cat that got the cream. What a way to start the day! Heartwarming to welcome three new members to our circle.
Tired, grateful, in good company
Feeling fuelled, filled with the alchemy of being human!
Leaving utterly satisfied.
Replete, with a sense of how beautiful it could be
if this kind of space can be brought wider into our communities.
Nourished and grateful,
I might be in a fermentation space!
I live this day, compassionate of heart, gentle in work,
gracious in awareness and generous in love.
I have received a lot of light and wisdom. Inner knowing!
I’m feeling rattled – my body is fighting itself.
The tension between embracing not knowing and being sure of knowing.
The back and forth! Acknowledging that what we believe
is what we believe, we just go forward with compassion.
Giving and taking, very alive!
I’m leaving with confusion and feeling pulled apart inside the body.
Appreciation of the words that are pointers,
and appreciation and awareness of the non-verbal presence of the collective.
Having heard personal voices, and a sense of the collective;
a feeling of open-endedness, realising that there is so much more to hear!
Appreciation of the multiplicity of ways of knowing and expressing, to form that collective web.
I sense the pre-verbal, as well as the non-verbal.
It feels important to hear the lives of others less familiar.
Gently trembling groin! And fulfilled in the heart zone.
Strength of the connection in this group,
with and without Sarah, who is with us and not with us.
Who showed up
Hala Makarem, Daniela Tablado, Brigitte Kupfer, Anna Brunain, Julia Hoffmann, Wini Condic Begov, Simon Luyts, Giorgios Kastrinos, Ellen Decoodt, Judy Wallace, Patricia Hunt Perry, Jenny Hegland, Madeline Snow, Ursula Hillbrand, Lynda Griebenow, Pavol Kukucka, Madeleine Schwab, Pieter Deceuninck, Louise Carpenter, Marie-José d’Aprile, An Van Damme, Aakanksha Singh, Helen Titchen Beeth, Sarah Whiteley (in absentia and very much present in all our hearts!)