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Falling and Meditative Making


Friday was a wonderful and very full day.  Crystal Sygeel led us in our morning gathering and I want to share here the process she led us through.  We gathered together and welcomed everyone there and then introduced ourselves and answered the question, “what are we letting go of?” or “what are we making space for?” as a way of becoming present to each other.

Crystal offered some lovely reflections about being the leaf falling from the tree, and asked us to imagine what the tree we are holding onto represents, the desired trajectory of our falling (what do we want to fall towards?), and who are the other leaves with whom we fall?  Then she read us this beautiful poem she wrote:

My grip
Is slipping
You see I was enjoying the view
I saw so many things
Nesting birds eye level
Baby strollers below
Stars shooting across the sky
The moonlight shined on my skin
The sun tanned me all summer long
I didn’t even have to hold myself the whole time
Because the wind would come by and buoy me
But now, there is the strangest pull to go
I keep staring at the ground wondering how far it is
And if it hurts to land
Some of the other leaves have left already
When they went I couldn’t tell if they were screaming
Or singing
Can you do both?
Some of them landed near by
I’ve tried to get thier advice,
But I don’t think they can hear me
It’s true sometimes leaves go together
They catch a wind and just let go
But whether I fall with friends or by myself
I can’t help but be focused on the – I’m falling – part
And for what purpose
And to where?
But even so
The will to fall is strong
Each time the wind comes by
There’s a part of me
Just aching to let go
Just dying to see what’s next beyond this branch
I am literally
Just dying
To know. . .

-poem by Rev. Crystal Sygeel

After living into those images, she sent on a walkabout — a fifteen minute walk of awareness and presence to the questions she had invited us to consider.  Then we gathered back together for a time of “meditative making” as Crystal phrased it.  We were offered paint and paper, stamps and beads to string, and invited to use whatever medium we desired.  We sat present among one another in silence, giving shape and form to what was stirring within us.  At the end we gathered together in our circle to share from the experience.  There was so much beauty and poignancy from that short time together. 

Each gathering fills me with joy as I see such creative and deep souls come together to share the pleasures of making in community and the depth of insight that rises up out of our sharing together.  Such a simple morning in many ways, but a profound way to be present to the questions of the season. 

If you weren’t able to be there with us, I invite you to consider taking a couple of hours, either by yourself, or with a friend or small group to explore this process yourself.

What is the tree you are holding onto?  What are you falling away from or toward?  And who are the people who fall with you?

I’ll share more of what stirred in me during this time in my next post.  (photo from Twin Falls trail)

-Christine Valters Paintner

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6 Responses

  1. Oh my, I have already thought of three women who are artists that I would love to start a cirlce with! But I would need a resource for ideas ;-)

    I’d so enjoy visiting one of your gatherings and to see your beautiful landscape someday, Christine!

  2. Yes Bette, some of the letting go can be so very freeing! I am glad you enjoyed the post and encourage you to start your own monthly gatherings! They are quite a simple idea and I would love to see others initiate groups like this in their areas. You could always plan a visit to Seattle sometime to coincide with one our gatherings and get a creative infusion too! :-)

  3. I have been falling in good ways these days. Letting go of what I don’t need. Creating space and time for creativeness. I resigned from a volunteer job that was only bogging me down with stress. Crystal’s poem is perfect and her meditative-making project is a great idea. I wish I had a circle of women to be creative and spiritual with like this!

  4. Thanks Abi! I am glad to stir the imagination!

    Hi Cathleen, I think there definitely is a letting go process when we embrace something new, which is why change is always scary, even when we want the change. Falling into or out of means letting go of the branch we were holding onto. That could be any number of things. I know for me, I am falling into a time of embracing writing and art more deeply, but there are things I let go of in that process, like financial security! I’ll be writing more on this.

    Blessings to you both, may you fall gently but land firmly, Christine

  5. I too feel a sense of falling, of letting go in huge ways without knowing what the outcome might be ~ the spiritual practice of “detachment” comes visiting once again. I couldn’t help but notice a kind of play on words “I’m falling – part”. How do we fall without feeling like we’re “falling apart?” Yet maybe there are truly parts that need to break away, become detached. You’ve offered wonderful words to ponder on along with yet another beautiful photo! Many “Fall Blessings” to you, Cathleen