By Lisa Marks
My partners surround me. Walking the beaches of the Puget Sound, Mount Baker stands before me, Mount Rainier leans into my right. Behind are the Olympic Mountains and to the North, the San Juan Islands nestle in their basin, rising from the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
These are my partners on the journey, as are all of you. I have walked these beaches in the company of mountains for the last 30 years. But this year something changed. The mountains stepped forward, or maybe I stepped in to meet them? I don’t know how the shift occurred but this wild, surreal stepping in has startled me out of my understanding of what is “real”.
The movement of mountains is real! So real I can taste and touch it. I can dive into their presence, into Communion, True Communion, which I have never really known with humans, let alone with mountains. Mountains become earth partners. And the eagle that just flew by, trilling its call to something beyond view, is an earth partner. They join a larger dance that unfolds without thinking, without goals. This dance, like a movement symphony, is the source of all creation, like the sweet undulations of waves and trees as the wind moves through.
This winter delivered the gift of communion and a connection with myself, which is my core and foundation. It did not happen easily. In fact, it took the kitchen roof collapsing in a flood of El Nino rains to shake me from the idea of myself as human so I could enter a global perspective.
The roof collapsing collapsed my notion of self, opening to chaos as the normal order evaporated. This event, accompanied by serious health impacts from mold and dust, was more than I could bear. Energy had to be pulled inward, concentrated on my core and survival. From this I learned; the root of communion is a solid grounding, a deep settling into Self. So deep as to be unflappable, so nothing and no one can pull me out.
Yes, the root of communion is the Self. Like a tree standing strong in me and mine, I defend my core as truth and beloved, without giving away the essential self for connection or the needs of others. The call is to come from center, move outward from there.
In this powerful act, I discovered the core of being that I call me, which is ecstatic! Shock waves ripple through my life as the reality of my passionate, pulsating energy becomes home. The more I welcome it the more it enters.
My life has been an abandonment of this ecstatic reality for relationship. Over and over, I leave my deep self to be here with you, or there with her, or with all of them. My eyes pull me out of myself and into your world, and this incredible reality that is home is gone. Shut down for whatever reason, because it is too much for you or for me or for this earth? It doesn’t matter why it gets put away for another time, maybe another lifetime, but it gets packed up on a regular basis and buried beneath the tasks on the to-do list. A lifetime of tasks, creating an image to stand in the world ensures that the river of pulsating energy that is home does not make it into this reality.
Until the roof falls down! In this I discover communion. During a pause in the cleaning and organizing of contractors to repair what had unfolded, I took a walk. I stayed in my space, in my body. Too exhausted to go out toward others, to glance around and explore, awareness was concentrated within. Fists clenched tightly at my side helped hold the space of me and mine, allowing the essence of Lisa to emerge behind closed doors. What a gift! I let go of responsibility for you and everything that crossed my path, the trees and houses, the deer grazing on the neighbor’s roses, the cat sitting on the porch rail. And in that moment the trees leaned in to meet me. I understood communion.
Communion is not when we reach out to another, join them in their space, dump the contents of our soul and lose ourselves. Communion is holding so strongly to the self that we are concentrated essence moving through space. From this place we receive the other. We receive what rolls in, trees, clouds, whomever steps in. We don’t leave for another; when we are fully present the other steps in to meets us. Communion is without effort, without giving away essential parts, without losing what is precious.
Practicing holding center, firm boundaries and embodied essence of self, I explore Communion. On the beaches of the Puget Sound, holding the truth of an ecstatic core moving through space, awareness guides me. What a yummy experience that is! Movement calls me into relationship, a cedar swaying, a seagull in flight, even the line of rising waves moving down the beach to crash on shore is communication. These experiences step into communion with me.
One day, exploring the shores of Admiralty Inlet, I committed to being present 1,000 percent. Standing, fists at my side, I committed 1,000 percent to this ecstatic body on an ecstatic planet. That was when the Mountains stepped in. We began a communion dance. They rose somehow taller and fuller; their presence filled my vision with shimmering undulations. Truly magic! Mount Baker came alive and Mount Rainer stepped in to join us.
We are connected, equal partners on a magical journey. The world will never be the same. Mountains are alive, earth partners in a dance of communion and ecstatic embodiment. This is the symphony of creation that leads our way through dark and light. With the language and gift of embodiment, we enter communion with one another and the earth partners waiting to join.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.