by Renae Been
When Moses thrust his staff into the Earth,
he did not waver.
Be it Destiny, Fate, Divinity,
he felt the thread of inspiration
intersect with the pulse of the Earth
the two beat as one.
It was his time.
Some may inquire in later years,
How did you do it?
I will whisper,
I do not know.
I heard the sea gathering,
giant cupped hands
lifted the edges of her salty skirt
revealing the path.
I began to crawl,
clothed only with questions
the Promised Land.
Breathtakingly beautiful like the land that inspired it, this exquisite poem by Renae Been captures the essence of my Soul’s Journey Through the Heart of New Mexico. “Clothed only with questions,” I spent a week absorbing the energy and beauty of this sacred land at Ghost Ranch where the earth and sky meet, in community with extraordinary loving and open-hearted women, seekers and path-finders all. I felt “the thread of inspiration intersect with the pulse of the Earth” connecting me with All That Is in a powerful way.
This Women’s Spiritual Retreat created by my friend and colleague, Marilou Bova, was designed to help us open to the internal guidance of our soul through quiet reflective time; open to the wisdom of the land and the sky; open to the wisdom of our bodies through yoga, massage, energy work and walking labyrinths; open to the wisdom of each other in sacred conversations. (Marilou Bova is gathering another group of women in Abiquiu September 5-12. For more information you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Marilou’s generous and loving spirit draws not only the participants in the retreat, but also women in the Abiquiu community who enriched our experience in many ways. One unforgettable evening by the Charma River, Carolyn Morningstar Berry, a grandmother who walks behind a long line of grandmothers from the Gabrielino/Tongva tribe in California, guided us through a sacred Medicine Wheel Ceremony inspiring us to move in harmony with the flow of life. Women of Abiquiu prepared delicious food for us, offered body and energy work, and gathered with us for a potluck dinner at Jaye Buros’ Rising Moon art gallery. It was here that we heard Renae recite her poem, Exodus.
For me, “the promised land” is here and now. I return home accepting my responsibility as an Elder and a Grandmother to pass on what I’ve learned in this lifetime. I believe passionately in this: we are living in extraordinary times of social, economic, and environmental upheaval which require leadership from all of us to step forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I believe we have a shared responsibility to create a sustainable future to ensure the common well-being, to nurture a flourishing human community, and to preserve our Mother Earth.
Thomas Merton inspires me to hold on to the resolve I felt so strongly in New Mexico. Humans have a responsibility to find themselves where they are, in their own proper time and place in the history to which they belong and to which they must inevitably contribute either their response or their evasions, either truth and act,or mere slogan and gesture.