By Marcia Lee
Every month, I host a gathering at Taproot Sanctuary, an intentional community of mostly people of color working on living in right relationship with the earth and our neighbors. These gatherings are Circles of Trust. They are in the lineage of the work of Parker Palmer through my work as a facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal. The purpose of these gatherings, or mini-retreats, is to create a space for us to listen to our inner voices and to support each other in following the calling of our own souls. We do this type of deep listening best when we are in spaces where we can trust that our words and actions are not repeated and that the people in the community with us are listening to us not for their own benefits, but to just be a witness and support of us. We use what we call third things to accompany us. The third thing might be a poem, song, or something in nature. These third things allow us to focus in on the issue at hand in a more gentle and circular manner.
This August, the mini-retreat focused on: Meeting the Sacred in Our Daily Lives. We began by sharing how we what Sacred means to each of us. Then, we explored Perhaps the World Ends Here By Joy Harjo as our third thing. We spent some time by ourselves reflecting on an object or space (living and non-living) that brings to our hearts and minds the same reflection, joy, and sorrow as the kitchen tables does in the poem. We then listened deeply as each person shared their reflections and offered open and honest questions to the person speaking so that he/she could delve more deeply into their own reflection. We closed our time together by answering one of the following questions: What has changed in you in how you see the Sacred from our time together? or How will you meet the Sacred in your daily life from here on out?
I share with you what we did at the mini-retreat as an invitation for you, too, to explore the Sacred in your daily life. I invite you to consider this poem by Joy Harjo and some reflection questions, if they are useful to you, you can reflect on your own or with your community. If you live in Detroit, you are welcome to join us for our monthly gatherings. You can find out more information at Taproot Sanctuary, May the Sacred’s Truth be your constant companion and guide. ~Marcia
Perhaps the World Ends Here
By Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it. It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
The table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory. We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
What words and/or phrases stand out to you from the poem?
What do the words and/or phrases tell you about what is Sacred?
What person, place, and/or object is your kitchen table?
Spend some time with that person, place and/or object (either physically or in your imagination). See it for what it is in this moment (colors, shape, size, texture, smell, etc.). Invite it to tell you it’s’ stories (where might it have come from, what is it becoming, what has happened there). Let your imagination go!
How does the person, place, and/or object connect you to the Sacred?