Nelson Mandela is now free to speak in a way that was not possible before his death. Death is just a word that describes a process. Another word is transition. Another, sojourn. Another, extended retreat to the Unseen.
In any case grandfather Nelson is now speaking to us from the ancestral domain. You may have noticed how his influence increased geometrically in the last few days when the mainstream may think of him as no more. Here is what he said to me today, after he “died,” as I make the transition between sleeping and waking on a very cold day in the Hill Country.
“It always seems impossible until it is done!”
I write to you from a cozy, warm room when the temperature outside is 25 degrees, very cold for our locale. At this very moment I am aware of fellow Earthtribers who are on a ranch preparing for a sweat lodge. They drive a distance from their urban environments, brave the cold, build a fire, and crawl on Earth’s fertile surface into a sweat lodge, an inipi, a place of energy, a place of spirits. For about thirty-three years a spiritual community called Earthtribe has engaged in this spiritual practice whether the weather was beautiful, rainy, snowy, hot, or cold. To the mainstream such a practice may seem like a fool’s errand, a gateway to the occult, or, worse,a promotion of a cult. To mainstream culture, any gathering where there is deep connection outside the usual may be labeled a “cult.” That’s silly thinking, and I will address it in a future blog. I don’t want to get sidetracked at the moment.
Back to the “inipi” gathering and its seeming “impossibility.”
From my comfortable perch, the ranch gathering in the cold this morning seems “impossible until it is done.” Today, my friends gather on my behalf, and yours. They brave the challenge on our account. Sometimes, people say to me,”I am so glad there is a group that sweats each month. I feel part of that community. It does me good to know folks persist.” That is my sentiment today. Yet, I know how much work it is. I know the sacrifices they make. I also know the benefits they have. While I benefit from their practice, it is not the same were I actually there. I deceive myself if I dismiss what I am missing.
Next week, we will gather for a second monthly inipi on the land which Judith and I share with other creatures. Already, we carry stones to the sacred circle and lay the first vestiges of a fire as various Earthtribers come by to walk, talk, and help.
So Grandfather Nelson speaks: an impossible practice becomes possible when it is done.
Changing the moving train of climate change seems impossible.
Establishing an economy of generosity seems impossible.
Letting go of anger over oppression seems impossible.
Providing food and health for all seems impossible.
Creating low cost education for those hungry to learn seems impossible.
Redefining ourselves as aspects of Earth seems impossible.
Returning to the circle of life seem, for humans, impossible.
Until we do it.