Listening Session Paintings

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yes, Charlie, this is the time, and we on Orcas are ready. We are in our positions, we’ve sufficiently prepared ourselves, and we are ready to move forward.

It is all Written on Our Hearts.

The Presentation Stella and Charlie brought to Orcas was the spark we needed on Orcas to move us from dwelling on what is wrong with our Educational System, to discovering the possibilities that arise from receptivity, deep listening, and trust in our true nature.

Charles and Stella helped our group stay in that quiet place of openness, while we listened, shared, decided it was time to go forward, and while we talked about our next steps.

How accustom we are in our culture to staying in our heads when it comes time to make decisions, get things done, do our work. We have been taught to believe the heart cannot be rational, and should only consulted in matters of personal relationships. To get things done efficiently, we believe, we must remain rational, clear headed, and detached.

We become then, also detached from the truth of our being - which is not only heart centered, but includes the head, spirit, mind, body, earth, stars, universe...

We are parts of a whole that is so vast and unexplainable, that when our minds get close to it, they shut down. We, as a culture, have become afraid of this shutting down, and do not have many systems in place to help guide people through this process. Oh, sure, we have mental health facilities, ritalin, and all sorts of labels we can put on people who are simply, waking up to the truth of their expanded selves - or in the case of many young people, struggling to remain in that expanded self.

Our culture has developed many powerful systems that seem to be designed to keep people from even thinking about these matters. And yet, the human spirit cannot be squelched. We are speaking our truth, regardless of what is going on around us, because, at this point, as Charlie wrote in his post, we now know who we are.

Indeed, “We are the ones.”

The Next Steps

When I spend time with young people, I often ask myself these questions.

Who is this being before me?

Why are they here?

What are their gifts?

It’s amazing how these three simple questions will provide me with so much information. Often the information comes in at first, as an overwhelming appreciation for the incredible being that stands before me, and I connect with all the beautiful work they are here on earth to do. I might not always be clear about their specific work at this point, but being able to see their light seems to be the first step.

In spending time with the person, watching them in action, I might get more information about them, and as it comes in, I may or may not share it with them. I often wait until I’m guided to say something, and this is usually when they are most ready to hear and accept it.

I feel called at this time on Orcas, to help create opportunities of time and space for young people to explore, with the help of trained, skilled adults, these important questions. Who am I? Why am I here? and, What are my gifts? Charles and Stella have called those people who do this and other inner work, “Stewards of Learning”.

We have many on Orcas ready to do this work, and who wish to become Stewards of learning. We hope to go forward, with the continued guidance and partnership of Charles and Stella to help train these willing Stewards.

It also seems that a next step for all adults who feel called to do this work, might be for them to also ask themselves the questions, who am I, why am I here, and what are the gifts I have to share?

In asking myself, “Who am I beyond daughter, mother, educator, writer, friend, etc.?” I have discovered my being to be so great, it encompasses everything. I begin to know myself as everything. Then, going even deeper, I have caught glimpses of what it also means to be no-thing. These experiences have been both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

When asking myself, “Why am I here? - what part of the vast whole am I here to express?” I might come up with Harmonizer, Connector, Nurturer, etc. These answers also may change over the course of my lifetime.

I may have been a system buster in my past, in resistance to systems I saw were killing people’s spirits. Now, I might be called to help transform those systems. I have changed from a system buster to system transformer.

As for gifts, we’re all accustom to listing listing the things we’re good at - skills we might have. This is great, and these skills are a part of what we have to offer, but I also like to go a little deeper into my “gifts of the spirit.”

For example, I seem to be gifted with a great intuition about people, I can often see their life purpose clearly, and can help guide them towards understanding and sharing their gifts. I also have the gift of healing, as I’ve been working with Reiki for years, and have recently been learning about sound as a powerful tool for transformation.

It seems as if I was born with these gifts, but in order to make best use of them in the world, I have, over the course of my development, needed the guidance and training from someone who has sufficiently developed their gifts. Some of that guidance has come from people, although much of it has come from the unseen world. Call it intuition, spirit guides, my higher self, ancestors inner teacher - it matters not what I call it, what matters is that I’ve developed the habit of listening, and have had the courage to take action based on what I’ve heard and learned.

So, again, I keep coming back to these words - given to me by that unseen help..

It is all written on your hearts.

Thank you Charlie and Stella for helping us draw out the wisdom and knowledge that is within each and every one of us, and for opening us up to the possibilities for us to eventually help the young people of Orcas Island to do the same.

In Deepest Gratitude,

Samara Shaw

Orcas Island, WA

Monday, March 21, 2011

It is the Hour

Over the weeks prior to our presentation on Orcas, I kept feeling that we were heading into a conversation that was on the other side of a threshold we had not yet crossed.  That threshold was being the one to ask the people we were meeting with to let go of everything they knew and to open their hearts and listen to the voices of the young people as we had heard them in the Listening Sessions.  I thought of the Hopi prophecy called "We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For."  

It begins with 

"You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour.  Now you must go back and tell them that this is the hour."  

I do not feel a sense of doom and gloom when I hear this - as if this is the final hour...but instead I feel a tremendous rush of possibility.  All of the work to bring about a new vision on the planet that has been going on for so long now is ready to coalesce.  The message is saying that now is the time.

In another section, it says "There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore....

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate."

Let go of the shore. See who is in there with you and celebrate!  As I reread this, I knew that this was the wisdom we needed to carry us all across the threshold.  We needed this energy and this message to pave the way for the vision we were going to share.  We decided to open the presentation with Stella reading it to everyone.

I closed my eyes and saw myself standing in the room with everyone there and I looked with the deepest possible love I could feel into each person's eyes and celebrated their presence, rejoiced in their willingness to let go of the "known", and felt a tremendous sense of connection to them for seeing with their hearts.

It IS the hour!

Today Stella sent me this quote by Andrew Cohen:

Evolutionary Pioneers

"If you are trying to do something genuinely new, you have to be a pioneer, you have to be a change-agent. In order to contribute to creating the future, you need to be aligned with the very edge of this particular time in history, for new evolutionary stages, structures, and potentials to emerge requires rare and heroic men and women who have awakened to the conviction that this next step needs to happen and that we're the ones who have to take it."
~ Andrew Cohen

As I read this, I thought of the men and women on Orcas Island who did not question the content of our presentation, but instead the first question asked was, "How can we make this happen?"  It was one of the most moving moments of my life.  In the world today, the obstacles and the old ways look like skyscrapers, mountains, invincible forces. The patterns of doing things a specific way have been so deeply etched into the landscape for so long that it seems they are destined to continue.  

But what I saw in the hearts of those who listened, were people who had let go of the shore and who saw a different possibility. They embraced a new seed in education.  Without knowing what that seed could grow into, they felt its freshness, its aliveness and their was a willingness to open to it.

They left the discussion that night saying that they wanted to be the ones who would take the next steps.  Rare and heroic.  Indeed! 

It felt so wonderful to be floating there with them. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Imagine Learning Pesentation on Orcas Spurs Lengthy Conversation

On Friday night, March 11, Stella and I presented our vision for the future of education.  The vision stems from our research in the Listening Sessions we are conducting, as well as from our own listenings and educational experiences.  The new framework we presented holds the opportunity for communities to self-organize their educational approach and to provide a radically different education for their young people.

It was a wonderful opportunity to share and we felt well met by those in attendance.  Our hearts were filled by their passion for the subject.  What should have been a 20 minute conversation at the end, went for more than an hour and a half!  What was so gratifying was the fact that the conversation centered around how to move forward and not about whether our ideas were appropriate for them.

The conversation around the circle at the end demonstrated the significant wisdom that was present.  Everyone was engaged and the thoughtfulness, care and determination were wonderful to witness.  We really began to see some possibilities emerging for future time together. Orcas would be a wonderful community in which to begin to grow this vision.  Its size, its unique desire to be a model sustainable community, as well as the significant gifts of its residents give it great possibilities.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the presentation for us was the way the information we are learning in the listening sessions played such a major role. The innate wisdom of the young people we have worked with thus far is providing a platform from which to offer a new educational term and framework.  The shift that must occur from an externally directed and focused curriculum to one that is internally guided and focused is echoed strongly in their voices as expressed through the paintings.

Samara Shaw held the vision for us to come and for that we want to thank her.  Hopefully Samara, you will add your own comments or post concerning your feelings about what happened after the presentation.  Just know that we are deeply appreciative and excited for this opportunity and about where things seem to be heading.

Thank you Orcas!