The Way that you Walk

The Way that you Walk

In these times of devastating ecological and social collapse, there are those of us who feel an urgency to attend to the world ‘before it’s too late.’ But the great paradox is that this very tendency to rush anxiously ahead is what got us into trouble in the first place. In the Aboriginal way of dreaming, the past and future are embedded in the present. One’s embodiment is the ground into which all continuity flows, so the past can be just as influenced as the future by one’s way of going in the here and now. Let the way that you walk be slow. Let us listen to the pleas of our surrounding thirsts. Let us acknowledge the forgetting which drifted us onto this terrifying precipice. Let the grief of it all make its encounter through your remembering. And may beauty come alive then, under your feet. Excerpted from the upcoming book “Belonging” © Toko-pa Turner 2016. To read more, sign up for Toko-pa’s free newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/jtRaL Artwork by Victo...
Read more
Living into Belonging: Autumn Announcements

Living into Belonging: Autumn Announcements

Beloved Dreamers, I’m writing to you from the good side of a month-long sabbatical through July in which I immersed myself deeply in my writing On Belonging. Though I’ve been gently cradling this in my contemplation for the last two years, I finally became ready to roll up my sleeves and put my shoulder to the wheel of articulating all that I have discovered. I am amazed by how vast and intricate this inquiry into Belonging really is and am so eager to share this writing with you in the form of a book! An actual, physical, bound, sealed and delivered book! Whooo! Of course there are many steps between here and there. I’ve heard writing a book described as ‘reverse childbearing’ in that you do the big labour first and then wait for 9 months until the thing emerges :). I’m sure I’ll call upon your support to bring this dream into materiality, but in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy these previews below along with a few other entry-points into this good work. Love and lucidity, Toko-pa  A Slow Emergence “Emergence never happens all at once. It is a slow stepping into the expanded capacity of your next self. You may need practice...
Read more
Loss of Identity: A summoning of the Numinous

Loss of Identity: A summoning of the Numinous

There’s a famous story that Robert Bly tells about Carl Jung who, whenever a friend reported enthusiastically, ‘I have just been promoted!’ Jung would say, ‘I’m very sorry to hear that; but if we all stick together, I think we will get through it.’ On the other hand, if a friend arrived depressed and ashamed, saying, ‘I’ve just been fired,’ Jung would say, ‘Let’s open a bottle of wine; this is wonderful news; something good will happen now.’ Now this may seem like backwards thinking to the rational mind, but to the soul it makes wonderful sense. These kinds of promotions in social stature set the ego into inflation, believing itself to have finally been recognized as the supreme ruler it was meant to be (!)  The ego’s survival depends upon the belief that it is in control and it doesn’t like to think that it might lose its ascendancy. But in those moments of trembling loss, it is forced to face its smallness. Jung wrote, “… the experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Indeed, in those initiations by illness, loss or depression, when we are dragged into the underworld to pass through...
Read more
Sacred Restlessness

Sacred Restlessness

It starts as a hairline crack, a seemingly harmless dissonance in the surface of our well-being, but over time the crack gains momentum into a sudden network of irritation and restlessness. Restlessness has a mission and it must run its course. It is the expression of our discomfort with the ways in which we’ve become habituated. It seeks to undermine those places where we might be striving, mimicking, or falling into obligation. At its deepest core, restlessness is a sacred question which asks, ‘Whom does the grail serve?’ Like the mythical grail, we all want to open ourselves to purpose, to create a capacity through which the mystery may gladly express itself. Yet, for even those of us who may follow the call of vocation, the perpetual allure of the external world is powerful and, if left unchecked, can cause a gradual but critical shift in the emphasis of our service – away from the holy, towards growth for growth’s sake. For a long time, I thought the practice of ’emptiness’ went against my philosophy of yesness for life. I believed it was something detached and even cold – which pushed life away instead of embracing it. It...
Read more
The Secret Heart

The Secret Heart

There is nothing more beautiful than the numinous dream that is given to someone who has wrestled triumphantly with their shadows. These dreams sparkle with tenderness, speaking in a new and unusual tongue, which is also heavy with ancient wisdom. More like encounters with the soul itself these dreams say, Here, I finally belong. And we know instantly that the secret heart only ever wanted to be seen. For all the energy we spend hiding that which we consider unbearable, the moment one lets one’s grief and shame be exposed to the kindness of a good listener, the dreaming changes its course. Only by following these faint flickers of light in the blackness of night, can the inner narrative find its way out of a recurring loop. Astoundingly, the architecture of Belonging spins itself out from the center of the Self in our dreams. How it then calls us forward, step by tentative step, along these gossamer threads, into an increasingly intimate conversation. How we then, one day, suddenly find ourselves anchored in a meaningful life.
Read more
Leaving Your Shoes Behind

Leaving Your Shoes Behind

In preparation for his most recent (7th) book of poetry ‘Pilgrim,’ David Whyte collected stories from everyone he knew who had walked the great Camino de Santiago, a 791 km pilgrimage from the foothills of the Pyrenees in France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. He writes about life through the eyes of a pilgrim – a person who has, intentionally or not, found themselves in a place of meaningful transition. This being on the road between things may take many forms – illness, heartbreak, loss, depression – but what they all have in common is that you are no longer who you used to be, but not yet still who you will become. Whyte maps the subtleties of this landscape, which you may pass through quickly or ache to turn back from. Sometimes the nature of your destination changes, sometimes the weather keeps you staying put. You live by the hospitality of strangers, and sometimes you go without. But throughout the journey, you are accorded a special freedom from your identity: the freedom that only comes with having a temporary name – pilgrim. At the very end of the Camino is a dramatic peninsula overlooking the vast Atlantic, called...
Read more
Shouldering Together

Shouldering Together

By coming together in sacred ritual with our community, we are restoring our relationship to the Earth, our Mother. As we re-establish our Belonging in one another’s hearts, we are quelling the “never-enoughness” that drives so many of us to accumulate, achieve and produce beyond our (and Her) means. When we share our stories and dreams, we are accepting help in the shouldering of responsibility and despair. By extension, our windfalls and triumphs belong to us all. In witnessing each other, we are cross-pollinating our wisdoms and broadening our storylines, moving the locus of our attention from competition to collaboration. No longer governed by personal lack, we begin to make decisions as an ecosystem would, from the appreciation of our indivisibility.
Read more
Outing the Unspoken

Outing the Unspoken

It’s never comfortable to be the lone voice which speaks contrarily to the group, especially the group to which one feels belonging. The hope is that in speaking truthfully, one might still be loved and accepted – even respected for the courage it takes to say the thing that others dare not. But often you travel these lengths alone, even from your most beloved companions, and it rarely feels courageous while you do so. But if you can stand the terrible loneliness and doubt, there might slowly emerge the young tendrils of understanding in the hearts of others. Then, and only then, will you see that you’ve been tremendously brave. Instinctively you know that it isn’t enough to stay within bounds. The soul thrives on novelty. It comes alive in the dynamism of change and works at the edges of our perceived boundaries. It doesn’t ask for permission, because it obeys a higher authority. It takes its cues from the rhythm of nature herself, which is always crumbling into chaos, breaking down into the rich humus that fosters creativity. The artist is vigilant for those places of stagnancy where traditions have been left unquestioned for too long; where...
Read more
Belonging: Be the Longing

Belonging: Be the Longing

The ache to belong in friendship and community can be so pervasive that it colours everything we do. We, the many who have been orphaned from our ancestors’ soil and the teachings of their stewarding ways, have but this meagre scratch to start with. Distant now from the generations of escaping and forgetting, this yearning to belong blinks in and out of our quiet moments like a faint, but constant signal muffled by the fog of modernity. We have hundreds of virtual friends but know nothing of what they grieve, how they suffer or what arouses their love. Author & Soul Activist Francis Weller says there is a part of us that expected, when we emerged from our mother’s womb, to find 40 pairs of eyes anticipating our arrival. Indeed, we are missing those 40 pairs of eyes throughout our lives. It isn’t so much that something important is missing from us, but that we are missing from something important. This deep longing for community may drive us to join established groups, but so often this means blunting our true and growing size in order to fit in. We soon come to realise that to live in a diminished state is no better than being adrift. So what can we feed...
Read more
Under our Surface

Under our Surface

Oh to meet, however briefly, the greatness that lives under our surface. To summon enough bravery to be without armour and strategy, for the chance at meeting that irreducible power. Oh to make of our terrified hearts a prayer of surrender to the God of Love; that we remain safe in our quivering ache to be near that Otherness, even for a moment. To touch that ancient life who will never relinquish its wilderness, who lets instinct make its choices, whose knowing lives in bones and whose song is a wayfinder.  ...
Read more
Sympathetic Resonance

Sympathetic Resonance

In music, we call it ‘sympathetic resonance’ when a passive string responds to an external vibration with harmonic likeness. Similarly, when conditions are just right, our core issues can be triggered with all the potency of the original trauma. But in those terrible moments, something amazing is happening: an aperture is opening up for us to heal the past. The present, in its infinite wisdom, is allowing us to touch the old wound, offering us a chance to feel all the way through it, to finally let our grief run its full course.      
Read more
Lighting Fires of Affection

Lighting Fires of Affection

So many of us are out at sea, looking for home. We try this way and that, battling the endless march of adversaries, led by cynicism and apathy. We fight them with every poetry we possess. We are gentle. We yield. We get back to navigating our crafts. Every once in a while, exhaustion can turn into despair. The tiny flame, which takes our every resource to shield, blows out on an unexpected gust. Even then, lightless and alone, some of us remount our enterprise. It helps to think of more than ourselves. It helps to see the earth workers, the artists, the mothers, the lovers, the singers, the poets and dreamers as threads in a web. By ourselves we are fragile strands, songs with no listeners, but together we are a relentless network. Wherever there is depression, there is colour made vivid by the grey. When I feel this fog rolling in on me, I light fires of affection in the hearts of others. I tell them in tangible ways how the life they live makes me live mine differently, how precious and important they are to the rest of us. That fire then becomes like a beacon which burns through the grey and which I can sail towards.  
Read more
Making Friends with the Wind

Making Friends with the Wind

I am making friends with the Wind – who used to feel like an intruder rifling up my sleeves chasing debris down the tunnel She made of my street. But now I hear she’s howling for all that’s kept unfree. She whistles at gaps and rattles loose that which is inessential, raising in upward spirals things past their due, clearing the ground with her sharp, elbowing through. I am making friends with Change – who’s an agent of things not yet as they came to be. I’m making friends with the Clearing – not the eventual filling, but the pause before the hello when the Beloved picks up the other end of this phone. The moment so easy to miss – of Expectancy. The growing of something I myself must have once seeded. Yes, we are friends – the Wind and I – though she whips my hair into my mouth, slams doors and gives me a fright – but I just bundle myself well and meet her on the hill, make an offering of these leaves falling in their completeness, and let Her pull me off my feet So I may see further what is coming in on her distant, composing breezes.   2013 © Toko-pa...
Read more
Place of Origin

Place of Origin

Because most of us have been orphaned from our ancestral land and the ways of our people, we suffer with the restlessness and ache of not-belonging. Instead of trying to regain what has been lost, Martín Prechtel teaches that we must learn to live in the way our ancestors lived; in reverence and indebtedness to the Holy in Nature. One such powerful practice is to create a place in your home where you know the origins of everything. Not just where a thing came from, but who made it and with what skills, and at what cost to its roots. This Place of Origin may be small and sparse at first, but you add to it over time and, when the young ones come up around you, you tell the stories that you’ve collected in the hopes that one day, where you stayed put becomes a place of Belonging again.            
Read more
Giving Misfortune a Home

Giving Misfortune a Home

We must give the story of our misfortunes a home. This always seeking to start anew, to cover our eyes and elude some pain, eventually only makes refugees of our wounds. They follow at our heels and seep into the background life of every Love. They become the distant, tenacious ache which howls with a silent mantra of unBelonging. We must remember and be willing to say their name. We must house our displacements, gather them close and feed them with our remembering until they acquiesce as the great allies that they are.                      
Read more

The Dreaming Season

Dearest Dreamers, For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, it is just a few short sleeps before the Autumn Equinox is upon us. This is a time characterised by warm colors, cozy cowls, changing leaves and, as the poet Keats so beautifully puts it, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” As we prepare ourselves for the inwardness of winter, a time when we restore balance in our lives, Dreaming always comes on stronger and richer. My favourite thing about this season is the call to Creativity! And for those of you who have been patiently waiting for news about the Creative Dreamer – an online Creativity course – I haven’t forgotten you! I’ve been hammering away in my Dream Workshop and am almost ready to announce it!  Please stay tuned for dates. And by popular demand, I’m happy to announce new dates for Dreamwalking: A 4-week online Course on Dreaming. It tends to fill up quickly so be sure to register early if the timing feels right for you. Now please enjoy these small offerings. Love & lucidity, Toko-pa...
Read more
The Seed Planted in Loss

The Seed Planted in Loss

It is the paradoxical nature of grief to lead us to love. There is a seed planted in loss, an evolution made in breaking, a genius found in separation that is rarely apparent in the heart of crisis. But often what looks like deviation is really proliferation, like satellite initiatives born from a group’s dissolution. Leadership is forged in the hearts of those who know exclusion. To them, is given the gift of tenderness which can mentor another through their own isolation.                
Read more
Water Dreams

Water Dreams

To dream of water is to make an encounter with the Earth’s own lifeblood, of which we are mostly composed and by which we are all related. Water is not simply our ’emotions’ but that which gives rise to emotions: the unconscious source of all vitality. Though it is easy to become identified with our terrestrial roles and duties, the feeling life will not be ignored. It will come for you when you might need a good drowning, flood away that which is redundant, lead you to the fountain you don’t know you are thirsting for, or just sweep you away on its crest towards a new terrain. At other times Water may cleanse and baptise you or introduce you to ancient helpers who live below your surface. It is the slipstream from which poetry is culled, the softening grief makes of us, it is the flow, the origin and sustenance of all life. Though we give ourselves only small drinks to soothe our gasping gills, what we really need is to be often returned to these great depths, to be carried deeper into our own fathomlessness, immersed in that place where lovemaking is the dialect and discovery is the constant – where we are without destination or tether, carried by...
Read more
Waiting

Waiting

There is a good kind of waiting which trusts the agents of fermentation. There is a waiting which knows that in pulling away one can more wholly return. There is the waiting which prepares oneself, which annoints and adorns and makes oneself plump with readiness for love’s return. There is a good kind of waiting which doesn’t put oneself on hold but rather adds layers to the grandness of one’s being worthy. This sweet waiting for one’s fruits to ripen doesn’t stumble over itself to be the first to give but waits for the giving to issue at its own graceful pace. © Toko-pa Turner (2013)            
Read more
The Elixirs of our Discomforts

The Elixirs of our Discomforts

Developing your feeling takes time, especially if it has been systematically discouraged in you. There may be an initial layer of numbness or anger you have to move through and, beyond that, a backlog of grief. But as you make the seemingly bottomless descent, it helps to remember that grief is the downpour your soul has been thirsting for. Like rain, the more excellently and prodigiously you grieve, the more growth and fertility you can expect. There is a future beyond the spiritual aridity and meaninglessness of our time, teeming with life. If each of us has the tenacity to retrieve the elixirs of our discomforts, our combined medicine will heal the collective wound.          ...
Read more
<p class="demo_store"><strong>Price Based Country</strong> test mode enabled for testing United States (US). You should do tests on private browsing mode. Browse in private with <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/private-browsing-use-firefox-without-history">Firefox</a>, <a href="https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464?hl=en">Chrome</a> and <a href="https://support.apple.com/kb/ph19216?locale=en_US">Safari</a></p>