Update from Dakota

Aaniin Family and Friends,

The white season is fully upon us … ice on the lake is thicker than the length of my forearm.  We carry on with our life:  frightful, amazing, glorious and daunting… even occasionally mundane.  We have passed midwinter, passed the ‘apocalypse’.  As are many things here, the apocalypse was a clear and personal process for me.  I was left with the awareness:  Before apocalypse, chop wood, carry water.  After apocalypse, chop wood, carry water.

Our numbers continue to grow less as the process grows deeper… we are now 24.  All those who have left have been families with children.  At this point, our family yearlong contains only 4 blood families (and 13 other individual seekers).  With each departure, I find myself even more committed to this process, though there is certainly still struggle.  Last night, pitch dark inside the lodge, a confused child wet his bed and mine.  The morning before, two woke up puking.  The children don’t drink enough (sucking it in through an ice hole is unappealing to them) and have problems related to dehydration.  One child got a bad case of frost nip on his feet… none of us has yet perfected human relations and there are the usual temper tantrums, even amongst the children.  Surely, we are far from flowing as the tribal culture we strive to become… and yet, each sun brings us closer, learning and growing in sync with each other, and I know the distance we have already traveled together is great.

We continue to tomahawk away with a fury at unhealthy habit patterns and mental constructs… most recently by ‘flagging’ each other and ourselves when we notice externalizations, victimization, defensiveness, enabling or other facets of co-dependence.  It was pretty clumsy at first and played out a bit like a bad psychotherapy flick… but as in all things, our commitment and perseverance are paying off.

…Pause to listen to a distant coyote jam and the rodent that lives in the wall next to me…

A few suns ago, the clan enacted a ‘banishment’ and we are still reeling at the raw profundity of this process.  I have previously read stories of banishment, and realize that I had only the most superficial glimpse of the “why’, ‘how’, and ‘what’ behind such an action.  It is clear that the tribal cultures who practiced banishment were coming from a very different mindset than our ‘western’ culture today.  Also clear, is that this clan is only starting to unify to a point that such a tool can be used (as a last resort) for healing the human circle.  I expect to write more for the blog in the next few moons regarding banishment and its effects… it will certainly be unfolding for us for a long time.

A half-moon ago we feasted and celebrated this season of the cold, darkness, snow and ice, as well as the reflecting changes in ourselves.  I have backed off a bit from the wild, glorious, cutting edge of the honed guardian and moved into ‘mama bear’ role to accommodate my natural tendencies and family/circle needs.  A moon ago we were offered the advice: “train like a cat, move like a bear”, and I have found much insight in considering those words.  One of the trickiest and most vital skills we are developing here is to know what type of effort or response will best serve a given situation.  It is time now for me to “move like a bear”.

One of the other progressions advented by the cold season is our moving more deeply into dream work, which I am excited and inspired by.  We are told that some cultures view the dreaming state as more real than the waking state, and I have come to appreciate and share this perspective.  It is in the dreamtime that we experience our non-linear, unlimited selves.  It is an opportunity rich with healing and awareness building.  It is also what we do with the majority of our time here, during these long northern nights.  Chris, our ‘guide in residence’ has been leading us in a series of workshops and exercises for recalling, relating and utilizing our dreamtime experiences.  I appreciate being present for all of life, as a flow of various states of consciousness… all rich with guidance and healing symbolism.

Regularly, I imagine that I have learned so very much here that I’ve finally ‘got it’….only to find that it just keeps coming.  Obviously, awareness is growing exponentially and the ‘year-long’ program is really a misnomer.  Even calling it the family life-long program seems poignantly limiting.

After this sun I intend to stay out at winter camp in our somewhat cozy winter lodge and at snow camps (if it snows again) until the program ends.  I wish to make the most of these few remaining moons by completely submersing myself.  I will send in more blog entries as they surface and, as always, delight in receiving and responding to your written correspondence.  My final email from this experience will be “12 moons out”, as the snow and ice melt.  It will be sent as we pack our things to move into the next dream sequence, beyond the shore of Woodbury Lake.

This last 1/4 moon was outrageously warm… practically tropical!  Rain in the North Woods in January!  Must be global warming… oops!… ‘outside’ flag.  Correction:  The gods must be crazy!

Migwech again for all your thoughts, dreams, prayers and many levels of support.  Much love and light to you all as we welcome back the sun!