A wise and dear friend recently asked me what were the most transformative moments in my life. Food for thought, isn’t it?
A chronological list of events only tells the story of the mundane and ordinary. The extraordinary resides in sacred moments of life that we often pass through without awareness. These portals punctuate the trajectory of our journey and weave the fabric of our becoming. The threads of this fabric are the gifts and the invitations we receive and respond to. These moments are not dry events, but rich encounters with ourselves, the other and the divine energy in which we swim and breathe. They are transformative because they make us touch the paradoxes of our existence and the mystery of our sacredness. Our story consists of bridges of meaning and integration that reveal the invisible pathways we took at the crossroads of possibilities — bridges that allow us to better understand ourselves and each other. This is our story. It is the story of our journey of becoming human.
So, let me share a bit of my story of becoming the human I am today.
I remember passing my first gate of transformation with my first contact with death at age 6 when my dear grandmother left the physical realm. This started my spiritual journey. A few years later, we moved from a small medieval village in the south-west of France to Ivory Coast in Africa. This propelled me into a radically new world where Spirit, rhythms and community brought new depth to my existence and worldview. I was invited to touch the wonders and mysteries of the human soul. I was filled with the gift of a growing passion to understand our nature, our life, our quest, and our ways of being together. This passion would remain the living stream for my life. It was a passion that would find expression in my love and practice of art, writing and music, these all being wonders of our creative souls and sacred healers of our hearts.
Community has always been the cornerstone of my unfolding. From early involvement in boarding schools through many years of service in camp leadership and program delivery in youth and recreational centers I have known and lived within multiple extended families of close companions and friendship.
In my mid-twenties I had a wonderful opportunity for a new adventure when I moved to Canada and had a chance to embrace a new land, a new culture and a new life. This move also involved the gift of deep engagement with Indigenous spirituality as I was welcomed and transformed by my husband’s Metis family while experiencing the wonders of creation through the mothering of my children.
The professional roads I walked revealed the ongoing confluence of two streams: care and nurturing of the soul, and organizational social transformation. My career allowed me to keep one foot in the creative and transformative womb of inner life (through my work as counselor, mentor and educator) and one foot in the more active world of our social structures and systems (through my work in management and organizational design and development). The vocational paths I have walked have always sustained and deepened my lifelong passion for the “other” and my desire to serve at the intersection of being and doing, integrating and expanding, incubating and creating, with a dual concern for both the person and the larger wholes of that person’s existence. In university I majored in social psychology, with a minor in developmental psychology, bridging the individual with the group. In my work, I offered one-on-one support but always in the context of a communal container, whether that was a corporation, a social center or an educational setting. As I became an educator, my understanding and knowledge of the transformative power of dialogue in community became even deeper.
My father spent quite a number of years building roads and this has been the imprint of a powerful metaphor for me. I have always seen my life as one of exploring possibilities in the vastness of the unknown and unmapped territories, while at the same time clearing the ground just ahead as to see better when taking the next step. Around our family table we engaged in unending conversations that enlarged my mind and helped me see the big picture and question my place and role within it. My mother taught me hospitality, expanding my heart while practicing the generous gift of welcoming the other and learning communion in sharing food. The thread in my life is the pervasive and permeable sense of awe and gratitude I have always experienced. Amidst the challenges of life and the suffering it inevitably brings, a sustaining joyful force remains alive within me, revealing the infinite beauty and wonders in, around and between us. My journey brought its share of experienced and witnessed abuse and traumas. These were invitations to deep transformative work that, while they felt unwelcome in the moment, later I could see as bringing healing and transformation.
All along my journey, spirituality has been the unifying force and integrative voice supporting and shaping my presence and engagement with life and with the other. Spirituality gives contour to our yearning for belonging and connection. It shapes our quest and big questions, and sustains our being through the glimpses of intuitive knowledge of our place and meaning in life. Spirituality brings life to the journey of transformation, a journey that leads us toward integration, wholeness and compassion. It brings Life to life.
The magnificent opus that is at play and work both within and through us remains unfinished. The path toward a happy and benevolent life demands courage, and the challenges young and future generations face in walking this path are tremendous. It is our responsibility, as adults and elders to model and develop bridges of understanding, of ourselves, of each other, and of our responsibility to one another and to our environment.
This is the invitation I have heard and am responding to at this time in my life, and it is actualized within Live Wisdom and Cascadia. It is the continuation of a journey of translation and of transmission of the message and light we all carry in us. My hope is to offer here a place of openness and support where others will also respond to the same invitation. Personal transformation can happen in its communal forge. It is the way forward if we seek a better and sustainable life for all. Our troubled times are in much need of such wisdom.