“Filled with Gladness”

The community ceremony I hosted earlier this week was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

When I awoke on the day of the ceremony, it was gently snowing but by late afternoon miraculously the sun came out and it turned gloriously warm.

People arrived to the park in ones, two’s and three’s, greeting one another and quietly talking in small groups. By the time we formed a circle there were 16 of us (and two dogs) varying in age from 3 to about 73.

We gathered around a centre of spring-yellow forsythia and I offered a grounding practice to bring us into sacred space. We took deep breaths together, closed our eyes and opened them slowly to a soften gaze.

We shared the reading of a poem by Mary Oliver by passing it around the circle with each of us in turn adding our voice. We opened our senses to receive spring, expressed gratitude for the renewal earth offers us and sang a sweet song in closing.

Here is the poem we read together.

Such Singing in the Wild Branches
by Mary Oliver

It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves––

then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.

First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.

Then I was filled with gladness––
and that’s when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree––

and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,

and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,

and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky–––all of them
were singing.

And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.

Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn’t last
For more than a few moments.
It’s one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.

One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you’ve been there,
you’re there forever.

Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?

Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song may already be drifting away.
-Mary Oliver

I offered these words at the closing of the ceremony.

    We came together.
    We created community and shared in this spring moment of time.Now go out into the world and share the nourishment you received.
    Be all that you are.

All who took part felt the nourishment of a beautiful shared experience. I encourage you to find ways to cultivate the conditions in your life to be all that you are.

This entry was posted in ceremony. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment

  1. Rebecca
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! Your encouraging work is very thought provoking and I love it! I am smiling. 🙂

    You will also receive a complimentary subscription to my ezine Creating Space with practical tips and inspirational perspectives. I respect your privacy and will never ever share your contact information.