Part 1 The Circle
Angeles Arrien: Anytime when we have the opportunity to gather purposefully or that we’ve been called together and anytime that we have the opportunity to sit in circle with one another.
I love that the World Indigenous Council that is sponsored by the United Nations, that all the elders from the different continents of the world come in and they purposefully choose where they will sit in the three tiered circles and always you can see them, will they sit in the first circle or the second circle or the third circle, and will they sit in purposefully in a certain direction. And that always, when they’ve chosen their place to sit, there is always a time of silence and looking around and seeing who are the new people that have come. And who are the ones that have come for many years? And there is silent acknowledgment. And then very slowly there is a reaching out and taking hands so that the circle is sealed.
And there is a looking first to the person that sits directly across from you, is that you are gonna make sure to deeply listen to when that person speaks because among traditional people’s world wide, that the person that sits directly across form you is a mirror of your inner teacher, what you are currently learning at this time. So it’s always to see, who is the person directly across from you. Whenever you sit down every day or every session, “Who’s across from me?” And when they speak, or nonverbally how do they sit, I think because somehow they are a mirror. A mirror of what you are learning at this time, a mirror of your inner teacher or your inner guidance at this time.
And the person on your left right now, the person on your left are always a mirror of your heart work, or your inner healer at this time, the quality of your heart or what you are learning about love at this time, because the most powerful healing force in the world is love, and the physicist, Brian Swimme, in his book “The Universe is a Green Dragon,” said, “You know if I had to put a lay term to the field of the allurement that holds the whole world together, that lay term would be ‘love.’ It’s the strongest magnetic field, and it holds everything together.” So what is it that I’m currently learning about love? What do I know about love? What do I want to pass on to my children about love? Or my grandchildren about love? Or what are my currently learning in my heart about love? And the person on my left, give them a little squeeze because they are somehow a mirror of what I’m currently learning about love and healing at this time. What is calling to be healed in my nature at this time? What is calling me to be healed in my life at this time? What’s calling to be healed in my work at this time? That’s to my left.
And the person across from me is what? It’s what I’m learning. It’s where I’m being challenged and stretched and growing. Is always across.
Now this person on my right is right use of power. Right use of power. My leadership. My leadership! My leadership! The quality of leadership and the ability to empower myself and to empower others is right use of power. The old fashioned term for leadership was warrior. Warrior. Warrior. Right use of power. Honoring limits and boundaries. A place of courage. A place of courage on my right.
So we walk with power on our right, love on our left and we are always moving towards what we are learning. We are always moving towards that which will allow us to unfold or grow. And the universal meaning of the word challenge is an invitation to grow and to move beyond the knowable and the familiar. To stretch. To grow. So that person across from me is my current invitation to grow, to stretch, to unfold.
And so then to slowly drop your arms. And the other beautiful thing is that after you’ve connected with the person across and you’ve held hands with love on the left and power on the right, we are always in the place of the visionary. The visionary is my perspective or my outlook and I’m always moving towards that which will most allow me to grow and that which will most allow me to unfold.
And then the space between us, whenever we sit within a circle is the space of blessing. Is the space where we rest and lean into, it’s known as the space of trust. Or the space of faith. Where all things are healed. All things are healed and all things are free. That empty space. And the circle, cross-culturally is the universal for wholeness and for individuation and for interconnectedness. And just by sitting in a circle, it’s a deep imprinting that we are whole and we are interconnected. Always.
Part 2 – We are Unique – We are Connected
And every human being is a universe to be discovered, uncovered and recovered. And is original medicine. Indigenous people world wide and in this continent and especially South America say, “We are all original medicine.”
And for many years I used to think about, “What does that really mean?” What does that really mean that we are original medicine? Most indigenous language do not have a means of comparison in their language and I find that very interesting. You know something small or larger, there is no valiance it’s just small or it’s large and it doesn’t mean anything more than that. Something’s not better than best; that means it’s a comparison. So I began to do research to see what was meant by that term. And eventually they would always show me their hands and then have me put my fingerprint into the dirt. And then they would put their fingerprint into the dirt and then the prints were very different.
And then they would say, “See even with our twins,” they would have the twins come over and put their fingerprints in the dirt and every research now has demonstrated that even with identical twins every human being in the world has an original imprint. I think that’s quite awesome to think about. So if I have an original imprint nowhere duplicated in the world, why would I spend time comparing? Another wonderful fact about original medicine: every human being, including identical twins or triplets, if we put everyone’s voice on a sonogram every person’s voice, sonic and pattern is completely unique.
No one has you’re sonic, no one has your voice pattern in the world. I think that’s quite an awesome fact. I think that’s really quite stunning. Eye doctors or ophthalmologists have long recognized another very interesting awesome fact that even with identical twins that the color pigmentation and texture of the iris is nowhere else duplicated in the world. So that your own iris and color and pigmentation we can’t find in anywhere else in the world. Your sound and voice sonic is not found anywhere else in the world. And your imprint is not found anywhere else in the world.
So what does that say about the human species? Is that we come and are called to contribute and leave an original contribution or imprint. And we come to speak what we see. We come to speak what we see. And on speaking what we see is a lost opportunity that is going to make a contribution to the grater whole. And so I think that’s all just a wonderful fact. So I spent my whole life, I had the absolute blessing that has been the golden thread throughout all my life to follow what truly has heart and meaning to me and one of the great curiosities that has just been a steady consistent hum is that I’ve always been curious about what are the points of unity? Cross culturally. Points of unity. Regardless of our cultural conditioning and our family imprinting. And so in many ways I help us try to remember that which we have forgotten -that which we have forgotten. And where we are all interconnected and where are the points of unity.
So in many ways what I’m going to share today what are many different points of unity, stir the bowl for all of us, to deeply remember, I have a body for a purpose – for a purpose. And that purpose, that our body is the perfect architecture to support our life dream, or calling or purpose: the perfect architecture! Yes, I dream, probably in the next life of being tall and willowy, but somehow my body is currently the perfect architecture that has supported my life dream of following and discovering and uncovering where are the points of unity. Where are we connected in our original medicine? Where are we connected.
So Carl Jung said, “Life is that luminous pause between two great mysteries which are one, birth and death.” Life is that luminous pause between two great mysteries which are one, birth and death. And then he paused after that and he said, “And both, and both are the heart of creativity – And both are the heart of creativity.” Life is that luminous pause between two great mysteries which are one, birth and death and both hold the force of creativity. The energy of creativity.
Part 3 – The Three Laws of nature
So the human spirit is, and in nature if you really want to know about how nature governs herself, there are three laws. Three laws. And if nature governs herself this way, and we are creatures of nature, then there are certain aspects of self governance as well that comply with this incredible force that’s always working within us, which is the creative force, which is known as Eros, the love to create, the love to manifest, the love to bring into form something that will serve the greater good. To bring into form that will serve the greater good which is the function of community. It is to create something that will serve the greater good.
So the laws of nature: the first law of nature is everything in nature is constantly creating and constantly diversifying. Constantly creating and constantly diversifying. And nature’s rhythm is medium to slow. Nothing moves in the fast lane in nature unless it’s in danger. And then it will move for fifteen or twenty minutes. Will move fifteen or twenty minutes to get out of the danger and then it goes back to the natural rhythm which is what? Medium to slow. And there’s a lot that we can do in the fast lane, that we can create or produce, but there are two things we can never do in the fast lane. Healing does not take place in the fast lane. Healing takes place in nature’s rhythm which is what? Medium to slow. Medium to slow. Integration and reflection. To integrate our experience we need to reflect. Take time. To reflect. And reflection takes place and integration takes place in nature’s natural rhythm which is what? Medium to slow.
And we cannot develop our character in the fast lane because character requires reflection and integration. And so we have to take time for contemplation and reflection and to integrate our experience. To integrate. In what ways was I inspired, challenged, surprised, touched and moved. The four great tracking principles. Where am I inspired? Where am I being stretched or challenged? Where am I being surprised? Where am I being touched and moved? I’m still alive if I can be inspired, challenged, touched, surprised and moved. I’m still alive. Refusing to walk the procession of the willing dead. And every day at the end of each day is to track, who or what inspired me today? What challenged me today? Where was I stretched and moved today? Where was I surprised today? Where was I touched and moved today? Taking time to integrate my experience.
How am I constantly creating and diversifying my gifts and talents? What creativity and diversification am I bringing in to my relationships. What creativity and diversification am I bringing into my work and my creativity. That’s called deep engagement. Wherever I’m deeply engaged I’m creating. And whenever I’m creating things happen. Things happen and we are uplifted. And inspired and touched and moved and surprised and delighted. And that’s called being alive. Being alive.
The second way that nature governs herself is that nature fosters interdependence – Interdependence. Actively fosters interdependence and connection. Nothing survives in nature if it is fiercely independent or excessively dependent. And so for those of us who pride ourselves in being fiercely independent, well we are going to go into burnout. And we are going to overextend ourselves and we can’t ask for help and pretty soon that opens the doors to disease. And for those of us who are excessively dependent we won’t survive. Because we’re not engaging responsibly with our own gifts and talents and wanting others to take care of us rather than we move into our own self care.
And the last way that nature governs herself is that everything in nature has a purpose. There is, and each one of us because we are creatures of nature, we have a purpose. We have a purpose, otherwise we would not have a body, and otherwise we would not be here. And we are here as long as we need to be here to engage our calling and our purpose and what has heart and meaning.
So it’s from that that I discovered that if Jung said, which he did, “That life is that luminous pause,” I think that’s a wonderful phrase, “Life is a luminous pause between two great mysteries, which are one: birth and death. And both engage the creative force.”
So I began to take a look at wondering, cross-culturally, how to we engage the creative force. And the Asians always track movement in nature. And the oldest book of changes that is based on nature and the wisdom of nature and the changes from season to season is called the I Ching. And it’s a book that I’ve read from the first hexagram to the sixty-fourth hexagram. If you want to know everything there is to know about change, instead of using it as an auricular tool, use it as a book of wisdom and read it.
So I read a hexagram everyday, so I’ve done this for the last fifteen years. I read a hexagram each day for sixty-four days and then I go back through and the next sixty four days, and the next sixty four days and the next sixty four days and so I re-read the I Ching almost four times a year. And then some. So repeating that. Well it’s amazing, even after fifteen years I go, “Oh that’s what that means…… That’s what that means.”
Part 4 – Three Processes of All Human Beings
But what they talk about over and over again, that in any kind of creative experience, there are three processes that no human being is exempt from, but before I go into the eight movements, there are three processes that are not exempt from any human being, and that’s work with self, it’s the longest relationship we will ever have in our life.
And so how am I befriending myself. The longest relationship. Who do I eat with the most., sleep with the most, shower with the most, talk to the most, is my relationship with self. And where am I in that relationship. Do I befriend myself? Do I treat myself as a friend as I do others? And every human being on the planet has some work to do with self. I think that’s an awesome fact. No one is exempt from that.
And I love the very short story of Zusha, the Rabbi, who went to the top of the mountain to pray, to get guidance for his community cause he was considered the wise-man, the Rabbi of the community, and he came down after three days and he was terrified. And the community gathered around him and they said, “Rabbi! Rabbi! Why are you so afraid?”
And he said, “Oh I now know what the angels will ask me on the last day, I now know what the angels will ask me!”
And the community said, “But you’ve led a model life, why would you be afraid?”
And he said, “Oh no! Oh no you must ask yourself the same question! The question I’m going to be asked is, “Rabbi! (And put your name in front of this question) Why weren’t you Rabbi or why weren’t you Zusha (His name was Zusha)?”
What gets in the way of me being authentically who I am? What do I allow to get in the way of being who I really am?
Which is really why I’m so honored for all of us to have Larry Inchausti here because he’s written an incredible book: Subversive Orthodoxy which is really asking us to take a look at, “Angeles, why weren’t you Angeles?” or “DN, why weren’t you DN?” Or “Charles, why weren’t you Charles?” or “Hannah, why weren’t you Hannah?” Or “Amber, why weren’t you Amber?”
You know, what do I allow to get in the way of the authentic nature? So that work with self.
The second universal process that we are not exempt from, besides our work with self, is this one to one work called relationship. Myself and one other: a friend, my best friend, or a colleague, or a loved one, or my partner. This one to one, which is a crucible around intimacy, and a crucible around learning about love, and all the forms of love. There’s a love in friendship that’s very different than the love in collegiality, or the love of a beloved, or my partner, or a lover, what do I know about all the forms of love? And there is one very short story, around everything we need to know. Around this one to one relationship that also includes work with self, but begins to take a look at what might be the keys that are essential in every relationship.
And it’s the Pandora myth. And the Pandora myth is really found in every culture. But in every culture it’s not Pandora, sometimes it’s a male, and sometimes it’s not a male or a female, it can be a creature.
But the story is always the same: the gods and the goddesses in every culture were kind of bored and they needed a project, and they thought, “What would be a project that would unite both the gods and this thing called Earth? That would actually bring them together and that would last for all time and all eternity?”
And so the gods and goddesses we’ll tell the western version is the Olympic gods and the goddesses decided, “Well, let’s fashion this creature out of earth itself, which is clay. Let’s fashion this creature out of clay and then let’s give them gifts from us: the divinity.”
So Venus gave this creature love, and Mercury gave this creature communication gifts, and Zeus gave this creature leadership, and they went on and on and Aphrodite gave this creature beauty and they added all their gifts, all these incredible heavenly gifts, these gifts of divinity into this clay, and they were very pleased with what they created, they thought, “Finally a creature that held both divinity, divine gifts, and also was of the earth,”
And how could they make sure it would last through all time? And so they thought and they thought and they thought and they said, “Well, you know, Earth and Divinity have one great quality which is curiosity and loving to explore anything that’s new or anything that’s forbidden.”
We’ve all experienced that right? We love to explore something new and then we kind of want to know about this kind of forbidden thing. And cross-culturally we know that as the taboo. Every culture has their own taboos. And so they decided they would give this creature either a box or they would give this creature a vase, or they would give this creature some kind of container and say, “You must really care for this. This must go with you wherever you go and you just care for it. Your charge is to care for it. But there’s one limit. That you can never open it. You can never open it.” And so the creature thought, “Oh this beautiful box and container and case” and caring for it and gorgeous and made sure it was always in the proper place and always tending to it. And you know, as the years go on you get very curious as you’re dusting for it and caring for it, it has a little lid or it has a little top and you think, “Well,” because the gods and goddesses carry great curiosity so why wouldn’t humanity also carry great curiosity and so when you have both within you it’s called double curiosity. And double trouble that way.
And so finally one day, just couldn’t quite resist, you know, “I’ll just lift it up a little bit, maybe just take a little peak,” And out came all the evils and the ills in the world. And many of us think that that’s where the story ended. But when you take a look at the Pandora myth cross-culturally, there’s always something that was left at the bottom of the jar or the vase that was overlooked.
And in Asian cultures what was overlooked, what was overlooked when the gifts and talents and the evils and ills of the world are very strong, in Asian cultures what was overlooked was compassion. In Western cultures in the Pandora myth, what was overlooked was hope. In indigenous cultures of the world, what was overlooked was truth.
And so in our relationships with one another, and especially when we explore the light and dark within us, we must remember the three golden keys. Where am I in our relationship? Where is hope in our relationship? Where is compassion in our relationship? Where is there truth in our relationship? And in my own relationship with myself, where is there hope? What do I find hopeful? What elicits my compassion? And where in my life do I find myself really in a strong relationship with my own integrity or honesty or authenticity?
Cause that’s all a preparation for how I will be in community. How I am with myself and how I am with my one to one relationship, prepares me for the third process, the universal process which we are not all exempt from, which is community.
And community means, “Common Unity. Common Unity” Common-unity. And in community you are going to find the eight movements. In community. And in community, community always is an organism itself, and it always has it’s collected wisdom and it has it’s collective shadow. In every community. And in every classroom, there is a collected wisdom in every classroom. And in every classroom there is a collected shadow. And shadow really means, “That which I have not explored, That which is still , that which I don’t want to explore.” I hope I’m never like them. Oh I couldn’t possibly ever achieve that. It’s the shadow. It’s the shadow part. And so in, in community we find the most creative energy possible because it’s amplified. And in community it’s an organism that always different parts of the community are involved in four sets of two. Universal movements around creativity.
Part 5 – The Four Pairs or Eight Movements
Gathering and Rising – And when we go through these I’d just like for you to notice what comes up for you around these movements because the first movement, just think about right now in your life, just this year so far, who or what has inspired you the most? Who or what? And it’s important to track what inspires us. Because we cannot be inspired unless it has meaning. It’s impossible, and so even if I were to track for thirty days at the end of each day, just that question, “Who or what inspired me today?”
At the end of the month you’re gonna be surprised at what has meaning for you. Because inspiration always is related to meaning. It’s impossible to be surprised unless it’s somehow meaningful for you. And so, the first movement, and It’s interesting, we never gather anything unless it’s meaningful. So the first movement of creativity is when it’s a combined two-fold movement. I gather, I gather what has meaning. And whatever has meaning inspires me. So just notice, doing that, gathering, what am I gathering? Because whatever I am gathering, pulling together, has meaning, otherwise I wouldn’t be gathering it, and so you think about people who have collections of things right? They are gathering. And whatever they are gathering, or collecting, it has meaning. And you’ll find these four great movements, and there are two, they come in pairs.
There are four pairs and they make eight. But the gathering. Whatever we gather always uplifts us. It has meaning. Gathering, what has meaning. Gathering – Meaning, Gathering – Meaning, Gathering – Meaning. And in every story cross-culturally, something is being gathered or searched for. Because it’s meaningful. We don’t go on a journey unless we’ve been called and it has meaning.
And so what have I gathered already this year, in my life, in my work or in my relationships. What have we gathered that has inspired us both? Or what have I gathered in my creativity that is really meaningful? And yesterday, you know we gathered images. We gathered images, purposefully, we gathered those images, and the images that we actually picked or drew have meaning. We gathered and it was meaningful, right? Gathering and rising. Gathering and rising. That’s the first great creative movement. And everywhere in the world now, in everyone’s life, something is being gathered and something has meaning. Even when people are depressed. Even when people are depressed. Even when people are depressed you can always reach them by what they genuinely like, whether it’s food or whether it’s color, anything that’s a favorite. A favorite tree. A favorite color. A favorite flower. Has meaning, otherwise it wouldn’t be a favorite. Gathering and rising. Ok. That’s the first.
Expanding and Contracting – The second: somewhere in our life, besides gathering and rising, we are growing, we are growing, we are expanding, and we are also contracting. Expanding and contracting – Expanding and contracting – Expanding and contracting – Expanding and contracting. This is the breath. Breath every day is expanding and contracting. It’s also the heartbeat. Expanding and contracting – Expanding and contracting.
The second great creative movement. I can’t grow unless I expand. I can’t learn about limits and boundaries unless I contract. Limits and boundaries, contract. Knowing what my limits and boundaries are. Expand, contract. Definition: expand and define. Expand and define. Expand and define. Oh yeah. Oh yes.
Second great movement. That’s going on universally in everyone’s lives somewhere. So what in my life right now is expanding, and what is being defined or clarifies? Expanding. Where am I growing this year? And where am I getting clear and defining? What am I clear about? What do I know are clear limits and boundaries for me? Definition.
Inflow and Outflow – So after contracting, and these don’t go into, we could be doing these simultaneously in different parts of our lives, and they’re not hierarchal, we could start anywhere, but also the other great movement that’s happening all the time is: inflow and outflow. Inflow and outflow. Some of us have too much coming in, we get flooded and overwhelmed. Too much inflow. Too much outflow, we get exhausted and overextended. But the balance is also, giving is the outflow, receiving is the inflow.
This is where we create mutuality and collaboration. Inflow and outflow – Inflow and outflow – Inflow and outflow. Very different movements, very different movements, very different movements. In and out – In and out. And it’s all, I can’t do in and out unless I’m open. Unless I’m open. Nothing can come in and nothing can go out when I’m closed or shut down. So inflow and outflow. And just noticing which of these are even easy or difficult for you to even do. Often shows us where we are ease with certain movements and where we find it very difficult.
Settling and Releasing – Ok and then the last pair. The last pair is settling, settling, another word for integration, settling, integrating, settling and releasing. Settling and releasing – Settling and releasing – Settling and releasing – Settling and releasing – Settling and releasing. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Now we can do them all together now. That’s what happens in every project. Every project, all at once, all of these movements, any time we are creating, any time we are creating and any time when those two great mysteries, death and birth come together, we are in the force of creativity, and these are the eight movements. If you really study Asia, well what are the movements that come out of the oldest book of changes? And this is it. Because we are experiencing these in different parts of our lives.
So we can start first, before creativity we start preparing. Oh I’m really interesting, anyone out loud, what’s the topic that has had your imagination this year that you’ve started gathering information about it. Anyone.
Angeles Arrien: Ok great, community.
Angeles Arrien: Just notice what captures your curiosity cause wherever my curiosity is captures it has heart and meaning and I’ve already begun to gather. Gather. Because, it has meaning so I’m rising and it’s allowing me to grow and to clarify and define and that’s allowing for more inflow and outflow so that I can settle it and integrate it and then release it. Isn’t that fun? Ok so here we go again. Here we go again. Cause this is happening all the time. Inside with work with myself. You know? What am I gathering about myself? And what am I curious about myself that has meaning that is allowing me to expand and see new perspectives and clarify and define and to allow for the inflow and the outflow and that I can settle and release.
Every story, something is being gathered that inspires us and uplifts us and allows us to expand and see things differently and to clarify and define so that there can be more inflow and outflow and allows us to settle so that we can release and let go. Ah ha ha ha ha. (Laughter)
And that’s when we lose time, or we experience a timeless place. And we all have experienced timeless place. Guess what’s been happening? All those movements at once. And sometimes we can start with stretching and expanding and defining and clarifying but it always takes us to the inflow and to the outflow and settling and releasing so that we can gather and rise again.
So anywhere you start. Anywhere.
Oh I just, I’m really in a settled place, you know. Everything is really integrated, and I just let go, and oh, interesting, I’d like to give out this, this and come back here and, gather and uplift, and there they all are. But if you, really, before you start a new project or working with a team. What do we want to gather together? And what has collective meaning for us? So that we can rise together in a meaningful way that will allow us then to explore and expand and clarify and define and come in and go out and create mutuality together so that we can settle and integrate and finish the project and let it go. Let it go.
So that was fun huh? That was fun huh?
That’s what happens, that’s the story of here in community. Some of us are in a rising place and some of us are in a stretching, defining place, and some of us are really in the place of inflow and outflow and collaboration and mutuality, and some of us are, you know, something’s falling into place and coming together and it’s completing itself and it’s time to let go. And all that’s happening all the time. All the time.
So just notice who and what came to mind and that allows us to go into some circles together to capture, what is my heart of my work with self at this time? What is the heart of my work in relationships at this time? And, of these four movements, which is the easiest for me? Do I really follow meaning? Do I follow what uplifts me? Or do I take it for granted. Because wherever I’m inspired, it has meaning. It has meaning. It has meaning and that means that’s where I can truly be creative with my gifts and talents. We don’t track enough of our inspirations so who or what inspires me? You know, already, yesterday and today. Who or what inspired me? Yesterday and today. Who or what challenged me to look again? Or I found a little unfamiliar?
You know, “Oh we’re gonna do this movements thing, are you kidding? Are you kidding? I don’t want to do that.” But those are the movements. And one of the things indigenous people always use the voice and the hands to imprint for memory. You won’t forget these. So here we go again. Here we go again. Gathering. There’s a voice and the arm and the hand imprint. Gathering. And remember we have an original sonic. And indigenous peoples recognize that our voice strengthens the sound of our voice singing, chanting or singing, strengthens the immune system.
Native Americans said, “Sing for your life” so: Gathering and rising – Gathering and rising – Gathering and rising – Gathering and rising.
I worked with depressed people or people who have panic attack disorders and I have them doing gathering and rising and you can’t stay depressed and do gathering and rising. It’s impossible. Gathering and rising. Gathering and rising. And then stretching, expanding, and stretching and contracting and defining. Expanding and stretching and defining and constricting. Expanding and defining and contracting. Just notice which of these are easiest for you? Inflow, outflow, inflow, outflow, inflow, outflow, inflow, outflow. If I have trouble expanding and defining I’m gonna have trouble with inflow and outflow. I make room for inflow and outflow when I expand and constrict. So and then settling and releasing. Settling and releasing. And now just close your eyes and silently do those movements yourself.
No fair peaking. And just notice which ones you forget.
And then just silently do them in your mind. Because sometimes, in any meeting, is to track what energy needs to be here right now. What energy? Maybe there’s too much inflow. Maybe there’s too much outflow. Track in any meeting. Track in your relationships. You know, is there too much expansion and not enough definition? Is there too much settling and not enough release? Is there too much gathering without rising. So one of the great mysteries. Ok. Ok. Oh yeah.