Exploration in how to powerfully shift perspectives, for information and insights has been practiced since the dawn of humanity. This month is devoted to marking through shape-shifting, with each participant taking a turn to lead the circle. The resources that emerge from this practice are outside of familiar ways of knowing in our time. They elicits an invitation into the kind of journey that like Jane Hirshfield’s poem Bees, expresses how do we not only refuse the invitation, but don’t even realize that it has been offered.
Bees by Jane Hirshfield
To every instant, two gates,
One opens to fragrant paradise, one to hell,
Mostly we go through neither.
Mostly we nod to our neighbor,
lean down to pick up the paper,
go back into the house.
But the faint cries—ecstasy? Horror?
Or did you think it the sound
of distant bees,
making only the thick honey of this good life?
In our marking circle, In-Bodying the Field, we have committed to answer the call leading to hell or heaven, which I may add that by ignoring the call both, we end up where we are. As we all well know, for the first time in the history of our planet human beings have instrumental role in the sustainability for many life forms. We are being forced to frame things in new ways, as we also find new ways of knowing. Josh Schrei maintains that shapeshifting is an evolutionary force. It is conjunctive knowing, knowing through the body that that has been normative to most of the planet’s inhabitants throughout history until recently. If we want to shift the paradigm that is not working, we as artist cannot afford to re-hash the same old stories. Shapeshifting is another way to expand how we learn, perceive and create. It takes a committed practice to go through Hirshfield’s gates and let the newspaper lay.