Honoring the Past as We Step Into the Future
A group of women gathers for 5 rhythms dance, self-care practices, and holding space for one another.
With each step, my mantra repeats in my mind, lifting my foot I think of youth, as I swing it forward I consider mid-life, and releasing it back to the earth I offer my thoughts to old age. The labyrinth unfolds before me, and I resist the urge to look ahead for the angles and curves.
I’m in this labyrinth with a group of women who have gathered at Lumeria Maui for a week of 5 Rhythms dance, self-care practices, and holding space for each other as we walk this circle of life. We are separated by just a few steps, and it’s interesting to see each of us with our tendency to speed or slow way down.
Stepping into the labyrinth was preceded by a ritual practice brought through our retreat leader and 5 Rhythms teacher, Lucia Horan. She presented the rituals as part of her childhood in Esalen—ways that women gathered and cared for one another. First, we soaked in the hot tub, which was sprinkled with fragrant blossoms. We then scrubbed each other with maize and salt crystals. The lawn echoed with our laughter as we found the right pressure for scrubbing, and rinsed each other clean with a hose. We then presented each other with flower lei that had been made for us. With this level of care and reverence for one another, we moved into a circle outside of the labyrinth.
Horan invited us to look around at the women that surrounded us. Each of us had our own stories of life; the age range spanned at least fifty years. Lining up from the eldest to the youngest, we began to make our way into the labyrinth, carrying our mantra with us.
For me the week had been infused with a thread of lineage. The history of the property we are on dates back more than 100 years, and it once housed students who attended an all women’s college at a campus nearby. I could feel the history of the place surrounding me as I walked through the gardens and rested on the day beds spread throughout the open air spaces on the property.
Later that night, after receiving acupuncture in our group gathering space, we sat together at a lovely, long table placed outside under the covered patio (known in Hawaii as a Lanai), and ate our incredible meal, served family style. Even the food offered this experience of lineage, as much of the produce we enjoyed was grown on the gardens found on-site. Laughter erupted from one end of the table even as tears flowed freely between two heads bent together at the other end, sharing a memory that had surfaced during our time in the labyrinth.
We are meant to be in community. Our experiences of life—the beauty, the pain, the wisdom—is made both more meaningful and less lonely in the sharing of it. Many of us shared the experience that being together, in a place that held us, with a group of women to dive into both the highs and the lows of our experiences was powerful, and how this human experience is meant to be.
I have felt how not only who we are surrounded by, but also the places we inhabit, can support our deepening of practice. The intention of space matters; the way we hold that space as a community strengthens the power of that place. As we left each other at the end of the week, with fierce hugs and shared contacts, I knew that we each carried a piece of that place home with us in our hearts, and that each of us had given back to this land a fiber of our being, another thread that will be woven in the fabric of groups that gather there in the future.
Read more from Kalia Kelmenson.