By Karen Koehler
This past year I took more chances in order to grow. Sounds simple, but complacency had become way too comfortable. So, I decided that facing and overcoming fears, no matter how large or small, would open space that I could fill with ANYTHING! Think of it, I could fill it with knowledge, experiences, wonder and awe. And I could also choose to fill it with joy. (Regarding JOY. I received something in the mail this past holiday season from the local food bank. JOY = Just Only You!”) I went back to school to become an End-Of-Life Doula and acquire my professional certificate, which brought me the angst of learning Blackboard, but the joy of a profession that held my heart. I assisted at a horse/human relationship training in Canada, where my two fears were traveling alone and not knowing if my non-traditional background would be accepted by seasoned therapists. My joyful expression at being professionally accepted was to dance down a dirt road at sunset as I lifted my voice in grateful song to the grazing herd, the nesting crows and the lone deer who, I swear, was there just to witness me truly coming into being me.
The thought of going to Crones Counsel XXVII as a Newbie also had that fear/joy component. I had been a member of the Boulder Crones and had attended a wonderful meeting of the Denver Crones, so I felt that between knowing a few Crones who were attending the Counsel and having family in Tucson, I’d have my Newbie fear bases covered. After all, I was just walking into a cohesive group of about one hundred intelligent, amazing, creative, spiritual women who had known each other, well it seemed like forever, so everything would be great, right? But who could I sit with at lunch? Anyone remember feeling that way as a Newbie? I needn’t have worried.
Attending the Counsel was like coming home to warm, welcoming, accepting arms. We laughed, we cried, and we shared stories, both within the larger group and in our Wisdom Circles. We were nourished in so many ways and yes, you invited me to sit at your tables. It was wonderful! So many stories throughout the week, stories of heartache and loss, strength and love. Journeys within and without. The camaraderie was joyful beyond anything I could have hoped for, including the deep friendships that evolved into the “I’ll be there for you” sisterhood. I had finally found my tribe and even now, I long to sing and dance with you all again.
Prior to attending the Counsel, I had dreamed that my niece and I, holding her new daughter, had refused a patriarchal christening and headed out toward “something else.” The dream haunted me until I realized it meant finding a way to welcome this child into her matriarchal clan. And so, I asked the Board if a ceremony was possible. Through their generosity, the gift of Mahtowin who bestowed her blessing, and the surrounding Crones who lifted their energy and their voices, the tiny maiden, Melina, was welcomed into her sacred tribe. And at that moment, Joy and Blessed Be merged and became Love and the renewal of our village began again.