The first birch leaves are yellowing, and soon the cranes will be flying south as Summer seamlessly moves into Autumn. When does the one end and the other begin? It’s different every year, but one day I become aware that the light is changing and I find myself looking back on the warm mornings of July and forward to the cool evenings of October. What did I plant in the Springtime and what am I harvesting now?

At the end of the soul-retrieval course in August I realized that my red thread for the course was connection: connection with the circle, connection with the spirits, connection with all there is. But sometimes it is difficult to feel the connection. When the world around us is ill and it affects us all. The wars, the pollution, the social injustice. The list goes on and on. Most human activity in the world today is clearly dysfunctional. Who is sick – and how does it happen?

People forget that they are connected, even to themselves. Here in the western world we are brought up to succeed, whatever that word may mean, and everyone seems to be battling for their place in the Sun, and we become ill in some way - physical, emotional, or otherwise - it’s about “me”: my stress, my ulcer, my illness.

But is it? Many indigenous peoples living in a traditional way realize that when one person is not well then it has an effect on the entire social fabric. The illnesses we suffer from do not only affect us. They touch our families who must take care of us, our friends who want to help out, our colleagues who have to assume our work loads, and more. The reverse is also true: When the society is ill the people suffer. Because of this awareness the healing ceremonies in traditional societies are not only for the sick. They are opportunities to bring the people back together with the spirits, to repair the net-of-power which connects us all, and to re-establish balance in the community.

The interconnection is clear. As the Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh would say, “We inter-are.” Yet so many ask, “But what can I do?” I feel the first step must be to realize and live our connection, to know that we are not isolated, to constantly remind ourselves that we are all in this together - with all there is - that it’s not about me: it is about us. And here we are.

- Jonathan -