Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Interplay: Campfire at the Heart -Day 4


What a morning.  I am again struck with my inability to form into words the wonder of this experience.  I am also aware again that these posts are actually my personal journal. So, into my world you have been invited.  Some of it may make sense,  Some of it may not.  I didn’t take photos in the morning today.

Today began with the element of  Air.  That was the element I chose yesterday.  We started the day with breathing in and doing various things (sigh, yell, hum, yum, quiet, roar, etc.) as we breathed out.  Betsey called it BIBO which she learned from Soyinka Rahim (a grassroots Spiritual advisor)

We had many movement and breathing experiences this morning.

Betsey invited each of us to find a contemplative body movement which leads us to a word or a phrase of prayer or affirmation.  It is unusual for me to engage in something like this and actually come up with a phrase.  But it worked.  Then we found a partner and shared our movement and phrase with them.  Our partner then repeated our movement and phrase.  Next we got in groups of 4 or 5 and did it again.  Finally we formed a circle and each of us taught our movement and phrase to the rest of the group.  It was a very powerful experience.  By the way, my phrase was/is “I am a lovable, energetic part of the interdependent web of life.”

One of the things we did after our tea break was to hear Susanna tell a story  about the process and steps she experienced in the past couple of years.  This will have very little meaning to those reading my journal/post, but to remind myself and am writing these words:

  • intuition
  • pomegranates
  • symbols
  • Saying, ‘”Yes”
  • Acceptance of a possible, “No”

I learned a new word (used in Susanna’s story).  It is “whinger” and it means a person who whines.  So a whiner is a “whinger.”  I love new Australian words and phrases.

In one of this morning’s  activities,  I found myself being very still.  This is not a usual place for me to be.  We shared our feelings in small groups of three.  Our triad played in the grass on our backs and put one hand into the air. We danced with our hands.  Sometimes my eyes were open and sometimes they were closed.   I loved looking at leaves of the trees waving above our hands.  When my eyes were closed, it was relaxing to just sometimes feel the others’ hands and sometimes just move in and out of them.

Betsey reintroduced a poem (she had sung it earlier in the week) called, “We Dance Wild” by Joel McKerrow.    Although I don’t personally relate to all of the “Christian” references in these words, I am sharing them to help me remember the experience.

We dance. We dance wild
Not a two-step, structured repetition. We dance large.
We dance flailing arms.
We dance the erratic and the wriggle,
the blunder, stumble and fall with no need to get back up again.
For our fumbles are our dance
and our dance is our rebellion and our declaration and our surrender.
Our falling to the floor is a knowing that it is only in the places
of dust and grime and footprint, only in the failed step and the rusty body, only in the falling
that we can ever truly meet the holy and the sacred.
We meet God on the floor.

So we choose to not rise too quickly,
to not keep ourselves together,
to not think we have this nailed,
this life, this God, this mystery, this question.
Our dancing is our stumbling and our stumbling is our dancing
and how disorderly we may seem,
and how undignified and messy,
we dive headfirst into not having the answers,
giving ourselves to a more spacious rhythm.
The song that is heard only in the silence,
only in the listening ear,
only in the unexplored landscape.
The whisper at the edges.

We find ourselves
when we lose ourselves.
The wilderness and the wild.
The Christ who gathers.
The Christ who descends.
The giving up of control.
The smallness of humility.
The largeness of the mystery.
The immensity of seeking the sacred in everything.
Never running from life
but plunging ourselves more wholly into her.
We dance and we feel our lumbered bodies begin to move.
We dance and we feel the heavy begin to take flight.
We dance to find liberation.

We dance to bring redemption,
the untwisting of the beautiful,
We dance to the new rhythm, the ancient rhythm, the holy rhythm,
the rhythm that holds it all together.
We dance to bring space.
We dance to hold hands.
We dance and we dance and we dance and we dance
until we are dizzy and falling.
We dance. We dance wild.

We are the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks.
—Joel McKerrow

Betsey handed out a few copies of the poem to us and asked each of us to rather quickly pick one line that spoke to us and create a movement for that line.  We were in groups of 5 to 7 people.  We each danced out our movements as we each spoke our line.  Everybody in the group repeated our movement and words. Then each of the 3 groups had a chance to show their combined dance with the other groups.    Here is one of the other groups.

This group is dancing

My line was, “We dance to find liberation.”

I have been writing about the leaves of the trees.  Today I learned that Gum trees are the Eucalyptus trees or more commonly called Eucalypts. I asked David to identify some of the ones at Campfire at the Heart.  A few of the ones around the place where we met each day to do the “Forms” are:

  • Brittle Gum
  • Ironbark Gum
  • River Red Gum
  • Coral Gum
  • Blue Gum

At 4:30 we were driven up to the top of the hill.  Some of us took a walk up the hill to take in the views.

Views on the last night.

We gathered together and Betsey danced and told a story portraying Mary.  Then we watched the sunset.


Tonight was our last night together.  After dinner we celebrated Shirley’s and Jessica’s birthdays.  Kate gave gifts to David and Susan (the owners of Campfire at the Heart), Susanna, and Betsey.  Then Susanna invited any of us who wished to say something, sing something, or dance something to share with the group.  Many people participated and we laughed, sang, and danced together once again.  I bravely sang, “How Could Anybody Ever Tell You” and everybody sang along with me.  Then they sang the song to me.  Wow!  Overwhelming. What a fabulous last night.

The one thing I wanted to do before I left Campfire at the Heart was to walk the labyrinth at night.  So after our closing activity, I went out back to find it.  It was dark and I tripped over the plants on my way.  The solar lights were not as illuminating as I thought they would be so it was a bit more of an experience than I expected.  I ended up in the middle several times and had to try again to find my way out.  I loved doing it.

This Interplay – Mystic’s and Monk’s workshop, has been an enriching, spiritual, warm, and encouraging learning experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and made new friends.  For my Eliot friends, you may understand when I say, the learning, spirituality, and warmth of this week brought Eliot feelings to my heart.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

2 thoughts on “Interplay: Campfire at the Heart -Day 4

  1. La Dolce Vita! You should turn your blogs into a book!


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