Building the field – and then surrendering to it

By mid-December, my attempts at soldiering on in my habitual routine finally crashed and burned, when four days of back-to-back migraine finally got me to understand (with a little coaching from Ria) that it was time for that much-needed healing. I simply could not come to rest, and come to myself, whilst still subject to the brutal demands of the 9-to-5 regime of office life. I didn’t return to work until the end of the following February.

paw tracks in the snow

paw tracks in the snow

We had a snowy winter, and I cocooned in my home in Brussels with my blankets, my knitting, my cats and my children, and with Ria’s exquisitely sensitive companionship. I journaled and I sat and pondered, and did very little else.

Every so often, I sat with Ria in a circle of two and we sensed into the unfolding vision that had been seeded out of that tarot reading in November. We sat on my oval orange couch, wrapped in blankets with a flipchart between us, with the word ‘community’ in the middle – usually with Ninja the long black cat trying to stretch out on it. Initially, we had thought we were ‘talking about’ the project, that would start when we had a place to ground it in. Until it became clear that we had already started. That we already had a place to ground it in, which was where we were. From that time on, Ria became a full member of the family and the household – not just someone staying for a time as a guest.

Ninja the long cat

Ninja the long cat

Right from the start, we dived into exploring our tensions around money and property. There seemed to be a huge obstacle in the fact that one of us had money while the other one didn’t. Ria brought the perspective of being faced with the prospect (not for the first time in her life) of putting in a whole lot of time, energy, work and commitment, but ending up with nothing, while I put in the capital and so ended up with everything – and all the added value of her input. We fondly called this starting point “the old paradigm”. How to overcome this seemingly insurmountable barrier between ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ of the capitalist worldview? On the one hand, “I invest time and labour, and I leave with nothing”, on the other hand “I invest money and I expect to come away with more, not less”!

The shift came when we flipped our attention away from the transactional attitude of the capitalist paradigm, where we look to each other for some kind of contract, deal or fair exchange, and instead saw from the perspective of the circle. “Ask for what you need, offer what you can”. Our focus was then no longer on each other, but on the field – that which is in the middle, to which we are both committed to offering our respective gifts. For both of us, what is in the middle is community – and community has no price. It is beyond price.

Relinquishing the zero-sum game

Contemplating the field

Contemplating the field

Regardless of what is in the middle, though, the mystery comes into play when we relate to that, rather than negotiating directly with each other. All of a sudden, we are no longer seeing the ‘zero-sum’ of my loss is your gain. We are seeing the different things we have to contribute, and trusting that the field will support us and meet our needs – even if that happens in ways we don’t expect. Magic returns to life.

At the time of these conversations, the world’s leaders were gathered in Copenhagen, in a last ditch attempt to come up with a ‘climate deal’. It occurred to us then that they were making exactly this mistake – of wrangling over a bone, rather than contemplating how each can contribute to the living field which can give us what we all really want – a future in which all can thrive together.


About iyeshe

Woman returning to the wild. Cunning linguist, mother of twins, witch, host, harvester, spaceholder for the dawning Aquarian age, evolutionary wooden-spoon wielder, self-mitigating carbon footprint, wannabe holon in the forthcoming collective buddha...
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3 Responses to Building the field – and then surrendering to it

  1. David Reis says:

    I am impressed with your process of focusing on the essence of community in the middle of your field and the sense of freedom that brought as you released the old mind and heart sets in favor of the living essence in the middle. Moving out of thinking through the frame of money and ownership, creates space–I can feel it in me now–for what Life has in mind. As I write I notice the thought/idea of nonfinancial contribution and talent could be seen as much of a resource as money. How can that be translated into as a tangible asset in terms of “buy in ” in a property? Clearly “ownership” is not in harmony with Life (with a capital L) since Life owns everything–really! We come and go, making claims on the pieces of the earth and now-a-days even on ideas in terms of intellectual property rights. All the while the ideas, the land, etc. all really belong to Life, the creator of everything. I favor the stewardship approach where we each care for what is in our keeping, adding value as we do so.

    So how to translate that into the current paradigm of ownership relative to property? How about exploring how the investment of talent and ability translates into part ownership of the property? Partners in stewardship. A new form as part of the transition into newer forms to come as thinking frees up and we can converse in the language of stewardship.

    Nice work, you two!

    • iyeshe says:

      Thank you, David, for your comment!

      I think things start getting difficult if we try to translate the ‘new paradigm’ back into the old one. Part of the difficulty has to do with the whole nature of the money system we have given ourselves with which to determine the relative values of different phenomena. ‘Ownership’ is such a loaded term, in view of our conditioning at this time in our history. So I think that stewardship is a much richer vein of potential to explore. It also allows us to delve more deeply into our own selves as we learn to relate to what we are stewarding – and what is, ultimately, stewarding us.

      But it’s hard to make the transition between two essentially incompatible systems. My current thinking is, as Jesus said, to simply pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. In financial terms, I shoulder the financial burden. Which ultimately leaves me the owner, in the legal parlance of the current paradigm we live in. Particularly as the law of inheritance does not allow me to divest ownership onto others (without sale) ahead of my own children who, at age 14, couldn’t give a proverbial toss about mummy’s weird project and all of its abstruse philosophical ramifications!

      But how that currently works out in practical terms, according to our operating principles agreed thus far: this is what I can offer. What I need is to co-create with people I love, to have those people living in the place, overseeing the work that needs doing by others, and helping out with what we can do ourselves. I also need them not to overdo it at their own expense. I need them to lay clear boundaries and to voice their tensions as they arise. I need them to thrive in this community, to develop their gifts, explore their passions. I do not, at this stage, need them to pay rent. But if things change in the future, that might become a need, and then I undertake to voice it.

  2. Charly says:

    Funny how the word “stewardship” came into my mind just before I got to it in the text. There is no ownership but there is responsibility for and to the things and beings around us. I look forward to reading more of this.

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