October 1, 2000
By Ellen Woodsworth
This post has been moved from its original location at PeerSpirit.com and archived here, so you can continue to access it.
Each month we share with you a story of how circle is being used effectively in a variety of settings. This month's story comes from PeerSpirit’s kayaking trip in Desolation Sound, British Columbia in August, written by Ellen Woodsworth, one of the participants. Her recitation of the days of PeerSpirit’s adventure speak to the combination of gentle adventure, The Circle Way circle, and appreciation of the sacred in Nature.
Drawn to the water, drawn to the women and drawn to the circle, seven women gathered on August 9, 2000 at Tai Li Lodge on Cortes Island, B.C. Canada. We came seeking a variety of experiences of different depths, colours, textures and tastes, but we all came to hold the rim of the circle with each other. I came for the peace, laughter and wisdom. Lorraine wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday; Karen was ready for the next step in kayaking which culminated in her purchasing a kayak under Ann's supervision; Jane was going through momentous changes having become a crone. Robin came to grow into her maturity as a guide, adored and respected by all. Ann came to teach us about kayaking, nature and the spirit. Christina came to share the circle. Seven women for seven days.
After a day's preparations, practise of self-rescue and a beginning sense of community, we left the lodge and paddled out into the waters of Desolation Sound located between Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland. Base camp was five miles away on a granite abutment overlooking many other islands. The weather was beautiful every day. The winds were kind though we checked the radio each morning before we set out.
Starting each day with a circle, we wrote in our journals and gathered around a rich red triangle in the rocks for a round of sacred check in with each other. Then we went down to carefully lift the kayaks to the water's edge where we blessed "all our relations" our kayaks, our powers and the day with medicine given specially for the trip by a First Nations woman elder.
Prepared, we set off to explore the surrounding islands. The seals were calving. Eagles greeted us, flying through our laughter and songs. Swimming each day, we played with floating logs and snorkeled amongst the purple and orange starfish - truly the rhododendrons of the sea. Day by day we grew physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger as we spiralled in and out of each other's lives. Each evening we gathered in the circle which drew us gratefully to daily closure, Together we shared our day and took care of the deepening sense of community. The moon coming into its harvest fullness blessed our gatherings. Robin's flute enchanted us as we fell asleep. One night the Northern Lights danced a grand performance.
Loaded with good feeling and loading the kayaks with rocks, shells and other precious treasures we paddled back to a final night at the lodge. The water was as still as a lake and the sun hot for the final stretch. A solar shower greeted our sticky bodies and a beautiful meal awaited our hungry stomachs.
As we gathered for our final circle by the fire at the water's edge, we passed the talking piece. Whoever held the piece was appreciated by the others until we were all satiated with praises. This journey was complete. I found the sought-after peace, laughter and wisdom. I found an unexpected sense of self. I had found a new circle of special friends with whom I could continue to hold the circle. I was full. Magic was afloat.