Dancing Into Dreams
In 2005, recently divorced and laid-off, struggling to find peace within the chaos, I had a powerful dream:
Walking through a countryside, I encountered rolling hills dotted with trees and abandoned car parts. Hoods, hub caps, and steering wheels were strewn about. It was as if the idea of speeding around was abandoned for a slower pace. As I had that thought, my eye was attracted to something moving in the distance. The movement got closer and a form began to take shape. A horse came into view. One horse became a dozen horses galloping across the field of car parts. As they continued to approach, I noticed that these weren’t ordinary horses. Each of them was joyfully galloping with a carousel pole protruding from their middles.
I awoke feeling free. If carousel horses could break away from their endless circle, couldn’t I? I wrote about this dream and I talked about it to everyone who would listen. A few months later, it became a collaborative art project and was displayed in my first art show during the spring of 2006. The symbols and the feeling of this dream have continued to inspire me over the years - even if unintentionally.
As I mentioned, 2005 was a turning point in my life. From 1995-2005, I suffered from acute anxiety and panic attacks. Just the thought of going out in public alone caused terror. At one point, the fear of walking down the streets of Minneapolis by myself caused me to quit a job. But I was worn out from this way of life and I was ready to break free.
Over the next twelve years, I took my first solo-trip to Seattle, returned to school, traveled to Japan for a philosophy class, moved multiple times, graduated from college, traveled much of the U.S., and taught English as a Second Language to adults who’d recently arrived in Minnesota.
Having experiences with such a wide variety of cultures got me questioning my own cultural heritage. I started getting curious about U.S. American culture and, more specifically, White U.S. American culture. I started wondering why it was that I had never even considered that I had a cultural or racial identity.
To be honest, the more questions I asked, the more disturbed I became. I started to see the power I had been given for no reason other than my skin color and I began to consider what I was going to do with that power...once I accepted it. I decided to start my journey toward owning my power by contributing to a cause that aligned with my values. I chose TreeSisters because of its focus on creating new life.
I also decided that part of recovering my power was going to require a new connection to my ancestral roots. I wanted to redefine my own cultural identity within U.S. American culture and avoid cultural appropriation as I searched for what felt more fulfilling. With these two intentions in mind, during a TreeSisters' Full Moon meditation, I saw a very clear picture of myself traveling to the countries of my ancestors and connecting with women who were also interested in nurturing humanity through a love of trees.
Several months later, I had made connections with four TreeSisters in the U.K. who were willing to host me and share their stories. The willingness of these women to accept me into their hearts and homes broke through another layer of anxiety I was still holding onto and I began to feel a connection to women I had never met. Visiting them allowed me to trust more deeply and open my heart more fully. These women helped me to begin growing deeper roots, while expanding in ways previously unimagined.
My first stay was in Cornwall, England with Sara. My stay with Sara taught me that we are always exactly where we need to be and that dreams really can come true.
From the very first email, Sara exuded generosity. Learning about her family and her contributions to the world solidified her commitment to this value. As I spent the first few days in Cornwall, I was overwhelmed by the realization that there's a whole network of women around the world that have an interest in providing spaces for others to grow and ground themselves. I also realized that there was so much I could say about Sara...what she does/has done, who she cares for, her accomplishments, her fears, etc.
Of course she's a mother who fiercely protects her children. Of course she's worked in the areas of human rights and ecological concerns in her local community. Of course she shares the fables of her Cornish culture through storytelling and dance. Of course she holds a women's circle that focuses on the "in-breath" aspects through meditation, personal growth, and building community. Of course she took me on a road trip around Cornwall so that I could see where my ancestors lived. She does all of this, motivated by generosity, loyalty, passion, and adventure.
These values are what guide her "doings" and her relationships. These values are what inspired her to give me gifts to pass on to the next TreeSister, what have attracted other women to her and what will attract new women to her growing TreeSisters' Grove, and what helped me feel comfortable and connected in a place so far from home.
In Sara's words, her Grove's purpose is "to be open and loving with women who are also so. To enjoy the sense of belonging that being part of mother nature gives us with every breath. To dance in the wildness of all her landscapes and to be grateful." Sara’s Women’s Circle meets during the New Moon. So, if you're in Cornwall and are looking for a generous leader who brings women together in a beautiful space, I highly recommend connecting with the "Dancing daughters of gaia."
Sara and I danced across the Cornish landscapes in her camper van. We didn’t have a specific route planned, but we had several hand-made postcards of Cornwall that my friend, Alison, had gifted me years before, so we went on a postcard scavenger hunt. Those postcards took us to the Eden Project, St. Michael’s Mount, Minack Open Air Theatre, and to many different beaches of Cornwall.
Sara shared Cornish history, traditions, and values and I got a glimpse of the kind of culture I was longing for - culture rooted in tradition, history, values, community, and reverence for Mother Earth. While we might not have always known where we were going, and while I might not have fully grasped what it means to be a White U.S. American, we always knew we were right where we were supposed to be and I felt fueled by the power of increasing awareness and trusting the process.
As we were on what Sara's kids call her "mommy adventures," driving around without a concrete plan, taking unfamiliar roads and paths less traveled, Sara suddenly stopped her van and asked me...
"Do you like horses?"
© 2019 Kristin Perry