Change is always happening, but sometimes its unfurling patterns become particularly noticed. That would seem to be true of this moment. There are two changes of which I am a part that I would like to share.
The first change has to do with the work of the Northeast Wisdom Board of Directors. While we are not abdicating our responsibilities as a board, in response to Cynthia’s desires, we have evolved into a Wisdom Council with additional charges and callings. Here is how I expressed it to those assembled at the Ingathering in Stonington in early June:
As the sponsoring organization of this mostly Annual Ingathering, we welcome you. While we’ve committed ourselves to utilizing the time to meet together as a Board, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time with and among you. Just a word of who and what we are.
Along with Cynthia, we are six—Guthrie, Laura, Marcella, Mary Ellen, Matthew, and myself. Formed originally as a board of directors, we now function more as a Wisdom Council around Cynthia. The term “think tank” may not be just right, but it also may not be too far afield.
Being Northeast Wisdom, we are both particular and very local. We are here on the ground in Cynthia’s neck of the woods. Our mutual physical access seems important. But being Northeast Wisdom, our sights are set as well to the more universal and far-reaching unfolding of Wisdom throughout this country and the world. So, the universal and far-flung is our goal, but local and particular is our means.
In one sense, our work is aimed at the high bar of serving the Conscious Circle of Humanity and helping to heal our planet. But in order to accomplish this and in a more specific sense, our work is to supportively hold Cynthia and to free her and support her to do the work she is called to do. Our work also centers particularly on nurturing the growing Wisdom community—students, post-holders, and, particularly, emerging teachers and leaders.
Although as individuals on this Wisdom Council, we live in many different contexts—we are particularly committed to living within the banks of our lineage’s 8 principles…
This feels like timely and important work to be undertaken. But this change is happening within an even larger context of the greater Wisdom community. Based on my experience from an extended conversation of a number of senior Wisdom students shortly thereafter—I wrote this to them:
There is a growing sense that our Wisdom community is on the cusp of a significant shift. There was the shared understanding that there is something of a “passing of the baton” that is currently transpiring. While Cynthia of course continues to be the head and the teacher of our growing community, an increasing number of experienced students are sensing a call to step out and teach themselves. Even if not called to teach, though, there seems to be a felt urgency to more deeply embody the Wisdom teachings in our own lives. So, this is all about finding one’s own Wisdom Voice—whether it be expressed in Wisdom Practice Circle post-holding, in teaching Wisdom Schools/retreats, or in emboldened manifestation of Wisdom in our everyday lives.
Words and phrases like, “proliferation,” “organic unfolding,” “enlargement of the community,” were used to describe this present crossroads. This was also described as a differentiation of teacher and teaching, such that others now are invited to share the leadership of this Wisdom trajectory. Cynthia is not abdicating anything but inviting us to share the responsibility. In fact, this shift has been anticipated by Cynthia and has been encouraged and guided by her current work on the eight markers of our Wisdom lineage.
Change is afoot, and I can feel it working around and within me. What about you…
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 2
(translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)
The Rev. William C. Redfield is an Episcopal priest and a licensed clinical social worker. Ordained in 1976, he spent the first half of his career as a group, family, and individual therapist. At Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, New York, Bill brought his passion for new forms of “Wisdom” spirituality to fruition, and established “Wisdom House” as an outreach spiritual ministry in the greater community. Retired from parish work after twenty years, Bill has been engaged in full time Wisdom work since 2014 and is the current president of the Northeast Board of Directors.
Bill is currently offering “Wisdom Mentoring,” the confluence of the rivers of psychological work and spiritual work. This work open to anyone seeking to deepen their experience of Wisdom, and for those being called to lead Wisdom practice groups. Wisdom Mentoring is done in person or on the Zoom platform and is aimed at profound transformation—from the inside out. For more information you may contact here at Wisdom’s Work.
1 thought on “Change is Afoot”
Glad to hear of these developments, Bill. I am a teacher at an international school in Hong Kong, and certainly wish I could have been present at the Ingathering. I am fully committed to further exploration of finding Wisdom’s voice, as you say here, and looking forward to seeing what emerges. Count me in for interest in teaching Wisdom, especially in experimenting with and disseminating this way of knowing within international and multicultural educational settings. You can learn more about our Spiritual Explorations course, which is based on Wisdom principles, for a grade 9 course that we just completed teaching for the first time earlier this month. And we will develop and phase in grade 10, 11, and 12 years over the next three years. Taking what often is shared in cloistered settings into the mainstream, albeit elitist, educational settings. https://martinschmidtinasia.wordpress.com/2018/02