An early mystical experience of inner communication among the sun, the grass and myself awakened a deep love for and curiosity about the beauty and mystery of all life on planet Earth. Yes, it started with the grass growing in the Dixie cup!
My journey is oriented toward a nourishment and contentment that I am seeking; a deep hunger I have felt for a lifetime. It goes back to being in church and singing the hymns as a child, knowing that singing was praying with the whole of my body. Southern Baptist hymn singing was my first prayer of breath and vibration. I have been chanting and singing my whole life, and it is the practice that most grounds me in my heart. From my early hymn singing, to many years chanting Sanskrit mantras in the yogic tradition, I found my way to Wisdom chant through Cynthia’s Wisdom Schools. Now I enjoy creating chants and like to play my crystal bowls and shruti box outside in the trees.
“You have to stay in your tradition; then take it back to a place where it is all one.” I never fell out of church, but to go deep I had to hear those words from a ninety two year-old yoga teacher. I have always understood that: it is the constant work of living it in my being.
I found Cynthia Bourgeault through Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer in the 1990’s. Cynthia’s work spoke to what I knew in my heart to be true. It was Wisdom expressed with such heart clarity. I had had brilliant teachers, and I had had heartfelt teachers, but this was different—Cynthia’s brilliance came mediated through her wide open heart.
In 1999 I moved to Washington state, when Cynthia was teaching in Vancouver and Seattle. I remember Sufi twirling in the basement of a church—thirty people in a small room. Whenever she was teaching I would go and get my tank topped off. It fed my deep hunger and I felt the strivings—the heart of the Obligolnian Strivings.
A turning point, and big next step in my Wisdom work, came at the mega Wisdom School in Kanuga. A small group was asked to serve when a new music team was needed. With so much loving support, I led chanting with over 200 people and held the post of Mary Magdalene in the Liturgies, on behalf of the whole. I am comfortable in the background, and accepting that my particularity is needed in a given situation is big for me. I found this step was simply an expansion—me showing up in a different way.
These days you will find me offering chants on the Wisdom Community Face Book page; facilitating others in crafting their own intuitive chants; offering body prayer, movement and breath; and lately creating small in-person earth-based practice circles that allow physical togetherness. On zoom, I co-lead weekly chanting, Monday morning meditation and Wisdom Book Circles with Wisdom Waypoints. I work one on one with people in my healing practice. In all these ways I support people to find greater vitality and experience deeper presence and grounding.
My calling is to help people remember what they have forgotten about why they are here right now. We need to breathe and relax, and feel somewhat safe to get all the centers online. That’s my work in the world. My post is helping people remember the heart and the body.
I am letting myself see what I can see: we are not really down to our feet most of us, most of the time. We are not really in our hearts. I can help people get all the way into the body, into their hearts. I am helping myself remember. Whatever I am called to do in the world is what I am working on really hard myself.
In my daily life I am drawing on a willingness over and over to be with what is. Without trying to change my thoughts, my feelings. On a physical level I can notice, “my nervous system is wobbly, ok, let me just breathe and be with that.” Let it be, without needing to shift it, without going into my tools. There is something about just being in the discomfort. What is the worst thing that can happen? So, I stay with it, and just be with what is. Sometimes I can’t do my prayer. I am sitting here, saying, “wow, look at that mind.” My practice is trying be as honest as I can about what is going on right now.
In these times I feel my need to put my feet on the ground, walking slowly. It is not about exercise, it is a constitutional need to move my body. Long slow walking is my spiritual practice right now. As is caring for the people I am devoted to in my life, for my son Jack, chopping up the carrots, doing the laundry, washing the dishes. It’s real. I have no doubt that this is all real practice.
What is essential for me, and what I most want people to receive from my Wisdom work, is to feel the connections. We need physical connections—ideally, to be around other grounded nervous systems. In pandemic times I have been learning about the liminality of our connections. Zoom may be our little crutch while we learn to live into the luminous web of connections. It is all vibration. We can really feel into that when we enter in our hearts and are grounded in our bodies, with our feet on the ground.
This is part of our evolutionary leap, to step into conscious knowing. It is a vibration, and your own resonance is a way to connect to that. When we connect we vibrate and resonate with all life. There is so much support out there for us. If we get our feet on the ground, that web of connections is accessible. This is what I am reminding myself of all the time, and what I am working with when I work with people.
More about Elizabeth Combs
Elizabeth is a mother, daughter, sister and friend. She migrates between Bellingham WA and Winston-Salem NC, involved in the Wisdom communities in both areas. She enjoys walking in the forest with her 12-year-old son Jack, singing and playing her guitar, and trying to bake a perfect gluten-free scone. A prayer from Elizabeth, “May we re-member what the Earth, our home, is offering us.”
Elizabeth serves as a Wisdom Mentor, Energy Medicine Practitioner, Vibrational Healer and Somatic Herbalist, maintaining a heart-centered distance wellness practice with clients all over Earth. Visit her website, Elizabeth Combs ~ Energy Medicine, to discover more about her training and the interdisciplinary studies and practices, plant craft, and ancestral healing with which Elizabeth goes deep to stimulate an embodied, spiritual, mental, emotional and physical healing and balancing. You may email her here.