Africa and the Ground of Being

My first trip to Africa in 1997 was a profound experience. I remember the hunger I felt as I set out to go, wanting to sink into the heart of that continent and hear deeply her rhythm. I couldn’t wait to get out of Nairobi and feel the beat of the land and the people who live close to the land.  Among other aspects of the journey, we did get to go into a village and stay there for 5 days.  I have a much longer writing elsewhere that describes this experience, but key to it is the fact that I became aware I was experiencing a fully prepared rite of passage which had been designed perfectly, in detail, by unseen forces. This became clear to me by some dramatic indicators.

They say if you want to know if a rite of passage took, see what happens in your life right after. Within two months of the return from that trip, life as I knew it shifted irrevocably deep underground, like tectonic plates moving to create a whole new geography. My 11-year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and my husband began a journey that led to the dissolution of our marriage and family life. I consistently said to myself after that, “It was Africa, something about Africa that precipitated all of this,” feeling as though her big hand had reached in underground and shook everything, shook it strong and hard. My doctoral dissertation entitled “Reawakening Indigenous Sensibilities in the Western Psyche” was born out of this. It began a very particular kind of journey for me.

Now I am back from Africa again, this having been my third trip. Again I sense her strong hand shaking hard at the roots of my being. I feel my bones shaking, my nerves and cells unsheathed. What will it be this time? I’m home not even a month yet, and already the unexpected is appearing. I may move from this mountain.  Something is pushing me, pulling me, expelling me, wanting me, just don’t know yet.

I must trust. Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  I want to stop, rest, but must keep moving, find the balance. Trust.

4 Responses to “Africa and the Ground of Being”

  1. Joy Parker Says:

    Dear Tayria:

    I read you blogs faithfully, even though I don’t comment on them all. When I read the title of your thesis, something inside of me said, “Tell her to consider turning that into a book.” What do you think? I know you were working on a book before–it’s been awhile. What that taken from your thesis. But somehow this seems like a different book, in which you could include both experiences in Africa.

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Joy,
      Thank you a million for your suggestion and encouragement. This is exactly the work that I was rewriting to make into the book, the one that you edited the first two chapters for. Life took over and the writing just went way far to the wayside, much to my surprise and deep frustration. But I kept thinking that the book writing ME instead of me writing it right now. I might have been too quick to think I could turn all of that into a book. Maybe I have needed to live into it longer, live on the mountain, speak from a place of having steeped much longer in the initiation and process. Thanks, thanks, thanks. Hopefully the book is coming. Are you still editing? And, how are you?

  2. daritarose Says:

    But you’ve felt this coming for a while. I think you had a dream of a big cat of some kind, and it was coming, but you weren’t afraid of it, you knew you could handle it. The deaths you experienced are probably part of this, in some unseen way. Interesting that you went to Africa in 1997. Our family had a dramatic road trip then; Mystra and I went to Sedona, and stuff came up, big-time, which led to my alienating a lot of my family; and we went to the Holy Land. Actually, we were in Africa too, in Egypt, hugely initiatory for me. Big changes came, end of marriage for me too. So, I’m excited for you, I love how in touch you are with this feeling, how you recognize the rites of passage. It’s inspiring–you have taught me and inspired me for a long, long time. xoxoxoxo

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Darita, I think there have been a number of timing parallels that have come up between your life’s journey and mine. So interesting how that goes. I hope you are doing well, and thanks for your reflections on this. Saw a picture of you the other day in some random pile of pics – we were so young then! Just kids! xoxoxoxo back to you.

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