"Where Is The Love?", published Dec. '00, "Woman Spirit
I have learned a lot through
a recent painful and isolating injury. I broke and sprained my ankle. When I was finally able to get out of the house and
drive a short distance in my new cast, I attended an African drum and dance class. I have for 20 years been a part of the
community here, playing drums professionally and teaching and performing dance. Many people know me and like and respect me.
So here I was at the class, a special opportunity to be with a master, Mabiba, from the Congo, West Africa. People greeted
me, gave me quick hugs, asked about my injury, and otherwise let me know that I was a part of the experience and community,
even though I could not join in.
After the class I hung out for awhile and met some new people and spoke a bit
more with people and friends I had known all this time. Yet somehow the experience felt rather flat to me. What was amiss??
Mabiba had spoken to the group for a time about how bad things were at home in the Congo and how she was sending all the money
she made back home to the people there so that they might eat. It was so touching and heartful. Deep. Afterwards, she and
I walked out together .I had danced with her only once, years before. She didn't recognize me, I'm sure. To her I
was simply a woman who was injured. She asked me all about what was wrong, gave me what she knew about the experience, encouraged
me, lifted my spirits, and then did something that none of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances had done-- she grabbed
me, held me tightly, and gave me the biggest, warmest kiss ever on my cheek and wished me luck. The love I felt from this
African woman eclipsed in my mind everyone else's care. The power of her embodied warmth and generous caring spirit was
a balm to me. She had gone where none of my American friends had touched.
I remembered another experience years
ago with a WestAfrican woman, a famous workshop leader. This is a busy woman. I was attending a workshop that she and her
husband were giving. I was very ill at the time. Again, she didn't know me, yet she invited me over to her house where
she wanted to give me a steaming herb treatment and attend to my illness as a true sister, friend or mother would do. I had
to decline because I was too ill to drive to her house an hour away. But I still remember her care and generosity and her
own desire for connection and intimacy.
Recently I met a healer who is from Ghana, but raised in Switzerland.
I asked him how he was enjoying his journeys through America as he is looking for a new place to settle. His answer surprised
me-- "bored" he said. "Why" I asked. "Because there is no love here. People don't know how to
connect, to be spiritual, to share love. Everyone is separate." Whew. I thought maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought.
I live in Marin county near San Francisco. We Marinites think we are quite hip. Tantra communities thrive, and all
sorts of new age and intimacy groups and spiritual centers are everywhere. Yet people here don't even know their neighbors.
I dated an internationally known Tantra teacher once and have almost never felt so seen as an object or felt like my date
was so distant..(I think tantra is great, by the way and know some lovely people in the communities.) But what is going on
here? Now, I know I have a huge amount of African genes spiritually, although I was raised as the white middle class girl
I am. So I know
I have an inborn prejudice around a certain kind of need of earthiness, realness in that sense
of rooting. And I know I've had issues around receiving care and love and intimacy. And I'm sure there are many people
here who are not superficial (and I do know some!) and I will meet more of them or meet with those I already know at a deeper
level as I make myself more available to this. But I do know my experiences with these particular African people and how they
have effortlessly touched me so deeply.
So I leave us with an invitation to ponder more deeply our willingness
as a culture to be warm, I mean really warm with each other, and the willingness to be present in a real, human way with each
other no matter what our troubles or business might be at the moment. No measure of so called spiritual understanding or attainment
can take the place of what I have been attempting here to describe.
May we prosper in our hearts, and get down
and earthy in our joy of being alive and with each other.
Christine Hodil is an ordained minister, clairvoyant vibrational healer, channel, improvisational
vocalist, mystical educator, and ritualist. She offers classes in Voice Beyond Performance, Source Connections, and Healing
Facilitator Training. She also does in person and phone individual sessions and offers Fusion empowerments. 1-800-325-0264