[Rachael Shea has been a vibrant part of the Sacred Fire Community for years — attending fires, starting fires, and devoting her time and energy to the work of Sacred Fire in the world. She came up to me during Reunion and told me this one was the best one ever (as many people have said). I asked her to write about it for all of you. —Erin Everett, Editor]

I was harried at work, and had to leave the library early to get to the Reunion. And still I was late.

When I first arrived, I was struck that I suddenly felt sad. I hadn’t been able to convince my children or anyone else from outside of the community to come with me.

As I walked down the path to join the diners, Patrick Hanaway smiled warmly, gave me a kiss in greeting and continued on his way. As I looked around, I saw so many people whom I love. I stopped for a moment just to take in the joy of it.Throughout the Reunion I managed to catch up with some of the people I hoped to see, and missed some of the others. I loved all of the dancing…of course!

Rachael Shea (far right) cuts a rug at Reunion.

I haven’t been at a Reunion in three years. I finished pilgrimage about two years ago, and I stopped working for the Sacred Fire Community around the same time. I live in a city. I work a 9-5.

What is so rare, and so precious, is the opportunity to relax with people who are all trying to live their lives in a good way. There is some structure and continuity to how we all define a good way. There is an ease. There is familiarity to every encounter. And as people work out their differences, there is a sense of commitment to seeing things through with truth – however imperfectly we understand a truth. It is as though we are all swimming in the same direction.  As I said at the Town Meeting, for those of you for whom these gatherings are proscribed, you are accustomed to that. I remember when that was true for me.

I have been away long enough to really feel how warm and inviting our group is. I can tell you that this is unusual. In spite of our individual and collective faults and frailties, we are really working to align ourselves with our hearts.  I don’t encounter that anywhere else.

Thank you so much, all of you who came to the Reunion.

Love, Rachael Shea

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