I feel deeply honored to be asked to serve as Executive Director of the Sacred Fire Community organization and I am delighted to address you all for the first time in this role here in the Around the Fire newsletter. I have met many of you at community fires, reunions, and other Sacred Fire events. I have yet to cross paths with others of you, but I hope to do so as I settle into this work.

One of the paradoxes of the community (and we’re told that the gods love paradoxes!) is that as we sit around the fire together, we discover how extremely valuable it is to meet face-to-face and express from the heart. Seeing one another, bearing witness to our stories and the emotions that they carry, we begin to discover that ancient grounding of our common humanity. We feel our deep connections to one another in a way that is increasingly rare in our modern, frenetic way of life.

The paradox comes in because we must still rely on cell phones, computers, and all manner of modern technologies to live our daily lives and even to do the work of sustaining an organization—even one grounded in the ancient wisdom of the heart—that seeks to draw people together from around the world. We find inspiration in a way of being that is thousands of years old, and yet we communicate about it in digital formats like this. It is indeed a very interesting time!

Since the Brexit vote in the U.K. and the Presidential election in the U.S., it seems like the current era is even more “interesting.” Whatever stance you might have taken in these political contests, it’s clear that we are in unprecedented territory. Both elections have engendered strong feelings: anger, fear and sadness in some, joy and elation in others—all are part of the mix.

The Sacred Fire Community is not a political organization, and we are not interested in political prescriptions. As political and economic polarization becomes increasingly apparent in the U.K., the U.S., and beyond, we see an important opportunity for the work of heart. Indeed, we believe that without “heart work,” such polarization will not dissipate. More than ever, we need to meet face to face and express not so much our political ideology as our feelings about our lives, our communities, the country, and the world at large. If we can find a way to do so–even with those we may disagree with politically—we will naturally find that we share the same basic concerns. This is the beginning of deep healing for us individually and collectively.

In short, it is a challenging and sometimes unsettling era. And it is also a promising and exciting time that presents an opportunity for us to rediscover and feel supported by a very old way of being. Some call this our essential nature. Coming together around the fire and in other such settings, we connect with something far more powerful and enduring than any ideology. We find our common human heart. This is our work. We hope you will continue to join with us in making the wisdom, courage, and joy of heart more available in the world.

Best Wishes,