Gather On The Beach

504. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Once, I saw Rex Ziak build a map of the earth with post-it notes as he told the history of exploration and mapping of the world. It was an odd sensation as I was delighted to see the continents slowly take shape – I got to discover the world – but I also had a feeling of tremendous loss – as if the earth was being gobbled.

A few weeks ago the pirates landed on Alki beach like they do every year. It is a ritual invasion that marks the beginning of Sea Fair festivities. Hundreds of people packed the beach. Canons were fired. Parrots sat on shoulders, families cheered. There were vendors of every shape and size hawking pirate patches, plastic swords, t-shirts, pirate flags, lemonade, ice cream, bike rides, boat rides, airplanes pulled advertisements overhead…everything was for sale.

Last night Todd, Lora and I were walking. It was early evening and I’d just finished teaching a class; I often walk to clear my mind. As we approached Alki beach we saw several tribal canoes paddling in a line toward the shore. Each year the tribes of the northwest coast gather, a ritual remembrance and celebration of the time they would come together and trade. Before landing, each canoe glided close to shore, guided by songs of welcome and someone in the canoe ritually asked permission to land from the local elder, “We are tired and hungry and ask that you might welcome us to rest…” The elder, standing at water’s edge replied, “We welcome you to share in our bounty….” Dozens of canoes approached, each asking the blessing, each ritually welcomed. There were no vendors, no helicopters, no fanfare, nothing was being sold; it was simple. It was about people coming together to share their bounty.

The final post-it notes completing Rex Ziak’s map defined the northwest coast of the United States of America. It was the final unexplored/unmapped territory and was completed after the Corp of Discovery expedition of Lewis and Clark. The maps were complete, the trade routes were known, the resources identified, the pie cut into slices. I finally understood why Rex’s beautiful map brought such a conflicted feeling to me: the people that gathered on Alki beach for the pirate landing were there to get something, that is the ritual way of people-of-the-map. The people that came in their canoes gathered to bring something to each other, that is the ritual way of people-of- potlatch. Rex mapped in post-it notes their inevitable collision.

One Response

  1. Thank you David for a beautiful sharing of this experience. I have been reading Carolyn Myss, and her perspective of the evolution from tribal to individual consciousness. She writes that we are creating what’s next – and I believe that we have the opportunity to create using the best of both. Again, the question that I am being called to ask of myself and others: What is the greatest gift I have to give (that passion, skill, things I love to do), that meets the worlds greatest need (being in service, bringing something to others) NOW. I believe that finding this intersection is where we co-create a balanced, healthy and Divinely inspired world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: