In Cape Town the ship passed through a very stormy patch of ocean. When I think back on the two days I remember two days of thunder and lightning. It was sunny outside – but the room, and the people participating, created a clamouring and loud series of thunderclaps. As a facilitator I was running around the room the whole time, trying to hear everyone, and contain the space, but it was impossible. The facts that it was a massive group of people gathered together, and that other workshops also spilled noise into our space led to a very loud two days. It was stunning to see that through the thunder and noise there were dark clouds brooding in the group’s hearts.
Occasionally they erupted into lightning flashes of voices speaking out. Voices competing for acknowledgement, and then submerging into the dark storm again. These were the bright moments for me in Cape Town. The voices were calling for change, and pointing the direction to a safer haven.
In Soweto we were firmly engaged with the earth. We utilized a cold room in a massive mountain of a building in Soweto called the Grace Bible church. These were the coldest days on the journey, and while it rained and howled outside, we were sitting in this concrete cave, dealing with very heavy matters.
All three of us were sick: Mama Mercy, Marisca and I. We had four consecutive days in this venue, with electricity only available every now and again. The issues expressed became more and more difficult. And in this place Marisca asked those gathered in the room a very simple question: “Why are you here?”
How appropriate that we were in the Grace Bible church. What followed was nothing less than grace. The stories and feelings shared flowed like a powerful stream of life, pouring out filled with values and passion and deep conviction. In these few minutes the first quadrant of the Integral Framework was fuller than I had ever experienced. A young woman expressed the feeling in the room perfectly when she said: "I can just feel something larger in the room right now – I can even say it is the presence of God." She was not the only one at that time with tears in her eyes.
That was the moment the olive branch was delivered, I believe.
We sailed on and in Polokwane the ship was in a steady harbour for a very focused two days. We sat around a fire and had the luxury of ample time at our disposal. All nine attendants brought their focus and thoughts to the session. As facilitators we were tired and the warmth of the fire was a suitable place to end the stormy sailing trip around the shores of our sites.
As I write this I am getting another shiver down my spine. I remember the room in which Fikile spoke those powerful words of Madiba. The room we used in the Red Location museum. It was shaped like a boat turned upside down. I did not realise the significance of the metaphor at the time.
Our boat has indeed been tumbled around, and we have gone through a powerful storm. We have lost loved ones and friends, but onward we sail with the grace of the dove’s delivery of the olive branch. The question we will face when we step onto dry land again is whether we can use those elements we gathered on the way: our earth, our water, our wind, fire and thunder, and with our Creator’s help can build a new, sustainable world.