As I looked upon my offering of flowers and forest objects, I felt it was a pivotal moment for me this time. With countless Full Moon Ceremonies behind me, the letting go process a favorite of mine, I knew this particular one was monumental for my own transformation. I chanted to Kali repeatedly, asking for her guidance, her fierce love to help me take the steps for full release.
Kali is portrayed as the fiercest of the Hindu Goddesses; her eyes are red with intoxication, and in absolute rage, her hair is disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of her mouth and her tongue is lolling. She is often depicted naked which symbolizes her being beyond all illusion as she is pure being-consciousness-bliss, while standing or dancing on a seemingly dead Shiva, her dark color contrasting with his white covering of cremation ashes. She is always shown as dark, usually blue or black, representing the void state, where all else falls away; she has no permanent qualities—she will continue to exist even when the universe ends. It is therefore believed that the concepts of color, light, good, bad do not apply to her—she is the pure, un-manifested energy. Since the earth was created out of darkness, the dark black color of Kali symbolizes the color from which everything was born.
My own journey over the last few months had been a process of inner revolution, a personal transformation of my own psyche as I recognized the need for many old structures to be swept away. Two years after the opening of The Yoga Forest, a Conscious Living Retreat and Transformational Learning Center, I had created a successful business with beautiful external structures set into majestic natural beauty, yet we faced a challenging community environment due to a lack of clear systems and well built internal structures. So much of my energy had been spent creating the external retreat space, yet I could now clearly see that the real work still lay ahead, with the harmonization of the internal operations within the community.
A combination of Goddess energy had blessed the journey thus far; Lakshmi’s heart centered flourishing of abundance and Durga’s warrior style leadership had enabled me to arrive to a point where I could now recognize the need for a new approach, and the dramatic transformation of leadership required for the sustainability of our community. I needed to let go of control. It was time for the destruction of the “I”, the “me” and the “mine” when it came to The Yoga Forest. Instead, I needed to learn to co-create the “We” that would empower people within the community, and eventually free myself from it also. It was time to call in Kali.
The severed head that hangs in Kali's hand is a symbol of the Ego and the bloody sword which she is holding in another represents Divine Knowledge. Kali is understood to be a protector of humanity; she has the power to destroy all negativity and ego with her sword. Ultimately, the ego must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order for us to attain Liberation. And this is what I felt I was facing. I needed to understand empowered leadership. It was time to break down the existing pyramid structure of management, which was causing a bottle neck of information, frustration for staff and for myself with constant knockings at my door and a multitude of questions as communication was not free flowing. I needed to learn how to empower the people more than myself.
I had to learn to ask for help. This retreat community had begun with three people and within two years exploded into a much bigger project with around 10 resident staff, 20 local staff and up to 25 guests. It was now beyond my capacity and I humbly asked close friend and Kula Collective brother Zachary Towne-Smith of Caracol Consulting for his professional help in beginning a Creative Community Envisioning process with us.