Cunning & Grace
A Monthly Audio Series with Laura
“We live a cheerful mediocrity. Yet in quiet moments we may feel a distressing call to the dark rooms hidden in the dungeons of the psyche; the doors are locked, bolted, chained, and long rusted shut. In the unknown darkness behind the door something nameless longs for the arrival of one with the cunning and grace to gasp the key...the initiatory journey begins the moment we open that door.”
- Daniel Deardorff
Wilder Intelligence for Uncertain Times
This is a monthly audio series for those of you who inhabit the wilder fringes of culture. You, the outliers, the shapeshifters, tricksters, and the dreamers who know there is another way to live and lead. You who knows there is an irrevocable link - secreted, all too often hidden, between earth and human, between soul and service, between impactful leadership and creative artistry…between the inner and outer arcs of our lives.
In a world full of clamoring choice - amidst countless online programs, blogs, podcasts and videos…I have chosen this format intentionally. Firstly, because it has been requested, and secondly - and more importantly - because it draws upon the oral tradition where knowledge and story is passed through evocative narrative - informed by place and time. It is meant to be a simple offering - one that may feed the hunger of the soul, and stir the passion of the heart. One that hopefully, will arouse the deeper streams of wisdom that live in all of us in a time where our fullness is requested.
In this series I muse on a curious, emergent edge I am tracking in my work with social innovators, creative entrepreneurs, and itinerant artists who wield both cunning and grace to meet the challenges they face. Cunning wisdom includes the capacity to creatively transgress upon socially sanctified patterns in generative ways, to hold paradox and uncertainty, to apply an aesthetic eye to complex challenges, to commune with unlikely characters, and to assume the rare, but-needed, trickster role of cross-pollinating between the dark fringes of possibility and the center of culture. This same edge is one that I am exploring in my doctoral work, through deep conversation with my own soul, and in relationship with the canyon land in which I live.
For many us, the conversation begins with a longing to show up as our whole, authentic selves in all areas of our lives. It voices itself through our love and our fear - for this wild earth and how we are (or are not) in relationship to it, and for the future ones whose presence many of us feel acutely. It begins when we recognize we are looking, as Linda Hogan says, “for a tongue that speaks with reverence for life, searching for an ecology of mind…a language of that different yield. A yield rich as the harvests of the earth, a yield that returns us to our own sacredness, to a self-love and resort that will carry out to others.”
The map is never the landscape, but here are a few topics the muse has been whispering to me - threads to follow that will hopefully take us down a path of deeper understanding, and into a part of ourselves and the world where we might reclaim our grace and our cunning - the wilder intelligence that lives within our great feeling hearts.
Webs of relatedness and an animate earth
The power of the wryd - language, myth and story
A wilder intelligence - weaving all our ways of knowing
Aesthetics, process and creative tension - what artists have held at the cultural fringe
Uncertainty, ambiguity, paradox and primal trust in the unknown
Soul-making - genius, daemons and human ripening
Ritual, creative transgression and culture change
And other stirrings from the margins…
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In this session I define grace and cunning, tell stories about my encounters with fox, and begin to explore pervasive symptoms of a culture that yearns for a deeper life, like a longing for community, authentic connection, and belonging.
In this session we explore the multi-faceted and many ways we that know, including the wisdom of the body, the feeling-sense, and the deep imagination. We talk about how modernity’s rejection of these intelligences disregards the interiority of soul at great consequence and how we can embody a difference way to live as a transgressive act.
In this session we look to darker times in our lives as angels that come up from under, as daemonic emissaries of the soul that want to shape us in service of new life. We touch on one of the gifts of feeling marginalized from the cultural trance, explore the nature of transformation, and the deeper, archetypal invitations for this time of year.
In this session we traversed the edges of our known world to call home from cultural exile parts of ourselves that have been marginalized. We look at the role of shifting consciousness in helping us gain greater perception, talk about why it is critical - even evolutionary - to allow ourselves the gift of personal development, and explore the role of culture in maintaining the status quo. I hope you enjoy!
In this session I offer a few personal soul stories and snippets as a way of pointing to the unique challenges and opportunities that await each of us as we seek to engage with the world from a soul centric place. My personal story is also a way of seeding our learning journey for the sessions to come. Next month I will begin to interview folks who are willing to speak about the unique ways that soul has come alive to them, and how that asks them to show up differently. I hope to touch on the joys, sorrows, challenges and tensions of living aligned with soul in hopes that it will help us see the contours of the messy and profound human journey we’re all living. Thank you for receiving these stories with grace and with an ear to the underworld.
In this session I welcome a friend and fellow soul guide, John Lynch, who openly and alluringly shares some of his soul images and the way those soul images translate into his everyday life. In this session John reminds us of the difference between work and vocation, the connection between the challenges of our time and a person’s unique part to play, and offers us a refreshing masculine perspective on deep feeling. John’s story evokes the beauty and the heartbreak of the wild world and calls forth the deeper dreaming of our souls.
In this session I muse on the relationship between risk, uncertainty, love, wildness, and aliveness…and how these fundamental (alluring and terrifying) aspects of the human experience are catalyzed in and through relationship. I draw from one of my favorite erotic ecologists, Andreas Weber, poetry from Rilke, personal story, Virginia Satir’s five freedoms, and Nathan Schwartz-Salant’s Mystery of Relationship. I also offer a brief framing on courageous conversation and shadow-work; projection, and the Inner Beloved. Enjoy!