The Baby Picture Project officially launched itself over the weekend, December 4-5, 2015. Together, a dozen people newly regenerated into their own essential innocence, their beautiful original baby selves, buried a potent little seed deep within the soil of the human collective unconscious. Together, we nurtured as individual souls, a nascent group soul, and together, we will gather others, one by one, who also long to return to who they originally are, who they were born into this planet to become. Our original natures, specific and unique to each of us, slip into the Earth plane bearing gifts and struggles, incarnated into bodies that concentrate our magnificent star essence into the cave of dense matter.
Our weekend was divided into three parts, each of which had been thoroughly “worked” by the “three A’s,” Alice, Amy and Ann, prior to the event, over three weeks, on the phone with one another for perhaps a total of five intense hours. In five hours time, we wove a frequency net never before felt upon this Earth, the frequency of the Baby Picture Project that is destined to be one of no doubt many potent and diverse wedges of intense light buried into the collective soil during the magical weekend that followed San Bernardino, the latest “mass shooting” in America.
Corroboration? My friend Julia emailed me just this morning from San Francisco to say that during this same weekend just past she had joined Malidoma Some and a group of people in the Bay Area who also birthed a new note into the collective! We are in tune with one another. We need to remember this. Always. In all ways. No matter how chaotic the world appears.
From the beginning of our 23 hours together, the group that gathered at the Oakwood Retreat Center near Selma, Indiana — three from Bloomington, three from elsewhere in the midwest, three from Oakwood, and the three “A’s” — to birth the Baby Picture Project felt magically cohesive, connected, despite vast differences among us in background and awareness. From our first meal on, it felt as if something larger was holding us all, guiding us to manifest this beautiful potent little “BPP” seed in exactly the way that it did.
First evening: Storytelling
Our first evening, telling stories in a circle while passing around our baby pictures, introduced us to the vast differences in our life histories. The woman who ran barefoot over granite rocks in the Sierras until she was an adult. The man who woke up as a child at a picnic with the realization that “all the adults are insane.” The man who led a “leave it to beaver” childhood in rural Wisconsin, and has recognized ever since that his role in life is to “serve and protect” others. The woman who was insatiably “hungry” all her childhood, and who is still, to this day, dealing with that reality. The man who remembers the kitchen of his family home as being filled with tension, the unspoken words of parents’ “don’t tell the children,” as they strove, without success, to work through their profound differences. The woman who realizes now, that she was abandoned, over and over again, by her mother, and has been working mightily the past two years to integrate that knowledge within her being. The woman who was adopted as an only child by her aunt and, when told who her real father and mother were as an eight-year-old, rejoiced, because they were some of her favorite people. The woman who grew up surrounded by relatives, an extended family that supported her unreservedly. The woman (me), who woke up in shock at two and a half, listening to the radio with my mother and her relatives, as the announcement came that we had bombed Hiroshima. The adults rejoiced. (It meant my Dad would come home from the war.) I was horrified by both the unimaginable destruction and their evident relief. From that time on, I only pretended to be a child.
These are only some of the stories — of our many differences. Of our profound similarity. All of us innocent originally, beneath all the masks, the layers, the conditioning we took on since birth. Some of us supported in our natures as children, some not.
Just this sitting in a circle passing baby pictures around, telling stories, and the layers started to dissolve. We returned to that place of our origins, birthed from the mystery of the infinite cosmos into finite human form on Earth.
For the finale to our storytelling evening, one member of the Oakwood community brought in her harp, and thrummed a beautiful lullaby for us to help put our baby selves to bed.
After breakfast in the morning, we gathered for the most profound part of our 23-hour journey together, a ceremony that each of us went through, one by one, behind a partition. What that is I cannot say, since it needs to remain sacred to the group. However, I can say that when each person was done, wrapped in the receiving blanket that they had brought to the event, and still carrying their precious baby picture, they sat around quietly and drew and colored pictures — as if they were children again, and indeed they were!
Finally, the ceremony finished, the three A’s gathered the gobs of balloons that had been filled prior to the event and threw them over the partition towards the kids all silently sitting there. And so of course, they started laughing and batting them around, their activity growing more and more raucous and flushed!
Then we all sat around and ate the “comfort food” that we had brought with us to the event, and shared ours with others. My favorite? Podmate Brie’s banana pudding with cookies on top. Oh my!
After lunch we set out on our third adventure, group cooperative play. We were going to construct a fort, or as I prefer to call it, a “play house,” together in the woods from a pile of branches (plus a few blankets and ropes) that had been prepared beforehand. This is when I finally brought my camera out.
Constructing the Play House
Two by two, the procession to the woods begins. (The blue bags hold blankets and ropes.)
We pass by a sweet little goddess statue.
And a beautiful crystal cluster.
We take turns sounding into one of the enormous urns.
Finally, we arrive at the clearing. The group has approximately one hour to cooperatively create a playhouse. Within the first five minutes, via deep listening to each other’s ideas, the group decides to locate the structure by making its north wall out of a downed tree; we would then string a blanket from its branches for the west wall.
Aha! Finally done. Amy (who has, in her adult life, done lots of work organizing outdoor play with kids), instructs these kids to all sit down in a tight circle. She wants to teach us a song. Which I can only barely remember. Something about “Going down to the river” and slapping each other in turn. The group quickly caught on to the hilarity, and we must have sung and performed that song for ten minutes! Huge amount of laughing. And relief! We had constructed our shelter together! We were kids who remembered how to play!
I asked them if I could please take a couple of group shots. Okay.
First, through the gate.
Oh yes, one more photo! This one with my “doppelganger,” Jesse, a young man of 22 years who, we discovered, has the exact same birthday as me, December 19, plus — there’s exactly 50 years difference between us (1942-1992). . . Whooee!
I let him him borrow my leather gloves.
“They fit!” he exclaimed.
Afterwards, we filed back to the Community House one by one and gathered into one more sitting circle. After checking in for the final time we had one more surprise: drumming! Steve, who lives at Oakwood — and who, behind the scenes, had filled out the balloons with his compressor — led us downstairs to his extraordinary collection of mostly African drums for us to each pick one out. He then brought us back upstairs and led us in a rousing sacred, celebratory drum session for the final 20 minutes of our time together. Whatever was still “down in there” for each of us to release, whooshed out like thunder. Whoopee!
WELCOME TO THE BABY PICTURE PROJECT.
Over the next few days podmate Brie and I will be working on babypictureproject.com as well as getting the fb page for the project up and running. We welcome your baby pictures and stories.
We especially welcome stories that you can tell us about what happened when you wore your T-shirt to — a family gathering, a friend’s house, out to the grocery store, at the office! For you know that there will be comments, and perhaps some kind of conversation — with both friends and strangers — that you have never, ever had before.
Each of us was a beautiful innocent child once upon a time. That child is hiding inside us. Let’s go back and find — and express — him or her, together.
I await first “office” story this evening. This morning, Katarina wore her T-shirt to the office.
If you would like Abercrombie Ink to do your T-shirt, send them a digital shot of your baby picture. They will also print the url for the project on the back.