Over the Christmas holidays, I held my annual “Ukrainian Christmas Party” – for some neighbours connected to my urban farming/food security group. We are certainly joined in our love of food, community and celebration and this annual event is something I am honoured to host.
This year, there was something afoot that was palpable to me. I think it was there in other years, but somehow, this year I really saw it in action. Although I don’t think our language has vocabulary for what I saw, I think the closest I can come to expressing it would be that I was part of a “murmuration.”
A murmuration is when birds fly together in a whirling, ever-changing pattern. Since we are also mammals, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched to me that we also have such a built-in guidance system, enabling us to move and change course with ease, and grace and beauty.
I think it might involve certain elements:
- A community that is coming together intentionally.In this case, we were all coming together to cook together, celebrate and eat together, and leave with generosity.
- A joint desire to contribute.It was stunning to me how the 12 dishes of the Ukrainian Christmas dinner came together.There were almost 20 people around the dinner table, and everyone contributed something incredibly significant to the whole.Even the two late-comers, who were invited at the last minute so didn’t have food to contribute, gave generously of their heart, their energy and their own wonder at the process.
- Multiple recognitions of contributions.There were multiple times during the evening where someone was thanking someone for something!These generous outpourings of care seemed to lift us all higher.
- Singing and ritual – We have a certain “flow” or process that we follow each year at the dinner and knowing how to be together in “one mind” helps the whole become the whole.
Some of this might sound a bit esoteric; as I mentioned, I don’t think there is good language for this. But I’ve seen the phenomena before I realize. It reminds me of when a community works together and at a certain point something seamless starts to happen. They start to “fly in formation” – and that’s called a murmuration!
Can you relate?