I’ve been off-line, out in the wilds, on the edge of the Manukau harbour, taking time to be in the serenity of nature,

listening to the rhythm of the tides.

 But not alone. Once a year I take this time out with a community of people who care deeply about the earth and the health of our networks, ecological, social, political and spiritual. This year’s gathering was called ‘Power of Nature: Nature of Power’, and we were inspired by several speakers, one from Britain and the other two with a strong grounding in the Maori world.

In soft focus, relaxing the work of the mind, we entered into the spirit of nature,

listening to the birds, trees, and water; watching the clouds that brought dramatic bursts of rain and wind, and then parted to reveal a shining moon, sailing high over our heads as we settled to sleep.

 Children played and made huts; we took mindfulness walks,

and together wove our stories, dreams and visions for a better world. Our projects for 2014 are wide-ranging and inspiring. Together we support one another as we prepare for the coming year.

Here is my favourite quote from the gathering:

[Your calling isthe place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

—Frederick Buechner