Cloud Magic

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Remember to look up ~ mystery and magic dance in the sky as well as on the ground ♥

Photograph taken in Fort Collins, Colorado June 2012
Photograph and quote by nannette rogers kennedy

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Serendipity (conclusion)

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The next morning, Sunday, I had an eight-thirty seminar. I didn’t care. I was going to the rosary instead. At 6 wayneda.m. my eyes opened without the use of the alarm. I showered, dressed, had a cup of coffee, pulled the rosary from the bottom of my computer bag and headed off to the lobby. I couldn’t find Immaculee anywhere. Instant disappointment. I scrambled my way to the front desk and asked about it. Nobody knew anything. They referred me to the registration desk for the conference. I asked the women at the conference registration desk who all looked at me like I was some kind of nut. I explained that this was an impromptu sort of thing arranged late last night. One of the women got on a walkie-talkie and someone radioed back that Immaculee was meeting with some people in the bar. I took off running and laughing at the fact that this rosary was taking place in a bar.

When I arrived there were about fifteen women sitting on couches and chairs around Immaculee. There was one space left on one couch. I promptly sat. Immaculee was answering some questions regarding her experience during the genocide. Then she passed out copies of information about the rosary. By now it was eight-thirty and the group had dwindled (people left to get to their seminars). Immaculee explained the rosary itself, holding up her rosary. My eyes almost popped out of my head. Other than the fact her rosary was clear crystal beads (mine are blue crystal) our rosaries were identical, same crucifix—an unusual crucifix—and everything. While I’m fairly certain this rosary I held came from my mother’s home, I’m not sure just how it came to be in my computer bag.

When the prayer/meditation of the rosary eventually got underway, Immaculee interjected throughout the meaning of the sorrowful mysteries. From the time we made the sign of the cross at the beginning until the sign of the cross at the end I wept. It was like someone turned on a faucet. I wasn’t heaving or hysterical, but tears kept a slow steady trickle down my face. The small space we sat in had such an incredible spiritual energy that it is beyond any words. As we prayed I noticed we were now down to eight, the exact same number of women who spent 91 days in the bathroom in Rwanda together. It was so powerful. I had no Kleenex with me and at one point I stood and walked over to the closed bar to grab a napkin or two—no napkins. I’d asked the women on either side of me if they had a Kleenex and they did not. Consequently the dress I was wearing served as sponge. When we finished the rosary, I hugged and thanked Immaculee. I bought a cup of coffee, walked outside, and sat by the pool. It was Sunday morning, early still, and I was the only one there. The following is my immediate written response:

November 13, 2005

Chills surround me from my feet to my head even though it is probably seventy-five degrees out here. I’ve just said the most powerful rosary with Immaculee from Rwanda. To feel in my heart even the secondhand pain this woman has endured and her glowing energy of forgiveness is so much for me to take in and accept that the emotion has risen to the point which my body cannot contain it. My cry comes from deep within and cannot help from spilling down my face and on to my breasts, where I can feel my heart pounding beneath. I have no Kleenex now, nor did I during the rosary. The tears are so deep. Immaculee has suffered so much, spending 91 days in 3 x 5 bathroom with seven other women, going in weighing 120 pounds and leaving the tiny cubicle weighing only 65 pounds. Her father, mother and brothers were hacked to death with machetes—ethnic cleansing. I do not understand this hatred. She said the rosary everyday, several times a day, with the rosary her father gave her when she fled into hiding, and she knows that her love of Christ and God are the reason she survived. Every time she got to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” part of the Our Fathers, she stopped as she says she always does whenever she says the rosary because she doesn’t know how she could ever forgive those that trespassed against her family, but she knows she did. How powerfully beautiful for her to be able to say the rosary at all, but to say it with an honest knowing of those words, and to be reminded each time she professes this part of the prayer that she does know the true meaning. It’s beyond my scope of comprehension. She begged and prayed for God’s favor and had a faith that willed it so. While she led the rosary with the seven of us, every one of us cried. I have no rights to complain. Just before the sorrowful mystery of Christ carrying the cross, Immaculee said, looking into each of our eyes, “What we must remember is that Christ carried His cross under such painful conditions,” she paused and began to cry. “What we must remember, is that God, Christ, do not want us to cry, but rather remember that Christ died for us, and that all of us make sacrifices, and that we are very connected. We are all one as is evidenced by our tears.” I will never be the same person as I was yesterday, never. And here I sit beneath a gorgeous blue sky, bathed in sunlight, sobbing into a pool towel. Oh my God, thank you, thank you, thank you. Immaculee, bless you and thank you.

Not one day has passed since this event that I haven’t thought about it. The Prime Mover conducts such extraordinary symphonies. While I know the music is ubiquitous, it is in hearing each note and listening for its significance to the entire piece which creates the spiritual encounter. I am forever grateful, blessed and fortunate.

My daughter is still talking about her experience at the conference. She too, believes she has had a true awakening.

mmiI have shared this experience with a dozen people. I even bought the recording of the night’s lecture and transcribed it so I could read parts of it to those with whom I have shared my story. The beauty is that everyone has thanked me for sharing and I feel I have made a positive impact on their lives. One elderly gentleman, that I didn’t really even know with whom I shared the story, wept and told me that I was the best thing that had happened to him in a long time, and that that in itself was a gift I must carry on: be the best thing that happens in some one’s life every day for the rest of my life. That’s a good goal, don’t you think?

While I’ve written a thank you to both Dr. Dyer and Immaculee, the best thanks I can give to them, is to tell this story and attempt to spread the inspiration. I hope it inoculates you with just a fraction of the spiritual energy it gave me.

Nannette Rogers Kennedy
Fort Collins, Colorado

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Early Morning Bush Walk

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Dear Friends and Family,

Many apologies for not keeping up with my blog…the one thing I’d not anticipated at all was the lack of internet capabilities while in South Africa…call me a city girl. I did keep notes and a journal and took hundreds of photos. I am now beginning to feel somewhat readjusted from extreme jet lag and a bout of the flu after my return to the states…so not necessarily in order…I continue my blog. This entry is from Thursday, April 23, 2009~the day of the Early Morning Bush Walk.

South Africa, deeply rich in its history, cultural traditions, friendly people and a wilderness so unique and completely different than what we, as Americans are accustomed to seeing, tops my list of magic and mystery. Prior to my trip I imagined seeing elephants, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, monkeys, giraffes, baboons, kudus, impalas, meerkats and the cats~lions, cheetahs, and leopards wandering tall grasses, thorny bushes and Baobab trees with their widely spreading crowns of foliage. I saw all of these animals in my mind’s eye and anticipated these wondrous beings roaming their natural homes, free and unbounded. Having never experienced a photo safari or the bush before, my only points of reference remained with movies, documentaries, books, and the zoo.

A brief glimpse from a morning bush walk in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

After a fairly bumpy hour long drive in an open jeep type vehicle, my friends and I arrived at the Sabi SandBase camp bush walk game reserve in Kruger National Park before the break of dawn. This is also the site of the Umkumbe Lodge, very rustic with no barriers whatsoever between the lodge and the bush.

The air cool, the light a deep pre-sunrise and overcast gray-indigo, the monkeys, birds and hyenas greeted the day in languages of their own. Our bush walk guides welcomed us at a “base camp” with hot coffee and warm berry biscuits.

As we sipped the brew and nibbled on the sweets, the guides introduced themselves in thick South African accents and began giving us a few simple rules, while resting the firing end of their guns on the toes of their boots. “Number 1: Do not bring food on the walk, lest you care to be a meal. Number 2: We walk in single file. gun on shoeNumber 3: Carry your feet quietly. Number 4: No talking~if you see something snap your fingers~do not scream ‘lion’ or ‘elephant’. Number 5: The guide in the lead will raise his hand if he wants everyone to stop. Number 6: Do not run from the wildlife~we carry a rifle with three shots primarily used as a warning~to encourage the animals to move in the opposite direction of the charge.” The word “primarily” perked up my ears. I thought of pythons and wondered if a python would “hurry” away. “Any questions,” the guides asked. “No? Good. We’re off.”

Everyone discarded their cups and plates, and lined up in single file. In the first minutes of our walk, under the morning cloud cover, our guides stopped to point out a hyena running through the bush ahead. The hyena stopped and checked us out and continued on his way, disappearing into tall autumn-gold grass. While all stopped, the guides explained to us that one or more predators were nearby…the vervet monkeys madeguide2 warning cries which the guides understood well.

We walked a hundred more paces and the guide in the lead raised his hand. As we stopped, everyone looked around to see what they could see. The lead guide spoke softly and gestured toward the ground, “These droppings and prints belong to a pride of lions. We certainly do not want to walk in to a pride, so we’re veering off the original trail. If we walk into a pride, you will go home in the newspaper rather than on a plane.” I didn’t question this decision.

Along the alternative trail, both guides stopped us several times, educating us on the indigenous trees, shrubs and flowers, poisonous and medicinal, and plants that made good tooth brushes and other handy bathroom supplies. Several strides further and the lead guide’s hand rose in the air again. He pointed to the prints on the ground, “A leopard. The track is fairly fresh. We must go back to the base camp and get the jeeps.” What, I thought. Where is our bush walk? He reiterated going home on a plane versus in a newspaper.

myfavvervetSilently, against the backdrop of the music of the bush, we retreated to base camp and the ten of us climbed into the jeep. “Naughty little vervets,” said one guide. “They’ve scattered my cigarettes and chewing gum about.” The lead guide cleaned up the strewn items and made himself comfortable on a seat that jutted out from the front end of the jeep. The rear guide climbed into the driver’s seat and hurried us off on the dusty savannah roads toward a tree we had only moments before passed by on foot. As we came very near the tree, we saw the leopard, lounged on tree limb, looking regal and relaxed as a house cat. The leopard is a fabulously gorgeous animal and as he turned his head towards us, just 15 feet fromout in front where we sat, I made absolute, though brief, eye contact with striking yellow/green eyes. He saw me. The guide out in front on the seat, pointed just to the left in the tree, where the leopard had only moments earlier dragged an Impala up the tree for a safely kept meal. The guide in the driver’s seat whispered, “Quite rare to see the leopard at all for he is quite elusive, nocturnal and a master of camouflage.”

Everyone, jaws dropped, snapped pictures or filmed video…we were quietly awestruck. Little did we speak on our travel back through the bush to where we lodged an hour away.

leapard in tree2I’ve not fully departed from South Africa…not sure I ever will, very sure I don’t ever want to. South Africa has slipped into my soul…I knew this before I even boarded the plane here in the states. I often said to many people before I left that I felt part of me had taken a much earlier flight and already stood barefoot on the sandy earth of South Africa. It is bliss. I am blessed.

nannette rogers kennedy

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