Leatherman’s Loop Founders Newsletter, Vol. 11: The status of the Loop in covid times

The status of the Loop in covid times

    The Leatherman’s Loop has survived in spite of many challenges. Over the years the course has been devastated by a couple of microbursts, the Sandy storm, a small tornado, late Spring floods, Beaver activity and a rare plant called Rattlebox. In every case the organizers were able to work with the County of Westchester and park management to find solutions. But we hit the covid wall last year. No amount of course rerouting could get around it. Not much has changed in a year and there will not be another Loop until we can gather in the field with no pandemic restrictions.

    Keep me in your heart (for a while) was the last song that Warren Zevon recorded. I am asking you to keep Rob and Danny and Judy and myself and all of the Loop volunteers in your hearts for a while. We will certainly keep you in ours. In the last newsletter I mentioned the delicate thread which has stitched the loops together over the years. We are still holding on to our end. I hope that you have yours.

    Between the pandemic and politics, most of our worlds have been shaken. In a way it feels wrong of me to be lamenting about the need to postpone a running race. And maybe it is. But gatherings where heartfelt connections with others take place are needed more than ever at this time.

   Take a look at the video below and the photo of Diego kneeling in the mudflats. Sample the nourishing spirit that comes through the images. Allow yourself to feel “the power of the Loop” and to be moved. We all need that and we will have it back.

    We are blessed to have Danny on board as our Spiritual Advisor. His wisdom and advice and his plan for what is needed during these difficult times are in the next part of this note. Take some time to sample his compassion and his love for the Loop.

                                   Blessings,

                                                  Tony

Diego Antman pauses before the sign honoring his late friend Doug Gorman

Thanks to Karl Tsokas and Chelsea Ellis for generously allowing us to use their 2019 loop video footage in this cut.

Link to Original Video on the Chasing Chelsea YouTube channel.


The Power of the Loop in COVID Times

From Danny Martin, Loop Spiritual Advisor

I think we all know that the Loop is much more than a Race. For many of us it’s a fun gathering, a time for connecting with nature. For some of us it’s even a spiritual experience. Most of all, it’s a reminder of how related we all are. That’s probably why we miss the Loop so much, especially in these pandemic times that have disrupted our relationships when we need them more than ever.

Some of us are trying to address this loss with mini-Loop experiences: smaller groups and partial Loops. I’d like to share something that builds on this spirit. It’s a project that a colleague and I have created called A New American WE that proposes a national conversation that will use our differences to actually help us collaborate. Differences, we believe, are not the problem, in spite of what we hear; rather it is our inability to work with them.

I want to draw your attention particularly to a PDF doc. on the Home page called ‘A Declaration of Interdependence:’  https://anewamericanwe.com/  I would suggest that the Loop is a reflection of this Declaration. For when we come together at the Loop we become the Founding Fathers and Mothers of a new American WE as we proclaim our awareness (the expanded self-evident truth) that we are all created equal AND we are all interdependent. That’s also what we mean when we say in our Loop Blessing:

I see beauty all around me:
In beauty may we walk.
In beauty may we see.
In beauty may we all be.

Of course, we are not blind to the challenges of turning this awareness into reality for we realize that many of us are hurting, anxious, angry and confused. We have lost trust in each other. We know that we can only heal and address these challenges by coming together with good intention and authenticity. The Loop brings us together like this, so, in a way, we are already part of A New American WE.

I was moved by the words of the young poet laureate, Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration. These are some of the things she said: without unity there is no peace or progress or nation; enough of us can come together for all of us; true American patriotism is called love; if we come together, we can identify the common objects of our love; we will write a new American story; we turn our gaze not to what stands between us but what stands before us; if we merge mercy with might we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous world. Doesn’t that sound like what happens at the Loop?

In short, you can experience the power of the Loop in these Covid times by participating in the New American WE project in all kinds of simple ways: by simply keeping the spirit of the Loop in your heart, for example; by taking a walk in the Rez; by reaching out to someone who needs a little support in some way in these difficult times; by trying to listen without judgment to someone who things differently to you.

 If you want to go a little further, take a look at the Loop piece on the website, https://anewamericanwe.com/21-day-mindfulness-dialogue-training-2/testimonials/ (scroll down to the bottom for the Loop section) and see how you can make a special contribution to the kind of America we need, the kind of America the Loop represents.

There is a Native American (Hopi) statement about leadership in these times that says: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. But we become this WE only when we meet each other in an authentic way – at heart level – the way we do at Loop. If we do this in simple deliberate and consistent ways we will be able to end the present sad chapter in our common story and begin a new chapter in our American WE.

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