Meet Our Mentors: Laura Huff HilemanMay 17, 2023
Welcome to the first of a series designed to introduce the Wisdom Tree Collective Mentors. Mentors serve as companions for students in the Wisdom Tree Collective program. Today we’re hearing from Laura Huff Hileman, who’ll be launching a dreamwork training with us in 2024. (Watch this space for information coming soon!) You can learn more about Laura and her work in the world at http://www.firebynight.net.
One thing not many people know about me is that I used to run a ballet school. Fueled by the exuberance of dance, I opened a school for young dancers. Startup challenges gave me no pause; I held class in my carport, admitted for free anyone who could stand upright, and taught them all I knew.
I was eight years old. It was a glorious twenty minutes!
I share this because I cherish that essential spark that I felt so strongly as a child: it assured me that life was amazing, and everything amazing should be shared. I never doubted that if I loved something, others would, too. This deep certainty led me from enticing high-school kids to love Shakespeare, to instilling in my rowdy sons the joys of rainy-day porch sitting, to sharing dreamwork to anyone willing to learn.
And now I watch for, and love so much, that lively, holy spark—in people or in the natural world, in language, dreams, and music—there are so many ways it shows up. I honestly get a perpetual kick out of this, spotting and naming the “itness” or haecittas of things: it’s part of how the Holy shows up, even if I don’t always understand how it could actually be (snakes, for example). As my friend Gerard Manley Hopkins likes to say, things “selve”: in being exactly what they are, they speak of the Creator.
These days life itself is a thin place and being truly in it feels as amazing as dancing did to my eight-year-old self. I’m in danger of being that batty old woman who makes friendly remarks to wildflowers, praises the elegance of bicycles, and befriends catastrophe.
Caring for our planet and helping find ways to make lasting changes is of great importance to me now. Yes, there is a certain amount of anxious hand wringing: I’m human, and worried; I know we are handing our children unprecedented challenges for the future. What is mine to do?
Believing, as I do, that dreams help us know that deeper spark, that holy indwelling Self within, I’m experimenting with ways to bring the “natural spirituality” of dreamwork into the realm of activism to help sustain resilience among those who care for our earth and support social justice. Beyond that, how do I give back, how do I pay it forward, how do I help co-create a world in which people touch that deep spark that deep source, that wild and holy life that is living through them?
Sometimes I make it harder than it has to be. Really I need only play with my little nephew. Stay in touch with people. Don’t overschedule. Keep dropping into the Mercy. Practice compassion. Plié. Relevé. Leap.
—Laura Huff Hileman
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