Xmas crabbiness, yada yada yada.
But what I really want to say is:
(thank you, god, for ICanHasCheezburger )
I don't remember how I originally found zaadz, though most likely it was via ~C4Chaos, who is, either thru his blog posts or an invitation of some sort, behind many of the most interesting new net forays I end up on. I do remember feeling very excited about joining this new community of holistic minded folks. The raw thunk of My*space or high-pitched chatter of Face*book never felt resonant to me, but this, this gathering of folks that felt more like my tribe had me feeling connected to a group for the first time in a very long while.
I think I joined up only a month or two after the initial launch, and participated in pretty much everything they began adding. I started a pod, called The Tribe of Yes, of course :) And when they sent out requests for Zaadz Ambassadors asking for testimonial type stuff, I sent in a few paragraphs and found myself in their ad campaign which brought all sorts of interesting folks to the main blog here at DG.
It was in beta mode for a while and there were all sorts of the usual beta issues, but the zaadz work team were really responsive with fixing things quickly, and very upfront about what was going on, sending out emails, posting on their team blog, etc. At a certain point, spammers moved in, albeit holistic-style, and I forwarded the things I received to different zaadz team members, as others were doing as well. Within a month or so, there was a button in place to easily forward suspected spam to, and I saw the spam in my zaadz mailbox move from several a day to one or two a month.
As the hellaciousness of grad school made itself known, I became less proactive at zaadz, just doing enough to keep up, to not lose touch with what was happening. And at different times I got more active with it, doing more double posting to my zaadz blog, more active in my pod or the other pods such as the Integral Institute pod whose latest threads have been on gangs, The Golden Compass, and openly settling an internal quarrel amongst the pod leaders in a most rawly heart-opening manner, just to name a few. I've met all sorts of interesting folks, been able to watch conversations unfold that I'd never get to be a part of any other way, and I'm grateful for the zaadz community, the only consistent socializing I do these days.
Then last August, Brian, the guy whose dream and vision launched zaadz back in late 2005, decided to sell the company, which he did. The buyer was a corporation called Gaiam, which bills itself as a green-living, lifestyle company, and seems to be a sort of web portal to purchase and access any sort of holistic product you can name. And I bet he made a serious amount of cash, and in many ways I don't blame him. I can't even imagine how hard he must have worked, etc. And yet I couldn't help but feel surprised, even shocked, as if his always full-on message of "let's create something wonderful together!" had really been just an overlay for his real message of "let's me a lot of money!"
I know that his decision created a lot of upheaval for the zaadz team, not the least of which was a move from California to Colorado, and new bosses, and who knows what else, but to me, the basic energy of zaadz remained the same. Still great folks, still a positive message of connecting and disseminating info in a holistic framework, still new and ever more interesting additions to the zaadz platform.
And yet I see scatterings of folks here and there claiming that zaadz has changed into something completely different, become simply a money maker. Is it the advertising? I can't imagine how anyone is naive enough not to grasp that businesses have to make money to both continue to serve, to shift in response to an ever-evolving customer base and consumer world. Is it the new zaadz-pro pages which seem to be designed to allow holistic businesses access to zaadzsters? Me, I just ignore the requests to go and be on Sir Coach-A-Lot's mail list to hear his take on why his Method of Enlightenment Will Caress My Third Eye in A Manner Never Caressed Before.
But behind it all, there are still the fascinating people that you won't find consistently gathered together any other place - be it globe or net. There are the mind-blowing and/or heart-opening conversations. There are Farland Fish's blog posts and pictures that are so unusual, so from the mind and heart and eye of a truly unique human-mountain-canine hybrid. There are the zaadz team update emails from the ever-lovely and inspiring Siona. There is the Integral Institute pod that makes me nod my head in a-ha and think Deep Thinky Thoughts and have steam come out of my ears and hooting laughter come out my mouth.
And I can't help but think how change is just the way of things. Things change. That is how it works in this place, this world, this earth we live in and on. I think that it's human nature to want to fight to hold on to the way things are, the ways we've become accustomed to, the things that serve us in ways that feel comfortable, familiar. And yet Evolution will make itself known, in everything from the highest to lowest, most complex to least. It's just the way of Life, how it operates in it's never ending quest to experience everything.
And so zaadz moves on, zaadz evolves. And I'm glad for it. And I can't wait to see what the next unfolding brings. But I'm fine with whatever happens, even it blows up into a kajillion, yoga-flavored ads for Super-Textured Love-Oil. Because, as Siona went into at length in one of her team updates a while back, you can either fight change, fight the facts of occurring change, or you can move forward with those facts in hand, trusting that you'll find your way.
Yeah. Trust that we'll find our way. Because we will. All of us.
Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from U.S.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.
"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.
A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.
They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.
Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.
The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.
The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.
Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.
"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.
The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence -- an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.
Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.
One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples -- despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.
"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.
The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.
Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.
Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.
"Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young.
"We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.
Statistics from the Lakota Freedom website
In the face of the colonial apartheid conditions imposed on Lakota people, the withdrawal from the U.S. Treaties is necessary. These conditions have been devastating:
* Lakota men have a life expectancy of less than 44 years, lowest of any country in the World (excluding AIDS) including Haiti.
* Lakota death rate is the highest in the United States.
* The Lakota infant mortality rate is 300% more than the U.S. Average.
* More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease.
* The Tuberculosis rate on Lakota reservations is approx 800% higher than the U.S national average.
* Alcoholism affects 8 in 10 families.
* Median income is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
* 1/3 of the homes lack basic clean water and sewage while 40% lack electricty.
* 60% of housing is infected with potentially fatal black molds.
* 97% of our Lakota people live below the poverty line.
* Unemployment rates on our reservations is 85% or higher.
* Federal Commodity Food Program provides high sugar foods that kill Native people through diabetes and heart disease.
* Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S national average for this group.
* Our Lakota language is an Endangered Language, on the verge of extinction.
Look at the grinning fool to the left. Can you believe that smile? When's the last time you saw a smile like that on this mug? That's what I look like after a 6 mile bike ride up and back to the coffee shop for a medium half caf and a few chapters in my latest favorite novel/shamanic tome/bizarre subject like chicken coops for dummies. And a half hour playing fetch in the backyard with this smiling pup mug:
And we laugh and laugh and laugh :)
I still cannot get over the hilariously weird life I'm living. With tv a distant memory, I watch documentaries on people like Jaques Derrida and Unknown White Male, and Ewan MacGregor On A Round The World Motorcycle Trek, but only a half hour or so a night. Other than that: drift.
I mess around with my ebay sales (Made over $100 so far! Yeehaw :) I read. I go in for Seriously Luscious snuggles with the Furry Beings of Feline Now. I go to bed very early. I drink wine and listen to music and dance and hoot. I daydream, eyes open, staring out the window at the night sky. I sleep in til 8 or so, watching as the morning turns bright.
A flash of guilt makes itself known. Am I being lazy? I work, but is it enough? I come to a deep realization that I have been sick for a long time now, that I am just beginning to heal, to feel better, to recognize myself again. And I breathe a sigh of bona fide relief and keep doing as I'm doing. Or rather Not Doing.
I go do an hour and a half soul retrieval for a woman who was a student in the Shamanic Journeying class last month. We go deep deep deep and I watch her transition, watch her Get It, and am deeply grateful when she happily pays me $80 for her session (!) and goes off into the night. Whereupon I decide that I want a hamburger. And a glass of wine. Amongst other humans. At a pub. And so I go.
And when I walk thru the door, it's the proverbial Everything Stops. The whole bar turns and looks at me. The people in this bar do not shamanic journey. They have probably not been to grad school. The cigarette smoke is thick. There are many trucker hats and baleful eyes. The bartender is hugely pregnant. I pretend that my cell phone calls to me, buy time as I flip thru the keys, asking myself: are you *sure* that you wanted to come here? Are you sure you want to stay???
I used to come here when I was in high school. Or rather this was the popular place to come. I never came much as my disposable income didn't include pubs. And tonight, as I drove past, my gut screamed: HERE! And so I valiantly mounted a barstool and asked the bartender, "Umm, do you still serve food?".
Without looking me in the eye she tossed a menu in my general direction and walked off, returning in a minute to ask me what I wanted to drink. She was not impressed when I asked, "What sort of red wine do you have by the glass?" She mumbles something that I don't quite hear. "Pardon?" I say. "Merlot? No Cabernet? Merlot is fine. May I have the merlot, please?"
And in the interim between ordering and receiving my wine, then my burger, I had a lot of time to think. About how many years I spent behind the bar, much like this one, serving drinks, assessing, judging people by how well they might tip, how well they fit into the bar, if they might be trouble. Most strikingly how I've changed in deep ways, in superficial ways, in ways that I'd forgotten I'd even changed. From sex kitten to hefty scholastic over forty chick with hip eyeglasses and plain clothes. Like my language. "Pardon?" and "May I" used to be "What?" and "Can I get a . . . "
I look around the bar. After eyeballing me to death when I walked thru the door, no one even looks my way anymore. I take them all in. The guy next to me with his glacier pale eyes, his pack of marlboro lights, his corduroy and fleece jacket, his light blue trucker hat, his blond curls peeking underneath. He feels me looking at him, but pretends he doesn't, watching the tv and it's sports highlights.
A guy walks up to the bar, "I went outside for two minutes and you threw away my beer!" he yells, and I brace myself for one of those arguments that can only ensue between drug pusher and drug addict. "Oh, blow it out your ballsack," the pregnant bartender says in a light conversational tone, and everyone laughs, including the guy, including me. She goes to pour him another draft and a woman calls him over and says, "Roy, your beer is right here, you ass*hole". And he says, "Shhhhh!", but then takes the beer, holds it up to the bartender and says, "Sorry bout that". The honor code is alive and well in this bar, at least in this moment.
I decide that I am okay here. I have my glass of wine and it's good. My burger arrives and it is very good, piled high with those tart little circular pickles they've always served down here in Wilmington, the ones I remember from childhood when I would crave them, just think of them, and my mouth would water. I pull a book out of my bag, "Urban Shaman", and happily munch and read and sip.
I end up telling the bartender I like her swirly wrist tattoo and she smiles and we chat for a bit, about bartending, about tattoos, about jobs in general. A woman comes in and sits next to me, all rough and tough and hilarious as I respond to her "God, I hate Christmas" with a "Yeah, it really sucks, doesn't it?" and we clink wine glass to beer bottle and compare horror stories. When I tell her I'm making salad dressing and crocheting hats this year and That's It her mouth falls open in genuine shock.
"Girl, you got balls," she says.
"You should do it, too," I say. "Seriously, just finally say f*ck this sh*t. Because you know they don't want the crap you're buying them and you don't want the crap they're buying you and everybody ends up maxing their credit cards out and feeling like sh*t, and so why not just cut to the muthafreakin chase and just say: all I'm doing this year is salad dressing and caps!"
Obviously, the wine had kicked in, and we were both the better for it. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
And when I called it a night, "Merry F*ckin Christmas!" she called out as I headed for the door, and I responded, "Happy F*ckin Holidays!" and laughed some more, all the way to the car.
And all the way home. And all the way to this computer. Because once I pay rent for January, I will have about $300 left, no real job in sight. My credit cards are about tuckered out. I've no clue what to do next. And I couldn't be happier.
Why? Because something wonderful is coming. I can feel it. I've no idea what it is, how it's going to show up. But it's there. It's coming. When the "facts" of supposed impending doom rears it's hissy head, I feel this radiant pulse dance thru body, mind, and heart and hear clear as day: something wonderful is coming. And I am filled with such intense gratitude, and can only say over and over and over, "Thank you so much Life, for my life, for taking such good care of me, for always giving me exactly what I need, for being so outrageous in what you come up with for me, I so can't wait to see what you have up next for me, oh wow, I can't wait!"
And I mean it.
The last time I felt this was back when everything fell apart four years ago, when my entire life detonated, everything I'd worked so hard for, wanted so much with all of my heart: poof. And there was nothing I could do, nothing at all, not one thing, except for give notice on my apartment, even though I had no place to go, and no money to go there with. So I gave notice and packed my things. And so I prayed, very much the prayer above of Thank You, and I could feel it, feel it coming, that wonderful, magical thing coming my way, and just 10 days before I had to be out of my apartment, I received an offer of a cabin on a mountain in Virginia for six months, and while I was there, the exact amount of money I needed to stay there manifested in a few short bursts of higher-paying work, and while I was there all of the going back to school stuff fell into place.
And now here I am, and the drumbeat is on again. This time even louder, more strong, more vibrant. And sometimes the joy I feel in response to it is so intense I think I might weep. And then I think of how I am $300 away from utter ruin, and I laugh and laugh and laugh.
Because I am happier than I have ever been in my life, happier in a way that is so much more real and true. I weight 188 pounds, so big I freakin waddle. I am still anti-social and prefer the company of felines. But I'm so okay with it all. It is all so freakin hilarious. I love the shamanic work I'm doing. I'm so excited at the things I have planned for classes in January. I'm finding deep channels with the soul retrieval work.
But most of all I trust. Trust that I'm doing exactly as I need to, that money is coming, that I'm taken care of financially, that the perfect work, job, or service will make itself known by January. I don't know how I know it. I just do.
And if I'm a fool, I'm a happy one, and happy in my Fool-ish ways. And happy to do more intense work, whenever Life is ready.
But I refuse to put my nose to a grindstone, simply because I have a nose and a stone is in my general vicinity. I'm done with the pushing. Done with the fighting and the fear. Done with Making myself Do Sh*t to keep the fear at bay, spinning my wheels in hopes that the whine will generate real traction. Because we all know that you have to have something solid under the wheels, wait for the right conditions, and then out you soar with wings. We all know that if you push too hard too soon all you end up is bogged.
And so I drift. And dream. And laugh. And sweat. And eat burgers. And roll my eyes at the hilariousness, the dichotomies, the paradoxes, the Yes of it all.
My hair still smells like smoke from the bar. I have a glass of yummy cabernet beside me, the label on the winebottle a very twisty lizard, and you are very very good company this fine Thursday night.
An extremely pertinent article by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma) is in today's New York Times. Check it out Here.
One of my favorite quote's from it:
"Confucius advised that if we hoped to repair what was wrong in the world, we had best start with the “rectification of the names.” The corruption of society begins with the failure to call things by their proper names, he maintained, and its renovation begins with the reattachment of words to real things and precise concepts. So what about this much-abused pair of names, sustainable and unsustainable?
To call a practice or system unsustainable is not just to lodge an objection based on aesthetics, say, or fairness or some ideal of environmental rectitude. What it means is that the practice or process can’t go on indefinitely because it is destroying the very conditions on which it depends. It means that, as the Marxists used to say, there are internal contradictions that sooner or later will lead to a breakdown."
Which really, put simply, says: Because we've been doing Bad Shit to the environment and calling it Progress, because we've been torturing and slaughtering and wasting animals and calling it Healthy Protein and Beef and Poultry, because we've been living stoopid lives deep inside The Matrix and calling it Progress and Modern Culture and The Good Life we are currently f*cked approximately eight ways from Sunday.
I've heard it said that it's never too late to have a happy childhood, which always seemed like supreme, misty-eyed denial, another cultural favorite. But really, it's not too late to just turn this all around, to save the elderly from their Medicare Social Security hell, to save our hearts from celebrity media and primetime television commercials, and to save our asses from the toxins we've created in the name of cheap shit from dollar stores and $5 sweaters made in china and the More More More that will never, ever fill the God Hole, no matter how much gets put in there.
Sustainability. Sure. Does your living have sustainability? Are you getting fed in a way that isn't eating you alive? What are you holding on to that is deadweight for your mind, your heart, your soul? Are you looking at the world through clear eyes or is what you see simply the Yes of Collective Agreement, of Mass Belief in the Dream?
Every day I surface a little more. It usually isn't pretty, but on the other side, the place where the benefits of all the bullshit jettisoning is felt: absolutely lovely. If I knew why waking up was so hard, if I knew of a way to make it easier, I'd certainly share it with you. But right now, the only thing I know to do is to keep working the tools of awareness, to continue to face the truth instead of believing what businesses looking to make profit tell me is the truth.
Of course this means that Christmas will most likely induce vomiting, and a visit to the meat case at the local Shop N Save will bring on a crying jag, and most of the words coming out of people's mouths will begin to sound like Chatty Sally wind up dolls. But hey, there is always cabernet sauvignon and kitties and bike rides in the foggy morn and deep breaths, and occasionally, a frisson of connection with a fellow traveller who looks deep into your eyes and gives you a nod that says: I see you, you see me, ain't this shit wild?
The wind is fierce today. It's still balmy, still short-sleeve weather, but the rain comes in big, floody spurts as the wind whips the lawn paraphernalia around.
I got up early, went to the grocery store for the Sunday paper, two boxes of organic, wheat-free cereal ($5.49 each!), local milk and eggs, some seriously sharp cheddar, a box of Prince of Wales black tea, and four different kinds of lettuces. My brother lent me his boxset of Band of Brothers as I am currently enamored with Damian Lewis and would also like some education in War Stuff. But mostly I'm just really happy for a dvd marathon with cereal and scrambled eggs with cheddar and strong hot tea and later on a big salad with feta and grated daikon.
And kitty snuggles. There are always kitty snuggles.
May this find Sunday treating you gently and sweetly . . .
What are the chances of this being a picture of the rising star in the spiritual publishing world, the hilarious non-teacher, and fabulously invisible, Jed McKenna?
For those of you who don't know, there are these hysterically funny, heart-breakingly ass-kicking, face smacking waking up trilogy of books (see righthand sidebar) written by a teacher that doesn't exist. He teaches no workshops, does no sessions. He gives no interviews, sells no bells or prayer mats or cosmic love goggles off of a super-hip, flashmedia site. There is no record of the guy. No pictures, no leaks in terms of bio, no people stepping forward to claim him or rat him out or mistakenly spill the garbanzos. Nada. (at least as far back as I've been googling.)
But because I have mentioned his name in posts several times, people show up here from search engines several times a day searching out info about him, and in backtracking on one of them, I came upon the pic above.
* For posts of this particular human's Human Torch routine, Go Here.
* Back in 2007 I got an advance copy of Spiritual Warfare, and in return, I sent Wisefool Press the tale of how my own Human Torch got lit. They printed it on their review page for the SW release. It begins about halfway down the page and starts with "Four years ago I was a joyful granolahead . . . ".
* If Brother Jed had a Cafe Press Site, these are what the t-shirts would say.
* And for more posts on Jed: Go Here.
I am having a weird time of it with finding an appropriate fee to charge for the shamanic healing work I'm doing. And I still haven't found resolution with it yet.
As someone who has struggled financially for most of my living, and appreciated when I could barter or receive a reduced rate for holistic services, I've always tried to be flexible with what I've charged for the healing work I've done for others. I've had folks pay me whatever they felt to, and been given home baked goods or stones or even a used blender as payment. I even had one elderly woman give me plants, lots and lots of plants, til my apartment resembled a fantastic jungle. And I was happy to help those lovely people, delighted at the wild things they brought me.
But we all know that our culture is one where greed and a feeling of lack go hand in hand, where the very richest of us live by the mantra called More. Where I've feng shui-ed a half a million dollar home only to be told when it was done that they'd need to send the fee in installments over the next six months. Or the woman who said she could only pay $10 for her session as she needed to make sure she had enough spending money when she went on vacation to Hawaii the next week. Or the folks who did phone sessions and then didn't send payment, not responding to emails or phone calls, until finally confronting it when they went to book another session six months later.
I know that when healing is done as a job, that commerce obviously has to enter into the mix, and that just makes things bumpy. And I have great respect for practitioners who say: my rate is $80 an hour and that's the deal, call me back when you've got it. And yet I just can't do it. When I see that look in someone's eyes, when I know that their husband just got the boot or they work in a $7 an hour job or they are really just struggling because money just isn't their strong suit, I always say: don't let the money stop you from booking a session, just pay what you can. But it almost always gets weird, a strange dynamic where money moves to the front.
So this go around I decided I would offer a sliding scale, so that clients could decide what to pay based on their income. I gave a bottom figure, what it costs me to offer them the session (room rent, materials, advertising, etc.) and then the top figure as what I would normally charge. And I listed each with those very words "this is what it costs me to offer the session for you", "this is what I would normally charge for a session". And I just did the work, the session not being about money or anything other than being fully with them, offering up the best of me for that hour and a half.
You know where this is going, right?
Only one person paid the "normal" fee. And with only a few exceptions, whether it's for class or session, everyone has paid the very lowest fee, or five dollars over it. And while I'm glad to be of assistance to people, at this rate, I'll be out of business by February.
I've had so many people say: what you are doing is fantastic. And on one level, it feels fantastic, as in just offering this up to people, regardless of their means. But then I see the person who just paid $35 for a session drive off in a Lexus SUV and I think: this system of mine has a flaw or two.
So, any suggestions? For those of you struggling financially, what do you feel about sliding scales, or when there is something therapeutic that you want to do for yourself? And those of you making a decent living, any insight into what goes on with folks who could honestly afford $70 but pay $40 knowing that this only covers a practitioners expenses? (The going rate for the sort of thing I do is $75-95 a session).
Feel free to 'er rip with the viewpoints and the opinions and the feelings and the personal experiences and whatever whatnot comes up for you around this . . . :)
There is this sense that I could let go, just drink wine, watch Youtube, surf the net, hang out at zaadz, teach a few shamanic classes, do a few soul retrievals, maybe do a lecture or two on Public Health, but mostly drift, never really participate in the world beyond that. And I get this sense that there is capitulation in that, an allowing of inertia to win over the energy that makes up my life.
What is it that I need to do in my life? What needs to happen in this life that's in my custody so that I can let go and allow the Awakening thing to have it's way with me?
It isn't about romantic love. I have had enough soulmates, enough tantric, freakin, full-on, oh-my-love, s*x to last several lifetimes, though really if it presented itself just one more time, who wouldn't say, oh wow, oh sure, okay? Maybe. Yeah, maybe.
I'm about done healing the rifts of my childhood, and really, with all of the beatings and the emotional flaying and the rape and whatnot, it's quite the passing. I'm grateful for this. It is amazing what happens when you let go of the projection of the past and give yourself over to What Comes Next.
It isn't about travel or adventures because I've learned how to do that by sending my spirit out to take a look and feel. Though, really, I would love to lay organic eyeballs to the air that is Scotland, and New Zealand, and Rome, and yeah, really, Egypt. And maybe the Amazon Rainforest, especially Ecuador. But I am very okay if not. Because part of me knows I've been there already. And if I really need to, I can call it up.
It isn't that I mind so much being stoopidly in debt. It's student loans after all, and regardless, I'm in very good, voluminous company. Living beyond one's means seems to be the American Way these days, unless of course you made a killing in corporate life and are now enjoying the chill of InvestmentWow. The rest of us? Oh yeah dang.
But really: what is it genuinely about?
Maybe it's about this dang book I've been trying to finish for over a decade now. It has my heart, and it calls to me every year, sure, every month, every week, every day, and really, I would just like to finish it in a way that resonates as Yes in my heart, much as these blog posts of mine do after I've raked myself over white hot emotional coals to write them and then edited them a few dozen times for flow.
Or maybe it's about sending it out there in general. This blog fills me in ways that I've worked for all of my life. I have a voice. A group of people who come here to read. There is safety and adventure and edge and love and Now here. When I finish my posts here, I get a sense of decency, of goodness, of having given something of worth.
And yet, I want to see my writing in black and white book print. I want to travel this globe talking with folks, hearing what is triggered for them. I want to talk, but mostly I want to listen, and have a group of a few thousand folks that I have as a community, that are going thru and processing the same sort of awakening stuff.
Is this looney? Is this delusion?
I also want to raise chickens and have a husband who likes to Do Nothing but hang out and Build Sh*t and make sweet love and cook succulent meals and have a small herd of domestic animals in our home. But this may just be an offshoot of The Fantasy That Just Won't Die.
There is this sense that me and my two felines are passing the time, that soon they will pass on, or I will pass on, or we'll all just keep on going in this sort of drifting, shifting way . . .
But it isn't enough.
It just isn't.
I sense that it's a cop out. Maybe it's a cop out til I gain my strength, my faculties enough to stop shoving Organic Pastries in my maw.
Or the fear of laying it all out there. But really, I have laid it all out there. For you. For you I have shown it all. And you're still here. Doesn't that count for something?
I think of that sometimes. That 45 of you said that if I started a private blog, you'd follow. And then there are the dozen or so of you who email me or comment who didn't respond to that post. And of course there is the couple of dozen of you who don't like to step out of The Shadows for one reason or another. Which means that there are a hundred or so of you guys who come here regularly, who watch this unfolding, maybe for me, maybe for the You that you find here.
Do you get that it's for you that I write? That I get my most passionate posts by somehow connecting with you and what you are going through, based on some wild, wyrd thruline that I am going thru, too?
I may be here in coastal North Carolina, but I feel you guys, all over the world. And I'm grateful for you. For your energy, the comments you write, the energy you leave as you read, for your presence in the words I write . . .
Okay . . . enough cabernet for one night . . . enough trying to connect via electronic pulses . . . I love you . . . oh yes I do . . .
What a strange life I'm living. After spending three years as a classical actress-in-training, then four years as a hardcore ashram-living, guru-adoring granolahead, then seven years as a serious lycra-wearing, bartending, X-dropping hedonist, followed by another seven as a seriously hardcore Barry Long-loving , emotion-shunning, all-stimulating-substance-avoiding-including-coffee-and-sugar-and-fun granolahead, I then proceeded to rack up $65 grand in student loan debt in tribute to the god of unsmiling science.
Now, I drift.
I have several credit cards that are in rotation. I make a couple or few hundred each week heading up the shamanic journeying class for 10 bright, deep shamanic-healers-in-training, as well as doing shamanic healing and soul retrievals for four or five people a week. I still have a grand left over from the salary I made during my five week stint as a mental health professional, down from three grand left over from the final student loan I took out back in August. My sister gave me a hundred or so pieces of designer clothes (given to her by the wealthy women that she works for cleaning their homes) that I'm proceeding to figure out how to unload on ebay.
I do about 25 or 30 hours a week of straightforward work each week. About 5 more hours "jobhunting" for things that fit with the degrees I now have, those letters that now follow my name when I list my bio. Another 10 or 15 spent doing reading and research on all things shamanic. Fire In The Head anyone? But as a single woman with no children and no mortgage and therefor no other consistent demands on my time other than taking care of two weasely kitties, albeit one that receives a double daily shot of insulin, mostly I drift.
This drifting. Drifting to see where the tide takes me. This waking and sleeping based on cues that signal from deep inside of me, that leads to 6 hours of sleep one night, and 13 for another. Random baths with mineral salts steeped in jasmine and sandalwood during the day smack dab in the path of the setting sun. A Doing of Stuff based on what needs to be done, the rest of it falling away with the fervent repeated mantra known as "f*ck it".
Some hours it feels like a crushing weight of nothingness where I find that I want to cry from how little I am needed or seen or desired, how passion has vamoosed for younger and thinner and more enthusiastic pastures. Other hours it is a soft, full, warm throbbing that is the tide of Nothingness, muscles vibrating gently, this burbling heart of mine gentle and sweet, the hum of Life a distant vibration in the silence of Yes. Sometimes it unfolds as a lusciousness that leads to 9-mile bike rides of circular routes to get a coffee, pick up my master's degree diploma from my sister's mailbox, buy a bottle of wine, as I play frogger with pickup trucks and SUVs on Shipyard Blvd. Othertimes it is the odd pastimes I've taken up.
What is this purchasing and studying and drinking of wine I've become enamored of? Especially now that my income is so limited? But great joy is found with a bottle of shiraz, ecstatically sipped in between bites of three kinds of whooshing, bitey cheddar and thin slices of black Arkansas apples, and really, who can argue with that? Or how many hours a week I sit in front of my computer, taking advantage of the major networks' full-episode players they make available to we cableless souls as I sew moss green alpine fleece and leather medicine bags for the people who come for soul retrievals each week.
Sometimes it's the creation of playlists on iTunes comprised of Rufus Wainwright's soaring "Across the Universe", James Blunt's "Beautiful" where he says "f*cking high" instead of the sanitized "flying high", Jason Mraz's version of "The Joker" and how hilariously he says he speaks of the "pompatus of love", Mika sucking on his "Lollipop", Stuart Davis climbing our "Ladder" of DNA and singing of the one hand slapping in "AC/DC", Madeleine Peyroux laughingly insisting that she's "All Right", and "Mad World" by both Tears For Fears and Gary Jules.
It's heading into the backyard to throw balls for Hoochie, the red labrador, and Bosley, the six-month old pitbull, and Lola, the fat-bellied chihuahua. They lick my face and leap into the hammock to snuggle with me, and not a whiff of dog phobia is on the wind. I take them on walks and agonize as the walk turns to a jog, at the bummer that is boobs grown as obese as my belly. It's the flopping down in the front yard to hang with Granny Myra, the 12 year old tabby, or Oscar aka Orange Crush, our neighborhood tomcat Cassanova, whose freckled face makes me smooch him until he gives me the paw of Cease and Desist.
It's doing my laundry in the small nautical washing machine here in my apartment and then hanging the clothes to dry on the oversized rack I set up in my bedroom, turning the ceiling fan on high to combat the humidity that is coastal living. Or lifting weights, 15 minutes at a time, my back, the vertebrae, cracking and popping back into place. Or making essential oil batches, each more witchy than the last, to bring into the soul retrievals, add to the medicine bags. Or eating organic, Nature's Path toaster pastries with big frothy glasses of locally produced whole milk. Or spending an entire morning researching raising chickens for eggs and meat and all sorts of whatnot.
More and more frequently I find myself in a sort of hyper-conscious reverie where I repeat over and over: thank you Life, thank you, thank you, thank you for this time to let my Doing and Doing and Doing soften, for this unstructured time, for the freedom to let go of Who I Am Not so that Who I Am can make itself known again. Because, really, who the f*ck am I? Do you know who the f*ck you are? And oh how I long for more Who I Am. Don't you?
Two nights ago I awoke over and over and over as the lyrics of "Mad World" circulated round and round between conscious and unconscious mind.
"And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had."
While I was asleep, I watched experiential explanations of the wheel of karma, and of exactly what it means to get off of it. I'd been in that place before. So simple to just stop participating in the Doing and it's Almighty Kickback that is Living as we currently know it. It was what I let go of last month - that precipice that I once again walked up to where I saw that I have to let go of the good, not just the bad but the good. That place where Krishna fell down. That place that has kicked many an ass before it got ahold of mine. And how I said, "I'm not ready yet. I see a few bits left and I want to squeeze these last few drops of happy, please, of joy and love with folks who still see me and love the me that radiates behind the weird ticks and vacant smiling and stern blankness that is so often "me" these days, those sweet folks who still radiate Yes for me when I get the privilege of their presence." And I saw how death is my sweetest friend, how it is the calm beyond the storm, the vibration behind my yearning for money and romantic love and success and relief.
And over the past couple of days, the remnants of the monster of To Do dies in the face of this wash of Nothing. And I see that more and more,
"I find it hard to tell you
'Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
So, not sure if you noticed, but the real absence in my world these days is people. Not much interaction going on these days unless necessary for work, living situation, or day to day living, and even then it's awkward. I just have no freakin idea what the social protocols are anymore. So very, very weird.
I will do a deep, successful soul retrieval, but oh how I cringe at the before and afterward that has to take place, the dealing with money and pleasantries and such. I will pay my rent on time, but how dealing with my sweet landlord/neighbor's social network makes my skin shrink two or three sizes in the dehydrating air of Too Much Freaking Talk. The exception seems to be my family, especially my sis, who get a pass based on her uncomplicated way of dealing with most of her living, her laughing and cutting up and and sweetness and generosity and how we fight, eyebrows raised and ready for battle, over who paid for the check when we last went to the country cooking buffet. Silly, sweet, simple stuff.
As you may have noticed, I don't return emails or phone calls unless I freakin absolutely have to. I barely read blogs anymore. I read no novels, only shamanic tomes. The occasional desire to return emails from friends, engage in a new email friendship asserts itself every month or so, but something always happens to clip it off posthaste, and I drift back into the tide of Nothingness. Noting personal, just doesn't make sense.
It's as if I'm allergic to most human contact. I just want to be left alone to drift. And Life seems to support me heartily in this. What else can I say and still be truthful? If you want nothing from people and they find nothing in you to want, what keeps you together? . . . Really?
It's all just flows out in front of us. We create and live out these rolling energies that are our lives. And then, one day, death says howdy, and off we go, leaving every last single thing and person we've come to know and love and invest so utterly and completely in.
So I leave you with the echoing words of Mika: "sucking too hard on your lollipop, love's going to get you down". Whatever that means. :) It makes me want to purchase a small cache of Blow Pops or at the very least take up dating again. Heh.
Or maybe I'll just keep drifting . . . :)
I'm sorry. I apologize in advance. But this is some deeply funny sh*t. Way funnier than The Mart of Wal Going Green. Way way more funnier than oil corps sponsoring Save The Environment Initiatives And way way way more honest. Did I just say that last part? Ooooo, I apologize again.
The Green Team by Will Ferrell (and John Reilly!)
Thursday night: teaching of class #2 for the series on shamanic journeying. I did a journey myself the afternoon before the class and one of the things I got was: get a massage. There is a local massage school with very reasonable rates so I called and booked an appointment much as I always have the past decade or so - an afternoon one with a female therapist. But the computer was acting wonky and wouldn't register the booking so I asked: who else do you have available, and when? And so I chose a guy for a morning appointment.
I've had a lot of massage over the course of my life. I've always found therapists who want to barter, or lived close to schools with students charging low rates. But I've never had a massage like this one.
He was a cute guy, late twenties or so. Shy smile, vocabulary of a surfer dude. His massage room was the most minimal thing I've ever encountered. Not a scarf, or crystal, or candle, or scent of lavender, or statue of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god. No lamp, just darkness cut by the small strip of light coming in from under the door. The only object in the room, other than a chair and a table with his cell phone and car keys on it, was a small boom box, playing - no, not Kitaro - but Thievery Corporation.
He was an instructor at the school so he'd been doing the massage thing for a while. But he seemed so unassuming, so tentative. Usually, massage therapists come at you all elbows and knuckles, confidence and technique blowing past the boundary of skin into the knots of tension and twists of stress made manifest. But not this guy. He was going in slowly, checking out the terrain, the landscape of my body. The movements he made were gentle, exploratory reachings in tandem with skin, into muscle and fascia and other tissues. With the music so low I could actually hear my body respond, small pops and clicks as tendons moved back into place, vertebrae realigned themselves.
And dude was not big on talking. Usually therapists are downright chatty, similar to hairstylists. But this guy was utterly quiet. Just gently traveling around my body looking for places to touch.
You'd think maybe this was se*xual, but it wasn't. It was sensual, intimate, and such a relief. I hadn't realized how much my body missed being touched, longed for the touch of someone interested in how it responded.
Afterwards, I spoke with him a bit, found out that he's looking for a space outside of the school to work in. I'm going to hook him up with the holistic center I rent space out of. He'd be such a hit there. And I get the sense that he's looking for a way to shift what he's doing, find an atmosphere that is more conducive to the sort of healing work he's doing.
"You know, I don't like this hour-long thing, because sometimes a back needs an hour and a half, and it's like, you know, that's what it needs," he said.
"Exactly," I said.
And for the rest of the day, my body felt luscious in a way it hadn't in a long time. I lay in the big puffy recliner my sis gave me a few days ago, the afternoon sun shining on my face, The Hoon snuggled against my knees. Over the course of an hour or so, the flow of Nothingness had it's way with me, revealing that there was no "me", only beingness and that beingness was "Yes".
I was in bed by 9 after watching this strange film called Naqoyqatsi that was nothing but short moving images set to a soundtrack by Philip Glass. Life as war, it said. I know that war, I thought. And it's winding down. At least in me, anyway.
And then I slept until 11 this morning. 11. This morning. I woke up a half dozen times. Once to feed the kitties and give the Hoon his insulin. Once to get a sip of water. But then back to the soft flannel sheets. The sunlight and southern breeze drifting through windows. Over and over: thank you for my life, thank you for this time of space and gentleness and rest and ease. More of the tears that have been flowing on and off for months now, tears of such intense gratitude for the lines of living, the tendrils of life, all of the bubbles of experience that hold me aloft, carry me along as this being called Katherine, as the currents make their way back to the sea.
Now I sit in my javashop. Having a half decaf after a small bike ride in the bright sun that is coastal living. My hair is in pigtails and the cute guy across the way smiled at me, the woman behind the counter expressed her love of the hair-that-shall-not-be-ponytailed. I still feel half-asleep, not quite having returned to this world we collectively call "Reality" in this culture.
Time to get back on my bike, collect my craft things to take over to a small gathering of folks who are making things for the holidays. I'm making medicine bags. Lots and lots of medicine bags. Strips of castoff leather. Moss green fleece. Forest brown embroidery thread.
Life is good . . .