Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Experience at Standing Rock

People have been asking about my experience at Standing Rock.
I could write many details about how I helped keep the Medics and Healers camp clear of clutter because of the overwhelming amount of people and supplies arriving daily. Or how I removed piles of heavy snow that had accumulated in the camp, helped setup large tents for the newly arrived, installed wood stoves, helped finish an emergency shelter and more.
But upon returning home, I have been reflecting on a larger topic: what are the after effects of participating in a large prayer gathering like Standing Rock, where hundreds of Native tribes are gathered for the first time in history, where sacred fires are tended 24/7 and women elders are nurturing the emergence of a new governance for this unprecedented resistance and sovereignty movement.
What happens when you enter the energy of a working hive and surrender to the needs of the collective?
What takes place in one’s system when you keep your attention in the moment, being willing to do what it takes to keep the myriad tasks flowing to serve a camp that’s hosting and feeding thousands of people daily?
What happens when you realize that you are welcomed in an Indigenous-centered environment, mostly populated by privileged white folks, and start embracing the fact that your Native hosts and their ancestors have endured genocide for the past 500 years?
And what happens when one is focused on tending the well-being of a group a midwives, one of whom, a member of the Mohawk Nation, I had the privilege of traveling with from Colorado to North Dakota?
As when entering any powerful ritual environment, one’s Spirit can be deeply touched by the fire (maybe the water in this case!) of the sacred space opened by the sincerity and sheer scale of the prayers.
I remember that during the first night of the blizzard at Standing Rock, I had a dream. I was running on water, totally thrilled to have mastered that skill. In the dream I called a friend, who happens to be a midwife, and told her that her son Kailash should come run with me on water. Upon waking that morning, it dawned on me what an auspicious dream it was while at Standing Rock, where thousands have gathered to protect water.
Mount Kailash, the mountain known as Kailāśa in Tibet, lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia: the Indus River, the Sutlej River (a major tributary of the Indus River), the Brahmaputra River, and the Karnali River (a tributary of the River Ganga). It is considered a sacred place in four religions: Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Needless to say that I worked with great joy that day, feeling quite blessed.
I left sooner than expected because I started getting sick, something that rarely happens to me. I went to bed the last night with a fever, headache and upset stomach. I did not want to be a burden on a camp already burdened with sick and wounded people. I drove for two and a half days with shivers and congested lungs. I slept two nights in motels and took four scorching hot baths. I chewed Osha roots the whole drive and kept an open mind.
On the last 50-mile stretch, I started feeling sad. I wasn’t quite sure where my feelings came from, as I should have been happy to be arriving home.
As I laid in bed that evening, I let myself sink into the sadness and was overwhelmed with grief. It was as if I was on my deathbed without having made Peace with my last partner of five years. I decided I couldn’t die in such a state and picked up the phone. I hadn’t been in communication with her for a few weeks. For an hour, we cried the deepest tears that we’ve ever cried together, acknowledging the gift that living and working together for 5 years had been. The healing felt much deeper than our shared experience. It felt as if the imprint of our families’ history was releasing its grip from our lives. It was a remarkable and surprising experience.
The day after returning from Standing Rock, I tried to write about my experience but nothing would come up. I turned on some music and started dancing, again feeling as if I was running on water. My Spirit was soaring.
Dance has always been a big part of my life and I’m again deeply inspired by the power of its medicine. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that I can’t underestimate the healing power of my ecstatic expression on the collective, whether it is being kind, generous, artistic, loving, forgiving, playful or erotic.
More than ever, the World is calling me to release fear and embrace Life. I am getting more comfortable daily with embracing the energies of grief and ecstasy as two sides of the same coin.
So I dance, I pray, I trust and I listen deeply to my intuition.
What does the world need from me right now?
How can I best serve the evolution of humanity?
How can I keep reminding myself that everyone of my actions is influencing the collective?
How can I evolve as a man while the world seems to be disintegrating into absolute madness?
I cry, I dance, I laugh.
And I try to Love every moment that I have left to live.
Mni Wiconi
Water is Life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Throwing Away for Future Generations

Like many people living in a technology world, I recently upgraded my laptop and some of its peripherals. While doing so, I found a laptop hardrive from when I replaced the failing one in my MacBook last summer. If somehow I came to lose all other back-ups, I could possibly retrieve some crucial data from that wonderous piece of technology.
Today, I decided to throw it away and just to make sure that nobody would access my data, I tried to break the case. To my surprise, that tiny thing was as solid as a brick!
I started to feel something...
In looking at that jewel of our civilization, I began to imagine people in the future, digging and finding my throw away. Would it still contain information that would be beneficial to them? Or parts on a circuit board? Or the metals that it's made of?
Since we don't know how to properly dispose of, or recycle, certain materials, or don't yet have use for other ones, how can we safely and re-usably dispose of such materials for the benefit of future generations?
If indeed we run out of oil, the exploitation of our mineral and other resources will come to a halt. Machineries and processing plants will cease to function.
When these times arrive, we may need to dig in our refuse to find all of the things that we need to sustain a world heavily dependent on technology, metal, plastic and heavy medicine.
While reflecting on this, I wanted to carefully wrap my little hardrive before throwing it away, so it could be retrieved, in as usable a condition as possible, by future generation in need of either raw or rare material, or looking for clues of why their ancestors came to extinction.
Make decisions to benefit at least seven generations into the future..

Monday, July 12, 2010

Death Between the Eclipses

For the past several months, I haven't been able to significantly move the Nodilus Project forward, as if its energy was pulling me towards the Earth to better understand how to manifest its vision. As I stepped backwards to get a better perspective, things got more and more blurry. How could an online tool be possibly designed to foster a regreening of our lives and community? How could such a tool be easy, popular and fun to use? What angle could we take to get a broad appeal?
During that time, I started a vegetable garden and have been meticulously tending to it. For the past few weeks, I have been eating kale, radishes, zucchini squash, arugula, mustard greens, chard and a variety of salads. Our 50-year old apricot tree, having survived a vicious late snow storm, has been gifting us with an abundant harvest. I have been busy freezing apricots to bake fruit crisps during our long winter months.
Between the recent two eclipses, my system suddenly shut down, and for several days I experienced the deepest of depression and body aches. I could barely move, and stayed in bed crying, waking up with anxiety and fear. I also had several explosions of rage. All I could do was water the garden.
Something happened upon resurfacing. I sensed that what I had been taken through was an initiation. I got pushed so far down that all I could do was surrender. I prayed to be shown what I needed to do to serve the Earth and its creatures.
What I got upon my return from the abyss of doubt and fear, was that we needed to re-learn how to care for the body of the Earth and ourselves. That the best way to initiate that process was to start growing our own food in a respectful/sacred way, close to our urban centers and in our backyards. The process of tending the soil, planting, waiting, harvesting and sharing the abundance with friends and neighbors was the key to re-establishing a harmonious connection with the Earth and re-patterning the torn fabric of community.
I am happy today. Ready to re-enter the creative stream with a new focus on food security as the entry point for the Nodilus project.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Repairing my Sandals

Yesterday, my beloved leather flip flops, which I have had since my days in Hawai'i (2004) finally died. Well, not completely, just the part that goes between my toes wore out. I bought one foot of webbing at REI ( $.30) and stitched and glued my sandals back to another (hopefully) few years of happy life. The hour I spent doing the repair brought me back to the times of my ancestors, peasants most likely, who knew how, and had to, fix just about anything. Throwing thing away was not part of their sustainable way of life. Holes in socks and sweaters were mended, furnitures repaired and shoes fixed. My Dad could, and still can at 82, fix anything. My hands, an extension of his, know how. The pleasure of fixing things for me far exceeds the pleasure of buying anew.

This afternoon, a friend is dropping off a 1970 Italian bicycle with original Campagnolo components. I can't wait to go to the Chainbreaker Bike Collective tomorrow and bring that bike back to life...then gift it to a friend who needs a bicycle.

As Westerners, we think we are on top of the world because we own big houses, cars and electronic gadgets, which we are incapable of maintaining. I believe some of the essential things that should be taught in school are how to grow food, how to fix the things we use, how to heal our bodies and how to have good relationships with others.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Listening to the Mother

In my latest endeavor (see Gypsie Nation), I became keenly aware of the connection that can take place between humans and spirits, in particular during dance rituals-a phenomenon well understood by shamanic cultures the world over. In my newest endeavor (see Nodilus Project), I am becoming increasingly curious about how the Earth fuels our creativity.

There is a cricket who nests in my wood pile just outside of my window. The little fellow must be affected by how dry it is right now in New Mexico in the months prior to our monsoon season. When he sings, what is his song telling my every cell? The beautiful fifty year-old apricot tree in my back yard, what was it feeling when hit by our last snow storm while in full bloom?

Every creature evolves to adapt to its surrounding or it perishes. How do we adapt as humans beside learning how to breathe polluted air, eat depleted food and cope with radiation and microwaves? How is our imagination/creativity stimulated by the increasing threat to life all around us? How do we listen and trust the biggest source of creativity-the Earth, to fuel our endeavors?

Man has certainly been creating magnificent things in the world. However, greed and control have now created a situation that is threatening the lives of many creatures on Earth.

People talk about collective intelligence and believe that the answer to many of our world problems can only be solved by harnessing that collective intelligence, as in linking a multitude of personal computers to create a super computer, capable of calculations way beyond the scope of the fastest individual human processor.

Is that collective intelligence they talk about just in the human realm? Or does every creature, plant, mineral, benevolent spirit and alien, part of the intelligence we must tap into in order to create the things that will restore our biosphere, and bring an era of peace and collaboration on Earth?

I am curious about, and often puzzled by some of the creative impulses I perceive. How do I trust them and respond appropriately?

How do I listen to the Mother?