The Lucidity of Grief

I was there when the sun began to pour its light into the land this morning.  Birds gossiped and celebrated amongst trees combed clean of dross in last nights windstorm, trees that now whisper and dance in a softer breeze.  The air is clear and soft, the light golden and luminous.  Crisp air chills my lungs but enlivens me softly.  There is a delicious comfort to pulling my wrap closer around my neck and stoking the fire before taking my tea onto the deck to behold the stirring of the land.  It is autumn in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California.  All is parched and yearning for the kisses of the rain people in this harvest time, but this is a holy moment of transition from summers intensity to winters enclosure, and all around me is a beauty that I drink in with long, slow breaths and deep, quiet, reverence.

The land is always beautiful, but today this beauty is especially clear in a remarkable way.  There is a special sheen to the light of the sun on the oak leaves and pine needles.  There is a special staggering romance to the songs of the birds and the chill through my wrap.  Today my heart aches with grief, and today this grief and I are ripe to feast on all of its difficult riches.  All seems lit from within, though my eyes are swollen and sore from a long night and an early morning of heavy tears, and my bones are weary with exhaustion.

Today, I am in the lucidity of grief.

Who among us that has lived even the briefest moment would say that the roses of life grow on a bush with no thorns?  To behold, even vaguely, the life of the world, is to behold a tapestry woven of beauty and horror, brimming with insane violence and maddening banality alongside the most staggering and rhapsodic wonders of all kinds.  This earth, and this experience of living a human life, is simultaneously a madhouse and the most gorgeous Eden conceivable.  Grief is one of the natural responses to being even the tiniest bit sentient and present to the magnitude of it all.  It visits every life, regardless of whether it’s wanted, welcome, timely, or tidy.  It is natural, it is healthy, and it is the inevitability of being a creature who loves.

Grief is often regarded warily when it visits, though its visits to a life are as assured as breath and could therefor indicate how utterly normal it actually is.  But the feeling of that cold rain in the bones that so many people experience and call grief has a lot more to do with how grief is met than with what grief actually is; I would call that despair, personally.  There’s a distinct and important difference between the two.  Despair is what grief becomes when it is unintegrated.

This is something I know with the whole of my being that is so often misunderstood: grief is a potent, vital power woven of sorrow and care, one whose gentle and insistent invitation is to a full embodiment of the exquisite and difficult miracle of being fully alive.  When grief is actively met and integrated, it hides nothing and gives all as soul nourishment.  It feeds creativity.  It deepens the capacity for love to flow through a being.  It enriches the heart and soul of a person with a sweet and biting fullness like the flush of a great wine on the tongue.  Grief, when met openly and allowed to inform the development of a life, brings us into exceptional intimacy with the truth of living.

It would follow then, that to become literate in the ways of grief and grieving is an art and skill worth cultivating.

Unfortunately, we live in a determinedly grief illiterate society, the fact of which is the cause of unfathomable suffering.  In North American society the social emphasis is on positivity, productivity, maintaining good outward appearances, and carrying on with business-as-usual no matter what holy force has walked into the temple of a life.  Because of this, grief – a very holy force indeed – is most often hounded, manipulated, medicated, rejected, denied, feared, and misunderstood at the expense of the griever receiving the soul-enriching and deepening medicine that it carries as its inherent and sacred gift.

Grief is not tidy, you see.

It won’t coddle our concept of ourselves and our identities any more than it will the status quo of societies colonial profit model that insists – often through sharp, bared teeth – that the show must go on, feelings be damned.  Grief is of the soul, not the spirit, and definitely not of the mind, so in a mental society that values the bright heat of spirit far beyond the darkly luminous depths of soul, grief is actually threatening and treated as something to be managed and subdued as efficiently as possible.  But grief is an alchemizing force whose presence in a life is meant to transform through deepening, and it is a force that is altogether immune to control.  Because of this, to attempt to control and diminish it is to ensure that it becomes a slow poison in the heart and manifests as unintegrated behaviors whose aim is to draw healing and loving attention towards the grief by any means necessary.

This is the cost of grief illiteracy, and it is high.

To let grief in will disrupt our status quo.  There is no haggling with that.  The important thing to hold close is that that disruption is beneficial to the development of our souls as whole beings and true, full humans.  When done with care, love, patience, skill, and support it is an incredibly good thing.  It will pull back masks that constrain us.  It will suddenly reveal how little we can breathe in the cages we have decorated so well for ourselves.  It will invite us to the freedom of actually living in the truth of our own experience and letting the profundity of living actually affect us instead of trying to “keep it like it was” and “run the show” all the time.

It’s a good thing to be rocked in the right way from time to time.  It’s a good thing to have a wild and holy force come singing through your whole experience in a way that clarifies and heals if you can bear the discomfort and answer it’s messages.  It takes skill and it takes deep courage, and it is oh, so worth it.

So my invitation is this: when grief comes unexpectedly into your days, turn towards that uncomfortable yet holy visitor with curiosity, presence, and welcome, so as to invite its singular and miraculous gifts into your life.  Settle into the discomfort of actually experiencing it instead of the agony of attempting to avoid it.  Allow it to do it’s slow alchemy of enriching and deepening you.  And do not welcome that ancient power alone.  Grief suffers terribly in isolation.  Solitude is good, isolation is crushing.  When grief comes one must be held in at least one loving, patient set of arms besides their own, by a person who can allow the grief to be and move without trying to “make it better”.  Seek out the help you need without shame.  Allow yourself to be seen.  There is no shame in grieving.  All beings grieve, it is an act of love.  It is so utterly natural and true.  It is one of our most profound shared experiences as humans and we need each other in those times.  To be held in it, or to hold someone in it, is one of the most profound ways to share love in this life.  Let it be seen, and let it be supported.  Be sure that it is.  When grief comes, move slowly, breathe deeply, listen completely, and behold the shimmering of the world when your eyes deepen with that sacred fire.  Let it affect you.  Let it change you.

Grief is one of the many gifts woven into the tapestry of Life.  Allow yourself to receive its blessings and then live those blessings as your own gift to Life.

The Souls Gold

 

Soul.

Bright and deep magic here.  This beautiful word carries the energy of an essential element of our being that has become mostly homeless in these strange modern times.  It is a word that names that which I cherish as precious and holy, that which is the solace, ground, and guidance in the terrain of all my days.  For many, this word and the current of reality that it speaks is a foreign place, if they are aware of it all.  Or perhaps a concept over which to fret about judgement, damnation, and salvation when under the spell of priests and old books written by white men with sick agendas.  Rarely is it seen as what it is: mysterious, deeply powerful, and fundamental in the nature of creation and existing.  So I want to explore this together a bit.  Join me?

Societies success is predicated on the dumbing down and disconnecting – from absolutely everything except addiction and consumerism – of individuals and groups so as to render them powerless, confused, distracted, afraid, and easy to control.  It is a soulless endeavor by design and necessity, and it is effective.  To embody soul, then, is an insurrectionary act of resistance, and liberation.  It is a life-saving and life-giving act of the greatest and most urgent importance.  It is the foundation of the resilience to claim our power and walk through the experiences and transitions that we face as individuals and a collective life in the universe and the world right now.  When we contact soul, we stand on our own hallowed ground.  When we live soul, we are Creation embodied.

This is not exaggeration.

So what is soul?  And how does one embody it?  What is it not, and how does one discern?

What is soul is a hard question to move with.  It’s a western-mind question, a tiny arrow pointed at the stars.  Let’s stretch beyond the reductionist question-answer mind and into the realm of beholding.  This is a more conducive relationship to have with the exploration, because soul is not a point in the matrix of existence that can be grasped between the fingers.  To behold it, there needs to be an opening within the being and the mind: not up and out, but down and in.  Not to the sky, but to the soil.  Not to the light, but to the darkness, that oft maligned and misunderstood energy.  To the inner world, otherworld, and underworld.  So here we begin: soul is not a thing, soul is an essential creative force, and we contact it through feeling.  Experience as well, but not bright and fast experience, not modern society super-stimulus experience.  Slow, dark, quiet experience.

Imagine this: you are in a forest in the dark.  Night breathes and rustles all around you.  The humming of insects is a song deep and vibrant in your body, the touch of the breeze a caress over your whole being.  The shaggy outlines of silhouetted trees form a frame around the star-laden sky vaulting overhead.  All your senses are alert, your whole being is humming with the life of the night.  Your whole being listens, letting the richness of this darkness soak you all the way through.  You are utterly, deeply, alive.  And in this aliveness, in this softening out of the totalitarianism of the mind and the stark severity of daylight, you are opening into deep contact and conversation with the vitality of Life all around you.  You start to deepen into wisdom and eros through communion with your own unhurried nature, and the more than human world on its own terms.

This is soul territory.

I can hear folks now – “The woods in the dark?  Fuck that.” And for some, it’s true, it may never be the right thing.  Heavy programming against the fullness of life there.  But hear this now: the woods in the dark are glorious, their otherness an embodiment of territory that exists within us all but that is, for most, denied, ignored, or exiled to our great misfortune.  This is not the only place that soul lives, either.  It is, however, so much of how soul feels.  Soul doesn’t refuse light or day or mind, it is not adversarial to those frequently beautiful things: it is there in all those things, should we allow it, and it’s also something different.  It’s the rest of our experience, the one that society surgically removes so that we will be more manageable cogs in the machine.  That exquisite different place and way is what I’m inviting you into here, through the simple and holy portal of feeling.  The feeling of breathing in concert with life, alive in all your senses and deeply rooted into the earth of which you are a part and into the sacred ground of your being.  Feeling.  We could speak of soul all day and night and we wouldn’t be touching it in any meaningful way.  Soul is the essence and foundation of our being.  It’s the beat in our hearts, the light in our eyes, the sound of our voice, and how we touch life with our lives.  It is cosmic, but not bright-star cosmic, it’s dark space cosmic.  It’s the field as well as the dancer within it.  And feeling is our way into communion with it.

Soul can only be experienced, and to dive in and embody it in a world that is savage and hostile to its depth and power is an act of extraordinary passion and bravery.  If any risk is worth taking, this is the one.

Risk?  There are a few things that make the embodiment of soul risky.  The first is that when one  embodies the soul, one ceases to be an automaton.  One becomes fundamentally unruly because one will deepen and become rich in the truth of the essential nature of being, thereby becoming sovereign in the most sacred and magnificent way.  To root oneself in Soul is to become radiant with the light and shadow that creation itself is woven of.  It is ultimately empowering.  This is threatening to the status quo in our personal lives and in the broader world around us.  Our friends, family, lovers, co-workers, anyone around us may become an Agent Smith in that moment  and try to wrestle us down into the accepted mold so that their world is not disrupted by the awakening and expanding of our own, or just distance themselves from the strange challenge of it.  Many will support us in it as well, and be inspired to move towards their own soul because of our journey!  This is glorious when it happens.  But it needs to be known that it can be awkward, alienating, and difficult.  There is a cost.  This is what I mean when I say that to embody soul is an insurrectionary act: one becomes radiant with the power of creation, and that is a light whose illumination is a rendering sword of truth as well as a healing balm.  The consequences are unpredictable in both their beauty and their difficulty.

Another risk inherent in the embodiment of soul is that soul and grief are inextricably interwoven.  They are strands in the same braid: grief, joy, and soul.  The plait of being.  Grief is frequently conflated with despair, and people are often terrified of it and violently resistant to it, but grief and despair are not the same thing.  Grief is a fertile and life-giving force, one of the many dances of love.  It has enormous gravity and enormous consequence, and is utterly gorgeous.  Music and poetry pour out of it: life shimmers with a dark radiance when we are in its sacred territory.  Despair is bleak and toneless, powerless and miserable.  It has passed any possibility of beauty and sunk into stagnation.  Both of them hurt, but one fills the well of the heart through the spring of the soul, and the other empties and dries, leaving only sour poverty in its wake.

Grieving is a holy act.  If we allow ourselves to experience love all the way on its course from headwaters to the sea, we inevitably encounter loss and the grief that attends it.  If we lean in to the grief, if we let the loss soak us to the bone, we enter into a holy alchemy wherein life can sculpt the light of our Being into a greater radiance.  And yes: it hurts.  It can feel unbearable.  But it’s not unbearable.  It takes subtlety and sophistication to be with it in a life-giving way, and if we can do that, we are rewarded with an experience of living profoundly deep and rich beyond comparison.  We have to walk into it in a state of empowered surrender, and that skill takes time to develop.  In empowered surrender, we choose to stay with the wound and pain of the loss, choose to sit up straight and embrace what arises there with love and patience and a clear eye, we choose to deeply behold and be affected by it.  Simultaneously we surrender to the magnitude, the mystery, and the wisdom of what is emergent in that space and let ourselves be cooked and grown by it.  We let ourselves be affected by life in all its fullness.  And we call in our allies to stand beside us as we do it.  We are meant to make the walk, but we are not meant to walk alone.  To grieve is an initiation into a new order of the self.

Grieving is a holy act.

Then there’s this too: to awaken and embody soul is a warriors path because the first encounter on the path is with the truth of oneself.  That can be some rugged shit.

When we come into direct contact with ourselves, we see the savagery and wonder of creation and the world right there within ourselves, and that can be terrifying.  It’s rarely comforting to meet oneself utterly naked, especially since the meeting is so frequently abrupt and severe.  The ugly buckles us over with shame and disgust and the glory overwhelms us in myriad ways.  We recoil from one and grasp after the other, wringing our hands about both in exasperation and embarrassment without realizing that absolutely everyone has the same stuff going on. It’s quite a bind.  And when we meet that material, the only way through it is through it.  There is no going around it once it has arisen, nor will it be negotiated away.  Once it has arisen, it will not recede, and it is there to be embraced, known, and integrated whether that’s what we want to do or not.  It’s just there, the reality of who we are.  What we encounter is what we’re actually woven of.  That’s what we get to love, be with, refine, enrich, embody, and offer in this life.  It is beautiful, utterly exquisite and singular in all of creation, and it is also challenging, stupefying, and shot through with pain that one may not know how to deal with or be with in a life-giving way.

This is a challenge that is worthwhile.

There are options, of course.  Society is made of the option to flee in place.  Society offers opportunities to escape the self, others, life, and the moment without ever moving an inch through a huge array of systemically integrated distractions and socially sanctioned addictions (hello social media and the bar).  What is known but not deeply understood is that this constant escaping is wounding to the whole being.  People get that it’s not good, but they don’t fully grasp how violent to life it actually is.  It traps us in a constant state of agitated exile, locks us into childish and ludicrous behaviors, and retards the magnificence of our essential nature.  It wastes our LIVES, our miraculous, one-shot-ever opportunity of being who we are right now, just for now.  You are the only you there will ever be, you have an important piece of the puzzle to make manifest through your life, and society is designed to deny the fulfillment of that miracle.  It’s an extraordinarily violent situation to be in.

I’m not exaggerating here.

The souls imperative is to engage and actualize itself.  It has a deep radiance to manifest in the world and that’s all it wants to do, no matter what it takes.  So to check out, to distract, deny, numb, and avoid is to deliver crushing wounds to our own greatest possibility in the course of our days, and it happens on a regular basis, as far as I’m seeing.

This is the pain that is not worthwhile.

So what do we do?  How do we do this work of embodying the soul?

We go down and in with everything.  Not in a narcissistic way that wallows in pain and twists the knife and calls it “deep work”, but in a deeply curious, loving, powerful, and humble way that hunts for the wisdom and the ecstasy in every experience so as to emerge with the gift.  We have to get the gift, you see?  Not for ourselves, but for Life.  This is crucial, this is among souls deepest agendas.  It’s not about the self anymore, it’s about what we can harvest from the beauty and pain of our lives to craft into a gift for the life of the world beyond us.  Life has to become about legacy at some point.  It has to move from the realm of self-interest into the realm of devotion to beauty, because beauty is everyone’s nourishment.  Legacy is one of souls deepest concerns.

To embody soul is utterly beautiful.  It’s a beauty that makes you weep with a broken hearted adoration for the magnificence of life and laugh out loud as you finally, truly SEE the flocks of birds whirling and diving overhead and the thick cords of rough bark on the trees around you.  Truly, there is no greater beauty than to embody the soul in service to life and the world.

So it comes so clearly to this: we let ourselves be touched.  By all that is beautiful and all that is horrible in ourselves, the world, and life, we let ourselves be affected.  We let the darkness in.  We let the light in.  We send down deep roots to receive and integrate the influx of both before we unfurl magnificently to pour forth that life giving beauty.  We stay present with what is, especially when it hurts and we want to flee.  We stay grounded, we move slowly.  We listen.  We listen to the more-than-human world, and let that affect us completely.  We deepen.

We deepen.

This is soul territory.  It’s a way of being, and the root of our true nature.  We meet it in how we feel life and touch life.  How we live in the fleeting gift of the self, how we enrich the world with the unique medicine that we are as an individual in the life of the world.  It’s the beat in our hearts and the light in our eyes, the sound of our voice and the love that binds us to all to which we are devoted in this life.  It’s not to be explained, only to be illuminated, praised, and then experienced.  Don’t wait too long.  Your soul is what matters.  Don’t make it come after you.  Turn towards it and truly live.

I’m by your side: lean in.

unwitnessed

A few days ago I called a friend when I was hurting.  I read her a poem woven of immense pain and vulnerability to which she lovingly implored, “share that vulnerability, it’s so beautiful and needed”.  She meant to share it on social media, and said it with the utmost care and an unshakable belief in the value of what she was prodding me towards, that nakedness in the public eye of the internet, because for her that works.  She shares, people respond with passionate enthusiasm.  She revels in what others share.  She has a following, feels seen, held, needed, heard, and useful for it, and it seems to be true. It is beautiful in its way to behold what it does for her and to hear and see what it does for others.  I see it unfold in this strange phenomenon of social media and behold with curiosity and unapologetic skepticism how this thing has become so central to our collective life. 

I am a very different kind of animal.  I am deeply private and now deeply wary of social media because I have in the past tried to meet my persistent hungers through this medium with witheringly disappointing results.  I don’t believe that the story of itself that it presents, that it brings the world together, is a complete story.  There are both glaring omissions and a savage programming in this story.  Sure, I see the way it does connect people, and it has done so for me more than once, and I value that.  But I know for a fact that it is not an end unto itself where connection is concerned.  And yet the obvious and inherent limits of this endeavor as a means to creating and maintaining community and communion seems to be being completely ignored as the converging phenomena of social media, digitized connectivity, and compulsive exposure continue to permeate and overtake our lives.  I am well aware of the costs that are fundamental to its design, especially now that we have travelled this path together for over a decade and I remember life before social media clearly. 

I remember how when we didn’t have it the work of making the effort to stay connected made a relationship unutterably precious.  In that situation the value of relationship was measured in depth, not scope, because it took more deliberate effort to maintain relationships.  We didn’t collect “friends” with a click, we made them with care, attention, and time, responding to the people that made the soul sing by sitting down at the loom of Life to weave together.  Those relationships got fed and became sacred because of it.  We had phones that couldn’t be carried around and we had to take the time to call if we wanted to see our friends, who were only people we actually knew.  I wrote letters to people all the time, like my friend from France that I met at summer camp, then when we saw each other again we carried the most wonderful little bits of each other’s stories like precious jewels because we had shared them through the arc and sweep of our own handwriting and the receptivity of our own eye beholding that mark on a page that had travelled the world to get to our respective hands.  I sent care packages to people who were far away.  I had to ask them how they were directly if I wanted to know.  I had to go visit.  It was deliberate.    There were no status updates that told me when their children came or their grandparents died or they lost their cat or fell in love, no posts that fattened me with the illusion that I actually knew what was happening in their lives and how they felt about it.  Connection was either real and deliberate or not there.  And I liked it that way.  That I could relate to: that way of relating has a pace that is slow and deep and intentional, it’s a way of being in which you have to value something and attend to it with time and care for it to flourish.  That, to me, is worthy of being called friendship, and is the place worthy of my vulnerability.

And I also remember real privacy, and the holiness of it.  Being unavailable.  I remember not having a phone to take a picture of something with, and how the absence of that interloper allowed for full immersion in the experience instead of this current compulsion to chronicle and story the experience out for the viewing audience while you are in the midst of it.  It was ok that no one knew what I was doing or had an opinion about it.  Actually, it was fucking awesome.   

 So this brings me to the elephant in the room: from whence comes the urge to broadcast a wound into the chaos and cacophony of social media where everyone else is simultaneously waving their flag in an attempt to be seen? Does a stream of “comments” from people we may or may not know really serve to hold the now rashly exposed hurt in the gentle, steady, and patient care that it needs to heal?  Is that really comforting?  Does it really help?  Why reveal the most tender secrets of your soul to whatever random eye may stumble across them in any given moment, let alone the intelligence agencies for whom we are voluntarily chronicling in detail every facet and personal details of our lives?  Why reveal what you eat, where you’re going, who you’re with, and what you’re doing to everyone all the time?  What unexamined need are we trying to meet in this way?  And is it being met or exacerbated?

This much I know, and this is not cynicism, this is the wisdom of having travelled from the stone ages of directly experienced life into the digital age of compulsively “shared” life: anyone can be the soul of compassion and presence from the safe distance of an electronic connection, but the true work and magic of connecting and caring for each other?  That happens in person, is rare, has a miraculous power to heal and enliven, and is utterly sacred when it arises.

We are starving for the genuine succor of soul and shared experience, and eating the junk food of social media in its stead because that’s the dish we’ve been served by societies maniacal “progress” that serves the status quo.  It pacifies the hunger, but does not nourish.  We are, as Sharon Blackie says, “bleeding at the roots.”  And we can change that.

This desperate fetish for vulnerability shows to me clearly how the very medium of social media is exacerbating the essence of the hunger.  It has grown over time, this exposure compulsion, and has grown immeasurably in the last couple of years.  But I don’t believe that we need to strip ourselves even further naked  before the glaring light of modern societies voyeurism for any and all to see at any moment: it’s like throwing sugar at someone dying of dehydration.  Sweet, isn’t it?  Until your heart explodes. 

We need WATER.  The water of soul.  The water of communion.  The water of being woven into the great story of our collective lives together.  And the water of once again knowing the value of holding things quietly and close to the heart, and letting them be magical, fleeting,  undocumented, and unwitnessed, which is not the same as hiding any more than compulsive exposure is the same as being seen. 

 So here it is, finally; I do not believe in the value of exposure for its own sake, especially not where the equation of social media + deep wounds is concerned.  I do not believe that a flood (or trickle, as the case may be) of responses from disembodied profiles truly and finally meets that terribly gnawing hunger for real connection to self, other, Earth, and Life that is the modern world’s most reliable consequence.  I am not the kind of animal that can be fed in any meaningful way with all that, and I doubt that anyone else really is either.

I know that to hold tender things cloistered in the soul until they are ready to emerge of their own accord into a sacred circle of caring attention and loving company is a true and crucial part of the human experience.  I know that I need the touch of your skin, the vibration of your voice, and the fathomless depths of your gaze for what is wounded in me to be tended, for what is agitated in me to rest, and for what is beautiful in me to flourish.  I want to know you by knowing the scent of your body when you are hurting or joyful.  By hearing your secrets when I have earned your trust that I will hold them well.  I ache for that holy moment when something so deeply softens within you or me that those deeper elements of the self naturally emerge and reach out to each other like a shy and curious animal finally emerging from the shadows and nuzzling the hand that has been patiently outstretched in welcome for an age.  I want to feel the soul that animates your body near to mine in a way that brings us both to life.  And I will be so presumptuous as to say that I believe you want that too.

I shall continue to participate in the social media experiment, of course.  There are ways that I find it useful, and ways that I enjoy and value it, for all my criticism of it.  But I will not accept the propaganda that within the twists and turns of this motherboard or the relay of signals to space and back is an answer or a balm for the savage hunger emergent from the loss of tribe and belonging to Earth and Life.  I will not eat the placebo and acquiesce to the crushing banality of the modern world and it’s sugary substitutes for soulfulness.

My stubborn and passionate allegiance is to soul, and to that I dedicate the whole of my being and effort.  I would rather starve than suck the teat of virtual milk being touted as the answer to all ills and All There Is.  And starve I may: it is already well underway.  But perhaps now I will hear my own song ringing clear and go out again to the phoneless wonder of my own direct experience seeking, once more, the experience whose existence I have doubted in its absence but never abandoned in my heart.  Perhaps this writing is the lurching of my own soul from exhaustion and complacency back into the quest to once again feast the sweetness of life and connection in a way that my soul can relax into.

I, the most dedicated and wary hermit and recluse, now take up my staff and join in with this quiet and growing pilgrimage of souls on the path of reweaving the tattered fabric of our sacred communal life.  I will reach out to touch you with my heart and my hand instead of my comment and my like.  I will clear a path through the desert so that we can meet beneath the light of the stars, breathing wild air and learning the night songs from every creature out there walking close to the ground or flying deep in the sky.

I will make the effort.

 Will you make the effort too?

 

 

 

 

Our Responsibility.

after every catastrophe, there’s a reaction of the impulse to flee to some “finer land”. i get it. i have it. and i have this to offer into that wound as well……

this country is our homeland, even though we are the descendants of invaders. it’s sickness and disarray is, in part, the legacy of those same ancestors. who else’s responsibility is it to do this dreadful and exciting work of awakening from this hallucinogenic disease of empire and violence? does that responsibility land on the natives who are struggling to survive after 500 years of colonialism? this holy land is not to be abandoned so we, the beneficiaries of this empire, can go cozy up in someone else’s finer garden. they did their work.

are we to go and force our way into a beauty that someone else has tended with our little (or grande) caches of imbalanced wealth, wealth that we have accrued by being the beneficiaries of empire, to escape the extravagant sickness writ large all around us and pass the buck of responsibility onto whoever happens to be poor enough (or brave enough) to not be able to bail when that discomfort comes crawling around the edges of our picture perfect lives of comfort and ease?

this land is ours to heal through intimacy with both the wounds and the beauty of it, and dedication to the incredibly brave acts of transformation that this time requires. this place is our place to stand and deliver: we have lived here all our lives letting the rest of the world twist on the spit of this empires insatiable greed that is destroying the world (and if you think canada doesn’t have it’s own skeletons in the closet, just think tar sands and ask the natives). this land has given us home, food, beauty, love, shelter and life for our whole lives. we worship her owls, her deer, the chittering of songbirds at dawn and the raucous barking of coyotes at dusk. we revere the shore and the forest, the mountains and the vast open desert, ALL OF WHICH IS IMPERILLED.

will we abandon her to the bloodsucking deep state that festers here, wringing its hands in anticipatory glee as we buckle and strain under the pressure of propoganda and orchestrated violence, to secure our own ease and isafe guard our own ignorance and inaction?

now is the time to become mighty. we are the people. we are many and they are few. if we emerge from the conditioning of radical individualism and “little powerless me, what can i do?” disempowerment, a mighty roar indeed.

let’s have conversations that matters. MANY. let’s make that more of a priority that starting new businesses, getting laid, and taking extravagant vacations to profoundly poverty stricken countries that are suffocating under americas extraordinary pressure on the world.
let’s befriend the natives of our places if they are still there to engage with. learn their history. listen to them when they speak. include them in the all the conversations.
let’s learn about the land where we live, and participate in caring for it. let’s join the local organazations and participate in the processes of restoration happening so dilligently in every conceivable area.
let’s engage in our local political process. this is for all my cool-kid neo-tribal conscious community folks who are never there sitting beside the cadres of elders who are ALWAYS there at the meetings – let’s not complain about the laws and regulations : let’s go to the fucking meetings and PARTICIPATE in the decision making processes that shape our world. let’s learn about what’s happening, and make our voices heard.
let’s do the work that needs to be done where we are. no matter where we are, there is MUCH to be done.

live with a heart that is open to the devastated agony of the moment as well as the profound brilliance of that same moment. it is only the heart that allows in the fullness of experience that can access it’s true power to meet that fullness. and this time is FULL.

we are being offered an incalculably magnificent opportunity to transform this part of the world into a shining piece of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. we, as americans, are in the belly of the beast with the magic tools that can change the course. stay. right here. this is beauty, no matter how horrible it looks.

don’t run away.

let’s stand where we are in love and magic: this is our responsibility. and this responsibility is a GIFT.

Don’t take the bait

DON’T TAKE THE BAIT

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this year, watching the tragic comedy of this administration play out its super-villain game over and over again, and watching the tsunamis that ensue in the collective body of the people as a result. Every week there’s a new affront to some beautiful place, minority group, or social program that gets everyone spun and furious and frazzled about how horrible it all is. Every week some new group is enraged (rightfully so) and ready to battle the establishment (thank god). Everyone including me.

I love that so many are so alive and awake to the reality of what we are dealing with right now, and are so ready to take it on. But now I also realize something that is very important to me being able to follow my own prime directive to Live as a Magical Act, and that is this: don’t take the bait.

One method of waging a war is to do everything in your power to confuse and exhaust your opponent. It’s effective. The body, the heart, the mind, and the spirit all get tired, and after a certain point they may just give up because of it. That tactic is being used against us. Well, in my opinion. People are so worked up over every latest assault that they are losing focus, becoming tired, spending their precious life force in worry, agitation, angst, and fear. Myself included. Anger is a tremendous fuel, but it burns out the system. Like turbo: it uses all the gas in short order, and then chronic illness and checking out set in. I know from experience. It isn’t life affirming, it disperses my power, and it wears me down. I’m tired from it, confused, frazzled, and compromised. So I’m done with that mode of relationship to the nature of this moment: I’m hereby reigning reclaiming my sovereignty over my own consciousness.

How am I going to do that? I will stay informed, but manage my emotional responses. I will not voraciously read every account of how terribly fucked up everything is and feed the part of myself that says “See? SEE??!!! We’re doomed!!!” I will not engage in extended discussions about how awful the tax plan is, the travel ban is, the shrinking of national monuments is.

I will focus on the cultivation of my life force, because if the great mystics of the ages can develop magical powers, so can anyone else who disciplines themselves and applies themselves to the study, and I feel that cultivating magical powers along with a strong body and a clear mind is a crucial foundation for dealing with a world being torn apart by dark forces. The physical is only one aspect of reality, never forget that. It is by no means ultimate. All manifest experience is vibration. Consciousness creates. Tune yourself well.

Besides this I will participate with what I love and believe in, sharing my life force with the myriad good works that are happening all the time that make the world beautiful under the radar.

I am hereby reclaiming my consciousness and my sovereignty. I am an embodiment of the life-giving power of the Earth herself, and I am hereby aligning with THAT reality as a means by which to bring about the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible.

I invite you to do the same.  Even better, let’s do it together…..

Reclaim your power. Don’t take the bait.

 

 

Living as a Magical Act, pt 2: the Invitation

Last week the latest mass shooting inspired me to write a piece called “Living as a Magical Act, pt 1: The Question”. This one will make more sense if you read that one first, so have at it here (http://maitreyawolf.com/living-magical-act-pt-1/)  and then come back for the this serving.

So here we are at the Invitation. A week after this latest shooting most people have gone on with our business as usual because almost all of us, in my estimation, are experiencing extreme compassion fatigue. I am right there with this: there has been too much stress, too much violence, too much absolute travesty and too much overwhelm heaped on top of the often arduous efforts for daily personal survival to respond with full presence to the increasingly frequent atrocities that are unfolding in the country and the world. It’s quite a bind that we’re sitting in, us average folk out here in the world, especially us artists and world-crafters making our way through the uncharted territory of the life of the heart: living on the frontiers (aka the fringe) of society working to gather enough money to live with in a collapsing world economy, burdened by the New Age platitude that material success is an expression of divine alignment (spoiler: it’s not), tangled up in societies insistence on carrying on with business as usual, wrestling with our own deep love and care for the world and our simultaneous inclination to check out and please ourselves, looking for love, looking for community, looking for peace, home, belonging, purpose, pleasure, safety, or whatever else while the explosions keep going off around us and deaths cold breath keeps coming closer…… it’s some full-on medicine to be alive in this moment, not for the feint of heart.

And we are not, most of us, as fully engaged in meeting it as we could be. We are, in many ways, aspiring to walk all the way through the initiation without leaving our comfort zone, hoping to access enlightenment from the lap of luxury (or at least lavish comfort) without having to get dirty, feel the terror, stumble in the darkness of a moonless forest at night, or lose the polish of our finely dressed, finely groomed presentation selves.

Well, it doesn’t work that way.

The world we’re sitting inside of is magical, wild, terrifying, profound, tremendous, gritty, bloody, primal, fierce, wicked, gorgeous, and unapologetically, relentlessly REAL. our lives are happening inside of a tremendous moment of absolute reckoning for our species and our planet. This is an extraordinary initiation, and true initiation happens in the territory of life and death, not comfort.

So how do we show up to this moment? How do we meet the invitation of initiation into our genuine adulthood, full humanity, and true Being? How do we bear our part of the unbearable burden on behalf of Life and the creation of a beautiful world for all?

I have just a glimmer of an answer that I am beginning to live my way into, and I share it with you here in the hopes that it will serve and support you. I pray that I do not appear as one of those young hopefuls who has gathered a little bit of knowledge and mistaken it for wisdom, and gone on to charge exorbitant fees to teach something that they are not fully cooked in….. That is an unfortunate trend whose passion for helping the world I appreciate, but whose lack of humility I do not, and I do not propose to be any kind of master, just someone deep in the journey with something to share. Mostly my deep prayer is that what I share here will inspire and support you in walking through whatever particular flavor your initiation is taking on these days, and then hopefully, we will bring the threads of our stories together and weave the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible out of the great possibilities of our individual lives.

So here is my inviation:

Live as a Magical Act.

Take a moment with that phrase. Feel it in your whole body. Roll it around on your tongue and inside of your imagination and listen to what comes alive as it tumbles and dances within you.

Live as a Magical Act.

Now…. what exactly does that mean?

Here in the west we are often burdened with “The Hero Complex”. It is shoved down our throat from every angle, from games to books to movies, and our politics are a flaming example of its inadequacy as a guiding mythos. One man (not yet a woman, oh no! but that essay’s coming later) to “lead” a nation of 320 million people spread out across over 37 million square miles of land? Preposterous! How utterly stupid! In conjunction with “the Hero Complex” we are also dragging the chains of a social and cultural concept that for something to be worthwhile it has to be hugely impactful, garner acclaim, get awards, and/or earn loads of money. This, as a guiding principle or even as an unexamined assumption, is tremendously disempowering. It disavows the magic of the small and subtle, inflating grandiosity instead which so often leads to destruction, imbalance, chaos and disharmony. There are leopards in the world, yes, and they are indeed absolutely crucial to the health of the whole system. But there are many more earthworms, and without them all is lost. One of our many current conundrums is that everyone wants to be a leopard, and no one wants to be an earthworm.

So I lay out this invitation: go forth and Live as a Magical Act, whether your particular path is to be a leopard or an earthworm.  Learn and know yourself, love and honor yourself, have pride and tenderness for your unique offering,come into deep relationship with the reality of the world as it is, and live your unique piece with the fullness of your capacity.

What does that mean? Let’s explore…..

This phrase arose for me from a deep meditation two years ago. For a long time I could feel it, but I couldn’t articulate it, so I have held it close, stayed open to it’s insistent and mysterious magic, and stayed in the place of deep listening with it since it arose. I am only barely able to articulate it now, and I am still rolling around in the dance of all that it means, but what I am beginning to be able to see, name, and live is this:

One component is that we are each a unique expression of the great continuity of the Divine, which is Life. Life and the great mystery of Divinity is not something that exists above and beyond the earth, outside of time and beyond matter: we are expressions of it, and we are living inside of it. All that we are, the breath in our bodies, the beat in our hearts, the wind through the trees, the sparkle of light on water, the mewing of a cat, the broken hearted wailing of any pain, all that we can experience with our senses, and all that exists within, around, and beyond our senses IS THE DIVINE. Earth is Divine. Life is Divine. Everything from Leopards to Earthworms is Divine, without exception. Divinity is not something out there to get to: Life is Divinity. All of it, even the awful things.

Add in the second layer that each of us is the only one of us there will ever be in all of time. Let that fully land for a moment, really take that in: you are the only you there will ever be. EVER. For billions of years prior or hence to this moment, there has never been and will never be another You. Feel that all the way through your blood and your bones. Breathe into the particularity of your body, your voice, your eyes, the way you move, the way you feel, the great phenomenon of your personality and realize that that will never happen again once you drop your robe and go onto your next mystery.

And now this: inside of this living, breathing, expression of Divinity that you, the one-and-only-you-there-will-ever-be, are, is contained something extraordinary and unique, something absolutely essential to the health and well-being of the world.

Do you know what it is?

It may not be huge. It doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t have to be destined for the stage or the Nobel Prize or any other kind of acclaim. It doesn’t have to generate massive amounts of wealth or loads of attention of any kind. There’s something in you that only you carry, your particular medicine for the world that only you can bring, and all that truly matters is that you recognize what it is and live it with full magical intent as your gift to the healing and awakening of the world.

That, in it’s simplest terms, is what it means to Live as a Magical Act.

Now let’s go in deeper:

Let me share something that we have heard before and will hear again as we move through this awesome initiation: the portal to power is through the pain. Everything we want to avoid in an effort to stay safe and comfortable is the doorway to true Being. This is the absolute truth and there is no way around it. If we want access to our power, we have to make relationship with our pain. Jesus and Mary Magdalene were not complete people because they held out the pain of the world. They were complete because they let it in, held it close, let it affect them, and loved it as deeply as they loved everything else.

I am endlessly frustrated with and disappointed by what I call “light supremacy” in spiritual circles. “Darkness exists so that light may be experienced.” “Only the light matters.” “I must overcome my darkness and live only in my light.” “May all darkness be turned to light,” “Only the light is right,” ad neauseum. PLEASE. Even observationally it’s obvious that light only exists in relation to darkness. They are different expressions of the same energy. They come together, they define each other. You don’t get one without the other. And what’s more is that light is not inherently superior and darkness is not inherently inferior. Light does not equal good any more than dark equals bad. That’s all absolute drivel! Chuck that nonsense right now and open to the unique and particular magic that darkness holds, and in this way you will become whole.

How this relates to Living as a Magical Act is this: to come fully alive, one has to make full relationship with the entire spectrum of existence. From the heights of the high that everyone aspires to to the depths of the low that everyone recoils from, life only exists in its entirety. To be fully awake and grounded in Life one must engage the whole spectrum. Anything that one is avoiding or denying is sucking ones life force, because to avoid or deny is already a quality of relationship, so one is already engaged with what’s being avoided or denied, only in a life-draining way instead of a life-giving way.   When one breathes deep, stands still, stands tall, and opens to the whole picture of reality, then one is able to come into deep and true relationship with the whole magnificence of life and where they stand with it, and one will know what their part of the equation is. Then one will know how to participate with full magical intent in the co-creation of the world.

We cannot fully know ourselves until we fully open to the whole reality of life. We cannot fully know ourselves until we fully open to the reality of pain and fear within us. We cannot stand tall in our power until we make deep relationship with our own underworld, thereby coming into full communion and full alliance with the entirety of our being and our place in the world. And we cannot fully know life until we fully open to the reality of the current state of the world. That is the path to awakening and the path to power.

When we have done this, when we have done the work of coming into communion with the entirety of our being, a few things will happen: one is that we will have access to the fullness of our own experience. That brings us alive and brings us into relationship with our life force in a new and important way. Another is that from that place we will see more clearly our place in the big picture, and from that seeing we can Live as a Magical Act. That means that as we live out our newly understood task and/or role, as we make every step in our lives, mundane to magnificent, we suffuse our entire journey with the intention to feed the awakening and healing of the world with our Life.

This is a deep energetic practice, and one that almost defies description and will possibly be different for everyone. But it essentially has to do with the quality of intention and attention that one brings to ones movements.

Imagine for a moment the feeling of deep praying, in the wild, at your altar or in ceremony, or in any other setting where that happens for you. Feel the way that that energy moves in your body, feel how it deepens and invigorates you where you sit as you focus and dive in to your prayers, to your fully magical capacity. That is creativity and vitality in deep communion! Living as a Magical Act is bringing that same quality of depth, presence, vitality, electricity, awareness, intention and attention to the daily process of your life. When you walk, stay in deep with your breath and stay in communion with the breathing world around you, stay present, listen. Give and receive. Be Awake and be Alive. When you speak, speak to bring life to yourself and the world around you, speak with the intent to create beauty. When you are doing whatever you do in your day and your journey, do it with the energy of prayer and Magical intent that life will be healthy and flourish.

Beware the possibility of spiritual bypass herein! Do not use the principle or the practice of Living as a Magical Act as a way to say “oh, I’m praying so I don’t need to participate” – the world is going up in flames or down in floods all around us, people dying of starvation, war, mass shootings, women living in constant fear for our safety even in “safe” countries, animals tortured en masse for food and products, poisoned oceans…… shit is DIRE right now, don’t go back to sleep!!! Use it to wake up!

Living as a Magical Act is not about hiding out in a privileged life with the rhetoric that “I’m praying so it’s all good” to insulate or excuse us from bearing our part of the unbearable burden. Oh no: we’re here, this is our responsibility. It’s about embracing our personal and collective underworld and all the exiled and unsavory parts of ourselves, coming into full communion with the whole reality of who we are and the reality of the world as it is, coming into the deep knowing of our unique gifts and medicine in the world, engaging with the process of the world from the deepest truth of our being through that authentic gift, and powerfully SUFFUSING that engagement with the potency of absolute attention and deep prayer. It’s about re-awakening our absolute power as Beings and healing the world with our love through the expression of our lives. It’s not about personal gain! It’s not about comfort! It’s about giving life all that we have to turn the world around for the better for all beings!!!

And it’s fucking AWESOME!!! It’s entails pain and sorrow and fear but also opens the pathway to Love, Power, and Joy. To be awake is to feel it all, the pleasurable as well as the painful, and it’s the only way to live a real Life. And it matters. It makes a difference. It makes a ripple and makes waves. This planet wants to heal, and humanity wants to heal as well, all the beings we share this planet and a load of them that we share the galaxy with are all about us waking up into our true nature: every awakening being who is living from the fullness of their essential being is a move in the direction of life and beauty.

Let’s DO THIS.

So there’s my invitation. Go forth and Live as a Magical Act. Do it for everything we love. Do it because we can. Do it because we must. Do it now, do it fully, and know that we are doing it together.

Yaheh, as it is spoken, so it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living As A Magical Act, pt 1: the Question

Today a man, who will probably not be identified as a terrorist because he was white, walked into a small church and killed half the congregation, before ending up dead in his car.

Last week a man who probably will be identified as a terrorist because he was Arabic drove a car onto a bike path in New York City and killed 8 people before ending up dead in the street.

Barely a month prior to these two events, a man who has not been identified as a terrorist because he was white opened fire into a crowd at a concert in Las Vegas (eerily in the presence of a replica of the great pyramid) killing 58 and wounding more than 500. There is ample evidence to suggest that there were multiple gunmen in that instance and that it was an event orchestrated by multiple parties, though the official media line is that of the “lone wolf.”  That “lone wolf” also died shortly after his rampage.

Welcome to modern America.  America is one of the most beautiful and strange places in the world, as far as I know.  It is home to some of the most profound beauty and some of the most devastating depravity in the world.  In the light of the steady decline of the society into its worst expressions, I wonder if anyone, anymore, calls this place “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? It is a statement awash in contradictions since the “founding” of this country as the entity it has become today is a long and long-buried story of extraordinary violence, brutality, thievery, lies, betrayal, and environmental devastation, none of which has ever met the light of true accountability, and none of which has ever been dealt with as the debilitating wound that it actually is, and so has completely escaped the healing that is necessary for growth.

The garden that has grown from that agonized soil bears strange fruit indeed. We live now in the land of control, violence as casual entertainment and extreme daily occurrence, police brutality, rampant sexual violation of everyone from barely arrived babies to barely still here elders, money slavery, constant surveillance, encroaching authoritarianism, an ever-looming threat of punishment for not “obeying the law”, conditional freedom, radical corruption in “leadership”, and crumbling social order as every unacknowledged wound, trauma, ghost, demon, and tortured spirit rises from its dungeon to rattle its chains and smash the walls of the glass house of our “nice, prosperous, equality-for-all” society.

And everyday, all day long, we carry on with business as usual.

Well, I have a proposition.

My deepest prayer, as terrifying as the ramifications of it being answered are, even to me, is that we will stop carrying on with business as usual.

EVERYONE. EVERYWHERE. RIGHT NOW.

Stop carrying on with business as usual.

Because this is not the way it should be. This is not “just the way we are” or “the way it is.” This is by no means normal, by no means inevitable, and by no means the ultimate expression of who we are as a species. We have a lot of material to be dealt with if we are going to move from where we currently are as a presence on this planet into the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible – America’s unacknowledged history alone is a festering wound in the collective body of the world, and until it is met and dealt with the society will continue to degenerate into apathy, slavery, madness, and violence – and I cannot feel a more important or worthwhile endeavor to embrace with the fullness of our hearts and the vast brilliance of our consciousness.

Just a few of the examples of the severity of our situation follow:

Having a male (he’s not a man) who is known to be a rapist and a misogynist, who’s morally bankrupt, incredibly incompetent with the task of leadership, famously ignorant, astonishingly arrogant, and is also a notoriously corrupt liar with the rational and emotional capacity of a developmentally impaired teenager as president of the nation is not something to adapt to. It’s not the new normal. It’s no kind of normal.   It’s fucked up. That’s all it is, and that’s all it’s going to be unless someone hauls his ass down to peru and locks him into the care of a particularly unglamorous maestra to do the deep work of riding the waves of his own underworld until the extraordinary disfiguration of his spirit straightens out into an expression of integrated manhood. May it be so, and soon.

Nor is the steady destruction of the land of this holy planet something to blithely accept as the new normal. It’s not fucking normal.  It’s extremely ab-fucking-normal. Poisoned oceans, disappearing forests, mass extinctions of species, severe drought, epidemic wildfires, devastating floods and hurricanes, famines, mountaintop removal, poisoned air from power plants, animals enslaved by the billions for food, clothes and more, wildlife hunted for sport, land that took thousands of years to grow into a perfect system of sustainable beauty for innumerable life forms decimated within months for “development”, let alone the impact to human life that the astronomical wealth inequality holds, all this and many other examples are expressions of the twisted and wholly contemptuous-to-the-earth ideology of “progress.” “Progress” as a driving ideology, complete with its extreme diversity of serious consequences that get measured against economic standards of validity and acceptability, its tremendous array of pollutants and contaminants all driving not only the planet but most of the bodies on it into a state of degenerative disease, and its many other pernicious impacts on life and the world, has long since crossed the line from beneficial to horrendously detrimental, yet shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Indeed, the rhetoric of “progress”, with its attendant standards of “economic development” and “growth” as the only valid measure of its success, seems to steadily grow in volume and amplitude as it’s obvious failure as a guiding principle simultaneously becomes ever more glaringly inescapable.

We are living in a world in which some central delusions have long since become a reality with their own imperatives, and we are on the brink of absolute catastrophe and almost certain death because of it.

It isn’t normal and it doesn’t have to be this way. Other things are possible. Can you feel that? Listen to your bones….. Can you hear life calling?

This is not just words on a page. This is the living, breathing reality of the world that we are living in and sharing with an extraordinary array of life forms who are also on the brink of annihilation because of our human endeavor.

This is a BIG FUCKING DEAL.

This is the most important thing to be in relationship with. Being in relationship with the absolute imperilment of our world and our place within it is the only portal to true empowerment. It’s not “heavy”, a “bummer”, a “downer”, or “too much” – it’s REAL. This is what we’re actually dealing with, and until we call the Hydra the Hydra we can’t deal with it, because it’s not a fucking Dragon, right?

Anywhere there is avoidance or denial there is a loss of power and vital energy that only serves to feed the Wasteland we all need to emerge from. The reality of our world as it is demands and deserves absolutely all of our attention, care, ingenuity, creativity, love, passion, intelligence, humility and action to bring to life the core of beauty that awaits, but is not assured, within this crucible. Being with the world as it is, with all the pain and fear that comes along with that, is the only path to true power and contains the only possibility of potency in response. It is the only path to Life.

We are in the most extraordinary initiation, and as in all initiations, we are walking with Death. Only the way that we walk decides whether or not we live to embody the gift.

Breathe deep, because here’s the amazing thing about it: opening to the pain, sorrow, fear, anger, rage and whatever else arises when you stop to fully breathe in the reality of the world and the awesome precariousness of our situation right now is a direct pathway to not only immense Power but also to true Joy and true Love. Not happiness: that’s what most avoidance is chasing, happiness. True Joy and true Love are another wolf altogether, incredible allies. They are a foundation from which any wings can take flight while remaining deeply embedded in the life of the world. They are the fire that will fuel us and warm us while we do the incredible work of waking up and taking our place in the creation of the World of Beauty. Nothing else can hold us like they can. Nothing else can feed us like they can.

And they are only accessible through the portal of opening to everything that this moment truly is.

So I pose a few questions, and I pose an invitation.

The questions are this:

Where are we, really? Is this where we want to be? What’s going on in this world, really? When we stop long enough to truly look the world in the eye, how do we really feel about it?

How are we participating in the world? Are we living our dreams? Are we living from love? Into what soil is our taproot planted, and what nourishment are we drawing from that soil? What are we feeding into the body of the world with our lives?

Are these choices that we are choosing from – building our lives from and spending our days with – truly, or even barely representative of what’s possible in the scope of a life in the world? What’s not on the menu?

What critical elements that would change everything are being actively hidden from us and conditioned out of us by the society of control and punishment, common education, degenerating nutritional value in food, pharmaceutical drugs, the death of the imagination with the rise of technology, an increase in deliberate obfuscation, propoganda and blatant dishonesty in leadership and news, the crushing mediocrity of “the way things are” and the extraordinary pressure to carry on with “business as usual?”

Before you read on, please take a moment to just be with those questions. Read them and breathe into them, let them open and unfold inside of you, let your responses open and unfold, and welcome all the new questions that they stimulate inside of you.

What awakens for you as you allow yourself to move – in your imagination and your feeling body – beyond the boundaries of what has been handed to you as the only valid set of possibilities and into the life of your own deepest knowing?

What could you reclaim from within your own deepest knowing that could help to heal the world and foster the birth of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible?

Take time with those questions. Let them work on you.

And then I’ll share with you the invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~CHOOSE~

The brilliance of a bright day shines through the darkened leaves of autumn trees ready to go to their winter rest.  The beauty of it draws me closer to the rhythms of life and beauty, the blessing of going inward, and the mystery of Death as an ally in the journey of Life.

Indeed, we seem to be poised at an extraordinary threshold now as death moves all around us in hurricane, earthquake, flood, fire, human-generated mass die-offs of other-than-human species, and violence on an incredible scale.  Our beautiful world is in a state of chaos unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, with some new awful thing to deal with every day, or multiple times a day.  And as a society with a contentious and unintegrated relationship with death, we are not necessarily prepared to meet the magnitude of what we are facing with equanimity or poise.

 

Something is dying.  A threshold is being crossed.  It could be the end of everything known and loved.  I don’t feel that that’s what will unfold, but I know that that’s a possibility.  We have already crossed every line that has been named as the point of no return, and there are parts of the human community who are determined to drive us over every imaginable edge for profit and power.  

Yet something is also coming to life, another threshold being crossed.  In the collapsing of the tower the precious green leaves of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible (1) is visible through the smoke and fire.  The sophistication to which we are currently being invited is in making sure that what is pushing through the foundations of the tower is not destroyed by the towers fall.  Delicate and powerful work.

That requires a relationship with death.  That requires an extraordinary and uncommon finesse, wisdom, and capacity with that deep mystery of the transition between death and life.  We have the capacity, but will we access and embody it in time?  The future is unwritten and every moment of each life matters.  Are we Living as a Magical Act?  Now is the time.   

In my own journey, I view every trauma, tragedy, challenge and obstacle as an opportunity.  Always I ask the question “what is the deeper invitation here?  What is being illuminated?  What wound is arising for healing?  How can I meet the invitation of this pain and use it to grow, stand taller, root down deeper, show up more fully?”  Frequently I don’t want to answer the invitation because it requires that I tend to (or contend with) something that I would rather ignore in favor of “ease”.  But of what value is ease in that context?  Staying asleep may be easy, but it’s not living, and it doesn’t grow the soul.  Truly, it shrinks and retards the soul.

So here we are in a world coming apart at the seams, about to be intimate with some of the most profoundly insurmountable challenges possible, challenges we will nonetheless need to meet with heart, ingenuity, and fortitude.

We will need to make a relationship with Death to navigate through this stage of Life with any grace.  We will need to be able to let go of whatever we cling to for safety in order to stand tall with what’s coming towards us.  We will need to be able to navigate and even direct the decimation of the tower whilst tending to that precious emerging seed.

 

We absolutely can.  We just need to choose that we WILL.

It is all I can do to stay present and awake to all that my heart is asked to hold in this time, and to the devastating feeling of overwhelm and ineptitude that accompanies full presence.  I accept death, but we have not spent much time together.  Experiencing the death of my illusions of what the world is, my safety, trees and land that I love, places that I love, people who have died unnecessarily, water that is sacred to me, everything that is dying all around me, crushes me often into a wailing heap on the ground beneath silent trees.  But every time I fall to my knees screaming in agony, every time I let the magnitude of the world all the way in and let myself respond from an open heart, I am infinitely empowered when I stand up again.

 I would lie if I said I were not inclined to sleep through it, if I said that I never check out and dive into my pleasures and my privilege as a refuge, but I will not tell that lie.  I welcome this time as an opportunity, indeed, an invitation no one can decline, to wake up, stand up, speak up, and rise up for all that is good and beautiful in this world that I love so dearly.  I will stay awake, gently pulling open the wings of my heart and taking in the pain and suffering of this world alongside the beauty and wonder so that I can be a part of the reclamation and restoration of my home in a beautiful way.  It is only in this way that I can truly participate in the healing and transformation to which this chaos and devastation beckons us.  Awake, feeling and caring, with all the anger, overwhelm, fear, fury, and pain that that entails.

There is something that I know for certain, and it guides me like the Compass Star when I feel lost in the madness of the world: we were made for these times (2).  There is a glory within each of us that can sing the world to life and heal everything that is broken, that can break through every chain clapped around our wrists and fly through any storm with strong wings.  I know that it is here, in this moment, that the true magnificence of the human potential ~ as loving participant in the life of the world, as steward of the planet, as kin to all beings, as protector of the beautiful, as beloved of the Holy ~ can be realized, should we so choose.

We have to CHOOSE.

I choose.

I choose to Live as a Magical Act, my power to create the world of beuaty whole and intact and supported by holy Life itself.

I choose to make a relationship with Death so that I can fully participate in the miracle of Life without trying to shield myself from what scares and overwhelms me.  I choose to know my ability to meet the challenge of the moment from the deepest well of strength and love in my soul, and i choose to live from that place of rootedness and potency.

I choose to access my deepest magic and most powerful gifts and to bring them forth as the most powerful medicine available through me to nourish and nurture this world back to health.

I choose to root deeply into the magic of Nature as a way to come home to myself as a sovereign voice of the land speaking, and to take my sustenance from deep relationship with the living earth and the great mystery of which i am one part.  

I choose to live as a warrior and a lover, fiercely defending and tenderly caring for all that I love.

I choose Life, that greatest of gifts.

And I choose it now.

Let us rise up together as a force of love and boundary, saying “NO MORE” to the power elite and the industrial growth society that have us all on the brink of an untimely and unnatural death.  Let us stand tall, hand in hand, saying instead “ABSOLUTELY YES” to the creation of a life affirming world of beauty, inclusion, diversity, magic, mystery, and harmony where all are held, safe, welcome, and honored for the unique beauty that they embody.  Let us take full responsibility for the health and welfare of this beautiful planet Earth with whom we have been gifted a little time and upon whom our entire lives, and the lives of all that we love, depend.  

Let us arise as the defenders and tenders of ourselves, each other, all the life we share this world with and this holy world that is our home

Truly, there is nothing else worth doing.

Maitreya Wolf, 10/12/17

(1) “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” is a book by Charles Eisenstein.  It’s amazing.  Read it.

(2) We Were Made For These Times is an essay by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  It’s also amazing.  You can find it and read it online.

Wild Woman rant, part 2

I wrote an article yesterday entitled “Wild Woman: a rant, an invitation, a plea” and shot it out into the world, a hot arrow loosed from an angry bow without any hesitation. And I feel good about that. I need to do that every now and again: it’s a fire that lives in me that sometimes needs to burn beyond the fireplace, throw off the shackles of propriety and social correctness and just rage for a while to burn through some elements of the human experience that are churning within me. I welcome the terms of these adventures.

Today I’m sitting with more of what unfolded in there for me, and it is, in part, this: I am sitting with what we do to ourselves, the myths and memes we perpetuate through our own behaviors and choices that play out against us in the world, supporting systems that hold us in place as the smaller versions of ourselves for the benefit of the dominant paradigm and the status quo.

Dig my stance: I am a woman, attractive enough to be enticing to men the world over, about which I have wildly mixed emotions because in light of this inborn condition, I have experienced a vast array of highly impactful things, from charming courtship to sweet love, deep chivalry and amazing sex, to endless varieties of harassment, a few attempted assaults, abandonment following connection, and more. This way that I arrived into the world, that I do foster with a bit of care because I enjoy it for it’s own sake, has been defining in my life since I was little – “what a pretty little girl you are!” people would coo, impressing upon my young psyche, which didn’t understand the words but understood the energy, that this “pretty” thing must be hot shit, ‘cuz people give me a lot of energy for it. There was also a moment – I don’t know what happened, but I know that it happened, I think it was because I started dancing – when I was 19, that I suddenly became “beautiful.” I hadn’t been before. I was a dreamy, moody, introspective, alienated, artistic, withdrawn, grungy tomboy in high school, spending most of my time taking endless walks or bike rides around Boston on acid with the travelers in Harvard square, and often wearing the same carhart jeans and black sweatshirt for weeks at a time. But suddenly, when I was 19, men started paying a lot of attention to me, a lot of energy started coming in, and a lot of new territory opened up for me, some of it lovely, some of it not. It was all very strange, but the same way I got it when I was young, I got it in that moment: this was some kind of power in the world, and I liked it. I liked the raw energy of it, I liked the feeling of my sexuality, I liked feeling wanted and appreciated! I also liked being able to gather the attention of many men and women at the same time, I liked that people poured their life force into me for no reason, and I liked the feeling of being powerful that it gave to me. Sexuality! How wonderful!! Of course, I wasn’t adept with it or particularly aware of its deeper significance at the time. It was all new to me and I wasn’t educated or guided in the finer subtleties, possibilities and intricacies of living with that energy in my journey. I was just riding the waves, completely oblivious as to how to surf with grace, which I didn’t. at all.

Anyway, that was a long time ago, and I am now more aware of the subtleties and intricacies of my own nature and human nature than I was then, and I have traveled long with this sometimes heavy blessing of beauty. Here is some of what I’ve learned in this journey.

In regards to the rant about the Wild Woman meme (wherein skinny naked babes are idolized in a completely sexual way as being the epitome of a wild woman, and why don’t men back the fuck off with their sexual energy and see me as a person), what I see is this: there is a constant sexualization of women at work in the world. It is part and parcel of how the patriarchy dominates, subjugates, controls, diminishes and dismisses us, while keeping us chasing our tails in a constant effort to stay beautiful enough to be valuable to the world which effectively cuts us off from our souls deeper purposes in a bright snap when we are children by impressing upon us the intrinsic value of “prettiness”. We are told from birth that our value is in how pretty we are, then as we come into menarche, we are constantly coached, by society and the boys around us, that we are valuable according to how sexually available we are. We are often subsequently thrown out as people, since the boys are often warped and immature due to the perversion of the masculine in our world and society, and rarely want the emotional bonding and responsibility that a sexual relationship entails: they just want the sex. How do we get to this place of so tremendously misguided in this, such a fundamental aspect of our lives as people? Where are our elders when we come of age in this way? Where is our guidance that will help us to integrate the awakening of such awesome, complex, overwhelming, delicious, life-affirming energy in our bodies? American society in particular has assiduously dismantled any system of initiation that would help to awaken us in a beautiful way to the awesome magnitude of our lives as sexual people, and our lives as sexual people in relation to each other: the detrimental impact of this is writ large across the land, and woven into our relations so deeply as to seem completely insurmountable, though I’m sure it’s not.   We are in dire straits in this realm, still, and have miles to go before we are meeting as whole people in a healthy world. for example: Baywatch, anyone? Porn? Strip clubs? 12-year-old supermodels holding up the beauty myth for all to see? The expressions of unhealthy, immature, contorted sexuality are everywhere.

What I want to explore here is some of the ways that we, women, are complicit in our own subjugation when we sexualize ourselves extensively in ways that contribute to, and hold in place, the workings of the system that are turned against us.

This is no small mindful of a contemplation.

Sexuality is a primary energy in the human animal, specifically between menarche and menopause for women. This is natural, healthy, yummy, and right. The desire to live in, enjoy, and express that sexuality is also right on. No worries there. But there is a lot of shaded forest to get lost in in this realm of embodying our sexuality when we live in a world that will often value us solely for that, and then only if we fit certain parameters: skinny, smooth skinned, ample breasted, tight bottomed, and cover-girl faced, long hair is best, especially if it’s thick.   Having been trained from early childhood that “pretty” equals “good” and “deserving of attention and affection,” and that “pretty” looks like such-and-so, and not these other things, we often carry into adulthood a neurosis that we must remain “pretty” to continue to meet the basic human need for connection, attention, and affection, and this affects all areas of our lives, and we often then perpetuate this beauty myth in the way that we relate with the world. It affects what we wear, what we eat and how we relate to food, how we spend our time, how we view and relate to our bodies, how we relate to women, how we relate to men, how we relate to ourselves, how we value ourselves, how we feel in our bodies, etcetera. This socially ingrained value that “Pretty is better, and this is what pretty is (insert magazine cover, movie, video game character, etc, here)” affects how we create the person that we are in the world, at least for most of us.

And how we sexualize ourselves is a huge piece of that.

Last summer I had an experience that it has taken me months to understand fully, and months to recover from. From a place of not fully valuing my content (which I didn’t realize was happening at the time), I put myself out into the social realm as a sexual presence in an effort to meet my needs for connection, affection, appreciation, love, and intimacy.   Shortly thereafter, an exciting man turned up, totally interested in the sexual energy that I was offering, and me totally interested in his. We dated for a month and shared in some incredible intimacy, then he completely disappeared without a backwards glance, leaving me with a shocked, angry, broken heart, and a deep bitterness in my belly (last straw, you know). My sexuality snapped shut like a door on a spring with a deadbolt to lock it, and anger, bitterness, and resentment flared with a passion. After the anger subsided I was able to look into the part that I had played in creating that situation, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. It still is: I had sexualized myself for attention, and that’s exactly what I got. Sexual attention. But what I really wanted, and what I really want, is to be met, seen, and wanted for the person that I am. My needs for connection, attention, affection, and intimacy were not being met, so I decided to make my sexuality the way that I presented myself, in the hopes that I would get those needs met. Now I know what happens when I take that approach. Now I know that I will not meet my needs for connection, attention, affection, and intimacy by sexualizing myself. I will meet my needs for sex, which is empty at best when it is bereft of affection and intimacy. When it is bereft of genuine care.

In the act of sexualizing myself through my clothing, my demeanor, and my ways of interacting, I send the message that it is ok to meet me on that level and to value me on that level. If I am not sitting in the sense of deeply valuing myself, of deeply loving the vast continuum of me, then I send the message that my deeper content, the whole rest of me, is not the place where I want to meet, and that whoever responds to the message doesn’t need to value the depth and breadth of me. I send the message that that’s not where I’m sitting, so it’s not where anyone has to meet me.   This is the responsibility that I must take in how the world relates to me (and I live in a context where I can demand this kind of regard without any extensive repercussions: this would not be so in, say, rural India or other parts of the states, which I acknowledge as an especially meaningful position of priviledge). If I want the world to treat me as a whole person, I have to deeply love, appreciate, and value the whole person that I am, regardless of how I look or how people relate to my sexuality. If I want the world to value me I have to stand in the fullness of my value and demand to be met in that place, and be willing to let anything go that doesn’t meet me in that place.

When we constantly sexualize our experience through our clothing, our communication, our expression, and our energy, we are only playing into the role that society has set out for us, the one that says we must be sexually attractive to be valuable in this world, and we are squandering our capacity to truly deepen the relations amongst people as free women in the world. When we make posts on social media that only portray this current cover-girl standard of beauty, we participate in the dismissal and diminishment of the rest of the spectrum of the expression of womanhood, femininity, and beauty, and enforce the idea that to be wild and to be beautiful means to be overtly sexual. I want to see photos of old women dancing. Of women with all kinds of bodies standing in rapturous enchantment in the arms of the wild, or in passionate embrace in the arms of an equally gorgeously average man. I want to see photos of women in their power, with their clothes on, radiating a grace and wisdom that shines a natural light from deep within them, and have that celebrated as the beauty standard. I want for us, as women, to more fully appreciate and celebrate the full spectrum of womanhood, all bodies, all faces, all ages, all types and expressions of wildness, not just the sexy ones. I want for us to more fully celebrate and express our deeper content, and insist that the world meet us in that place. A truly empowered embodiment of female sexuality would arise naturally from a truly embodied expression of the soul of a person. And a truly integrated relationship with beauty would include all forms and shapes of women and men, because the beauty we would be relating with would be the beauty of the soul, beyond the beauty of the body.

It’s a whole different animal to be living rooted in the deep knowing of the consummate value of the person that one is with the sexual aspect of self alive, awake, juicy, and ready to play (but not running the show). That’s good shit right there, healthy and empowered. That’s where I want to live from, and that’s where I want to be met. And that’s where I want for all of us women to live from and be met in. For all of us people.

And this is in no way an injuction to diminish your sexuality. Express it, go there! it’s gorgeous, delicious, juicy, and beautiful. Just go there with grace, and go there with deep maturity. Go there as a whole person, and know what your motive is when you want to share that energy into the world. A deeper sophistication is what I’m calling for here: a deeper finesse.

 So let’s check our internal sexism, our internal perpetuation of the beauty myth that says that only thin, smooth, cover-girl-pretty women are valuable. If you want to write a “Wild Woman” meme and put a photo with it, put a photo of a different kind of woman, not a glamour shot of a magazine woman. Celebrate a different kind of beauty, and a deeper kind of wildness. We have to value our own deeper content and to live from that place as an insistence on our own quality of life, and we must insist to be met from that place as an insistence that we all meet as people, valid and integral to the unfolding of life on the planet, regardless of how we look.

This is our part of the work, work that we are blessed to do in this world in which so many women are still living subjugated lives in danger of being killed for any expression of their deeper self. We live in a world where rape is an instrument of war, where women can be tortured and beaten to death for any attempt to be themselves and live their truth, for anything at all. It is a truly magnificent and important opportunity and responsibility to stand tall in our intrinsic value as people in the world, and to cultivate a social culture wherein we are valued for who we are instead of how we look or the sex that we represent to someone.

This is my plea and my invitation to my sisters: on our own behalf, and on behalf of all the women in the world, let’s dig even deeper into the Wild Woman meme and bring out the fullness of women’s power, women’s greatness, women’s depths, and women’s beauty. Let’s celebrate ourselves from that place, letting our activated, embodied sexuality live and breathe as a force naturally integrated into the deeper expressions of our souls vitality in a world that desperately needs for the sexes to come into right relation with each other so that all can heal and grow in beauty together.

We are sitting in an extraordinary opportunity to turn the tide for the women of the earth: Let’s live and meet from that place, shall we?

Wild Woman: a rant, an invitation, and a plea.

There’s a lot of energymaxresdefault in the “wild woman” meme these days. Social media is saturated with endless personal posts and blog posts, poems and essays, that describe in delicious detail the “fierce, tender, succulent, sexy, awe inspiring, terrifying, gorgeous, irresistible” energy of this “wild woman,” and the post is always accompanied by some completely fabricated, photoshopped pic of some nameless, mostly or completely naked, always thin and big breasted, always cover-girl beautiful woman in some dancing pose or some otherwise “wildly” expressive pose in a beautiful place, or otherwise in the passionate sexual embrace of some equally magazine-typical beefcake babe of a guy.

I’m going to dive into some of the elements of this conundrum that get under my skin and disgust me every fucking time I see this drivel. At this moment I am going to approach this as a woman in a world that completely sexualizes me at every turn, and I am not going to get into the obvious other side of the coin that the “passionate embrace” pic represents: those beefcake guys are few and far between, and perpetuate a beauty myth amongst men that is equally damaging. I’m going to leave that for another essay, but I see it, and I acknowledge it and the way that it has shaped my relationship with men.

So be prepared, this is a heated piece, but it’s also a plea.  Don’t be afraid.

First and foremost, this entire approach to the “wild woman” is completely nested in idolizing her sexual value. Before you cry foul, ask yourself why are there never pictures of “fat” women, old women, “ugly” women? Because they are not sexually valued in our society, and are therefore marginalized in a snap. This approach to wild woman does not idolize and uplift this quality of the feminine for it’s own sake, honoring the possibility that it has nothing at all to do with sex or with men, it highlights it as a sexual energy: for women the unspoken meme is “wouldn’t you be lucky to be her, and be that hot?” and for men, it’s “wouldn’t you be lucky to be able to handle her, and have that hot sex?” This approach to wild woman goes on endlessly about how she’s going to rip you open from within in and demand that you arrive with your whole heart and authentic self (in bed), how she’s going to woo you into deep romance with the wild nature of life (which you can play out in bed), how to embrace her is to embrace the beating heart of life itself (in bed). Maybe in love, but definitely in bed.

That’s all lovely, and to enjoy all of those hot, deep, mysterious qualities in a truly loving communion of souls would be top-of-the-line AWESOME. I’m all for it.

However.

What this approach to wild woman does not go on about endlessly is that women, myself at the top of the list, are sick-to-fucking-death of being idolized, marginalized, minimized, and aggrandized on the basis of our perceived sexual viability. We are hurt – HURT – by this constant grasping, pawing, and pulling on our sexuality. By every single thing we do or do not do as being some measure of our sexual viability in a world that constantly tells us we are only as valuable as we are young, thin, ample breasted, tight bottomed, and sexually available. We are hurt by seeing an endless array of beautifully rendered pics of stereotypically beautiful women posted with these clap-trap posts about “wild woman” saying, between the lines, that “if you are not this, you are not beautiful”, because no other expression of womanhood is ever portrayed in that spot reserved for “beautiful.” There are no photos of “fat” women. There are no photos of women with “ugly” faces and round, dimply, small breasted, big bottomed bodies, crooked teeth and screwy hair. There are no photos of old women. There are rarely if ever photos of women with their fucking clothes on, doing things that have nothing to do with this hyper-sexualized “wildness” but that are wild, make women (or anyone who engaged at that level) come alive, and make the world go round, nonetheless. Like wildcrafting herbs for medicine in the woods. Or sitting with their sisters in a grove of trees drinking tea and singing songs. Or standing by the oceans side, crying tears for the pain in the world, listening to the waves for guidance and solace, dancing by the fire, singing to the canyon… Or just being in the world in a daily way: working, mothering, tending the many faces of life in the ways that women do. Those things are not represented. Those women are not represented. Susan Sarrandon goes to the Screen Actors Guild Awards with her cleavage showing and the internet lights up with derisive comments about how she’s too old and saggy to show her goods that way, breastfeeding mothers can get tickets for feeding their fucking babies, while an endless parade of almost naked women sells everything from movies to cars to perfume, and people eat it up in sales, status quo, business-as-usual, baby. Fucking outrageous.

So are women that aren’t this skinny, naked, cover-girl faced woman that’s in all these “wild woman” posts less worthy of celebration? Are they less worthy of the title of “wild woman” because they don’t turn you on? Are they not beautiful? Are they not valuable?

What I want to see is a celebration of wild woman that leaves her clothes on. That doesn’t sexualize her. That doesn’t look at her dancing in the forest with the moon as a sexual invitation, but as an invitation to a deeper life wherein we are all participating in the stewardship of the world with care and a deep inter-relatedness with nature. If you see her dancing in the moon, go dance with the moon! Don’t try to get her wildness into you by getting your member into her: dive into your own wildness instead.   I want to see a celebration of the person that wild woman is: not the sex object.   This does not mean neuter your sense of awe or your attraction to her: it means to truly regard her as a part of the interconnectedness of all life and when you feel that sexual urge towards her, open yourself to see the PERSON that’s there, beyond just the sexual possibility that’s there, and open yourself to the AWE itself, so that you, as a whole being, can come more fully alive. Then meet from that place of aliveness, whole in yourself and honoring her as a person whole in herself who doesn’t need to answer your sexual hunger for her, and see what happens. That’s real life, right there.

For thousands of years, women have been told that our only value is our sex. For thousands of years. So as we are endeavoring into an earnest, wonderful exploration of what it would mean to live a balanced life that works for everybody and all the other creatures her in the world, let’s name the elephant in the world and take responsibility for the obvious: let’s not overlook that the constant sexualization of women makes in nigh on fucking impossible for us to stand tall as the equal participants of the life process that we actually are, and that impoverishes everybody, no holds barred.

Because that’s what we want: we want to participate without having to fight tooth and nail for respect and regard while fending off an endless array of sexual advances or sexual abandonments. We want to be respected, honored, revered, and integrated into the ongoing journey of creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. We want sex and passion and love, for sure, make no mistake! But we want to be met as people, not as sex objects.

We are people, and we want to be seen that way. And when we get old, or “round”, or “ugly”, we want to be honored, respected, revered, integrated, and included in the ongoing unfolding of life here on the planet because we are an entire half of the species, and no matter how we look, we are integral to the process of life on earth! That’s what we want to have known: no matter how we look, we are crucial to the unfolding of life on earth, just the same as no matter how a man looks, he is crucial to the unfolding of life on earth.

This moment on this planet is crucial, and it is fucking DIRE. People are completely anthropocentric at this point (meaning that we are completely obsessed with and only value people as a species, much to the detriment of all life on the planet), and unless the relations between men and women get sorted and set to rights, we, as a species, are completely fucked. We need to meet as people, because unless we come together in an integrated, respectful way, valuing all participants regardless of their genitals or their looks, things aren’t going to get better. They’re not.

So this is my request, as a wild woman in a world that constantly sexualizes me and all of my experience, or coaxes me into sexualizing myself, and then throws out the person attached to the yoni:

Be curious about me, the person. Be as interested in me, the person, as you are in me the yoni. Make an effort to get to know me as a person. Meet me as a person. Value me as a person, no matter how I look or whether I stimulate sexual attraction in you. When you see me in my power, just enjoy what it brings alive in you, don’t immediately reach for me sexually, or try to control it so you don’t have to feel what it brings alive in you. Let that inspire you to more fully embody your own wildness. Explore the ways that you constantly sexualize me and my experience. Notice the ways that you perpetuate the beauty myth by idolizing skinny, naked women as the beauty ideal. Pay more attention to images of “fat” women, old women, “ugly” women. Better yet, spend more time with those women. Value them for their wisdom, intelligence, aliveness, uniqueness. Value them as people, and value their beauty. Interrupt sexism, every single time, in yourself and amongst your brothers. PLEASE.

Reprogram yourself to have a bigger vision of what beauty is, and what wild woman is all about. Then get into that with your brothers. This is not only women’s work to unwind this mythology: men must take this up with men, and explore, in real ways, how they value women, and how they can value us as people beyond the possibility for sex that we do or do not represent to them.

Wild woman is not about sex. She’s about life. And so are you. Let’s meet at that level, shall we?