Growing Pains in Covid Times

Good morning everyone…

There’s been something percolating in my heart and mind all weekend that I don’t have absolutely clear thoughts about, but I do well to let things out and sort out the details as I go.  I am, as are we all, a work very much in progress.  So I’m going to share this and see what happens.

Friday I made an exasperated post on my fb page about “The Party” on the 4th of July that has now become infamous and thrashed more than a few peoples reputations and social standing in our community (that’s a big deal in a small town).  The tone of my own post was shaming, centered as it was on “we must take this seriously: we must do better”.  I made that post in a moment of exasperation and I’ve questioned myself on it ever since I saw the comments and shares pile up.  There was hypocrisy in my words, and it’s been eating at me.  Now that I’ve seen the info make it out of state and can feel the potential ramifications of the criminalization of all gathering with beloveds, I am seriously questioning how I participated in the vilification of the event and the social media frenzy of general vilification, shaming, and “trial by twitter” in regards to any and everything happening right now (thanks, Steven Grant).

There are a few reasons I call my own words hypocrisy.  One is that I have been to a few gatherings since the pandemic and the lockdown began.  A few have been small and with close friends and I feel fine about that. I will continue to feel fine about that.  We need each other now more than ever and being with friends is hugely important.  But one in particular was a gathering of around 50 people in an indoor setting where none of us were doing any mitigation measures and the organizers only nod to the virus was “If you don’t feel well, don’t come.  With all due respect to Covid, we feel that it is time to get on with our lives” (that’s an almost direct quote from the invitation).  That sounded fine to me at the time, and was how I was feeling as well.  At that time I was holding the virus in the frame of knowing that statistically speaking, it’s not that big a deal (read the whole thing before you burn me down over that one line) and also, and more so, that I would not submit to have my freedom to love and gather with my friends to share my gifts and celebrate life be compromised for something that I did not actually see evidence of around me.  I am also holding an array of information that leads me to believe that this entire situation was planned and is part of an enormous effort to centralize the world into a one world government (look up Event 201 if you want to learn a little bit about the non-coincidence of a Covid Pandemic Planning Exercise that happened last October, sponsored by Bill Gates who stands to make trillions from the vaccines being developed that will necessitate the final “re-opening” of society.  And Event 201 is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of evidence that this was planned.  It’s some seriously scary shit).  So I was in a similar place to that of the organizers of “The Party” were when they planning and subsequently enjoying the thing.

So here’s why I call myself a hypocrite for my shaming tone: I absolutely understand why people are gathering.  We’ve been in this whacked limbo for months with shitty to non-existent leadership and utterly confusing information about absolutely every aspect of this virus from how it works in the body to how it travels between people to how to treat it and beyond.  Take masks for instance: from the popular motto “masks save lives” to “this mask will not mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in any way” written on the side of N95 mask packages to Fauci quoted as saying “masks don’t really make a difference, they just make people feel better” while CNN has now gone as far as to say that people who won’t wear masks are psychopathic, there is a lot being said about every detail of this thing, but it all goes in different directions and none of it really makes much sense to the layperson (that’s us).  Compounding this is an incredible array of attendant complications to the shutdown of the economy and the restriction of life on every level (Governor Newsom just outlawed singing in Church, for fucks sake, while the very appropriate protests involving thousands of people yelling, singing, dancing, and rubbing shoulders in all manner of way got his full endorsement), and what we are met with, at the most basic level, is that we can’t live this way.

We can’t live in this endless, amorphous fear of something a lot of us can’t actually put our hands on, we can’t live in this limbo about how to relate, we can’t live in this isolation that is driving many to economic ruin, depression, substance abuse, violence, and suicide.  We can’t live without each other, and the governments tactic of pressing us indefinitely into conceptual cages of separation without clear leadership about how we are going to deal with this to help us believe that this is being handled well, while expecting us to submit to the increasingly constrictive measures being enacted against us in the name of answers and plans that are nowhere in sight except for the fucking experimental DNA mutating vaccine being developed that may be ready by December if it skips clinical trials, all the while withholding any inkling of a possibility that this is going to change into something livable again in the near future is unsustainable to the maximum degree, and people aren’t going to do it.  They are going to lose focus.  They are going to do what they want and need to do, which is to connect, and to live.  So I understand why people are gathering, and because of that my tone in my original post was hypocritical.   I understand wanting to gather and dance and celebrate and laugh with friends in a beautiful place in the height of summer, the season of celebration and connection.  We are hurting, and we need relief.  Zoom concerts and classes do not cut it.  Life online is not life.  We need each other,  we need connection.  And I understand why they will continue to gather because of it.

That all said, a little while after that gathering, an fb friend posted something that pulled me up short.  It said, essentially, “I wonder if any of my Covid naysayer friends has ever read any accounts from Covid ‘survivors’ to get a handle on how this thing actually works?” (Thanks, Amelia Mae).  I had not, so I went and looked for some.

What I read blew my mind, broke my heart, and changed my perspective.  And freaked me out a little: a lot of people that attended the gathering I was at were from the Bay and LA, places where there is a lot of Covid.  I didn’t know that was going to be the case before I agreed and went: do you know that people are leaving the city in droves at this point because they don’t want to be there and now they can work remotely?  It has made the rental market here tighter and more expensive than it’s ever been, and they are bringing a lot of the city – including, probably, a fair number of asymptomatic Covid cases (but that’s speculation) – with them.  It’s a situation.  But that’s another matter

Here’s what I read in the Covid survivor stories that really got a hold of me in a different way: “recovered” from Covid can mean debilitating fatigue and brain fog, constant shortness of breath, racking cough, nausea, and/or diarrhea, extreme vertigo, and more, months after initial contraction of the virus.  The symptoms can disappear for spells of time and then suddenly re-appear and wipe someone out for weeks at a time.  Some stories spoke of having initially become ill in December and still exhibiting symptoms in July even though the person is considered to be “fully recovered”.  If you’ve ever been nauseous or had diarrhea, you know it’s awful in the short term, and diarrhea can strip your body of all nutrients and minerals quickly enough to be a serious medical issue in the short term: it essentially means you are not actually absorbing any nutrition from your food.  I can imagine (this is, of course, speculation) that over time that equates to a low-level starvation.

As someone who has lived with a chronic illness for the past 7 years, the reality of debilitating fatigue and brain fog are very familiar to me, as I have already spent years mitigating the presence of both, and not something I would wish on anyone or be willing to take on afresh myself.

I put all of this information together, for the first time, with the knowledge (which had been a distant piece of information for me at the time that I attended that gathering, not something I was holding in the forefront of my mind, hello, many-faceted privilege) that this virus is most dangerous and devastating for people of color, the elderly, and the health-compromised, and essentially least dangerous for people like me: a young, healthy, able-bodied white woman living alone in a beautiful natural setting full of fresh air, bright sun, and good water, with a fridge full of high quality food and good natural medicines of all kinds in the cupboards.

There was a bit of a train wreck in my consciousness at that point as the separation between “statistics” and “realities” suddenly dissolved, and I saw that to blow this virus and its importance off is, actually, a perspective of white privilege that is genuinely dangerous to the people around us.  While privileged (mostly) white people continue to gather at ever increasingly large events, the people who are most burdened by this illness (and who are also dealing with the systemic racism reality at a new level as we thankfully turn towards changing that for good) are not gathering.  Not even to bury their dead, who are increasing by the day.  That’s something to seriously consider if you’re white and throwing statistics around on your way to a party.

Yes, statistically speaking, Covid is less dangerous than driving.  Yes, it was planned at worst, and/or is being actively exploited by the power elite at best.  And it’s also genuinely dangerous for the most vulnerable and pressured among us, and statistics and nefarious plans aside, that matters in a way that deserves our attention and our care on a personal, communal level.  It deserves for those of us who are not at risk and can afford to focus on something other than losing our loved ones to it to pay attention in a different way and treat it with respect.  It deserves that we move beyond our obsession with individualism and freedom and apply our intelligence to figuring out how to care for the ones around us who are vulnerable so that they can live their lives according to their own truth and nature as well and easily as we want and demand to.  That’s maturity.  That’s loving the world we are a part of in a way that takes everyone into consideration.  That’s also dismantling exceptionalism and white supremacy.

Here’s why this differentiation between statistics and experience matters: statistics are mathematical models derived from available data.  Numbers, ratios, info.  Statistics aren’t the reality of the situation on the ground, in the body, in the community.  Statistics don’t address the detail that to have “recovered” could mean being debilitatingly ill indefinitely and developing various compound illnesses and conditions because of it (extreme scarring of the lungs is starting to show up in people who have “recovered”, and this could inhibit their breathing, i.e., the oxygenation of their bodies, for the rest of their lives.  And that’s just one thing discovered so far!). If we’re working with a 99% “recovery” rate, which is amazing statistically speaking, but actually looks like the above for a considerable percentage of the “recovered”, that carries a different meaning and asks for a different consideration than if “recovered” meant “all gone, all clear, all good.”  Especially if loads of the “recovered” are in some way systemically or personally compromised to begin with.  And the fact that the load of the burden of the virus’ impact falls especially hard on people of color asks for a far different consideration than it’s being given by the people for whom it is mostly a conceptual piece of information happening to “someone else out there, but not me.”

I don’t agree with the way the virus is being handled by the “authorities”.  I believe there could be so much more sophistication and finesse in our response to it from the government on down to the individual.  I don’t believe that the “lockdown” of society that left liquor stores open but shut down natural health practitioners and trails into the fucking wilderness, has anything to do with our collective well-being.  I just don’t.  I believe that it is being used to manipulate us and corral us into submission to totalitarianism, and that is truly terrifying.

But I know now, just from doing a little simple reading that anyone could do, that this virus is real, and it’s nasty.  Now I’m taking more precautions and being more careful.  There’s just so much we don’t know about Covid and what’s going to take care of everyone as well as we can.   We as individuals have to be humble to that and not barricade ourselves behind statistics that support us doing whatever we want to do in a moment when a deeper maturity is being asked of us.  We have to be humble to the reality that we just don’t know what’s going on and not behave inconsiderately or recklessly because to do that plays roulette with other people’s lives in a way that is unconscionable.  Yes, there’s a %99 “recovery” rate, but does that justify blithely tossing the dice about who gets saddled with the long term ramifications of this infection?  It doesn’t.  It just doesn’t.  It’s a non-starter as a conversation point because the effects of the virus are not evenly distributed, and we have to take care of all of us as we figure out how to move through this with grace and more sophistication than the pathetic lack of leadership we’ve been dealing with so far.  Yes, we are statistically more likely to die in a car accident than by Covid: thusly, we drive sober because to drive drunk greatly increases our chances of killing ourselves or someone else with our car.  It’s the same game, friends: we take what precautions we can so that we tend to each other as well as we can in the midst of all this not-knowing while we do the work to figure out what can actually work better and then ultimately best in the long run.

I am not advocating for fear and paranoia.  I am not vilifying the desire to gather with beloveds.  I am not saying that anyone who doesn’t wear a mask is a psychopath that is actively engaging in violence.  I don’t believe that masks make that much of a difference, but it’s a piece and it doesn’t actually bother me much.  I’m not suggesting we abandon our vigilance and skepticism about the path of totalitarianism that the government is steadily unrolling around us with Covid as one of its central pillars.

What I am saying is this: it’s a good and right thing to do to recognize that there is something going on that is worthy of respect, consideration, and discipline of action and behavior, and that we each have a part to play in taking care of the whole.  We’ve always had that part to play, and now we’re finally face-to-face with that reality, and I hope above and beyond hope that we actually get a little disciplined with our radical individualism and do it.  Discipline isn’t synonymous with deprivation, it just means engaging with skill and a broad scope of vision that takes into account more than just our own needs and desires.  It’s high time that we come out of the tower of self-satisfaction and set up camp in the territory of stewardship of the world.  It’s a good place to be.  It feels better, even when it hurts.  I mean that.

And what I’m also saying is this: let’s not turn on each other so quickly.  I know that everyone is scared and hurting and at their breaking point, but we are all here together, even after bonds are severed and wounds are delivered through nasty words, so let’s not attack each other so freely.  Let’s hold each other more kindly and “love our way through it” as my spirit ma La loves to say.

These are the times when it is of the utmost importance that we close the gap between our ideals and our behaviors.  This is no mean task.  This is the essential work of an integrated life.  I know the people who hosted The Party and many who facilitated at it: they are all loving and caring people who just want to be and share with their friends and made an error in judgement at a very critical moment.  Anyone and everyone can and will do this at any point throughout their lives, especially now.  That’s not fundamentally “bad”.  It’s human, and it’s going to happen through each of us at different times, so let’s see how we can be compassionate about mistakes and save the “trial by twitter” for when malicious and blatant disregard for life is actually evident.  If they, and I, and everyone else who has something to learn right now (that’s all of us) use this moment and every subsequent mistake coming as the learning opportunity that it is, get humble in an empowered way, take the teaching and show the fuck up for the learning, and do the good work of evolving our souls into the adults we are able and being called to be, we will thereby evolve our world into a gorgeous and livable place for all people and all beings.  Possibly in record time, Goddess willing (I think she’s betting on us).

We’re deep in the territory of initiation right now, and we can do this well if we stand up straight, listen deeply, and respond with full heart and soul when we hear something clearly.  I have faith in us.  I really do.

To anyone who may have been hurt by my actions or my words at any time in the course of this whole experience, I apologize.  I am doing my best and learning as I go and I am sorry it took me so long to see this forest for its trees.  I am still in the process of seeing, and will continue to stay open, humble, and present to the work of the times.

May it bear sweet fruit.

Maitreya ~ July 2020

 

Initiatory Possibility (podcast ep 10)

At the heart of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown of society is an initiatory possibility.  This could be a moment where everything changes for the better if we go all the way down to the bottom of our beings and harvest the wisdom awaiting our attention there.  But though a moment may have initiatory possibility written into it, initiation is not assured: wether or not we are initiated has everything to do with how we relate to the opportunity, how we navigate the moment.

Let’s go there.  Let’s go all the way down and through the gates, surrendering a piece of false regalia at each one so that we can come into deep communion with the Truth of our Being, claim our true regalia as we walk back through the gates, and emerge as embodied wisdom ready to co-create a life-giving and beautiful world in which all can thrive and flourish.

Includes the song Wild Joy, the first single from my upcoming album Fertile Darkness, which is a feast in song of the fruits of my own initiation.  Pre-order your copy of Fertile Darkness here to receive Wild Joy as a pre-release gift (album drops May 6th):

https://maitreyawolf.bandcamp.com/album/fertile-darkness

Closer to Earth

Today is “Earth Day”.   In this time of the pandemic, when society has finally come to a halt long enough for us to look around and take a breath, let’s reflect on the world that we want to create as we move forward into the new instead of defaulting back to the status quo that is so painful, destructive, and empty in so many ways.  Let’s name our true feelings and difficulties with society so that we can liberate the full spectrum of our love and thereby imagine a greater collective experience for ourselves, one in which all life benefits, not just the .001% at the expense of absolutely everything else.

And above all things, let’s get closer to Earth and LISTEN for what she is feeling, wanting, and needing as we move forward.  Let’s listen for our part of the story and when it becomes clear let’s embody that station as our gift to life.

 

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!