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 (  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.


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 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.












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.


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?

At the Crossroads

Lately I always hear the breathi6ebf5d_e8bbb910b5c3406de19362373f9a7613.jpg_1024ng of the place where something old and important is waiting for something young and impatient to notice a deeper magic alive in the world, to come close enough to truly behold the magnificence being offered beneath and beyond the chaos and mundanity of appearances, to become slow and present enough to care.

I have heard, and hearken to this call, yet knowing that there is so much more that I can do, so much more yet to be done. It resounds in me as a call to the life that I know is possible, not just on the level of the ego and what it wants to keep the body alive and flourishing, but on the level of Soul. This call sings to me of magic, and asks if I will live as a magical act. This call asks if I will live as if every thought, every feeling, every breath, action, and response were a thread that I were weaving into the great story of Life on Earth. Because it is, and I know that.

I wonder if we will all hear this call and answer it, or enough of us to turn the tide.

This is the crux of it now: life waits with baited breath for us to care and from that caring to arrive into full participation. Beyond the confines of our individual selves and lives, where we care while remaining separate and in which we engage in various forms of numbing and avoiding, life waits, watches, and wonders if we will reach beyond ourselves, stretch beyond our comforts, to weave our care into a great continuum of being that will envelope and include the entire world. It’s within us to do this, but it’s not destined or decided that we will. It’s the great invitation of our time, and the only way through the moment.

Our collective intent is writ large across the land. Clear-cut forests lay exposed like gaping wounds, bereft of the teeming life and luscious vitality that define a living, intact woods, absent of animals, birds, plants, mycelium, insects, the holy presence of wise old trees remembering the turning of seasons and holding the ground together. Ruthlessly turned from life to product. Coffee cups and toothpicks, anyone? Mono-cropped plains that once were valley grasslands full of wild life now shrivel beneath the starvation wrought by chemicals that suck life from the soil and fell birds and bees from the skies, or in the unnatural monotony that even organic farms, at the industrial level, force upon the land that needs diversity to flourish. Our skies are striped with cocktails of chemicals that can haze away the sun for days at a time as autism and cancer soar amongst us. Our oceans are becoming a sludge of toxic, plastic goo as the refuse of our endlessly consumptive lifestyles gathers in gyres as broad as continents and miles deep, and the radiation from a failed and still uncontained nuclear disaster still flows into her wet and welcoming arms, once a place of life and healing, becoming now a place of death and sickness. Desperate moans and howling pleas for mercy float on fetid draughts from the wretched confines of factory farms and slaughterhouses, places where an ancient covenant of respect and reciprocity has been streamlined into an industry of murder and oblivion. The oblivion is ours, not our animal kindreds. They know what’s happening. We accept the insulated comfort of denial and carry on with our daily lives.   Miles of rainforest fall to the blade everyday, even though we know that the rainforest makes the oxygen that we breathe. The sixth mass extinction of life on earth is well underway, and we are all, from politicians to homemakers, focused on the lie of economy and industry as if it were more meaningful and important that Life itself.

In the immortal words of a dear friend, “it doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water.”

It’s incomprehensible the degree to which we have abandoned our kinship and broken our promises. We behave as if we are not inextricably linked with the health of this breathing world inside of which we are nested, as if the very nature of industrial society is not utterly, deplorably violent. It builds and sustains itself on the backs of billions of lives violently wasted in an endless pursuit of material benefit, a pursuit that is never satisfied. To the material, capitalist mind, there is never enough. We behave as if the violent decimation of all forms of life that industrial society metes out in tons to the natural world is not a violence we heap upon our own souls, as if it were not a suicidal self-sentencing of our lives to becoming short, banal, and empty of the true magnificence and beauty of life. We have been born into a world where the violence of severance from the beating heart of life itself has been enshrined as normal, and if you’re not a full participant, you’re some kind of fringe radical with a “soft heart,” a tree hugger, quaint and possibly beautiful, but not to be taken seriously.

We negotiate the degree to which we can be “green” inside of a constantly shifting equation of making our lives work. Can we afford to be “green”? Can we afford that good food, that organic clothing, that house built well with earth-friendly materials? Can we afford to let this copse of trees stand? There’s valuable timber in there. Can we afford to leave that oil, ore, gas in the ground to save the habitat of the endangered animal whose lives depend on the intactness of that space on the earth? There’s money to be made. People need energy. Lights and refrigerators need to run. Don’t question that, that’s the basis of a good life.

Rarely, if ever, do we change or abandon a plan if the consequences to life or planet are too great. Endless struggle ensues between people working for conservation and governments and businesses hunting prospects over the negotiation between life and money.   This fact ranges from the micro to the macro. This is not only something that a mysterious them out there is doing, this is a system that we are all nested inside of and complicit in.

Now here, let us take a moment to recognize something: this is what has been chosen for us, what we have been born into. That arrangement of circumstances makes awakening and becoming a change agent a more challenging prospect, since what we are born into we are immersed in as normal – “this is how it is.” Awakening inside of something and recognizing that something different would lead to a better life for all, without a tangible, living example of what that other something is, is a profound challenge. It’s a profound invitation. And it’s the one we’re facing now. What an amazing opportunity has been presented to us! We are standing in the opportunity to fully embody the greatness of the human potential, and to become fully integrated family with the holy, breathing world which is our home and of which we are a part. Magnificent! And yet to be decided, whether or not we will take the invitation and stand tall in this mana.

Take a moment, right now, to allow yourself to become aware of all the ways that you are complicit in the destruction of the world that is our only home. Just become aware. Please do not judge yourself, just become aware. The architecture of denial is pervasive and insidious: we have been trained to be in denial, to rationalize or ignore the cost of our acts, the consequences of our choices. So now, with compassion, just take a moment to notice.

What do you see, and how does it feel to see it? How would you like to answer what you see?

At this point our crisis is far beyond “environmental.” And make no mistake, we are deep in a crisis from which we may or may not emerge. To name our crisis “environmental” allows it to be minimized, compartmentalized, and contested. That conceptual framework rests on the unexamined assumption that the industrial growth society is fine as it is and does not need to be addressed as the foundation for our relationship with life, and that if we hash and haggle over the details, a little pollution here for a little conservation there, all will work out well (for the oligarchs).

Wouldn’t that just be easier? But no, no….. The crisis we are facing is leagues deeper and more profound than that: we are immersed in a crisis of the most profound and important sort. This crisis is expressed as the possibility of the end of our journey as a species, and the possibility of taking a vast swath of the planet out with us, and it is a crisis of Soul. As individuals and as a collective we have become estranged and alienated from our Soul(s), and we are on the brink of annihilation because of it.


Is this not absolutely the most important point? Is this not what deserves our full and undivided attention?

It is no longer the 11th hour: it is nearly midnight, yet we are behaving as if it were still noon.

And… and.

And I feel the breathing of that place where the old and important is waiting for the young and impatient to awaken, and I feel them moving towards each other. The steps are agonizingly slow, as slow as the congealing of stardust into a nebula, shimmering with life and possibility. I feel it in the flowering of my own consciousness, as the songs of the wind in the trees softens the organization of my own molecules, bringing me out of the confines of “myself” and into communion with life. I feel it in the deep soul searching work that my community is doing as individuals and a collective, to come more fully into the experience of an embodied life, and into right relation with life and world. I feel it as the hard edges of my personality soften into the vast continuum of life into which I know I am woven, my mind becoming gentle as my instincts become my guide. I feel it in my own re-wilding, as I deeply question what drives me, as I meditate on my moment of death when I will look back and review all that I’ve lived in the short time that I was “Maitreya.” Will I have left a good legacy? Will I have come into deep relationship with Life?

A brilliant 22-year-old European man has created an entire system for dealing with the garbage in the oceans, from the gathering of it to the proper management of what is gathered. The Achuar and other indigenous groups who have never engaged modern society before have emerged from the Amazon to weave networks of support that are attending to the preservation of the rainforests as the crush of industrial society gnaws on it’s edges and insides. Ayahuasca has leapt out of her traditional homeland, reaching towards everyone she can in an effort, from the plant world, to awaken humanity to our interconnectedness. Eco-villages are springing up like mushrooms after a rain, ripe with inspiration and pregnant with possibility for a beautiful life. Musicians, artists, writers, dancers, all manner of artists are spreading the message of awakening as far and wide as their voices will carry. Countries all over Europe and South America have ousted death-dealing chemical companies from their lands, refusing to submit to their genetically modified murder of the land and people. Permaculture is taking the world by storm, a wonderful collection of governments in Europe have become true servants of he people, using their reach and influence to create systems that work for everyone. Mushroom scientists and enthusiasts are developing endless ways that mycelium and mushrooms can remediate places poisoned by industrial pollution. The white blood cells of the collective body are hard at work, inspired and indefatigable in their dedication to the cause of life on earth. The world is waking up! There is indomitable hope backed by deep and hard work, shining like a bright sun after months of heavy storm: will we all step out into the light and lift our spirits to the task? Can we all gather ourselves to do a little bit more, give a little bit more?

Everyone’s greatest efforts are needed, because as the life-affirming elements of the great “We” gather, galvanize, and move towards beauty, the death-dealing elements continue their drunken rush towards pain. There is so much good work happening in the world, so much action and energy being woven to create a thriving, sustainable future for us all to breathe into, and the agents of death and violence are hard at work as well, sucking the blood out of whatever they can get their hands on, killing and separating, engendering hate and fear and violence.

We are at the crossroads, no turning back and every step forward definitive. What are we choosing with our lives, with our time, with our actions? What are we choosing for all life here in this beautiful, fragile, wild world? Are we all going together, or will this division in the essential elements of our collective self rend the fabric of life as we know it?   Will the separation be complete or will the separation we experience now illuminate these elements for integration so that we become more whole, more potent as a result? Can we come into deep relationship with our personal souls and the truths that we are here to make manifest in the world? Can we come into deep and right relation with our collective soul and make manifest a world of beauty that thrives and flourishes? Can we live as a magical act, creating the world we want to live in with our every thought, breath, and action?

This is truly an extraordinary moment!

We are writing the future with our lives. Pick up the pen and help to craft the story. Sing your souls unique and glorious song into the concert of life. What beauty do you want to see? What legacy do you want to leave?


The Turning Point

12792392_491430591046277_5228222359559280866_oOnce upon a time i worked in a world-renowned, busy shop in a big city.  I had apprenticed there, and was cruising along with my art, having been hired straight out when i didn’t even feel that i was ready, but they said “you’re better than i was when i started, and you only learn by doing, so let’s go!”  Beaming with pride, i started with clients.
This i can say about my education in the art; i received a solid and generous tutelage from incredibly artistically and tremendously skilled people.  I also received endless support and encouragement from them, even though there were plenty of ways the edges of our various personalities and ways of being ground against each other.  I took this to be natural, and didn’t question the rightness or not of my being there, it was the fulfillment of a life’s worth of dreaming, and a privilege besides, to be with such talent, and to be so wholly welcomed into the fold (not the least because my first apprenticeship was a fiasco wherein a great deal of art and money was stolen from me, and i almost threw in the hat at that point).
There was always something that felt ultimately right, yet there was also something that always felt deeply wrong about the whole scenario, though i couldn’t place it.  I was not, at that time, too inclined to explore that beyond the point where i was attached to my identity as an up-and-coming tattoo artist in a famous shop, and besides, this was “a thing with people” – all of those are a bit strange, at least for me.  I just rested in the rightness of it and accepted the at first subtle, then progressively glaring, problems of the context of the shop and the nature of the industry as par for the course, things for me to learn how to deal with so i could get in deep, get successful, and earn a great living doing an art that i truly love and enjoy.
Within a short period of time, that perspective was demolished by two experiences; only one of which i will speak to at length here.
I sat upstairs in the shop, a long, narrow, tiny space in which there were three stations all in a row, separated by shoulder-height walls.  My station was in the middle.  I had a young woman in my chair, giving her a piece on her upper back, onto her neck, for which she was sitting admirably, and which i could also see was very painful for her.  We had begun alone, but in the course of our time B, the owner, and G, the other owner had arrived, and were gearing up for their days on either side of me.  When my cd came to an end (this was before ipods), B, who was a full on gutter punk (minus the gutter) and a world renowned photo realist, popped in some of his favorite tunes, which were obscure German death metal, sounding to me always like the hounds of hell baying in agony for having been thrown into an ancient industrial meat grinder, all recorded with the shitiest equipment imaginable.   And he dug it loud.  Shortly thereafter, he and G got into some boasting-cum-argument, which they were hurling back and forth at each other from either side of me, each hollering over the horrendous music at a progressively greater volume.  I was in the middle of this, quietly doing whatever i could to stay focused and grounded and not lose my shit with the both of them, when i realized that my client had begun to sweat, shake, and cry silently into the face rest, doing her best to toughen up and get through the process without “being a pain” or “wimping out.”
My world stood still.
A great wave rushed through me after a few seconds of utter stillness and internal silence, breathing a knowing into me of the root of the art as an initiatory rite.  I felt the sacred essence of the art surge forth and fill me, and that surging offered a glimpse of something so much more beautiful, so much more profound, so much more real, than how I was practicing based on what the industry ideal was, that tears sprang to my eyes.  I was breathless and shaking, slightly dizzy, and entranced by an awakening that was not subsiding.

A great teacher of mine once said that any sacred art that couldn’t be destroyed would be commercialized, which would neutralize it beyond recognition, and sap the pulse of the mystery right out of it.  It would therefore cease to be a way of diving deeper into the mystery of being and deeper into intimacy with the forces of life, and become a mask, a shell, and/or a parody of it’s essential nature, devoid of the life-giving magic it originally offered to the human experience.

Blinking my eyes, i sat there, my machine frozen in the air, hearing this boastful nonsense, assaulted by the horrible music, and overwhelmed by my impotence to secure the space to support my shivering, sweating, crying client, and something in me snapped.  Or snapped to, i could say.

A more right and real way to be in my position and provide for hers had just come alive inside of me.  I realized there was no way for me to properly care for her or myself in this setting, nor could the deep magic of the experience flourish there.  It was all wrong.  All wrong.  And i could only continue practicing if i made it right somehow.  If i made it sacred again.  If i made it safe, for her and for me.
I set down my machine, handed her her shirt, and spoke gently to her that i would like for us to be done for the day, and for her to come back when the shop was closed so that we could complete her piece in peace and quiet.  She wiped her tears and thanked me for that offer, after some feeble protests that it was ok, she could handle it.  I don’t know if i said or only thought that you shouldn’t have to “handle it.”
that was a threshold day.  Even though i was attached to my identity as a cool tattoo artist and my dreams of being wealthy and world famous within ten years, my relationship with the shop and the industry was nigh on killed in that moment of awakening.  When i went to my first (and only) convention shortly thereafter and witnessed some of the most deplorable behavior i had ever seen, mixed in with run-of-the-mill self-aggrandizement and petty narcissism, the final blow was landed.  I didn’t want anything to do with any of it.  In that moment, which was my turning point, the depths of my ancient, sacred agreements with the art had awoken.  As daunting as the prospect of maintaining a practice of this nature was and still is, everything in me breathed a sigh of relief: i had awoken to the pathway to right relation with my art.
Shortly thereafter i left the shop and took my practice home with me.  There was a spare room in my house which i painted blue and decked out to be beautiful, comforting, and peaceful.  this room became my studio, a sanctuary of mine wherein i could be the priestess that the art needed me to be, and the friend that my clients needed me to be.  When people came for work, we would have tea and visit before the session to drop in, bringing us into resonance and deeply humanizing the experience, moving it beyond the realm of “business transaction.”  Then when we began the session we would sit and pray together, invoking the elements, spirits, nature, and our ancestors and guides, before diving into the physical aspect of the work.  We would open the space in a sacred way, and endeavor into the momentous transformation of being tattooed with our prayers spoken, our hearts tuned to the mystery.  We would go through the process silent, or talking and sharing ourselves, or singing and praying, then close the circle with prayers at the end.  At the end of these sacred meetings my heart was warmed and lifted, feeling as though i had truly given something beautiful and unique to the person, and truly supported them to more fully embody themselves in their earth-walk.  This is still how i feel today, and still how i practice today, inevitable ups-and-downs of the experience included.  I feel that to practice in this way is to more fully engage with the inherent sacredness of life, providing a context for a deepening of self and a progressed awakening of the inherent magic of a person through the beauty of blood-rites.  For me, it’s the only way.

The way that i practice is designed to support the deepest unfolding of a person through their personal mythology in this life.  What have you gone through? Where are you now? What is your prayer with this piece? Who are you becoming with this transformation?  These are the questions that we explore when we come together, and what i have seen in people’s loves and journeys has been amazing.  The ways i have been able to support people into embodying their fullness in life has been extraordinary, growing in depth and magic with every encounter.  I am so glad that the art pours itself through me in this way, so honored that i am able to walk with this ancient, sacred spirit in my life.

This is a sacred art, utterly powerful and utterly profound.  When we give it our full attention, it gives us it’s full love.  In this time, every aspect of our lives is a testament to the deepest values of our soul and an offering to the world we want to create; i invite you to dive this deeply into the possibility of your transformation, to live your mythology, and embody the unique and brilliant singularity that you are in the world.

You are the only you there will ever be!  How is your spirit painted?