The Myth of Wild-ness

I have been to a lot of gatherings. Pagan circles. Women circles. Find your inner core truth retreats. Awaken your inner animal workshops. Finding your wild self classes. They come with many titles and approaches. Yet they each preach the same thing. You lost touch with your wildness and to be a complete functioning human you need to reclaim it.

There is a formula to them. It starts with a guru of sorts explaining the unnatural distance we humans have with the world around us. The misaligned and domesticated apathy for being a sheep in a constructed world that wrings out all the juice of our human-ness. We are told the only wayback to the authentic self is to embrace the suppressed wildness with in.

In this introduction the participants are told to not think and just feel. The thinking mind is some how the enemy of self. Feelings and the heart are the true emanipators of our core selves. Then there is usually a sharing circle where the participants open up their deep feelings: guilt, rage, shame, fear, sadness, anger…. etc. This is followed by some kind of ceremonial experience… and a promise to go deeper.

Depending on the guru of a gathering like this there can be different sharing sessions that contribute and encourage the emotional expression of the participants. Some topics are about reclaiming your sexuality. Finding your inner animal. Expression of rage. Safe spaces to explore the trauma that is still pulling the strings of your life…. This is all working and funneling the energy of the group toward a larger ceremonial experience…. the solidifying of the wild self…. usually around a fire outside in a safe and secluded environment.

There is a necessity to make offerings that represent the things to release that hold back the individuals connections to the wild self and offerings to honor a reconnection. There is the donning of ceremonial dress, ritual bathing, getting ready for an initiation.

There is a procession into sacred space that becomes the door way to separate the magical from the mundane… there is purification before entering…. then entering to the space to form a circle. There is sometimes drumming, singing… or silence depending on the plan for the ceremony.

Participants stand facing a fire or central altar and are told to use this sacred space to transition, transform, transmute, become…. From this point the ceremony can move and evolve into many diverse expressions that are embodied by the tradition or practice of the group. Dancing. Drumming. Story telling. Saying affirmations. Witnessing. Speaking truth. Screaming loudly and shaking. Tears. Prayers….

This is followed by a form of grounding and closing out the sacred circle. Participants process out and return into the mundane world having been altered by the experience.

These ceremonies and gatherings are often cathartic for some participants. They can be the medicine for personal and communal change, revolution and awareness. I personally think that gatherings like this have a useful place in how societies and cultures grow and evolve.

What I want address today is the perception that “wildness” is some how distinct and disconnected from the thinking parts of who we are. That we have been presenting a misconception of what wildness is. This has become so entrenched in the ideological architecture and archetypes that define our identity and authenticity. It expresses it itself as the “losing of control” in the face of traditional/cultural structures.

Sometimes these divisions defined by referring to the analytical mind or the rational mind as the controlling mechanism. Which is often applied within certain spiritual groups as a derogatory jab at millions of years of human brain evolution.

My approach for this commentary will come from my years of direct experience with nature and the natural world. Perhaps, offering a different perspective for what wildness can be as we move toward a different and hopefully better future.

I’ll start with everything we know about what being wild is wrong.

Living in the world requires skills that take into account the ecologies and environments we’ve in. To live in these places there has to be awareness, sustainability, safety, community, a governing set of principles, and taboos that define how that group will work together for a common goal.

When I have been out in the forests, deserts, plains and by the oceans there is a direct necessity for working with patterns and order. Some of these are following the day light or night time. Some are the awareness of temperature, weather, wind, or the resources of an ecosystem. These are also the pollention of flowers, the season of fruits and seeds. Or the migration of animals. There is the violence of predator/prey and also a need to find balance in the necessary exchanges for food and living. To understand the rhythms of growth, birth and death. To live in these complexities organically self defining structures there is a necessity for rational thinking (this is as diverse as there are species) and understanding of what is going on around in the environment. This has pushed the evolution of brains, cognitive thinking, emotions and memory.

The natural world doesn’t have a hierarchy in the same way as humans have create them for power and control. Every living thing is part of the diversity that becomes the systems and symbiosis of a place. Each one contributes to the sustainability of the environment. Different species are aware of who eats them and what to eat. What unfolds is the dance of life. That is the wildness of calculating and thinking. Weigh risk with action. Reading the signs and acquiring the experience(s) to survive and live.

There are emotions and feelings in this natural world. Emotions are the barometer of the inner experience to the outer engagement with the world. Yet, in my observations emotions are less the driving force of being wild. These emotions can be seem in the grieving, mating, raising of young, playfulness and other interactions between individuals and communal structures. And yet, emotions can not be relied on for sustainable actions. Often it is our emotions that usurp our rational mind or thinking. It is the emotional reaction to situations that cause trauma and pain. Emotions are short sight and often are the tool for acquiring an instant dividend in a situation. That is in my opinion is an area that we humans might want to re-evaluate and change.

Wildness is the fullness of our brains at work processing the world around us to make decisions and take actions.

I’ll write more on this as I continue to explore the topic.

Solstice

The sun sets today after it longest day. Tomorrow  begins the slow March back towards the southern  hemisphere. This year is half over. The shortening of each day now will set the course for the return of winter.

What Is Revealed

It has been the perfect storms of events over the last 2 months that have forced this country to face itself.  The blinding, piecing light of truth that shows all the imperfections, cracks and ugliness has made it way into the reality of our lives. And in a clinical way it has exposed  the tumors of our racist and classist  cancers that need to be removed. Perhaps we are a stage three. It’s  bad and the procedures  and methods  to cure it will be harsh. The body of liberty  and justice will be challenged  as the healing begins.  A good attitude  will help yet it is the willingness to go the course of the medications and treatments  that will bring the greatest out come for permanent change  toward and healthier society… world.

Racist ideologies are hardwired into the thoughts,  embedded into the tissues  and organs. They metastasize. They pass into the blood stream and eventually find the lungs and voice box. From there the words of hate and acts of violence. Finding the pedestals  of power in society and multiplying  the narratives of oppression and divisiveness. A feed back loop of indoctrination and acceptable order.

This systematic infiltration of racism is cultivated in an environment of social and cultural norms that have become a silent fabric of expression. They dig ruts into earth. Tactical actions and the denial of oppressive ideologies that go unquestioned as symbols of “American-ness” They flutter on like our flag a national symbol for unity until it starts to fray and unravel with time, the winds of change and awareness.

The surgery  for racism is traumatic. The psychological conflicts  of beliefs, behaviors and the freely administered expression of them must be removed. It is a necessity… it’s  what needs to be done. And like any surgery  into the body it will be traumatic.

The shaking ground under the foundations of our humanity. The storms of ideological changes. The disruption and chaos are all part of the initiation process. A new nation rises when the old one ceases to serve all it’s people. To no longer be what we were/are then there has to be direct action, intervention and even death/transformation.

The social and cultural medicines of education, policy, unity, equality, justice and along with the willingness to change institutions, beliefs and behaviors is the rehabilitation/evolution/revolution that needs to be the call to the individual, political structures and social actions we decide to live and cultivate every day until it becomes reality.

All great magic requires sacrifice. What we are willing to put into this country for it to be a vision and the manifestation of our best humanity is up to us and how we all proceed.

Breaking

When the civil lies can no longer prop up what we really see. When the biast mechanisms of society are picked apart. Voices rise to demand change. The world stops and listens. As the remains of dead ideologies burn in the streets.

Changing…..

The fires keep burning. The frustration and rage has spilled out of the cauldron of inaction. Like lava this is slowly and steadily burning the earth… the asphalt… the tidy lines of faux justice, that defined the signals and yellow lines of social traffic. They are no longer holding down a rule of law slanted with inequities towards a demographic.

The silent voices that have been churning with injustices for years. Have said, “No more”

Privalage is laid bare for all who wish to see. The last breath of this monster coughs and heaves as we watch it die. The prophets said change would come. It has.

I woke up this morning thinking about the movie Gandhi that came out in the 80s. It wasn’t a perfect film about the man but gave a glimpse into how he used the methods of non violence and noncompliance to force the British out of India. Back then that film had a profound impact on me.

Back then I was living in the middle of the country. Going to the Kansas City Art Institute… watching Reagan dismantling the economic structures and ignoring a slowly rising pandemic. It’s seems we are back to a similar place only we are in a much more disheveled state… like the progressive distruction of addiction. We were a “functioning drunk” country staying one step ahead of the consequences of our addictions. We have never really reached a bottom unil now. We are crumbling and collapsing into reality. To that place where we can no longer keep doing what we have been doing. When we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We surrender to the realization that the “best minds” and intentions got us here…. it’s not that we are just unhappy or dissatisfied we are broken and exhausted from pretending that is has been working.

It is from this place that we can begin to move in a different direction. Make different choices. Negotiate different terms. Unite in ways that are sustainable and about equality and justice.

Recovery as a nation will be about taking deep inventories in our actions and behaviors. Accepting reality can be awkward and at the same time it sheds light on the fears… the ego… pride. That allows them to be seen. Adjusted so amends and reconciliation can happen. Forgiveness.

The willness to change. The need to surrender and accept that life WILL be different is our collective new challenge.

I think many of us are ready for “different”.

Eulogy for the Common

Life and death is a struggle every day. It is a choice for some. A battle for others. It is the blind sided slam of the unpredictable or the ill thought out…. some are mislead into battles they thought were intended as easy for victory. For these names on the front page and the stories they lived, the lives and gifts they brought to this earth. Their children… their every day presence in the lives of others we grieve.

This isn’t about praising the heroes or the damning the incompetence. This is praising the loss of the ordinary. Those who showed up everyday to make a day happen. The ones we marginalizes as useful and dismissed after the cordiality of interaction. They were holding the normal background rhythms of our lives.

These people held up the tiny threads and wove them into the fabric of daily life. They taught in schools. Served coffee. Mopped floors. Fixed cars. Scanned groceries. They walked beside us on the streets and mostly we took no notice of them as our attention focused on the tiny screens and tight linear direction of our lives moving always forward… away from the reality of falling behind… losing….

For some the irony of recognition on the front page of the New York Times comes a bit late. Their lives were the very essence of what makes this world tick and hum into existence. Without their willingness to shoulder the grinding cogs of the societal machine and return day after day held fixed by the circumstances of survival, getting an education, fulfilling dreams, paying rent, sorting out the land mines of life or fighting poverty’s grip….

In a world that constantly tells them they are not worth investing in but are required to clean up the messy garbage of privalage, and Capitalism.

All of these names and the ones that will follow as we continue to navigate this virus and all the chaos it brings. All of you were the very life force of this country. YOUR worth and your value is echoed in the halls, kitchens, homes, garages, gardens, offices, classrooms, farms, shops, etc….

My condolences to you, your families and the hole that is left in the lives you have touched, the world you created and the reality you show us. If we are at all compassionate then we will come together and resolve this in your names.

The Gift

Clouds- 2020

The technology race, the searing pace of our world was killing us, the need for more money, resources,  energy and everything  else was careening us to a global disaster…. Articles were written, video documentaries made, the media  frenzy, political minefields of greening America/world, etc….. an endless tidal force of get with the program  or you are part of the problem rhetoric that blasted and slashed it way through  the moral mud of our awareness. Everyday. Relentless.

Whether you are the prayerful sort or not the cogs of the universe still grid forward. Churning and moving the physical and biological processes that become our reality. Some might call this God and others will see it as the collective nature of the universe. It is these complex ecologies of forces that drive the world we live in that are often beyond our day to day experiences.

This mundane activity of our lives, work, home, recreation, industry, and technology became the intrest of a virus that as we are now seeing has changed the course of our lives all over the world.

“You seek problems because you need their gifts . ” Illusions by, Richard Bach

Gifts often come without warning. Without announcements. Without considering the full schedules and complicated lifes we live. The predictable rhythms we bang out as we commute and engage with the world. We become comfortable and complacent in the bubbles of our reality. We have assumed a safety that comes with all the structures and infrastructure that have evolved with our species success. Our coexistence with nature implies a kind of win on our part to harness it for our pleasures. And yet in the back of our collective mind we knew we were denying the reality of what was really happening. We were buying time. Pushing the pollution and destruction farther and farther away from the epicenter of our senses….

Along these roads and net works of technology and asphalt there came this gift. This tiny virus. And like all mystical and magical things it is the medicine and the menace. It will heal you by destroying you. It will magnify all your weaknesses and show you all your strengths. It will destroy delusion and make you aware. It will confront you with your mortality. It will initiate some to the next level and there will be those who will fight it for preserving what they thought was a good life.

For some right now this the first time in their lives that they have had to stop and sit with who they are. To listen without distraction to the cocaphony of noise that is their mind. This abrupt halt to the cause and affect of a world we all knew. This has caused shock waves of self identification  and self worth. It has raised the adrenaline to hyper levels inorder to finds ways to survive and navigate this world.

If we as a collective begin to understand the power of this gift. This point in our lives where we get to pause and stop the process of distraction. We will see that we can change the current direction for an evolutionary change. We can take this moment and engage in different way to be on this planet.

The Fabric of Dreams: Part 1

I don’t dream a lot when sleeping. Most nights my brain does a garbage dump of fragments and disorienting images. Some of you might think this is odd coming from some one who has been a dream worker for most if my life. The training over many years developed discernment and a deeper understanding of how the brain works, it’s impulses and chemistry. From the endless documentation of moon cycles, diet, seasons, emotional navigation, menstrual cycles, sugar/caffeine intake, etc…. a picture emerges of what goes on up the in my cranium. Most dreams are just the images formed by chemistry as it passes through the body. It’s not glamorous. It’s not insightful unless it disturbs you and you reflect and take actions to change your diet, get sober, or any other behavior change.

This is why I tell my students to keep a dream journal. You have to unravel the mystery of your body and mind. This comes from the first question in spiritual journey: Who am I?

What drives and motives the brain into action? The input from the senses, what nutrients enter the body, emotions, behaviors, addictions and reactions that unfold because you inhabit a body. These folds of fat and neural activity are constantly being stimulated and adjusted to the body’s interfacing with the environment it navigates.

Learning to read your dreaming takes time and there isn’t a certificate at the the end. You just know how you work body and mind better. Yet, through this knowledge into dreams and dreaming there is a door way into other worlds…. Time bending…. Interesting things happen.

When I do have a dream of significance I know based on my understanding of my process that it is worthy of furthering study and documentation. For me these dreams are lucid. I am alive in them, fully in my senses and I navigate them as if I were awake. The imagery is rich in ancestral, archetypal content and symbolism. To decipher these dreams I spent years writing down repeating people, places and things and then mapping that against what I ate, moon cycles, menstrual cycles, location, emotional state, interactions, shifts in relationships, environmental factors, political dynamics, general health, etc…. and over time I created for my use a glossary of a dream language that my mind works in.

I share all this because you can’t understand how to work in the dreamtime unless you have learned the machinery that creates the dreams. This is why it so important to know the difference in types of dreaming, what stimulates the dreams and how your body and mind work together in order to produce dreaming that is effective in your life. Be that a Shaman, artist, engineer, scientist, healer, etc….

Webs…

Drop of water on a leaf – 2014

Since the early 90s the push has been to create a web of information that allows for the free flow of information and the potential to access it from all places of our society. The home computer started the process and has generated an avalanche of access, technologies and ways to keep humanity involved and invested in a world created out of light and the ability to store and send information. Games. Email. Texts. Digital photography. Blogs. Vlogs. Social media. The list goes on and on. We created a virtual world… a dream time of sorts where the real, solid, viseral are blurred with the elusive identities of self, belonging, architectural archetypes of self and society’s ability to navigate and regulate a landscape that doesn’t really exhist without a power cord.

The self became an avatar into this world. In techniques of a shamanic sort: entrainment, curiosity, bridging worlds, and creating control and magic in mysterious worlds. We became the dream. Wizards. Warriors. Empowered Goddesses. We could be the perfect size. The perfect person to master this world. We were no longer just the dreamers. We became trapped in the nightmare of a technical cosmology that morphed and changed with out warnings. Upgraded and tweaked to improve. Abandoned plots. Cryptically mysterious and maddening… Autocorrect and all the disorienting stuff that disturbs the sleeping mind and soul.

The anchoring points of friendships and families slowly devolved to images on screens and texts. Dispersing the physical world far and wide. Held together by these threads of a web that grows strangely long and meandering. The delusion of connections and the reality of distance and loneliness.

We trade true intimacy for a public forum of opinions and seeks a tribe of like minded in a world where nothing can seem sure or real.

This dream world tells us to trust it. Their are people working to improve the experience. Make it easier to connect. These are hollow words for those who are hanging on the edge of how to navigate being in both worlds.

To brand or not to brand?… That is the question….

I started my training as a shaman in at the beginning of the technological revolution. I have been fascinated and critical of it. I find it is useful, useless, efficient and maddeningly time consuming. I also see how these webs of information poison the very fabric of our humanity… and in the same breath I see how it has connected and changed in some very good ways the understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

The current situation of the world is exploiting the breaks and fragility of this web. We are at a pivotal point in how we want to live together on this planet. We hopefully can see the flaws of where we have been and how we have weaken our lives, this society and perhaps fashion a new kind of web that is more about the real vitality and virtues of our humanity.

Where are we?

Success of a Species….

I was born in 1964. In the middle of a country clashing to move toward a different way of being. I am a product of that free love thing some of you practiced. I came into the world on a wave of revolutionary turmoil. That rebellion would lay down the foundation for my life and the journey many of us would take from that exploding torrent of counter culture and the dream of a more humanitarian world.

What happened. The good paying jobs from my parents generation evaporate and were sent over seas. Leaving a vacuum in place of long term choices and stability. Unions were demonized, pensions became 401 plans that gambled the stock market, you got paid what was deemed the minimum to keep stuck until your usefulness or experience betrayed you, hope for any kind of real retirement today looks pretty non-existent.

Basic wages stagnated for the greater population while the world economy grew exponentially for a few clever and “brilliant” visionaries. As this growth harvested the natural resources for profit and preached the almighty gospels of Capitalism, Consumerism, and Power. It propagandized the delusion that you are what you own and you had to fake it until you made it with loans, credit and borrowing money to pretend you are part of the club. Investing in the stock market was a tool for showing the health of an economy that could not save itself from any seismic shift that forces it all to tumble down.

They print more money and it cheapens everything. Dangerously deflates the value of time and human resources. It is the promise from a deranged God that laughs at his sadistic power to make everyone love him for a piece of paper with out any backing.

Our species has evolved into over population. We can not reconcile our numbers to match the reduction of resources and the fragile ecology of the environment. Like the defining truth of supply and demand we are less valued because the resources it takes for most of us to survive is not worth the investment. Governments corrupted by corporate moneys, disregard the poor and support those who praise their brilliance…. they mock the vulnerable as lazy and continue to take away any infrastructure that could create a way out of the despair. Worth is measure by what is put into the Capitalist game, which is why those with power can without much consequence measure their worth against the shining tower of the wealthly and Capitalism. They won the game.

In all of this today is tangled with a silent killer that many are not educated enough to understand from the very system we pay for with taxes. We have shifted from reality to a cartoon of reality. We live in a world of pretenders and liars. All of them trying to sell something or convince you that they know the way. We are trapped looking at tiny screens scrolling because the world got dangerous and no one planned for it. We are angry, miserably lonely and uncertainty of what comes next. For the average person the failure on every level is damning and terrifying. Rent. Mortgages. Bills.

But in true skewed reality we are fed all these ways to make it fun or productive. While sorting through the slog of Covid-19 news that presents contradictions as information and leaves us with our free will and choice as we shoulder the burden of responsibility to figure it out on our own.

The sky and the natural world has some how started to fill the gaps of our absence with beauty. Bird sounds. Flowers. Tiny buds and leaves. The bleakness of winter is shifting into a climate that is touched by less humans. This is the ultimate truth of this planet it keeps adapting and changing to mitigate it’s survival and evolution.

This planet is also our home. We have a hard and difficult road ahead. The transformation that must happen will not be one that continues what we had. It needs to… has to come from a truly wholistic and interconnected place. The future can not be made from a foundation of consumption, Capitalism and consumerism. Every great society, every species that has achieved unchallenged success hits the wall of limited resources, population, corruption, disease, and collapse. We are right there. What we do now depends on great sacrifice and actions to ensure we do have future on this planet.

Some will rebel as we are seeing. Some will hide out and wait for things to pass. Others are standing in the trenches of medicine desperately trying to do what is necessary to help those in need. The natural selection of choices will ultimately decide the fates of many. Like the Mayan, Angor Wat, Rome, and the rest we will be defined by the remaining structures that we invest in as crucial to our sense of existence. I would hope we can agree that it needs to be more than piles of plastic, raped lands for resources, and the failure of our selves to navigate and sustain a meaningful connection to this Earth because of a blind selfishness and an internal chemistry that poisons reason for pleasure and gratification.