WRITINGS

A COLLECTION OF OFFERINGS & PRAYERS

I'm angry and I need to rant. Trigger warning. I give myself full permission to speak from this place within myself without judgment or shame. I invite you to be with the discomfort it may bring up for you in the process of reading this.


The Australian fires, assisination of Iran's Qassem Soleimani, and attack on unceded and sovereign Wet’suwet’en lands have me rattled. They should. There is so much pain, despair, suffering and violence in this world. There is so much need, and yet at the same time there is so much indifference, complicity, apathy and division. The patriarchal, colonial system we were all born into is designed for overwhelm. We are not meant to thrive in this context of the overculture’s consumer machine unless we compete and push each other down on our way to the top (and even then it’s not true thriving if it’s not shared). It is designed for factionalism so that the power we have as a collective is compromised. We have forgotten who we are and what we’re made off. Our spines have become weakened in our shared loss of meaningful relations. We do not look to each other as allies because all we can see are potential threats. We learn not to care and not to dream in the process of indoctrination.


We are so focused on ourselves, on getting ahead and on having what we want without a thought for the impacts it has on people and lands just out of view. We are made ignorant, shallow and the price to pay is beyond what we can fathom. We turn a blind eye, shrug our shoulders and carry on business as usual. It seems we are inundated by devastating news. Everything appears to be so bleak and hopeless as we consume what the overculture has to feed us. We are left anemic, dumbstruck, confused, concerned and fearful after we learn about recent shootings, children caged at borders, parents separated from their children, oil spills in sacred waters, resource extraction projects that threaten lands, indigenous lifeways and future generations, the criminalization of defending territories, the increasing loss of plant, insect, bird and mammal species, the decimation of ecosystems (the list goes on), all in the name of greed, power and profit. All of this goes on as we all do our best to get through the day, to pay the bills and put food on the table. So many of us are just trying to get by, trying to survive.



We yearn for freedom and yet we feel trapped. So we work harder, move faster and forget to breathe. At the end of the day we feel depleted and all we want to do is numb out. I don’t blame you. Anything not to feel the discomfort of the times we are living in and the ways we have been made to feel small and helpless. Enter distracting substance of choice. TV, computer, gaming, drinking, smoking, shopping, the list goes on. We are spending up to 12 hours a day in front of screens and wonder why we feel more lonely than ever before, disconnected from a sense of place, purpose and belonging. We don’t know our neighbors anymore and it’s becoming harder to make time for the people who matter most to us. We are drowning in addictions, obsessed with self image, afraid of dying… all because we do not know how to truly live. We are production focused, achievement-oriented and somehow... it’s never enough. There is so much dissatisfaction in our lives and we wonder why. We are lost.


We must find our way back to ourselves and to each other. We must find our way back to the earth. We must remember why we are here.

It is up to us to make meaning of our lives and to manifest the dreams we carry in our hearts. We must become the people we need to be in order to live a different kind of life. One that is worth living. There is work to be done. It’s not easy being fully alive in these times but these are the times in which we live. This is what spiritual initiation feels like. Can’t you see that we’re fading? The color in our cheeks are draining? When was the last time you came out from hiding? We have to wake up. Things are not going to get better unless we get better. We have to choose the next step. We have to believe WE deserve better, that WE deserve more AND that it is WORTH fighting for. It’s worth doing the thing that scares us most. It’s worth giving all that we have to creating a life that is rich and vibrant and creative and juicy. As Einstein aptly put it, "The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation." We have to be willing to confront the reality in which we are living. We must be willing to have the tough conversations. We must be willing to get uncomfortable and we MUST be willing to listen and unlearn. We cannot go on pretending like everything is just fine, when It’s not.


I hate to be the one to say it, but from what I can tell it’s mostly white folks who don’t want to change. I know I know, generalizations are never fair. Generalizations never capture the whole truth… and I get that. But the culture of whiteness which is perpetuating the machine of colonial capitalism is bland and boring and makes me want to puke. And when I say whiteness, I’m not saying that being white is a bad or that all white folks should go to hell. Not at all. Actually quite the opposite. I believe that white folks have an incredibly powerful role to play in the movement toward liberation for all and that unresolved shame and defensiveness is simply getting in the way of that. This is why educating ourselves around whiteness is SO important, because the moment someone starts talking about it, white folks get all up in arms because they feel attacked and triggered and shut down (aka. white fragility). In fact, working against one’s own fragility is a necessary part of white anti-racist work. It’s one of the first steps. I’d recommend reading White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism written by The New York Times bestselling author Robin DiAngelo.



Trust me, it’s taken me a long time to fully love who I am and embrace the fact that I am white AF. That doesn’t mean I embrace whiteness as a social/cultural construct. What it does mean is that I have to be actively working to dismantle it in my life by being accountable to the movements. I see how settler colonial, white supremacy is wreaking havoc across the planet. I see how entitled white folks are to the lands that they occupy, the access they have to education and resources made possible by the exploitative pursuits of industrial capitalism, how convenient it is that white folks have the perverted privilege not to be accountable to BIPOC. Solidarity is optional for white folks and that’s a problem. I am not in denial of our violent, genocidal history and I acknowledge the role my ancestors played in the collective European effort to subordinate and kill BIPOC for the sake of their own gains. The ramifications of a nation state built on the backs of african slaves, desecrated lands and indigenous bodies can be felt deep within our bones. Western culture (white-settler heteronormative patriarchy) is devoid of authentic meaning and is predicated on a history of violence and bloodshed. The history of attempted erasure of indigenous culture and the enslavement of people of color lives in our DNA. We carry this legacy in our bones whether we want to admit it or not. We can’t outrun this. The denial of our own suffering has stripped away the conditions for life giving relationality. All life systems are beginning to whither as we bear witness to what’s emerging now.


I get that some people are going to read this and feel totally turned off and that’s okay. This isn’t for you. This is more for me than anyone else. You are entitled to your own opinions, even your own opinions about me. I’m just here speaking my truth because that feel important right now. And if you're still reading this, kudos to you for sticking to it. I appreciate you holding space for my rage.

It’s one of my favorite times during the cycle of the year - the winter solstice and the darkening of the light. I honor this time of the year and feel the importance of attuning to earth’s calling to slow down, turn inward, commune and celebrate. As life is stripped of her outermost adornments, so too are we given the opportunity to look deeply into ourselves and into our nakedness. Heeding the call, we are asked to purify the bodymind of all distractions and ways of being that no longer serve us. We are asked to strip away all that is unnecessary, all that is superfluous so that we may come into contact with something greater - our deeper natures and truths. Only when the fog has lifted will we be given new eyes to see.


It is during this time when I feel closest to the wild and to the one who calls me by my real name. It is she who whispers to me in the dark and beckons me to follow. And yet, to hear her voice I must listen closely… intuitively. Listening with my inner ear requires an outer quieting. My pace must slow and shift from productive to creative movement, from doing to being. My quality of seeing must become relaxed and peripheral rather than focused and narrow. It’s the time to say less and dream more. It’s less about making sense of things and more about allowing life to be revealed. There’s nothing to figure out, rather I feel called to create space to be with what is wanting to come through. Becoming the vessel, clearing the channel. All of this requires a certain kind of discipline and fortitude. So much of what we need during this time lies in restraint and within our own longing and capacity to know ourselves.

And yet it’s precisely this time of year when I feel challenged the most to give myself what I truly need - and I know I am not alone in feeling this way. What I long to pour inward becomes focused outward in my preparations and participations in the holidays. It’s the time when our collective psyche goes into a deeper state of sleep. Our individual desires become strong, thus harder to tame. We enter into a collective frenzy of spending what we do not have and buying more of what we do not need. The pace quickens. Waste and emissions, stress and shame multiply. People get pushy and impatient. We go faster, not slower. We become less kind. The consumer machine has us high and hungry. We are addicted to the rush, to wanting more, doing more, needing more. We overindulge and then feel bad about it. Quantity over quality, consuming over connection is enshrined. We are complicit and blind to the monster of our own making… and once it’s all said and done, we are depleted to the point of exhaustion often resulting in sickness.


The overculture demands our participation in hallmark holiday season at the cost of our individual and collective wellbeing. Our association to this time of year is deeply ingrained in the collective psyche making the cycle that much harder to break. It’s all many of us know, but to what end does it serve? I ask this question because I think it’s important to contemplate. We must be willing to ask the hard questions, to look at ourselves not as separate individuals, but as a collective force capable of shaping cultural change. We each play our own part in contributing to the collective field of humanity and it’s likely that we are either unconsciously fueling the machine or consciously working to disrupt the status quo in an attempt to reimagine another way. We cannot go on living without considering the impact of our actions or inactions. We can’t go on normalizing the cycles of abuse and trauma we have all become so accustomed to. We can’t keep pretending that all of this is somehow good for us and the planet. It isn’t. As long as we pretend that we are not killing ourselves, we are only pushing our heads further into the sand.


This is the story of collective trauma and although what I have named is ugly and true, it’s not all bad. If anything, it’s the time of year we look forward to most because we are brought together with our loved ones, sharing delicious meals, stories, songs and laughter. For many, it will be the only time we come home to be with our families as one. I believe that what lies at the heart of our collective hunger is a desire for authentic connection, purpose and belonging. I see it in the way people pour hours into making home-cooked holiday meals, how willing they are to travel great distances just to be home for a few days, to go out of their way to help a friend or stranger in need, how generous many people are with their time and money directed toward causes they care about.



That is why I love hearing stories about how other families and groups of people come together during the holidays...

So many folks are dedicated to reimagining their relationship to this time of the year and to the places where they gather. Families who refuse to participate in the consumer machine by sharing experiences together instead of exchanging gifts.

Families who volunteer together, bringing warmth, generosity and kindness to the hearts of people in greater need. Families who dance, play instruments, sing songs, play games, go for walks in nature, and connect to the meaning of this time of year. Families who get together with other families. Families who create traditions worth passing onto their children because they strengthen the fabric of community. These ideas need to be shared. We have a lot to learn from one another in terms of what is possible when it comes to creating meaningful moments and rituals of significance.


For many of us, we weren’t raised in families with deep-rooted traditions steeped in community cultures that are healthy and strong. No, for many of us, not only have we been disenfranchised from one another, but we have been severed from our homelands and traditions of the past. We are struggling to find solid ground because that severance is deeply tied to the violent, genocidal history of turtle island which informs where we are today. Here in north america, we live on stolen lands in which cultural lifeways were stripped from the original peoples, and industrial capitalism as we know it was built on the backs of african slaves, thus setting the foundations for what we see today: settler colonial, white supremacy. As long as we are actively participating in the capitalist, consumer machine the holiday season will always exist as a perverted attempt a shallow, watered down version of what’s possible unless we are willing to take a step back and critically assess the role it is playing in our lives, and to what end it serves.


Derek Jensen captures it when he says, “the essence of the dominant culture, of civilization, is slavery. It is based on slavery, and it requires slavery. It attempts to enslave the land, to enslave nonhumans, and to enslave humans. It attempts to get us all to believe that all relationships are based on slavery, based on domination, such that humans dominate the land and everyone who lives on it, men dominate women, whites dominate non-whites, the civilized dominate everyone. And overarching everyone is civilization, is the system itself. We are taught to believe that the system—civilization—is more important than life on earth.


I hope that you will join me in re-imagining what’s possible during this dark time of the year. May the seeds of remembrance spring forth from soil of our souls so that we may return to a way of being that honors all life and future generations. May the waters of life nourish our bodies and purify our minds so that we may see clearly a new way forward.

The Amazon is on fire and has been for weeks now. An unprecedented number of manmade blazes are raging across the rainforest, blanketing the region in acrid smoke and prompting a state of emergency. Indeed, it's not only the Amazon, but our entire planet that is in crisis as the devastation of this life-giving biome poses a real, existential threat for all of humanity.


If this tragedy doesn't alarm you I urge you to ask yourself why. The fact that we are so numb as a collective is a cause for great concern and I wonder what it says about our ability to effectively respond in times of real crisis and need? We are a planet and a people that lives or dies together and yet we go on living as though it’s business as usual. The Earth is our greater body and yet we act as though what is happening to the forests and the oceans and the air doesn't matter. It's like pretending that eating fast-food and smoking and drinking isn't doing our bodies any harm when it is. It's the definition of insane to even pretend like it doesn't and we HAVE to take responsibility for this unacknowledged violence. Just because you’re ignoring it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. If individually we are willing to desecrate our bodies, then collectively it makes sense that we are willing to turn a blind eye to the desecration of Earth. We have lost touch with what is most sacred, what gives life and what is worthy of our love, devotion, passion and protection.



OUR HEALING IS THE WORLD HEALING

The pain of the world is all around us and I wonder, why aren't more folks talking about it? Why are we so afraid to be inconvenienced by the truth? It's called DISCONNECTION and DENIAL.

We are in deep denial as a collective because the truth is too painful to feel and confront, which is why I believe it's so important that we do the healing work in our own personal lives to process unresolved pain and trauma. Our healing is the world healing. What we resist persists and the climate crisis WILL persist as long as we ignore what needs tending and our personal responsibility for what’s happening now. The micro is a reflection of the macro and we have to wake up and get our act together for the sake of future generations and the survival of our beloved planet. What you do matters. How you live and the food you eat and the things you say and the thoughts you allow and the choices you make here and now matters. How you respond to life circumstances and show up each day sends ripples out into the world. What you don’t do matters in equal proportion. Our silence and inaction is felt across the world and is reflected in our collective complacency. Everything is interconnected and the consequences of living as though we are not, are being revealed. We are ONE living, breathing organism and it's what we are here to remember so that when violence or injustice strikes we feel it deep in our bones and are able to respond immediately and self-correct collectively.



FROM FORGETTING TO REMEMBRANCE


We can’t show up and respond from that place when we are numb and self-focused and not paying attention. This is what a culture of forgetting and disconnection looks like and it’s powered by the consumer machine which thrives on our disempowerment, codependence, helplessness, purposelessness, apathy, stress and addiction. Passion is impossible when you’re a cog in the machine and there you will remain a victim and perpetuate its very existence as long as your role goes unquestioned. If you feel uncomfortable by these words, I’d say that’s a good start. Discomfort is an indication of where we need to grow; it’s not something to fear and avoid. We want better and I know we can do better, but what are we willing to let go of in order to make room for something more? I believe that a big part of being human is our journey into remembrance as we experience the painful implications of what it means to forget. When we forget who we are and we forget our truth and purpose, we wander aimlessly through life looking for anything to fill the void, anything to satiate our hunger for something more. That something more is not what we accumulate nor can it be found externally in our seeking. That something more is what we pour ourselves into as it becomes our own sacred offering in service to the world. Our highest service activates the heart and awakens our most authentic, courageous and passionate selves. If we all lived from our truth and purpose, our world would be a very different place. Whatever is holding you back from shining bright is where your work still lies.


WHAT YOU CAN DO


The questions I am asking myself right now are:

What beliefs and narratives do I carry that are no longer serving me?
What am I putting off until tomorrow that needs my action today?
Where am I feeling discomfort and what is it pointing me toward?
What am I ready to sacrifice for the sake of that which is greater than myself?
What is uniquely mine to offer?

Personally, I am letting go of the story that I need to have it all figured out before I take my next step or put myself out there to speak my truth. No more excuses. No more playing small. I know that my voice is needed in this fight for a new story and there is no more room for limiting self talk. Your presence and voice is needed too. It takes courage to be who you are and say what is true because the risk is always someone else’s disapproval, rejection, judgment and criticism. You are not here to please, perform or perfect your way through life. You are here to offer up your most raw and honest version of self as it is arising because THAT is valuable. Vulnerability is not easy but it is necessary for creating true connection and belonging and I believe it is foundational to the growth of our souls at this time.


If you’re still reading this, what’s your take away? For me, the message is loud and clear: AWAKEN YOUR INNER FIRE. LET THE FLAMES OF LOVE BURN IN OUR HEARTS AND MOVE US INTO ACTION. At the least, I hope you are asking important questions about your place in our collective story and I hope you are motivated to use your power to take meaningful action in response to the crisis upon us.


If not Earth, if not your home, what then is worth fighting for?


WAYS TO TAKE ACTION


- Attend or organize a gathering and/or protest in your area. Support other gatherings if you can’t attend

- Stay informed. Read up on the latest news to understand why this is happening and who this benefits. This isn’t a mistake. This act of violence is purposeful.

- Create an altar and offer up your prayers

Connect to the grief of what is happening; allow yourself to go there

- Talk about what’s happening with family and friends. Share your concern.

- Take care of your body, love her and treat her well.

- Consume less paper products.

- Eat less meat. Remove factory farmed meat from your diet altogether. Local, organic meats only.


Donate to and support the work of the following organizations:

- Amazon Watch

- Amazon Frontlines

- Rainforest Alliance

- Rainforest Action Network

- WECAN: Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network



“If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur, then the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished. Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human.”

- Thomas Berry

FOLLOW ALONG  ✦  BELONG

 

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