The Whales are Dying and We're All Getting Sick

I’ve been dreaming about swimming with whales a lot in the last few weeks.  Really vivid almost lucid dreams where I can feel the warmth and fluidity of the water.  The whales vary by species, sometimes humpback, sometimes orca or others.  They communicate with me although not in any kind of verbal language, but we understand each other.  They are teaching me how to swim.  They are telling me that they are dying but there is no despair or fear in them, penetrating full body grief yes but also wild joy.  We are swimming because it is ecstatic, for them it is like dancing, this is not utility swimming to get from place to place but movement through water for the exquisite bliss of it.  They tell me this is the only thing to do, that this is the way they are choosing to meet their end.   It’s extraordinary, I feel honored and blessed by these visitations and I wonder what they mean for me as an individual human and for us as a species and then the pandemic started…….

There are many brilliant healers out there freely and publicly offering their wisdom on how to work with this virus in the body, so I am not going to go into great length here about that but here are some links:


I’m interested in the whales, their joy in the face of certain doom, their grief that feels so deep and so wholesome because it is felt, and reality is recognized and honored for what it is.  The whales are dying, many great and beautiful creatures are dying, forever transforming their Earthly body into something else.  And it is terribly sad, no question about that, but it is also terribly real and how we choose to face/embrace it will greatly affect how much we suffer from it.

In TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) the lungs are an organ associated with grief.  When grief is not tended appropriately and suppressed the lungs become susceptible to disease.  We can not breath, we are dying in the thousands a day because we can not breathe, our lungs are filling up and our hearts are failing. 

What is it that we are not grieving properly?

Martin Prechtel (a Mayan medicine person) speaks of the massive public grief rituals that took place in the village he lived in as being fundamental (and frequent) to societies function.  The whole village would come out for massive wailing, crying and grieving when someone died.  People drank and cried and laughed and honored the dead with boisterous days long events. 

In our culture we pathologize all but the most sterile forms of public displays of grief and we diagnose and treat those acting differently with dangerous psychiatric medications and procedures, including forced psychiatric hospitalizations and forced medication.  Many become deeply addicted to opiates or alcohol to stave off their grief and get by as a “normal” person. 

It would seem that before this whole things is over many of us will die [and that will be terribly sad] and we are being presented with the opportunity to re-imagine how we grieve together [and apart]. It is a rich time to examine our belief systems around loss and explore how we personally could grieve more fully the things we have already lost and the things we will surely be losing in the coming days.

What is it that we are not grieving properly? 

I have plenty of ideas and opinions about places one could start looking for answers to that.  The mass extinctions occurring, our own perceived disconnection from the natural world, our perceived disconnection from each other, our inability to be with grief and loss in a healthy way.  [Note the use of the word perceived, we are not and never have been disconnected from each other or nature, we have just lost our awareness of that connection.  It is murky and certainly in need of tending but it is not lost.]

Remembering our connection to the natural and imaginal realms and allowing ourselves to feel and honor the deep sorrow accompanying this current planetary shift (I believe) will have powerful ramifications on how (or if) we manage to survive the current pandemic. [ Even if we hack it through this one, there will be another, and another and another.  The planet is a self-organized ecosystem that will move towards homeostasis with or without us.]  We are not at war with the corona virus, we are not under attack or besieged by some malevolent force.  We are being spoken too in a language that is difficult to hear and remember how to speak.  It is ancient and highly intelligent. 

Another opportunity to re imagine our stories that I just can’t go without mentioning is the symbolism of the snake and it’s involvement in this whole story.  [Yes I realize it came from bats originally and then jumped to snake and then to humans.]  Isn’t there some famous patriarchal story about a snake ruining everything for humanity? The exile from Eden was not a fall from grace but an opportunity to differentiate from God and experience infinite love & complexity.  The snake as the bringer of sacred self-knowledge that allows us to evolve and start a new phase.

What parts of this new story are being falsely interpreted as falls from grace or attacks on humanity?

Meditate on the snake, meditate on the neutrality of information, meditate on ecstasy and grief.

Gaia is speaking.  Sit down, shut up and listen to your Mother.

Doing The Work

All the small muscles in my body seem to relax as if for the first time ever, a warm, soft feeling of peace permeates my entire being.  I can see, really visually see, myself as in a high definition movie, I am so beautiful.  Light pours from my eyes and heart and I am surrounded by flowering vines and animals.  I sit in the lotus position with impeccable posture growing a new perfect life in my womb, my husband sits beside me no less perfect and beautifully decorated with the accessories of health and life.  We see our lives stretched out in front and behind us, a palpable feeling of forgiveness for our past choices that might have caused harm and a crystal clear understanding that moving forward we have the indisputable ability to make all the “right” choices to live a full and present life in harmonious co-creation with the universe.  We will care with tenderness and strength to our bodies, to our children, to the Earth and those around us.  It will not be hard or complicated to do and it will be full of grace and light and mistakes as well but instead of wailing and screaming against those mistakes in a fugue of self pity we will graciously accept them and honor what we learn.  It will be a perfect life and we will be perfect in it.  We will heal ourselves as well as our planet and I can see exactly how, there is no ambivalence, the answer is right there in my hands.

Pretty nice vision eh?  I’ve actually had quite a few like this with the help of visionary plant medicines.  They are very soothing and full of good information about how I should change my life in order to live the beautiful vision.

And then I go home from the ceremony, and there’s dirty dishes in the sink and I’m tired cus I’ve been up all night and I have half a dozen abusive e-mails from my ex husband and the car needs to go to the shop and I’m not sure if I can get rent paid on time.  But I still feel so good from the vision so I set to work on the chores, the daily living that is the true ceremony.  Things probably go pretty well for awhile and I lean on the good feeling from my vision to keep me going through the rough bits.    I manage for awhile and make some solid changes and progress towards that goal but then I get tired because I’m human.  I start to forget what my lessons were, what I was told to change, whether it was to smoke less cigarettes or call my dad more often or eat a few more vegetables. So I smoke to many smokes cus I have a long day and am to tired to not, I don’t call my dad cus there’s to much of a time difference and I eat meat and sour cream dumplings for breakfast and lunch because they’re right next door to where I work all day and I wanted to sleep in instead of packing myself a lunch or eating breakfast.

My vision of perfection gets faded and I get grumpier and more tired and my husband and I get in a nasty fight and say and do hurtful things.  Things get pretty messy and I start to feel pretty bad and like my vision was more of a delusion.

This is not a one time sort of event, this series of happenings has occurred many times in my life and will probably continue to.

One of the things that happens with the psychedelic medicines is that they have a tendency to show us something that is kind of an ideal or pinnacle of how we might live. It doesn’t mean that when we come down and head home from the retreat center that we are magically changed and can suddenly live that vision.  We still have to do the work, we are still wounded humans with triggers and the deeply ingrained programs of a sadistic patriarchal society.

The beautiful visions and deep self learning that can come with the psychedelic experience are not the work of actual change, they may be the catalyst and they may give us the strength and resolve to make the changes we need to but we must remember that the real work comes between the ceremonies.

It is the practice of becoming mindful of all the little ways in which we harm ourselves and learning to get as much joy and pleasure from washing the dishes as we do a long walk in the woods, sure a different kind of pleasure but the point is that the things we must do to live are sacred and as wonderful as the peak experiences of life might be, the majority of it is really the day to day cooking and cleaning.  It cannot be said enough that these things make up the majority of our time in 3D reality so learning to find peace in the moment to moment is where we will become free of suffering.

The thing that most people won’t tell you about “the Path” that they are advertising is that you don’t pick up a practice, do it for a few years and then find peace and enlightenment.  If the practice is really worth it’s salt the chances are high that you will have moments of incredible clarity and peace (or at least a felt sense that you are doing the right thing) followed by tremendous suffering and hardship.  This is ok, it’s just the shit getting worked out.  The hotter the fire the faster the purification, the flames never stop but at some point the burning does.

You will make mistakes,  probably a lot of them, your first mistake is likely thinking that you won’t make very many.  You’ll also make the same mistakes more than a few times.  The psychedelic path will point out, with surgical precision, what your mistakes are.  The next mistake is to take that information and feel shame and regret.  This is not the point of being shown your flaws.  Yes acknowledge them, yes pay attention and honor them and try to do better next time but there will always be a next time.  Guilt and shame are interesting emotions, shame comes up when we have done something against our own personal moral compass.  Guilt comes up when we have done something against societies or our groups moral compass but not necessarily against our own.  Both can be useful in that way, for teasing out what our beliefs are or the beliefs of the groups we think we belong to (or don’t even realize we belong to).

Keep walking. You don’t fall off the the path and then get back on it, it’s the constant oscillations of falling and getting up that are the “path”.


Softness & Donald Trump

Political Disclaimer: I do not support the Trump administration, I do not support any government organization for that matter, I do not support violence towards other beings or the planet, I do not support an “us & them” mindset & staying soft is not an excuse for bad behavior.  Exercise discernment and practice personal accountability, if your actions cause harm you might want to take a look at that and see if you can change them.

I was listening to a podcast recently of a talk by the late Stuart Wilde.  If you don’t know who he is you should spend a little time checking him out, very interesting fellow, metaphysical author and ayahuasca proponent.  Anyway he was was confirming something that I have suspected for a long time now.  That when we stay soft and present in our hearts we will be free from harm.  When the world starts to fall apart and we feel surrounded by brutality and evil men if we stay within that place of softness we will be invisible to those wishing ill upon us.  This is meant metaphysically and literally, when the death squads come around if you stay soft and present they will likely drive right past you.  Another way to think about it is “intuition”, if you are soft & present in a dangerous situation you will know what the right thing to do is.

This concept is really poignant for the world right now, especially considering the state of American politics.  Many people are being terribly harmed by a capitalist fascist regime that runs our global economy.  People are rioting and protesting and demanding change and fighting “taking it to the streets” calling their representatives.  The language is all about fighting and resistance and wars on this that and the other thing.  But the thing is, the more divergent the two sides get from each other, the more fascist our government becomes and the more all inclusive the liberals become, the more the two sides sound exactly the same.  If you take the language out of context and just look at the words, both sides are saying the same thing, the people are roiling in fear.  When faced with unspeakable fear look it in the eyes, say “do your worst” and stay soft.  Another snippet from Stuart Wilde “if you encounter a snake and it wants to eat you, let it”.

Surrender into the soft space of your heart.

Fighting it isn’t going to work.  I don’t know how many facebook posts it’s gonna take for people to actually understand the meaning of the Einstein quote that problems cannot be solved with the same kind of thinking that created them.  I see that shit run across my feed almost every day followed by a “call your representative” “go to your local city hall meeting and demand blah blah blah” “put your pussy on your head and go get a parade permit”.  So you’re telling me to stop using the thought processes that created the system that gave rise to the system that is killing people all over the world, while at the same time calling to let them know I believe in their authority and their power to change things because if they don’t I’m gonna vote for some other rich asshole whose only authority comes from the fact I give it to him.  WTF, seriously?!   This is the sociopathic authorities  dream scenario, gas lighting of massive and elegant proportions.

Surrender into the softness of your heart.

The institutions that are harming people and passing laws and travel bans and all that crap only have power if we give it to them.  Power & authority are not something one goes out and acquires, it is granted by other human beings giving up their power.  It’s imaginary, it does not exist as such and yet we allow it to control and organize almost every aspect of our lives.

So lets imagine something else.

We must utilize a different way if we want a different world.

The way of softness, the way of presence, the way of unconditional love.  Beam love at people.  Give away your last meal, give away your warm winter coat, your last $20.  Stop voting, stop calling your damn congress person, stop protesting and stop resisting.  Believe in softness and love as the way through the darkness.

Yes there are people who wish harm on others, brutal unspeakable harm, but if you remain soft and inside your heart chances are that you will make decisions that remove you from harms way.  This is often called intuition.  Our heart has access to immense amounts of information, when we are still and listen to it, it will guide us to make the choices that keep us from harms way.  The rub is that we have to learn to listen,  learn to discern when the messages are coming from the heart and when they are coming through the fear matrix of our lizard or monkey mind.

Surrender, surrender, surrender.  Let it all happen without attachment.  Become soft and pliable.  Meditate on water sealed in a crystal ball, when the ball is shook up the water get’s roiled around and changes shape and moves according to the path of least resistance and when the ball is laid to rest it becomes still and placid again, totally unharmed.  Become water, soft buoyant and flexible.  Which force has the power here?  The shaker or the water that regained it’s form free of damage?

This is a process and I am not there yet but I am practicing and practicing and it is getting easier and the world is more beautiful every day because of it.  One of the great things about this is we don’t have to do it all the time, we can’t, we’re still learning how, but we can try and if we’re all trying all the time then when one of us fails there will be someone else giving, someone else being soft.  This is the beautiful nature of community, we do not all need to be at 100% all of the time, we can fall off the wagon because the wagon is part of a wagon train that is a circle the size of all of humanity so someone will be along shortly to pick us up and if most people are trying to be soft and unconditionally loving most of the time we might not even break any bones when we fall off.

Surrender to the softness of your heart space.

Some things that can facilitate this way of being:

Stillness helps, silence helps, being in nature helps. Psychedelic plant medicines most certainly help.    Cultivate non attachment, cultivate mindfulness.  Spend one minute, one measly 60 seconds, every day breathing softly and feeling gratitude or appreciation for something in your life, something that quickens your heart, that spreads a warm feeling across your chest.  Be kind to an animal or plant.  Try saying thank you to Donald Trump, say thank you to your moms cancer, say thank you to the cop who shot your son.  You have to mean it for it to work but just try it.  Lets do it together: “thank you Donald, I love you unconditionally as my fellow human being, thank you for showing me where there is a wound in my great big human family, without seeing it I would not be able to heal it.  I recognize the divinity that is in you & I see that it is the same as the divinity in me.  Peace be with you.”  If it’s hard start with something easier like the dog shit you stepped in or the asshole who cut you off in traffic.

Remember Rumi: “the wound is where the light enters”

The world is far stranger & older & wiser than we can possibly understand with our limited physical capacities  but we are not helpless or hopeless.  Our hope comes from the beauty & complexity of the natural world.  Our help comes in the form of a multi dimensional organ located in our chest cavity commonly referred to as the heart.  What we currently perceive as great tragedy and catastrophe may serve a higher good that we cannot yet see.  I understand, in my limited way, the draw of the darkness, the power & pureness of righteous anger, the poetic beauty of deep sadness.  Anger is a form of deep compassion & grief is a form of deep joy, they are there to show us how much we care about things, not to control our actions.  Feel everything, honor and acknowledge your despair & rage, but please, stay soft, become aware of your heart and take your actions from that place.

I’ll close this one with one of my favorite poems from Wendell Berry

I began to be followed by a voice saying:
“It can’t last.  It can’t last.
Harden yourself.  Harden yourself.
Be ready.  Be ready.”
“Go look under the leaves,”
it said, “for what is living there
is dead in your tongue.”
And it said, “Put your hands
into the earth.  Live close
to the ground. Learn the darkness.
Gather round you all
the things that you love, name
their names, prepare
to lose them,  It will be
as if all you know were turned
around within your body.”
And I went and put my hands
into the ground, and they took root
and grew into a season’s harvest.
I looked behind the veil
of the leaves, and heard voices
that I knew had been dead
in my tongue years before my birth.
I learned the dark.
And still the voice stayed with me.
Waking in the early mornings,
I could hear it, like a bird
bemused among the leaves,
a mockingbird idly singing
in the autumn of catastrophe:
“Be ready.   Be ready.
Harden yourself.  Harden yourself.”
And I heard the sound
of a great engine pounding
in the air, and a voice asking:
“Change or slavery?
Hardship or slavery?”
and the voices answering:
“Slavery!  Slavery!”
And I was afraid, loving
what I know would be lost.
Then the voice following me said:
“you have not yet come close enough.
Come nearer the ground.  Learn
from the woodcock in the woods
whose feathering is a ritual
of the fallen leaves,
and from the nesting quail
whose speckling makes her hard to see
in the long grass.
Study the coat of the mole.
For the farmer shall wear
the greenery and the furrows
of his fields, and bear
the long standing of the woods.”
And I asked: “you mean a death, then?”
“yes,” the voice said.  “Die
into what the earth requires of you.”
Then I let go all holds, and sank
like a hopeless swimmer into the earth,
and at last came fully into the ease
and the joy of that place,
all my lost ones returning.
~ Wendell Berry
from Farming Poems

Initiatory Offering on Recognition

The meaning of recognition has been on my mind and in my field with a certain frequency these past months that cannot be ignored.  What it means to be recognized and what we desire to be recognized for has deeply personal resonance for me right now as I begin to put myself out into a more public world as a being whose offerings are of service and healing.   I welcome respectful discussion so please leave your thoughts and feelings on recognition in the comments.

Namaste (I recognize your divinity)

:  the action of recognizing:  the state of being recognized: such as a:acknowledgment; especially:  formal acknowledgment of the political existence of a government or nation b:  knowledge or feeling that someone or something present has been encountered before
from Merriam Webster online dictionary
This seems like an inadequate definition of a word that has myriad concentric layers and a lot of power in certain contexts.
It is a crucial part of human experience to want to be recognized and a source of great suffering when we do no get the recognition we desire.  But what does it even mean to be recognized? Our desires are not what they appear to be on the surface and there is often a deeper “thing” we are seeking so what is it about being recognized that is so important.
Recognition is being seen, but more than with the visual cortex, it is seeing the source of a being, their soul essence, which is the source we all come from.  When we truly recognize another being we see”something that has been encountered before”because we all spring from the same collective soul so it is familiar to us, we are seeing ourselves in a different costume.  The true meaning of Namaste.  “I see the divinity in you and recognize that it is the same as the divinity in me.”
The interesting thing here is that the soul doesn’t need to be recognized because it always maintains its connection, but the human spirit clearly needs this experience. I think what the human spirit is after when it seeks recognition is the reminder of this connection to source.  The human heart is wounded and lonely, it is part of our fundamental condition.  The fall from the garden.  A major drive for us is getting back to that garden, finding that connection and knowing we are not actually alone because somebody recognized us!  They saw us!  We are here, we belong! Our brain chemistry is wired for this because in an ecological sense when we cooperate we thrive and to cooperate we need to connect and to connect we need to recognize each other as belonging and not a threat to survival or survival of our offspring. To this end we have created a complex system of awards of  false recognition for every human act imaginable and awards for those awards and so on ad infintum.  But they don’t fill the need, they don’t work out very well because they aren’t recognizing what needs to be seen. They create a false sense of celebrity.
What happens with that kind of reward society is a further entrenchment of classism and  self shame.  Because we are so desperate to be recognized for our deep self and soul connection to source, but we are so distant from what that means, we have created this system of false recognition that wields tremendous power over our lives.
 We have created elaborate ceremonies of recognition and false celebrity to try and fill this need, the Oscars, the MTV music awards, the Nobel Prize, the Olympics, these are all extremely expensive resource wasting ceremonies of recognition that get us high on our own neurotransmitters. When we receive a “like” on facebook we get a hit of dopamine because we feel recognized, this is addictive (for good reason, see above about ecological survival) and we start to associate our sense of self worth with how many likes we get each day. This system of false recognition is also responsible for our tremendously abusive government and legal structure.  We vest these systems with authority because we falsely recognize them as being somehow more powerful/knowledgeable/closer to God/Source than us.   No one or thing has any authority over you other than what you give it, our “democracy” is a dangerous hall of mirrors.
On another level is the shame game that is created when we are recognized for all of these fallacies of being.  When we are recognized for something there is tremendous pressure to either live up to it or prove it wrong if it is undesirable like in the case of “mental illness”. Incredible suffering is experienced when we wish to be recognized for something we cannot achieve because we don’t have the right genitals/right skin color/right amount of money/right degree and to be recognized as that thing carries privileges we are denied because we are recognized as something “else”.   Our academic structure is set up to encourage the capitalistic growth of our economy, recognizing people monetarily for their degrees and their ability to hoard intellectual data.  Thus recognizing them for the ability to paraphrase someone elses lived experience, not actually to have learned the material in a meaningful way or lived it themselves.
This strange loop game of charades is damaging on many levels but my personal peeve on it is in the healing field.  When we go to someone for healing we so often ask where did you go to school?  What are your degrees?  What certifications do you carry?  And on and on without giving a thought to what their life experiences might be, where they grew up, how they be in the world who they are as an individual and how their lived experiences might line up with and resonate with our own.
The production of all these letters and certificates requires a standardization of learning material and tests to be created.  This is terribly dangerous because we begin to assume that the human condition can be classified into tidy categories and pathologized into positive and negative states of being and the healers job then becomes telling the patient that their state of being needs to be adjusted and they are uniquely suited to make that adjustment because they went to school and learned all about people like you and how to fix you.  This creates a power dynamic, taking the power to heal oneself out of the patients hands, making them dependent on the healer and furthering the misconception that there is actually something wrong with them.
All human experience is “right” all feelings and self identities and patterns of harmony and disharmony are correct and perfect just as they are.  That is what we want to be recognized for, that is the deep recognition that allows for absolute freedom to be, to belong on this planet in our place in the ecological system.  From that place of recognition we can begin to heal.  We can begin to see and feel what is actually happening to us and make the changes we wish to make instead of reacting from our trauma fields and constantly trying to demand that we be truly seen.
All privileges granted through false recognition are the human rights of all of us.  We deserve them all for doing nothing more than being born.
To heal, ourselves, our planet, our collective wound, all that is required is quiet open hearted recognition & non attached witnessing.
“I see you, I see your suffering, you are beautiful, you belong, we are here together.”
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