Over the last ten years I have been a gypsy wanderer, a traveler, a medicine woman with a bag of tricks, but it was not always this way.
I actually started off as a high school teacher at 20. I devoted my life to those students, taking many of them under my wing who felt abandoned by society, home, and life. I held students in my arms who had been gang banged on the weekend, comforted students when suicide befell fellow students, and sat with parents whose worry had created separation and who somehow forgot the art of speaking from the heart. I think what drove me then as now is life experience.
At 14 my mother and I moved to El Paso so she could care for her mother who had breast, bone and lung cancer. It was the first time I realized life wasn't all about me. It wasn't not, but for that moment in time, I had the moment to experience that life is fleeting. My grandmother was a very special woman. I can remember my mom at her bedside. I can remember the way they drank each other in through their eyes. I can remember the first time I helped feed her. Perhaps it seems like selflessness, but really, when you love someone it is for you that you are holding their hand, every bit as much as it is for them. Because when you love someone, there will never be enough one more times. And in the end the love you imprint will have to last a life time.
After she passed at the young age of 63, overwhelmed by death, I turned to drugs and alchohol. I had a near death experience at 16. My parents moved me two states away. I believe it is the knowing that love exists and the way they were there for me, pleading, talking, loving embracing that I became the teacher I did.
When I got a brain tumor in my 20's I continued teaching, sometimes barely making it home and not remembering the drive. My parents relocated to live with me and when I awoke I would eat, sleep and then return to the classroom. Then I met a medicine woman and began my own journey towards health and wholeness. It was not easy. The choices I made at that time in my life were choices that made everyone who loved me cringe.
I sold everything, I quit teaching, I put on a backpack and dropped myself down on the island of Kauai without a cellphone, no packing skills or experience, and trusted a divine force that led me to a shamanic burial on Big Island Hawaii.
What ended that journey was a final meditaion on the island of Maui, where I received back to me all the love and care of every single family member with whom I had not communicated in almost a year. It was the time of no facebook and calls that came from me were spuratic and done in telephone booths.
The choice to self heal and to separate from my tribe was for me one of the many things along the way that changed my understanding of modern day mentality. The mentality that self-realization and self-care is of primary importance. I came to see that it was this mentality that in fact had caused so much separation in our world and the dissolution of tribe. It is self-hood that brings us to our own paths in life, creativity...but truly it is what led me back to a field of service.
I see people on their own paths to wholeness and I know how important it is, also, at 39, both parents having survied cancer, three grandparents having passed, one aged and 94, I realize too that in the end, we always return to tribe. Perspective being that tribal unity is what keeps the family seed alive. To care for aged ones and young ones alike. It is the circle of love that brings us back. Perhaps our parents weren't perfect, but we are alive...so the job they did was good. We are always meant to learn and unlearn on our own. But in the end, it is the love we put out that returns to us.
I feel lucky to be part of a family that loves deep. We are all a little neurotic, have done one thing or another to each other, forgive, laugh, eat together and always we are family. Some have their own family, some stay to themselves, I travel...we are all our own people. In truth, it is the allowance of that allows tribes to dwell in unity. We need not give up our individuality...but knowing where we come from, our ancestry, our birth, our blood is the first step to healing in the lowest energy body, our physical body, our groundedness, our root it is where we are housed, birth and die.
I saw a saying the other day, "not my monkey, not my tree." I laugh now, in this moment because for our tree...we are all each other's monkey. Different aspects of ourselves birthed in the outside world to know the truth and Mexicans do speak truth. The older I get, the more the acts of love I consider ordinary seem to others outstanding, I can't help but think, we must as a race be forgetting something. This behavior of love, care, and devotion used to be normal. I can't help but pray that after we have gone into seclusion and self-inquiry, that we remember it isn't all about the one...it is about the we, the us, the entire human race and that we give ourselves back to that truth.
It is similar to the inquisitiveness that befalls my parents when in a yogic group, marveling over their love lasting from high school into their sixties. How do you do it? What is the secret? My parents, slightly confused will look at each other and then back again, it isn't because we think the other perfect, it isn't because there are not minor disagreements it is quite simple...we love each other. And many times I have seen a room go silent. And so what is love? What is the study of love?
I can't help but think that love is the study of family. It is the healing of ties, the forgiving of wounds, the willingness to see each other as perfectly flawed and imperfectly trying but never giving up in the trying, in the giving, in the communicating, in the saying of I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I trust you...such is the four tenets of the Hawaiian Kahunas.
Any tribe the world over all indegenous will teach you that seed, that little bit of knowing ohana, family, aloha, love, joined circles connected by fire, and prayer services over the sick that we must stick together and if the yogic practice of being happy, content and at peace while uncomfortable doesn't apply to this...check in with India...family, mother, grandparents is what they live for and marriage is for uniting tribes.
I hear alot use of the word tribe and tribal...it is a consciousness, it is a knowing and I believe in time we will come back to what it truly is. It is more than friendship. It is more than fun. To me it is the gift of having each other, to participate in the circle of life, not just in the yoga medicine worlds, but the whole world. And perhaps as we come back in contact with all people's we will round out. Help each other where we have each gone off track.
Help each other unite...where we crave bliss...others crave security and is either one the truth of our existence? ...life will always be slightly rickety, there will always be a curve ball, something that switches up our practices and blindsides us with unexpectancy, and in the midst of it...may we find enough hands there to hold us up, to bring us back to center (because God knows as much as I know where I am I sometimes get dizzy) so we can find our joy, our happiness, our bliss despite situations so that the one thing that never changes is our belief that the world is a loving place, that love is all around us and God is real, acting not only for us but through us.
I sit in the midst of the cedar trees, realizing as I do that it is an answer to prayers uttered in El Paso, Texas one month ago. "Please Creator, let me be with my greatest love in the cedar trees." In my heart, medicine ways and cedar trees are one in the same. I collect the leaves wherever I am, a little bag that carries my heartbeat filled with cedar leaves from Washington, Lake Tahoe, Haleakela, Prescott, India, and Ruidoso. To carry the cedar, is to carry all of the people and places in my heart from the many places I visit. To find the cedar tree wherever I stand, is to reaffirm that no matter where or for what we stand we are still a human being with our two feet upon the Mother Earth.
It is with profound reverence for the Mother that medicine ways preserve our connection to the elements of land, water, breath, and fire opening our hearts and removing the blocks of story and experience holding us back from entering into our joy in divine presence.
To give ourselves over to ceremony then, we are giving ourselves over in service to the Mother to accomplish her will that we live in peace and right relation, not only with ourselves and each other but with all beings seen and unseen.
To allow ourselves to be moved bodily in the direction of our greatest healings and face the pains in real life that are in need of healing so we can move forward into the future without the wounds of the past.
Over the years, I have come to realize that the situation and relationships that arise out of this soul commitment and willingness are often times beyond my wildest imaginings for what a human can and should endure, at least according to modern day paradigms of isolation, cutting cords, and exiling the past into some distant and irreconcilable story.
For me, my idealism has led me to believe in web of heart cords and forever love that encircles and protects the planet, giving rise to the Goddess as Mother and allowing her to compassionately transform all beings through love and forgiveness.
When people speak of the heart and the cords which bind us to the past, I think upon and consider that if the cords which bind me to the totality of my experience are the web of life that activates the healing potential of all beings then, surely I have the responsibility to bring to light the lessons I have learned in gratitude for the ways they have shaped me in the world I live, not only for myself but for all of existence and in service healing Universal Consciousness, especially in regard to relationship.
All of my ex's are my best friends. I have come to see them as a bridge to other facets of myself and in order to love myself whole, I have determined to make peace with my past selves as represented by those I have loved the most. To bless their life, is to bless my own. To open my heart cord to the healing of their lives and the blessing of their new loves, is to allow the prayers they say for me to stream towards me...for they have been, not only my best friends, but also my teachers.
When I began down these medicine ways, I sat up in tipi with a group of people who had been sitting and praying together for over 20 years. During that time, many lives had changed, babies born and tragedy endured and still, they sat together, ex lovers, wives, and friends...remembering that beyond the circumstance there is truth and beyond truth there is love...and they all continued on their path...for the children.
I remember the 4 song sets of some...that took me on a journey through the pain, anger, to the joy and finally into peace. Through the song of their life, I have come to realize that the healing of all relations begins within...where we hold, heal and forgive love for asking us to continue to rise up in courage...for asking us to grow...for asking us to choose God and his will, even when the situation seems impossible...it is...otherwise we would not be asked to live our prayers...another way of saying walk the talk.
Show up for yourself, show up for God...show up for each other and keep choosing life...keep dreaming love...and let that vibration flow with the ringing of the cedars.
Love is the most humbling force I have ever experienced in my life.
Having donned many costumes, earned a degree, been a professional, and traveled...I can honestly say that the most important thing I have ever done is love somebody.
I am not a parent yet, but I have had hundreds of kids pass through my life who didn't care if I was cool, who didn't call me Momma because of my clothes but because of the way I held them when they cried.
I was just a kid when I started teaching but I, like most of the teens, I spent time with, was an old soul. I saw their sufferings and battles through high school and remembered my own daily with compassion and all my heart.
I grew up in an upper middle class family in Pleasanton, CA. My freshman year of high school, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was 63. It changed the course of my whole life, not just because at 14 it was to be the first time I came face to face with death, but for the choices my parents made when the news was heard.
At the time my father was a Chevron executive working in the University as a trainer. When the news dropped down, everything became inconsequential. My father gave notice at work, the company refused to accept it and instead put him in a factory job in El Paso where he laughed at himself for his blue uniform embroidered with his name. A blast from the past, my father began his career at Chevron washing oil barrels at 18. Suddenly a lifetime later, not even for his own mother, he was there again and the whole family relocated.
For the first two months it was only my mother and I. Having been spoiled beyond imagining, I rebelled at this very tender moment. I love my mother for never losing focus. Having the choice between diverting her attention from her mother who lay dying and her daughter who in an effort to get attention dove head first into cocaine, my mother sat by her mother's bedside and let me cry my own way out.
It is a moment in my life that I know I can not regret, because for every time I came home from school scowling and stomping around while my grandfather gingerly helped my grandmother inch her way from the car to the house, I now have learned that it isn't all about me. But if I could change that time, I would wish for more time feeding her. I would wish for the wisdom to stop everything I was doing and just sit in the energy of her love as her eyes watched me cross the room. The way I did when I flew across the ocean from my blissed out post tipi hillside in Maui to sit with this grandfather, who, when he saw me, gingerly placed his hand upon my face, a twinkle in his eye and a smile in his voice..."My, Zonia."
I think perhaps on the road to love and service, there are times when a person starts to feel that they aren't feeding their own soul, that somehow they should be cooler or having more fun...at least that is what I was feeling when I got here almost two months ago. I just wanted to be alone. A sure sign...that I probably needed it.
I put myself on time out to feel everything I was feeling and in the course remember everything there was to remember so I could re-value the journey it took for me to get to where I am.
The journeys I have taken in my life have helped me to arrive at best one of all...that it is worth giving everything for love, even if I am uncomfortable, tired, overwhelmed..its the only thing that really matters.
I wish I could say I remembered all of this before my grandmother passed away, but I didn't. I fed her once...she cried. I didn't understand then what deep emotion went into the reversal of roles, but I do now.
My destructive behavior continued through high school, crossing the border into Juarez, alcohol poisoning, and concussions were a mainstay that crescendoed with a night out partying...two hits of acid and a lot of cocaine. I died that night and I had a vision.
I can still remember the feeling of being on a gurney rolled down a hospital corridor clink clinking along the cracks on the floor. I could hear my friends drift into the distance and the sobbing of my parents from an imagined waiting room. When the sound of doors opening hit me I was engulfed in white light that overtook me not with love but with Universal sorrow of the deepest kind. It was an understanding that what I do affects everything and everyone around me. That I had a choice to be a force for healing and accept divine guidance, or continue to add to the pain of the world and live in self-imposed separation and isolation.
I awoke to hands beating me on my chest and a knowing that my life was a gift. I was never the same.
My father picked up and moved us to Arizona. I met a holistic healer began working at his clinic where he practiced naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, nutrition and, most importantly, yoga.
I became a vegan and changed my body chemistry back to its natural state. I immersed myself in the faith of my youth and became a missionary. Graduated high school became a teacher at 20 and held those kids through drug abuse, alcoholism, cutting, gang bangs, divorces, beatings, heartbreak, suicides, arrests, pregnancies and low self-esteem. I held them and I held myself. I let go of all my ego because truly I had been one of them and the only thing that saved me was the love of my parents, both my physical ones and my spiritual ones. I thank them for their vision of me happy and whole and the love they were willing to give me to get me there.
I am grateful that I get the time to remember. Mostly, though, at the end of the journey that takes days, weeks, sometimes months to recap...what I remember is not just the bliss but also the fierce love that doesn't give up. It doesn't give up on me...it doesn't give up on anyone. It just begs us to return to it, to live it, to share it, to be the hands, eyes, words that will give comfort to ones praying for it to come. Not because they are less enlightened or evolved but...damn...shit happens...and some of it hurts so much it will be the force that helps us to grow for the rest of our lives.
We will hit the wall, feel it again, be humbled, face our choice to be happy anyways and use it like a slingshot to grow just that little bit more....and when we hit the wall...may there forever be people in our lives that believe in us...that know us to be strong, good, true....who will free us from the net of our own past and help us to step forward...changing the net to wings....and take flight again into the soul bursting freedom that...love is.
Thank God I am not a teenager anymore.
But I remember the fight against the world, rail against the system, and, for God's sake, be anything but what my parent's want me to be attitude. It's how we get to this...being.
IN-dividualized. Not able to be divided.
I was a high-school teacher for 12 years from the ages of 20-32.
I always liked the rebels...who can forget Zar with his mohawk and leather jacket sitting in the bottom shelf of the bookcase trying to get a rise out of me...It looked uncomfortable...but what did I care...He starred me down. I smiled a half smile...comfy? Yea. Ok.
I walked away and kept teaching while silently laughing to myself, catching out of the corner of my eye him sliding around trying to really be comfortable with his neck jarring his head towards his chest and insisting on answering questions so everyone would look his way...
It seemed cool to begin with...he was an individual and unique...and also too damn smart to stay stuffed in the box for more than 5 minutes. Shagrinned he went back to his desk. I looked at him...didn't say a word...it wasn't that comfortable he mumbled. I smiled. Better? Yeah. He looked up and found no measure of judgement , he sat up and the gleam that got him to the shelf in the first place came back. We smiled together. He was glad he had at least tried.
I wasn't that much older than him...and Lord knows I had more phases in high school and changed them faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth. I went from skater...I hit pavement and decided that wasn't for me. Cowgirl full get-up with ropers, decided I hated the way the jeans rode up when I sat down. Grunge...it was easy, shirts were huge...then I got a crush and realized the Eddie Vedder look did nothing for me. Went vampy with low cut shirts and short mini's...couldn't do all my crazy monkey antics without tearing the hose...went Mod...softer, with clunky shoes...stayed that way until I realized I loved Led Zepplin and commiserated with Janis. Started beading and wearing bell bottoms...same shoes...Got my first tatoos out of high school started wearing overalls by day and sexy silk dresses by night. Fell in love with swing dancing, flipped and everything with the high heel mary janes and retro dresses. Went to San Francisco started salsa dancing. Moved to Tahoe, became a ski bunny and wore high heel boots in the ice that weren't functional...hit pavement. Moved to the foothills became a writer, ran in the rain like Pochahantas. Moved to Maui...wore florescents and ditched my bra...hell ran naked on the beach at sunrise to drums. Became a sweat lodge momma and reconnected with my great great grandmothers. Wore moccasin boots...fell in love with country dresses and braids just to make it back at 38 citified slightly angsty teen loves tatoos, black, and red nail polish...
And I...I realize that it's all me and every person I meet is a facet of those adventures in self-hood.
Now it's just a matter of choice...what other persona could I try on...in the end the center stays the same. It's all just costumes...I love costumes.
I think about Zar with his mohawk desire to fight the system and the day he sat in the shelf...did that persona become a box...did it get uncomfortable...has he changed or in that moment of extreme selfness...did he hit the target first try and that get up has defined his entire life? He would be 28 today.
As much as I want not to be my parents...I see my mother smile and strike up conversations with every stranger in her radius joy flashing...oh...that's me. I watch my dad outside under a tree with a content smile on his face...yup that's me...and dressing up for an Opera...that's me...as much as barefoot in jeans hands in the dirt is.
And I realize...being individualized is being a part of the whole. Being whole is having many individual parts of ourselves...all of which we have allowed to flourish and love...and as I collect myself together from the ancient past to my own past, I again realize that there are still two more of my life times to go and rather than getting boxed into one part of myself...I'll take them all and everyone who represents some part of me...I honor the medicine of that part of me is easy to take and like and that part I'll deny...instead I'll take them as my friends and relatives...befriending every part of myself...and being grateful for my human family...because it is all so fun and we are all in this becoming unique unable to be divided from Source core energy journey....together.
Thanks for being you.
I awoke this morning with a sense of joy bubbling up in ways I wasn't expecting.
It started this week after weeks of meandering back in time to where I came from both spirit and ancestral, the deconstruction period back to the original seed I am supposed to carry forward. Having retrieved the seed, I knew the next phase was following the trail back to my little self, I call her Zoniacita, and helping her bloom the seed.
I prayed with tenderness and humor, "Please, God, teach me how to open and heal my cora-zonicita. I just want her to feel whatever she needs to in order to be authentically happy again. I identify my recurring pattern and do now heal the glitch in my brain that is circling over and over again and giving me a mental disease. Treat me like I am dumb, Creator, and make it really simple to see and understand....because right now, I think I might be retarded."
Truth was...that lost in the roles I live day in and day out...I hadn't done the one thing I really needed to do. Cry...It reminded me of the scene in Always with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter. She goes by a river...one scene shows her balling her eyes out alone. The next clip she is happy and smiling. No one knew but her. It is cathartic and waters flowing are life cleansing the heart.
Anyways, I cried...a lot...it was pathetic. I even laughed at myself a bit.
Side effects of crying a lot where people see you...fear.
My parents got upset...
I told them people pay me to cry with them...did you know it is so hard to find a place to cry in the world that people have to pay for it? If this is my home...please let me cry. I am not broken. All tears aren't sadness and they aren't a sign of weakness. My tenderness is my greatest strength.
Hold your space. Don't commiserate. Just let me heal myself whole and put all my pieces together because it has been so long since I had the time and room to do it.
When I hold space for people. I reflect to them that I know they are strong. I reflect to them they will receive whatever they need. I reflect to them that no matter where they have to go, I will remember them happy. And magic happens they let themselves feel into their own answers and divine connections.
So, my parents let me. They let go of the control. They let go and so did I. They stopped seeing me as broken and I stopped having to act like feelings are a tragic flaw.
I breathed into my heart cords...all of them...felt all the joys, sorrows and sadnesses and pains and laughter and losses and longing and came back to the one thing that mattered....the love. I wanted to keep my connections to those people and places in times when they were the healthiest. No matter the outcome. My focus became the dream and my emotion all gratitude for the many experiences I have imprinted upon my soul...
And then there was the biggest cord of all...the one I heard voices telling me to breathe into as if my life depended on it...because it did. So I took it seriously and took my deepest breaths day after day into the spot on my chest where my hands rested in peace and I realized the cord was to myself.
The first thought I had was...I like tatoos. I laughed when I started with that one. My parents hate tatoos. I grew up with them pointing at tatooed kids and saying, "Bah...look at that...." And I did. But with my own eyes...with my ears I heard..."Wow...look at that :)"
It was the best moment of the week, the differentiation phase and the re-experiencing of my individuality. It started me laughing. I kept repeating it...I like tatoos.
I dyed my hair...Thank God it washes out...I don't like it...but...I did it because I wanted to and I remembered the many phases I went through growing up...red streaks, bleached bangs.
I woke up this morning..."I'm a rock star." Not only was my hair black, I was aware of my tatoos and realizing that I had a once in a blue moon hangover. Very funny, Zonia. I giggled. Wow...I haven't done that since my 20's and of all places at an Opera fund raiser that was anything but proper with 4 twenty somethings and a couple of 40-50 somethings...all together laughing...It was so fun. They all had known each other for so long no topic was off limits, feeling intrinsically loved and accepted they giggled at their foibles and as I got folded into my unlikely tribe of artists and musicians, I blossomed.
I love artists and musicians...they get the medicine ways. Live from your heart. Of course you live that free way...I play violin for a living...Isn't it cool to do what you love?
Yeah. It's cool. I get to teach yoga and do massage all over. I get to plant seeds and visit my family all around the world. I get to spend most of the day praying and practicing...and I always get to say yes when people need someone to talk to...lunch at the park...yes, please...and by the way...thank you...I needed that too.
People ask me what I am going to do when I grow up...I am grown up, that's why I do what I want and, by the way, this is what I do...and for the last time you got sick and I did it for you....you are welcome.
And most importantly...to myself...Its nice to see you again, not in your roles or your practice...but in your heart. And yes, self...I apologize for trying to change you. You are perfect exactly as you are. I promise to stay close to you...because the closer I am to you...the closer I am to God.
And God, thank you for all my lessons. Thank you for everything I was asked to give up and sit in a room by myself with no distractions for the past two months praying and doing yoga to look at myself and take responsibility for the ways I had to come back into alignment with my center in order to gain my fluidity...kinda like doing yoga on my friend's pirate ship in Sausalito...but only in life...like living from the still center, but dancing with the flow...
Thank you God for my cousins, nephews, brother, parents, and friends....for taking me to do things I would never have chosen to do myself. Turns out I can shoot a bull's eye with a pistol...just call me Annie Oakley and with ear plugs...I don't mind screamo that much....I also like throwing a baseball.
Thank you for all the crazy radio stations I have been browsing. Interesting to note, I have just realized I I actually like Christian Rock, Rap and Techno, and Spanish ballads and...yes, those genres have really awful renditions...so bad they are funny.
Thank you for integrating me whole so that I realize I am complete. That I like my company and that love is everywhere....partnership can wait...I am falling in love with myself again.
Self, in practice of loving my next partner as a whole integrated self-directed connected to God soulful being, I allow myself to treat me with the same kind of respect I should give another being. I give myself the space to unfold, blossom and become everyday. I don't judge myself, I forgive myself, and I trust my desires will be in right relation to the direction of Source energy, Mother Earth, and the Medicine of my Heart.
I am not just a healer, I am also healing and I can take my own medicine. Right now, the medicine I need for balance is to love myself and remember who little "I am" is. I am sure that along the road I will also need the medicine of "collective it isn't all about me" too, so I will remember to take my medicine then too. For now, I practice this..."whatever the hell I damn want"...medicine.
I give myself permission to listen to my body and eat whatever I want and sometimes not eat at all...because I trust myself and know that I love to be healthy...I am not going to make a bad choice. I give myself permission to go outside barefoot and get dirt all over me because I like it....and if I don't want to take a shower everyday...I won't. And if a totally dorky dance song comes on that makes me happy, I am going to turn it up and dance in the car in traffic because the today when I did it...the people in the cars around me got happy and laughed, waving at me and saying, "It's nice to see someone happy."
Yeah! Because I like the way it feels. I don't need to change. I am as perfect today as the day I was born and I was born to do this....it's easy...I was born to be me. Isn't that Lady Gaga? Bless her song writing soul...so true.
The journey from the ancestors back to the self is a winding road looping through the spiral staircase of our genetic codes. To unleash and remember where this body came from and its experiences as a total whole now manifested as the being sent forward from original seed is to send roots down deep into the center of Earth and access memories held in store for the time when we would need it most.
But we are not only body...we are spirit and not bound by lineage, stories or time. To journey to the truth of that self we must diverge from the set course of those who would never have traveled the many roads and belief systems to the soul seed that remembers we are far more than our Earthly attachments. We are far more than our ancestors, religions, and our parents' visions for our life. We are part of a Universal whole that is bound to all beings seen and unseen, in this galaxy and far beyond our knowing.
Connection is our primary purpose in being born. Yoga's union in action beyond the mat.
The connection with the original indigenous seeds who would remember how to live in harmony with the planet and hold space for all the beings planet wide and in the mist of generational separation. This requires a contraction into the past and a remembrance of why and how the ancestors submitted to this multi-generational life cycle of evolution and creation.
The connection with the star nation is the coming of full circle back to our selves. It is the original blueprint manifesting in order for us to evolve from animal to soul. Star nation remembers itself as a human form and the many experiences that cause suffering, they however know that in the end the way we have expanded and added to Universal Consciousness is the most important journey of all.
The circle and cycle as it was originally implanted by Source.
Man made is linear...nature is circular.
Though we may not truly understand the concept of time and the omnipotence of a creative force that can hold together the thread of past present and future under the umbrella of NOWness, we can begin to grasp time, not as one who is looking at the scales of a snake through a hole in the fence, but one who is looking at time from a wider perspective and seeing the snake that has brought us all here as eating its own tail.
When star nation and earth tribe unite, we have a prismatic color spectrum that unites all people, beliefs, and systems into a rainbow of possibilities. We can choose to see that moment when the prism strikes and alignment is possible as the VOID but truly it is the place of conception where everything is born. It is the still breath when sperm meets egg...it is the moment when the cells begin to divide into the orginal 8 cells of humanity.
8 cells. 8 chakra. A complete whole human being in harmony with spirit.
Are we in harmony with spirit? The only way to know is if we are in harmony with love for all beings, not just ourselves. This is the tenet of right relations. That we begin to think not only of our own freedom, but of the generations to come. That we are willing to be uncomfortable and release ourselves from attachments of all sorts in order to allow places, people and events to come into alignment with Universal order.
In the energy system of the chakras, the heart is the uniting force that guides us to understand where we came from so we don't make the same mistakes again and also so we can preserve the very things people of the past were willing to die for and manifest through course of action and will.
That I do speak often of my ancestors and their stories, I also have guiding me my unborn children. I know not if they will ever manifest on the physical plane, but I see them in dreams playing in a field under a giant oak tree.
This week as I visited the gravesites of my ancestors, I joined a force greater than myself that is love and Earth combined in wisdom with my life experience as a travelling medicine person. I have gone against many spiritual beliefs of both my parents, been willing to face my fears and let go of things I held true and valued, I have made medicine teas and sat in sacred circle and I remember two tenets that are not to be broken in ceremony.
Never let anyone get between you and the fire. Never let anyone get between you and the medicine.
They are two separate tenets.
One is the relationship with the fire, God, eternity, your soul...when we say not to let anything get in between you and the fire, it means not even yourself. Get out of the way and let the fire do its work on you. At every part of the ceremony there is something else happening. As we pass through the time of darkness, when we are away from the sun, that is when we are shown the things of our heart that are making ourselves and connections, and we are all connected, sick. IF we are to rid ourselves of the disease of the HUMAN collective mind, we must look at the places in our lives where we must right actions and take responsibility for the words, thoughts, prayers, and ideas that cause imbalance in a world of excess and consumerism, however love driven and honestly innocent the intentions were. Sometimes...we are wrong. Do we trust the inextinguishable Source of all things and allow that being to move us in the direction we must travel to heal, not only ourselves but the collective connection to Source as One Medicine Wheel for all peoples, not just the ones in the tipi, and certainly not just for the stone we are.
The other is you and your personal medicine of your heart. It is expansive and free. It speaks truth, sings it, lives it, prays it and moves us in the direction of our dreams. It cures dis-ease born of sadness, shame, fear, and isolation. It opens us to the possibility of joy, courage, celebration and connection. It views us as the source of either great happiness or sadness. It teaches us how to open and where. As the sun begins its route back to morning, we are purified by the fire, we are then born-again as divine beings who can trust our hearts to be good and know that if we get off track we are willing to change. Humility mixed with supreme confidence in our heart's guidance system.
The roots of a tree...in relation to the Sun. Father Sky illumination and shining a light on the dark places of ourselves where we have forgotten to look. Mother Earth, blessings and perfectibility of bliss.
Standing in two worlds...star nation and earth seed. Living in two consciousnesses, Father Sky and Mother Earth. Brought together in one little being who is both spirit and ancestor, you.
To be of this current generation, we are flowing along on an ocean of consciousness that requires we root and ground down, but it also demands that we learn how to fly free.
It is for us then to honor the teachings of both worlds. The world of technology harnessing not dominating the codes of nature. It is the empowerment and celebratory essence of rainbow tribe festival people rooted with the experience and wisdom of tribal heart cords.
I am grateful that I did not grow up in the land of my ancestors, because my ways have flourished to encompass and understand the mountain people of India and the Islamic on their knees, as well as the Christians on pilgrimages in front of crosses, and the Hawaiians with their stones. I have seen God in every place and detail of all peoples.
I honor the ways of others as well as the way of my tribe. Passed down in stories, I know my great great great grandmother Maggie who massaged and realigned bones is with me in sessions the same way I know my heart cords have the power to tell me when to come home because I can hear the heart prayer of my parents needing help while care-taking for my 99 year old grandfather. Living on the land in Maui and loving the bliss of my life, it is a cord stronger than my own experience. It is the same cord that stood me to attention to be at the bedside of my dear cousin as she miscarried at 3 months so I could hold her son Christian in my hands until he grew still. All of this without even a phone call.
These are the defining moments of my life, every bit as much as the tapestry of the travels I have taken on my own. To be sure I will never forget the hillside in Ulapalakua where I watched the sun set for months, nor will I forget the sound of birds chirping at my window while I worked and lived in the jungle of Huelo.
It is in my blood to honor my relations, but it is also a part of my youth and joy to dance 5 rhythms in Nevada City with my friend Mike who wears a big tye-dye shirt and for me to bathe naked in the hot springs on Big Sur Coast.
I know who I am from the roots of my tree to every branch and leaf. I know who I must become, like the hawk that soars through the sky.
And though I force myself to look in the face of the beliefs of others to know where it is they are learning love, I can not deny the essence of myself that has brought me home, or the one that will lead me to the land where I see flowers.
There will be many times in my life that will draw me home to El Paso where I learn to let go of my youth, but there are so many more that will draw me forward to live life to the fullest now and forever young.
May we all honor the medicine within, make peace with those who have disconnected us from it, and give reverence to the medicine without...reaching for the stars and beyond the limitations of the potential we have been gifted.
A living scale of balance, aware enough to know when we need more for ourselves and when we need more for others. It is the balance between red tantra and white. It is the love that binds it all together at the center...where our own essence lives...and only we can ever know that.
Two weeks ago I began not only performing newly channeled ceremonies on others, but also on myself. Not sure how they would affect me or my life, I began anyways. First with The Roses, a ceremony designed to heal ancestral connections and sexual wounds. I then proceeded on to The Sun, a ceremony designed to help tap into personal strength...then The Forest, which connects us like children to our place as a collective whole on Earth...and finally, The Moon, a ceremony to connect with the Divine Mother and be guided by unseen forces.
Though I would not have performed all these ceremonies on any ONE person and certainly not all in one week, I did perform them one right after another on myself. Each day I performed it on myself...the next couple of days someone would come along who needed that exact ceremony.
And so I proceeded, allowing the energy to increase and all the while watching with an observing mind.
As my ceremonies transitioned, so did my yoga practice. At times I had the insatiable need to run and at times the energy ran through the night, I would awaken with the thought "I am dying" and I would assure myself..."it's ok, you agreed to it."
I continued to reaffirm that I was willing to let all patterns and belief systems that were blocking me to genuine connection and guidance from the highest source to die away from me. I wasn't sure where my practice was going but I was determined to change...I kept moving and my backbends were deeper, my lunges stronger, my practice seemed never ending...continuously I was drawn back to my mat.
One fine day, just before performing The Moon, I received a message of pain that rang through my back like a bolt of lightening...slow down...it said. It was so powerful a lesson that I had no choice but to listen immediately. I dropped to my knees and asked to put my awareness on the place of my greatest pain. When I did, I realized that I had actually been moving so fast and letting go of so much that I was not in healing mode...I was in a healing crisis.
It was at this moment that I decided to video tape myself doing yoga. Viewing myself as a student and now taking the teacher role, I saw that my feet and hands were not activated on the mat, my hips were out of alignment, my right leg shorter than my left, my right shoulder was twisting forward, I was lifting my hip into side bends, and, yes, voice in my head...I was not breathing my spine slowly to its full extent, I was using my muscle and power to create change. Somehow I had moved from co-creator to creator and I was not allowing myself to be guided to the greatest places of healing by the breath of life that knows me more intimately than my mind ever could. Thank goodness for the divine reflection, a mirror to me of what was happening inside reflected on the outside on video.
I performed The Moon directly after this and was rewarded with a deep stillness and peace that pervaded my every cell. It came to me in the night like sparkle dust on my chest and ignited love memories of all the moments for which I am grateful. They floated through me and returned me to my breath. The thoughts and voices that had been driving me for weeks to push harder, faster now encouraged me to lay still and just breathe.
I started over again, the same way I started doing yoga 10 years ago after my accident. I focused on my feet. I spread my toes and felt into my hastabhanda, RE-membering what it symbolizes I breathed my awareness into the center of my joined feet and said, "I choose to live a life in right relation to the Earth. Please, guide my feet." I stepped one step and took a deep breath through my pain. I came down to my knees and bowed down saying, "I give myself over to the divine consciousness and allow myself to be moved to the greatest place of my healing." I came up onto my hands and knees and breathed into my hands and said, "I give my hands over to you for the healing of others. Please teach me how to give and receive in balance." I sat with my legs extended in front of me and focused on my heels. I felt the right leg lengthen and I breathed into my right side. "Please, help me to balance the male and female within myself. I forgive all relationships and take responsibility for the way they have turned out. I allow myself now to be guided to understand what right relation is." I took a seated side bend and opened my chest, now attentive to my sits bones instead of depth, I felt my torso lengthen and lift out of my hip. "Surrendering myself to the medicine of my heart." And I felt the throbbing of my uterus...and breathed healing energy into my own sacred space.
Twice a day I did 6 postures. It took me 2 hours.
In the meantime, my life unfolded in visions of the El Paso landscapes, the place of my birth, I started painting, teaching yoga as slowly as I performed it, doing healing work, aware of my feet and letting go of my muscles so the energy flowed through me, not to me and, finally, the week ended at the gravesites of my grandparents...all of them...5 generations back...and I let go of dreams associated with paradigms I do not believe in from my core.
As my body came back into alignment, my heart came back to the center. From the center of my core I felt the medicine of my heart and know that though I am not my grandmother and will not live in a kitchen passing salt, there are other ways of giving in little ways that all day long say "I love you." Though I am not everyday walking the small steps with my grandmother to the bathroom, I do know that I get to through my aunts and uncles who are serving their mother in the same ways she served them. I am also not the same woman, who I love and admire for her strength, who gave 50 years to a man who came and went when he pleased had other children with other women and left her to care for 7.
I see the trials and tribulations of the women of my family who gave their power over life and their sacred space to men who didn't appreciate or love them until they were gone. My grandfather who kept my grandmother's memory alive 20 years after she passed, never loved and appreciated her so much as when she was gone. I honor the women of my lineage for their strength and I add my freedom from religious doctrines that bound them to situations they would not leave. I honor the women of my lineage for the forgiving hearts, and add to it the example of my father, who has never strayed, who has loved my mother since they were in high school, and who everyday teaches me what a man of honor is.
To be sure, I do not know where my practice of the last two weeks will lead me, but I am grateful that it has returned me to center and aligned me with my path as a medicine woman., who sits in the strength of her sacred space, holds ceremony, and realizes the power she receives is from the Earth, and even the Mother Earth knows she needs the sun to give life, and life, it is a gift to us from the dead, and they watch over us in the stillness of dreams uttered by children yet unborn but remembering us as their grandmother who stood for the medicine that we pass forward.
I am grateful to yoga, for the union of my mind-heart with my body. Thank you for the connection of the present with the past and future. May I ever acknowledge all the stories that created me and slowly learn to unwind the wounds of the past so I can soar into the unknown blessed future.
Harnessing the love of the Goddess for the healing of all beings. Mother/Father this is not for self, but that I may serve your little children:
I honor the deep love medicine of my ancestors and accept my role in preserving its lineage through sacred service to the divine mother and the consciousness that connects all being through our hearts to the Earth. May our humanity shine in our interactions with all beings, lifting them up to a higher vibration of being and the healing energy that belongs to the innocence of God's children. May we walk in our souls and spirits caring deeply for the seed of potential implanted within all of us to embody metaphorically the consciousness of conception born from union between Earth and Sky. To create a life, flesh and blood, and imbue it with spirit. Giving birth to family, helping us pray our lives and heal family relations. By living in right relation, I strive to heal our past wounds with father and mother to be born again whole and holy connected to God, the Father, and add to the beauty of our Goddess, the Mother, by living in harmony with the land and my brothers and sisters. I no longer harness energy from others, but rather connect to the inexhaustible source that is life's potential, the singularity. Together with my brothers and sisters, we are growing as a family in awareness of our actions, consecrating our lives over to the Creator, source of life energy within and without, to do with our lives what is needed to fulfill the divine's will. Living happily within the freedom granted to the children of the divine, while still humbly giving it over for the healing of all beings seen and unseen, past and still present, becoming part of a whole, living as a tribe united as one by THE Mother and Father. I add my stone to the wheel and see the seed of God potential inside of me, joining with the seed potential inside all beings to bring back God WHOLE, dancing, singing, loving, opening that breathing presence into the world. I also open myself to the knowing of the ancestors, now one with the divine and able to communicate the experience of their life through the prayer of my life. Thank you, Grandmother. Thank you, Grandfather. For the wisdom of the ages and the knowing within my DNA codes, your life stories and the righting of your own ways through me. May those things you wish to have done differently manifest in my life, now perfected through the experience of generations and my own personal experience of the modern age. May we remember our birth, our Earth and let our life praises ring. I pray to the Goddess and thank her for the continuance of life on this planet and the lives of those who came before me. May I honor them through my choices and continue to heal my genealogy, preserving the medicine of connection and love, for future generations.
It was the most unlikely of afternoons. To be sure the ground upon which I stood was not a place I would ever have taken myself, but when my mother declared on our drive, pointing at one of the oldest cemeteries in El Paso, that it was her dream to go there...I ignored the look on my own face, which said more or less...are you crazy...really? Mom...who does that? and instead took the next exit off the highway.
"Hey! Where are you going?!" my mother declared, sure that I was lost and exiting wrong.
"It's your dream to go there...well what were you going to do? Drive past it for 20 years? I'm taking you now..."
Her face lit up and a sense of wonder passed through me about this little scrapbooking 4'11" grandmother who loves pink and lace. Suddenly, I remembered...she also has a personality that inevitably surfaces and throws me off every time....I call it her murder, death, intrigue self, the one who worked for secret service, and it was this one now driving us to the cemetery.
The Franklin mountains surrounded us as we walked upon the desert floor, cactus blooming and ground squirrels running. It wasn't eerie...more..peaceful. Statues of angels, iron cribs, fence posts, unmarked graves....and though I should have felt a deep sadness...the day was curious...the speculations on the stories and the reading of names...the dates were 1860....1914...influenza sections and revolutionaries...lying now...side by side.
Some sections were Jewish, others Catholic, and still others Chinese. Separated by beliefs, united in eventuality. We talked then about my own grandparents...about their own passing and we realized simultaneously that we never visited their grave...that was not a visit of anonymity, but of longing and remembrance.
The thought occurred to me then, I was born in El Paso. I said it to myself many times allowing it to sink in. I was born on this land. My grandparents died here....all of my grandparents will...and they were born here....some within a two hour radius but going back 7 generations...at least. And I thought...doesn't that mean something? A powerful thought to one who travels often and far...that even still, staying here or not, this is my home...because there will always be someone in the family here who remembers me.
It seemed inevitable, then, that my mother and I take the drive to remembrance that we had avoided. For weeks, doing healing sessions in my grandfather's room, pictures of my grandparents life surrounding me, I had been thinking about the two of them.
For many years I used to reflect on my grandmother in the kitchen, my grandfather "making" her cross the room to pass him the salt that sat inches from his hands...what was a modern granddaughter, still single at 38, independent traveler to think about this? I did not usually reflect happily upon it but the image kept appearing over and over again.
Now here we were arriving at Mt. Carmel approaching the Virgen de Guadalupe and the site where my grandfather was recently placed side by side my grandmother.
I didn't expect to feel so much, but when I saw the stone and our last name written upon it: Uribarri...it hit me. This was not an unknown grave, with stories to speculate about...it was my grandparents'..and they were lying side by side.
The images that had been flashing for weeks suddenly became vivid and clear. I remembered everything. The smells, the smiles, the look in their eyes and the still peace of watching them in the kitchen.
My grandfather was a writer...he sat for hours at the kitchen table scribbling away...my grandmother was a nurturer. Walk into the house...be sure you would be asked a relentless series of how can I serve you questions...
"Qieres algo para comer, mija? (Something to eat?)"
"No, gracias, Grandmalita."
"Algo para tomar?"
"No, no. Nada."
And my grandmother would smile her beautiful smile that would light up her eyes and melt your heart. And I realized as I sat at the grave, emotions overflowing that she wanted to. That she wanted to nurture, she wanted to serve, she wanted to love, and suddenly I saw those moments in the kitchen for the loveliness that they were.
I think when I was younger I used to think you met someone, you feel in love and "something" happened...now...looking at the people I love who have made it work for 42 years or more...I see love the way I now saw it unfolding in the kitchen.
There was not more happening...there was less but the "something" was deeper...stiller...a bit quieter. Two people honing life down to the things they loved the most...food, writing, and each other. Married for 50 years, in a 20 foot space, each day doing exactly what they loved...3 feet apart...breathing time together...one dream, one simple moment together in time. How ever it was going to be...they were going to hold the memory of each other alive...and my grandfather did just that.
For the 20 years he lived beyond my grandmother's young 64 year old life, I watched him breath love into her pictures, remember her in his writings, and live the life they lived together over and over again. She kept him company and together, though they are gone, they came together to teach me through memory...less from the big things of their life...mostly in the little things...like passing the salt...what love actually is.
And as I held my mother, now parent-less, and feeling into her heart...I tell her its ok to cry...its ok to let go into our hearts and know by experience the depth of our love...because I know someday...I too will have to face the eventuality of my parents absence and someone will hold me through it until it is our turn.
I hear my mother say in her heart, "Te esperamos en la resurreccion."
I feel into the space of my own heart, the one that connects me to my relatives past and present, and I do know that we will one day live together again...we will and do remember each other alive...in some other place in time and be willing to lose again, because the having is so worth experiencing.
"Juntos, para siempre 1946.
Carmen and Roberto Uribarri."
And to my grandmother...I would so love a liquado and some lucky charms...yes, please.
1. Before you set out into the world to make promises, contracts and agreements with other people, you must honor the ones you have made to yourself when you arrived on this planet. That requires in depth investigation and openness to the manifestations in the physical world of your mental and genetic patterns.
***Yeah, exactly...how and why do you always end up in this situation? Ask the question and then...crazy part...ANSWER IT. Honor the truth. For a true life is the only one that can ever make you truly happy.
2. Communicate what you learn about yourself to yourself so you can learn how to communicate it to someone else...and then do so courageously. Clarify it with each lesson, try out your theories, if they are wrong...change them immediately...how many times do you need to feel wrong before you feel right?
***Yeah, that means trusting your heart and when it is hurting honor your own pain...weather it is based on false expectations, delusional projections, or unspoken words. Because...hell...if they only knew how much this meant to you, how much it would hurt you, or how unchangeable this aspect of you were...then they could act accordingly.
3. Let go of that which does not serve your highest most amazing path to happiness. That means that when you don't get the response you expect to 1 and 2 don't try to play it off, change your mind to get a different result, or ignore the response. Honor the Truth of the other person and your own.
***Yup...every time you pretend you didn't mean exactly what you clearly stated from your heart, your heart will be wounded and your soul will know you are living a lie. Does this catch up to you? You bet! Do you get less attached over time? Nope...always MORE! So, choose...more pain or less. Either way the inevitable irreconcilable differences will arise. Honor your disagreements and know what is not negotiable.
4. Bless the life of the person who is leaving yours. Express gratitude for the qualities that made them lovable and for the time they gave you (Because its valuable...you can never get time back.) Be clear about why it is not going to work. Apologize for the hurt, support their pain, allow them time to understand and ask/answer any questions. In time, acknowledge the lessons learned and forgive them for perfectly being exactly who they are but not the one you are looking for. Speak good of them to others, and celebrate the joys of their life...that's the blessing for you and for them...
***Exactly...treat this person as a humane being and know that your hearts are forever entwined...your stories...your memories...and what adds to them...adds to you...what diminishes them...will hurt you. Heal together because now...tantrically speaking, and yes...tantra is magic...you are one being.
5. Awake and conscious beings enter into relationship with eyes and hearts open through fully releasing (forgiving) the past and surrendering to the current person, time and circumstance. In this way, we are able to mirror to each other the joy of love and truth without projection. Keep clear and continue to communicate what you know about yourself to be true through experience (The less taboo topics...the more clear the connection) about: sexuality, commitment, family, friends, children, marriage, money, home, travel, personal time and space, time together, hobbies, interests, spiritual practice, willingness to experiment and try new things, desire for routine, spontaneity, planning, health, what actions/words/touch they can best honor you with...and YOUR HEARTFELT DREAMS.
***Take these communications seriously because you are making soul agreements and considering making binding contracts. Soul agreements lead up to contracts and contracts can not be broken without karmic retribution. Any inability on one partner's part to honor agreements nullifies contracts and through a mutual agreement...cotnracts can be altered...i.e. forever bound...footnote...as friends family...etc...
6. Everyone has something they are holding back for the one being who will enter their life and honor a contract with them. Know what actions or activity leads to lifelong commitment...for example...children...marriage...ceremony...and take those things seriously. If you didn't understand this before...its okay...see #4 Write a letter, make a phone call, or see each other in person and then begin again at #5.
***The key here is a focus on maintaining or now beginning to have, RIGHT RELATIONS. Right relations are based on heartfelt communication. In the end...let the love remain and feed the grid of all human consciousness. There is a better way to end and begin...let us honor the hearts of all our brothers and sisters and give them the gift of new beginnings...to heal the hurts of many lifetimes in this moment when we are present and open to letting go of the past.
7. Surrender. We hold power over each other until we don't hold it anymore.
Women hold the power of guilt and self-depreciation over a man. Surrender power and control over good men by forgiving them for reflecting your shadow and take responsiblity for your own projections. WE ALL GET EXACTLY WHAT WE EXPECT. EXPECT THE BEST AND HOLD SPACE FOR GOOD INTENTIONS BY ASKING CLARIFYING QUESTIONS...COMPASSIONATE INQUIRY. Ask hard questions and accept the answers. Clarify vague statements.
Men hold the power of lack of expression and timidity over a woman. Surrender power and control over open women by truthfully expressing your ability to honor agreements and hold your words sacred by being honest. YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU ASK FOR SO SAY WHAT YOU WANT, BE SPECIFIC, ALIGN YOUR WORDS, THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS and don't be surprised when they believe you. Honor them by deserving it. Speak clearly and inquire as to your real feelings on matters.
8. Human beings are sense oriented beings. We speak different languages but we absorb information in non-verbal ways. Touch, look, listen, feel, taste, smell...be present with your partner and then be present with yourself by meditating and doing what you love...taking in your self by spending whatever time you need to hear your own self responding...and spend time with each other enough to understand the essence of a being that can not be altered no matter the actions or words.
***Love is the seed...patience and unfolding is the flower. Be conscious in love...be conscious in life...compassionately transform all the shadows into joyful light.
Many blessings on our joint journey to wholeness my brothers and sisters...thank you for adding your prayers to the ceremony and your lessons learned to these words. In so learning...may we all continue to grow and fulfill the blueprint to our soul's happiness and the healing of every sentient being, our Mother Earth...our Father Universe...