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.
When the fires blaze
my heart lights up
I come back to remembering
our eternal essence is not what we own.
I come back to remembering Jesus who when offered a kingdom
turned and walked barefoot into the desert
Buddha who rejected his wealth to
sit under a tree
Crackling they endure the heat
and I recall the medicines
and people who sit in jungles
watching the Amazon fall to the ground
and facing extinction everyday they pray
The shamans wife in
the Sierras of Mexico does sell her peyote
to visit doctors who give her medicine
to heal the illness
has found the remote villages
and history repeats itself in Modelo beer
drunken with need for money
that cannot be eaten
The seed is the kernal that
gives life to the people
I pray those speaking medicine remember
we are here to pray for Earth and humanity
and can we step away from our own photos
for the wisdom of the ages
spreads out as land and sky
desert storm clouds
many waters spilling
blooming sage amid red rocks and scrub brush
The sky is infinity
horses etched cliffsides
sound thunderous gallops
focus center points internal compass
seaside Huichotle sweat lodges
all this land is home:
Long ago a young woman held truth in her heart
preached it from the pulpits
the miracle of Jesus
working in her and through her
she walked where she was led
stood at vistas on Cathedrals
pounding a grandfather drum
without a song
opening her heart
she passed through her fears to run up walls
stood steady on legs
the Goddess route
altars of tantric love
unionized on rock heads
pelvis vulva clitoris
making love all at once
they touch and pulse life into being
we are all born of this earth
and will return to its
steady still center
everything we have will go
but the love
experiences of service
to those without money
God's divine presence is not for sale
It is ours
grateful to be guided to ancestral lands
whose horror and anger gives way to waves that
rush and pulse
I will fight no more forever
Aging I wear no costume
play no games for
time now unfolds
the grandmothers said...
None of this was for sale
now I do know what
commerce has taken
to be flawed
to speak an unpopular truth
we grin and bear
that spiritual sanctuaries
have created more emptiness
Where praises were sung to honor God
we raise ourselves up hierarchically
crushing the little children who need a knee and
sell them hugs for a dollar
to feed coconut cravings
have become highly exaggerated version of self
competing egos for the prize of the
goes no longer to the
crone with rosary beads praying
privately for her family
but to the
young beautiful and rich
who sell you guru and hold back friendship--
for how can we charge for what used to be free
even elders sell tipi but
I remember when
we came together to
I remember when friendship became sales's gimmicks
and struggling for money we
crawled begging our way
Back to the Kings and Queens
of the New Age Movement
Royalty in the making
we have created a parallel structure of
successfully spiritual and abundant
Flyers, cards, costumes, and websites
Claiming self as Creator...
No longer part or particle
I drop to one knee in the desert
remember the ones who have come before me and
pray to know another way
lineage passes on this:
We are now asleep
sitting together and
shining only our bliss
we neglect to use our
as candles lighting the way
in dark places we
look and find
humanity huddled together without fanfare
authentic like the stars remembering it is all about time spent together
Love shared is the presence of God
Sacred commerce has become another rat race
flowers of life, crystals, hoola hoops, fire and drugs
lots of them to
elevate the experience and make us believe
We are in ceremony
communion with the Divine Mother
whose breast has run dry and fires rage in
small towns we cry
what is lost
Remember the value of friends when we had nothing
we stood together in embrace
that is free
God is with us all along the way
reminding us that love is the only thing that matters
it is how we are here and the struggle is
the birth canal to our first primal yelp
this existence will be a cycle of emptying and filling
and no matter what comes in
we will all shit it out and cry our hearts out to be
Connection to our Mother
in utero we were cared for and magically formed
Into this land
is a beautiful woman and do we plant and water her
until she blooms or bulldoze her
counting money and profits
raping the one who gives unconditionally to
dole out a chunk and dig up
ancestral finds of outer space origins
a knife to stab us in our own hearts
Living this life as if this is all there is
or looking towards eternal bliss in oneness
we are all here now
divided only by our stories
projections entitled blissed
truly insecure and vulnerable
we are only human and dependent upon this planet
She will go on
the endless sky and stars do tell us
things burn out
water runs out
no plastic bottle can be filled with what has dried
and do we now frack and infect our supplies for moneys and addictions
squandering the future with toxic fumes and GMO strains
cancerous dumps of
fertilizers to feed the masses
who do not plant seeds
who do not have land to grow
Laws are broken with the hope of freedom
and still we are enslaved to serfdom working what is not ours
in due season
we reap what we sow
spraying dandelions and then taking pharmaceuticals
passing stones and beverages made with
rots our teeth
mercury our brains
We have given our food supply and
organic practices over to corporations who are now
to the apothecaries
must sell the rights to herbs to be bought and
I remember when the silent scream unfurled inside myself that
the one had become a million
in every far reaches of land
we have sold ourselves and become slaves to our
to make others millions and
trade amongst ourselves
kids at 40
ticks of the trade
our intrinsic value declining
everyday we sit for chocolate
All our thoughts and ideas wired into a
handheld device that tracks us to sell us what is already ours
in yoga postures, stretch pants
We forget yogis in loin cloths sat in caves
praying for Universal peace they gave over their egos and served
Our spirits now one with the new god--
is energy that propels things
forward we stream
grabbing for that which is temporary and
Our souls of faith crave
peace that comes only in union with God
who makes the sun to rise
the waves to cycle with Goddess moon
Someday we will
join the particles of our life to the one now here
and when that essence dissipates into God
will it pray land trees flowers hope children and
God itself back into being or perpetuate
the concrete poison and technology that is our cancer
may we learn to fear the cause more than the disease
and turn our focus back to
health color music dance slow time
dance in the breeze in trees to childrens laughter---and my heart beseeches everyone:
honor our partners
safegaurd our lineage that is family
forgive the separateness
bring us back to the one realization that can save us
let us be in the world and on the earth
humans reaching out to our grandmothers
slowing down to one breath one look that says
I am here for you and
I am greying despite all my practices,
prayers, travels, medicines, service, love, joy, bliss
willingness to shadow to cry to scream to panic to
not know what to do if
all this beauty love humanity is lost
in a cloud be it fire, peace pipe, or solar flare
The time to break free of our addictons and
escape from behind fences
to which we have been fleeing
separating people in open spaces
from people who sell you eternal youth and
your own authenticity
Walk your truth
with your aged parents
and true friends
hold you in times of loss
return to the work
You've given your life over to
is for others
to lift them up
to give hope
where it has left
life into death
experience miracles and
Not to sell people God
but to guide them so that God is
moving them and
at a time
Our human race
healing our Mother
and preserving our children
for generations to come.
I recently sat in a tipi ceremony where the prayer was for a man desiring to become a healer. Its a good prayer. He now works with trees. The greatest nation of teachers there are. I sat and listened to advice and pathways, watched as he filtered it all back to the fire giving thanks to the Creator for allowing him this moment to continue with his transformation. I said little by way of advice, remembering all the words I have listened to over the years about certifications, classes and trainings and I realize, the true path of a healer comes when humility and confidence merge together into one.
If anyone were to ask me where to start, my answer is with faith. With putting your life in the hands of God and proving that you believe there is a force greater than yourself guiding you because it is the height of arrogance to ever think we actually know what is best for anyone. I have had the privilege to sit and witness the prayerful receptivity of people who have cancer, releasing of traumas and accidents in stories and I have also be a witness to people who are so deeply identified with their stories of pain, suffering and wounding that I have chosen to be merely an observer, allowing them their path, however long they wish it to be. For the work of faith is a personal one, it is internal, and I do know I can not take a person anywhere they are afraid to go.
I grew up believing in Jesus and the benign force of a Creator whose miracle worker representative responded to a blind man who approached him saying, "if you just want to make me well, I will be healed" by reaching out and placing his hands on the eyes of this man and saying, "I want to." I have the story of his compassion and kindness emblazoned upon my deep consciousness and also, the willingness of the people approaching him to believe.
I have a belief that is validated and confirmed for me by my experience. I have experienced spontaneous instantaneous miracles when as a 28 year old my pituitary tumor came out my nose from, of all things, a spiritual experience (Shamanic Burial) confirmed by MRI to have healed my gland of its imbalance and the chaos it was wrecking upon my vision and my endocrine system.
And I sink into that space of knowing that healing, true to the bones, cellular altering healing, happens both ways. It is both the responsibility of the giver and receiver to accept that change is possible, not at a mental level where we tell stories and dictate timelines, but in our bones. True willing to be broken-hearted willing to press forward and know beyond all expectation beyond all the things people have to say in fear, beyond all the seeds any doctor has planted that you are now in a new body experiences new things and to accept with a state of wonder that you are not the same soul, spirit, mind or body. to give the outcome over to God...even if it means disappointment...that to me is the greatest act of faith.
To live as though the miracle has happened, to live as though you have been given a new lease on life, to leave off the fear to follow your heart, to allow space for it to be true...that is the healing that is hope...and where there is hope, there is life. Now or in dreams to come.
I know people will read this and have many experiences to share of people who are faithful whose bodies did succumb to illness, I have my own. I have also seen where paradigms have moved people whose metastasized grapefruit sized tumors have become gelatinous and quarter sized to go through with mastectomy and to this I say, "Thank God for modern medicine, thank God for internal guidance systems, thank God for all things."
And perhaps I have been challenged with being too idealistic, or too much of a dreamer, but that is my personal magic. It is what leads me to have the faith to let go of one life and leave for another where uncountable miracles take place and blessings are experienced, but I am not naive enough to say all people should follow this path of not knowing of passing through the void of money, home, friends, health and future in a belief that things can change at any moment in time, not because of anything I say or do, but because I do know there is a force greater than all of us that has set the sun rising and setting so that everyday can be brand new, the stars at night to guide us back to the light no matter how lost we may feel, and dreams to keep us from giving up when all things seem lost.
During some of my travels through conspiracies and wandering for 12 hours a day not knowing where I would sleep, I came to realize the greatest medicine we can ever give to ourselves and to the next generation is to remember things the way we would like them to be, not the way we fear they are. There is a way to balance our worries about our bodies or the future of the planet, there is a way to bring those things of the dark into the light and then bless them for their teachings on balance, on simplicity, on organic, on natural, on Earth medicine, on rejecting GMO, on not ingesting poisons and chemicals, and there is a place of knowing were are miraculous adaptable organisms who have somehow managed to survive.
Will we survive as a human race? Can we return to mental health? Can we remember ourselves whole and complete? Can we remember love, forgiveness, and drop our boundaries that have become walls that block us from human contact and healing our relations? Can we come back to community? Can we leave off technology that gives us the impression we are connected and actually lift our heads to see who is here with us now and to be present in the moment they are? Can we learn that discernment is different than judgement? Can we come back to believing in things of the light like devotion, integrity, care-taking for the old and poor? Can we come back to balance and not forget that we will age, we will grow old, we will die and what will our legacy to the next generation be? Will we teach them to see the sickness and death or will be teach them how to focus on the fire, the light, the potentiality within each of us to instantaneously transform and allow our bodies and relations to be healthy?
Two of the first teachings I learned in the tipi ceremonies were:
You (as in the spirit essence, the unalterable God core in each cell...YOU) are as perfect today as the day you were born.
You can choose to walk out the door and leave all everything behind, walking into the world in a state of wonder...that everything, everything has changed.
And in that moment of hopelessness within me or others, when people ask how...I am naive enough to smile at the most horrendous of things. I am willing to stake my future and life on the belief that there is a force in control of this chaos and surrender my fear to look people in the eyes who don't understand, even when I also do not understand and say GOD.
How will it transform? How will it heal? I don't know, but I surrender everything all belief all thoughts all actions over to this one intelligence and imagine miracles are real, miracles are possible.
The retreat I am organizing right now is basesd on journals I have been writing since the age of 7. Journals that have moved from mere observations into how I have been taught to transform my fears and worries (and all words and thoughts are prayers) into prayers of healing, manifesting. That if we can not change anything else, if all seems lost, how can we turn our thoughts because in the end, it is the way we feel about our life, our experiences and others that will heal everything else...one love breath word at a time.
And I turn from shadow work to light work, that I can choose to break through now and behave as one who has all my prayers answered, meaning one who is happy, healthy and abundant. I ask, what does Zonia who is happy, healthy and abundant do? She grabs hold of people now, she openly loves, dances, and believes. She takes care of her grandmother and smiles about it. She does her yoga, tells God thank you when all her housing has fallen away and packs her car up for the road, not because of what has been lost, but because of what she is looking forward to enjoying. There have been enough experiences now that I know something beautiful is coming. That is I can bypass regrets I can right now, today, in this moment act as one who is blessed.
Because no matter what is happening, I do know I am blessed because I am here. Somehow despite my father stepping on a landmine in Vietnam, somehow despite my ancestors being surrounded by genocides, crossing oceans, somehow the greatest miracle of all has happened today...I am here. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. And I take the time today, to thank God for all the reasons I have to be grateful.
Thank you to each and everyone of you for sharing this life with me and for believing in and trusting the love between us no matter how much time or space may pass between us...I bless you. I bless our relation. I bless our lives and pray for all of us a bright and happy future filled with miracles that are working for you.
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.