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.