Rainbow Unicorn Kitty and the land of Horses

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I am a magical creature.ruk2

Always have been.  Came out of the womb other worldly.  Mom said she was amazed at how I never lost my connection to heaven.

I don’t know if we are all born magical.  This is still under my investigation. As a therapist and healer my job is to seek and enhance peoples magic but this culture reflects little of that shimmer.

The status quo seems to make many people happy. Many find it comfortable but some of us have no option other  then to be our weird, glittery, strange, selves.  Of course at first this seems a curse.  I always thought I was an alien just observing how to be human and disgusted most of the time.  And of course I’m/was a nerd, I’m/was awkward, and I’m/was strange.

Much to my mother’s frustration I’ve never had a taste for normal things. Early on I just long to live in a world where it was okay to be me.  I like me.

Now I am the magic whisperer.  At 41 I’ve mastered a lot about being a rainbow, unicorn, warlock, or mermaid in this land of taxes and rent.

Of course like attracts like and I find in my life and work I attract magical beings who are truk4rying to be unicorns in the land of horses.

Let me be clear.  Horses are amazing!  Especially wild ones.  But unicorns need different care and protection.  And if you are a unicorn trying to live the life of a horse you will suffer.  It’s hard enough equipping my unicorn first aid bag knowing I’m a magical being but I have young people come to me every day thinking their crazy when actually they weren’t built of this world but to evolve it.

Humanity on a large scale right now is chaotic at best. If you suspect that you are a unicorn you probably are and in that case heed my advice.  Don’t try to be a horse.  You will never be a horse.  Even if you fake it your horn will always show.  Get you some unicorn friends.  They will be wierdos by horse standards thats ok.  Learn your magic.  Love your magic.  Know how to protect it, heal it, build it.

ruk8

Living Through it All.

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I don’t hate death.

I don’t get lost in the idea that things must end to be recreated and transformed and made into something new.

What I hate is staring my beloved in the eye and feeling her terror and her pain and knowing that her story will end one day and subsequently a large painful hole, that has already began to fissure, will open up and swallow me.

That darkness is in humane to me.

My community has been experiencing an unprecedented amount of loss this year.  Most of us are struggling hard to be strong in the face extreme adversity.  I for one have used every tool in my tool box to dull the pain of this world.  I’ve called ancestor, prayed, painted, basked in beauty, been silent, been connected, loved, drank, napped.

But still sometimes it’s unbearable.

I know why people turn icy and angry. It is hard to feel in these times. And our culture has been cleansed of the practices and containers to hold our grief.

I look around at those who have lost big. Lost whole parts of themselves.  Those who bare tragedy day after day,  and I understand that the practice of enduring is a torture that each of us will have to experience at some points in our lives.

And we will bare it.

I don’t think anyone can do anything to remove the horror of it all.  The hope I carry is that with time you learn to breathe with the ache.  Build around the ache.  And find some solace in knowing that others have and found happiness again on the other side.

Grief support: https://www.refugeingrief.com/

Griefcast: https://www.acast.com/griefcast

Terrible thanks for asking: https://www.apmpodcasts.org/ttfa/

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8bd5b0_0ec44ac039b648f8a7ccea9dae23d4ea.jpgArt by Paul Lewin

 

This was written for The Record the Antioch College Paper

 

Life as Practice!

 

I am moved by this community.  Moved by its endless struggle to live it’s values, and it’s willingness to show up for hard conversations.  The world needs you!.  I want to support the community in continuing to grow in its skill to build a powerful community that  not only lives it’s values but models for other schools what is possible in higher education.

 

I keep writing and rewriting this article in an effort to hit all the knowledge I have gained in having 20 years of practice as a community builder and healer.  Impossible!  So instead I want to offer a simple fact that I wish I had known when I first set out to be a movement builder, art activist, and world changer;

 

Everything is a Practice!

 

I have always been driven to make a difference whether it be in how I felt about me, how my family functioned, or how my community looked.  The struggles around me and my internal suffering always felt overwhelming and intolerable.  When I first became an activist what I was seeking was relief.  How do we fix it!  How do I fix me!  How long will it take!

 

In my 20’s I worked feverishly to find the answers.  In that search I found 2 master teachers.  The first taught me the art of being present to the moment and knowing myself outside of the distress of oppression, the second taught me the power of practice. She would say time and time again that it takes 30 repetitions to memorize,  300 to know something, 3-5,000 repetitions to create a muscle memory or embody something.  Unlearning the old and building the new paradigm takes practice.  As part of my training as a somatic healer and activist we learned the Jo Kata which is a pattern of Aikido moves.  This was an embodied practice that taught me the power of practice and here are my leanings I’d like to share with you.

 

Phase 1:  Making mistakes.  Can you be brave enough to make mistake to say the wrong thing receive the correction and try again?  I am still working on aligning my actions with my values.  I receive the corrections without guilt and I recommit to reprogramming my mind so that I can live into the world I want to live in.    The key is if you don’t start somewhere you’ll go nowhere.  Please note that now is the perfect time to be making mistakes and getting corrections!

 

Phase 2: Discipline.   Take your practices seriously.  Practicing is not easy and not always fun.  If we go back to the Aikido metaphor the first step of become a master is showing up.  You have to be committed.  You have to make the practice important if you want to be an effective leader.  In a overwhelm tsunami of old thought, you have to have the discipline to practice new thought.  What are your daily practices? Remember 3-5,000 repetitions and you have to start over your count every time you miss a repetition.

 

Phase 3:  Competence.  This is when your body, mind align and things start coming more easily.  You begin to enjoy the feeling of aligning your values with the way you live.  You believe in accountability and you are accountable for your action, you believe in honesty and you easily tell the truth.

 

Phase 4:  Mastery.  This is where you are the lived expression of the thing you are trying to create.  This is not about ideas or thoughts this is about being.  When you are in the presence of a master you know it.  They don’t need to flash a badge or state their credentials for you to identify them.  Their being speaks of their embodied practices.  Many people become masters in the old paradigm; masters of the struggle, of denial, of suffering.   What is it to become a master of justice, fairness, and compassion?

 

Answer these questions for yourself:

What do you want to master?

What do you need to practice?

What can you do every day to unlearn the old beliefs and create a new reality for yourself?

 

A Spell to Save Your Life: Honoring the 19th Anniversary of Toni Cade Bambara’s Ascension

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Beauty

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

(originally published in The Feminist Wire’s Forum on Toni Cade Bambara)

after Toni Cade Bambara

"Exhale" collage ©Alexis Pauline Gumbs Photograph of Toni Cade Bambara ©Susan Ross

1.

eat salt
not that ocean drowning
snack to stop thinking about dying
unintentional salt

eat salt
on purpose

salt conductor of dreams
ancestor crystal portal
blood water preservation

clean it out
with your eyes

2.

deep sight
practice living in the dark
and seeing what
the light don’t want
you to see

go on a mission
to rescue
the part of the universe
that will always be you
black
and unknowable

3.

be well
want to be
well deep enough to drink from
be
bell ringing soul alarms
be buried mineral breakthrough
solid
fluid
charmed

4.

see birds
love gorillas
listen to dolphins
and do not swallow
what you know

breathe it out
the top of your head

knock on your chest
until you hear it

remember how to fly

*Listen to…

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Tipping Points

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gravity-glue-7Many of us have been waiting for the tipping point. The point at which people’s discomfort for the way things are, becomes so unbearable that change is inevitable.   We’ve reached several significant tipping points in the last ten years. There’s been the Marriage Equality movement which picked up a fiery momentum and currently there are 37 states that have legalized same sex marriages. There’s been the Occupy movement, though the momentum died and it is unclear as to the exact vision of that movement, it sparked in peoples heart an awareness of the economic gap widening underneath our feet and galvanized a new generation of activists to practice the art of revolution.  There has been the legalization of Marijuana movement, which seeks to decriminalize the drug and has won outright victories in 2 states and legalized medical marijuana in 27 states. There have been a number of international uprising asking or justice, fairness and liberation.

And now there is Ferguson, the movement to address racial inequalities in the criminal system focusing on police sanctioned violence. I’ve never felt so outraged at the injustices and simultaneously proud of the movement.   I feel like the cultural tectonic plates of our time are moving, tearing down old facades and digging up ideas that no longer reflect or growing consciousness.   I know the old villains are still there, still have substantial power and destructive entitlement, are still doing horrific things but the people are speaking. The streets are being flooded with a new understanding. Micro-movements are growing, momentum is building all around us as time speeds up and change happens on a scale the world has never seen before.

I know this is a long game. I know the changes could not come fast enough for some and for othimages-8ers it feels like it is the end of days but in the short span of my life the trajectory of human ideas have taken a sharp left. Gay marriage will be legal in all states, marijuana will be decriminalized, the criminal systems will be reformed. These are things I have no doubt about as long as we keep fighting. And yes there are so many other tipping points needed. So many. But the ideas are out there carried on the wind like seeds. Everything we need to create justice, equality, liberation, and prosperity all ready exists.   Now we build our visions, create our movements and as those ideas harmonize with the zeitgeist, we wait for the scale to tip and for change to come.

Dueling Dreams

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I got two dreams that seem to always be at odds with one another.  There is the dream that wants me to travel the world, be active in national movements and facilitate workshops and write books.  The oth44c7904cdae52ba71b2c4e9bd8e82dd3er wants the love of family to keep a humble private practice, to do my art quietly in the woods and go on yummy vacations to warm places.  These two roads, offer very different thrills, possibilities, legacies and I stand at the fork in the road frozen in indecision and horrified I’m going to get it wrong.  Moving to this sleepy little town leans in the direction of the humble servant.  The server of people, the anchored, and rooted.  No fame or glory but safety and community.  But I can never lean to far into this dream because I also long for the life of a world changer, a pioneer, a legacy maker!  I want to live big and in brightly colored brush strokes.  I want to eat life like a mango and revel in its juiciness! Full spirit, game on. Oy!

And in the indecision there is just anxiety, fear, and distraction.  It’s like listening to 2 amazing songs at once.  Like the Beatles “Here come the sun”  over Bob Marley’s “3 little birds”.

*Taking a breathe*

I’m reminded of something I told a friend last week.  It’s a win no matter what.  There is some solace in this.  I’m basically choosing which great life to have and to tell you the truth nothing in my life has ever gone as planned.  It goes the question for me, as I sit in the cozy silence of my little apartment bound by snow and small town dreamings what is the next step forward in my evolution?  Maybe that is the real question.  How do I become a more whole me.  Maybe if i lean into that the road a third road will appear that creates a bridge between two melodies.  A cosmic mash up that is in perfect harmony with me.

On never being fixed.

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I am a woman who has always been driven to become my best self. The self whose healed the wounds caused by careless loved ones, or broken promises, violations, aggressions, oppressions. My favorite mantra has been taken from the vision statement of my most profound teacher, be present inc,. I have always strived to “know myself outside the distress of oppression. And I can say I have met that self and I love her and want more of her to emerge. Though the space between that divine woman and this sweet being is closer than it has ever been the distance is still daunting and today I’m wondering if the two will ever be one.

My humanness is so rigorous and practiced. I was sitting today watching the ease by which a friend interacted with a group of powerful people. And I envied that ease that felt so natural to her and I thought to myself I don’t think I can ever be healed enough to ever be at ease like my friend. (Mistake #1 comparing my journey to another’s)

There are things I want to master in this lifetime like relationship and intimacy but are the wounds to deep?

I listen to the quiet star-dust whisper inside…

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You can not force things to heal. You cannot read it into righteousness, paint it into oblivion, wish it into recovery. Wounds begin to be healed with the simple act of believing it can be done and aligning every action towards the task. People generally don’t want to heal because it is a painful process. And fixing is very different than h

ealing. I am a commitment to continuing to align myself with the deepest he

aling I can manage.  I will worry less about what I don’t have mastered and more on the loving kindness of each moment.  if i practice this anything is possible.

 Ashe