Monday, June 5, 2017

Lyme Prevention Tips: Listerine?? Plus...

Tip #1: Original Listerine :D

A couple weeks ago I went for a walk with an elder wise man of sorts.  He plays a founding and ongoing role in local land preservation.  We met at a conference promoting collective collaboration for non-profits and all sectors really.  We bonded on Quaker spirituality, akin to themes and processes the conference was highlighting for secular application.  My new elder friend emerged from his car with a large unmarked spray bottle full of a urine-looking liquid.  "Here, try this. Its Listerine, the original kind.  It does the job."  Even though I'd already sprayed down in my favorite Buzz-Away, it seemed impolite to refuse.  Ah, the smell of nursing homes and my favorite old people came to mind.  

Halfway into our walk we met two groups of hikers.  They each ranted caution of the ticks.  Many spoke of having pulled off tens of them from their clothes since being on the wide paths within just thirty minutes!  The elder and I had been walking on narrower paths.  We had not a one tick for the entire walk.   #ListerineLymePrevention, #eldersbemadwokeyo!  Its been a minute since I've used, believed in, or promoted anything remotely mainstream.  I don't know any dirt on them as a company but for lyme prevention, Listerine (yellow kind) is a new favorite.

Tip #2: Wear light colors on hikes

Many of you know the drill.  Put all fashion sense aside.  Wear light colors that are long sleeved and long legged.  Tuck pants into socks.  You could take it up a notch and duct tape the ends of sleeves and pant legs.  I don't do that.  If I had a kid I might do that to the wee one.  Wrap/secure/protect hair/dreadlocks under large scarf.  Then tip #1.

Tip #3: Check and bag hiking cloths upon return to house

My Lord, my lord.  Yesterday I did my usual tips 1 and 2.  I checked my cloths for ticks.  I found a tiny one that was easy to find due to my white outerwear.  Must have missed a spot during spray time!  Whenever I find a tick, I place it in a plastic bag and freeze it.  You can send to UMass's lab.  I immediately removed all cloths and set aside by the door as usual but this day I didn't check all the clothes as thoroughly.  When I went to bed that night, I was dumbfounded at what I saw on my pillow.  A large tick!  It was crawling on my light colored pillowcase.  What?  How?  Theres no way!  By some divine grace it was crawling in a place I couldn't miss and exactly the right time!  Good God.  After my garden time this morning, the clothes get immediately checked and placed into a large plastic bag. 

Tip #4: Plant lavender :D

Neither ticks nor deer like the smell.  Plant in the yard and garden.

Tip #5:  Have herbal antibiotic prophylactics handy

If you've been bitten and the tick has had a meal, or if you feel unusually tired, achy, feverish, or just really off in a significant way and have been spending time outdoors, consider keeping herbal antibiotics handy.  My favorites are Cat's Claw, Resveratrol (the substance in the invasive Japanese Knotweed), Allicin (the substance in garlic that makes it antimicrobial).  Take the recommended dosage for a week or few knock out any beginnings of infection.  Some doctors now taking Lyme more seriously would even say take for a month or two. 

Tip #6: Simplest route?  Daily eat a few cloves of raw garlic

Chow on a few cloves of raw garlic (if you can stomach it) if you suspect early infection or make them a regular part of your diet pre-hike for general prevention.  You'll sweat it out as a natural repellent.

Tip #7:  Amp up the probiotics

Include extra kimchi, krauts, kefir, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, miso into the diet.  According to the wisdom that played a significant practical role in my healing and sustained healing, probiotics alone could bring enough balance to the system without antibiotics at all.  Its an extreme method to comprehend.  Meditate on it (and consult your medical caregiver).

Tip #8:  Amp up (or surrender into) your spiritual practice/trust

Remember God/Love/Christ-Consciousness intends only good for you.  Relax, listen, share, trust in the divine flow.  Should you get sick as I did (I wish it not for anyone), for a short or extended period, continue to give it over to the Love that created you.  No matter what happens, you're God's child.  You're Love's child, growing into full-grown love itself.

And slightly more woo-woo, have a conversation with the forest as a living being.  Let it know you respect it and want to experience its wisdom consciously without the experience of disease.  Try it out.  I may be crazy, but life's more fun that way, deeply respecting all of our brothers and sisters, small, large, and diversely shaped and oriented.

Lets grow together.  Happy trails.

(Note: The information offered here does not replace medical advice:) 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Healing Resources, Part 2: Physical, Spiritual, Communal

Whether youre faced with Lyme, another tickborne bug, other bacterial/viral infection, or even certain cancers, the following can be complimentary to your healing routine.  As always, check in with your gut intuition when incorporating something new.  Anyone on the healing path a while knows whats good for some isn't always good for others.  Here's what's working for me from the physical to the spiritual to the communal:

Clearing out infection
Chaga mushroom: grows within and on birch trees, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-tumor properties, the outer black part may be the highest concentration of melanin in plant life--its nutritious to the pineal gland!  I actually hadn't used this regularly until recently for non-Lyme related infections (bad tooth/gum issues and general immunity.  Although recent new joint aches, feverish feeling, and dive in energy from time to time would say I need to drink this regularly for Lyme/Babesia ongoing treatment).  You can harvest chaga yourself off of birch trees!  But do be sustainable, only take what you need and with as little intrusion to the tree as possible.  With the rising popularity and demand of this supreme healing being, we'll need to be sure we don't over exploit the forest of them.  In general, if you don't already know/practice this, try to establish a connection with the plant before harvesting and ingesting.  Ask for its permission and anything else it would like to tell you (just stay open), thank it, have a conversation.  If youre not accustomed to doing this it sounds far out.  But once you get in the habit of it, interacting with plants will be like interacting with any other living being who deserves respect, acknowledgement, gratitude for what it offers to us.  Chaga, as a master herbalist friend says, is the Emperor of herbs in ancient Chinese medicine.  We're really lucky to have it so easily accessible, abundant, and willing to share itself with us here in the Northeast.  If youre not able to access in nature for yourself or from a friend, great sources are Jeans Greens in Troy, NY and Berkshire Herbal Apothecary based in Heath, MA accessible via facebook.  To my knowledge, both will ship globally. 

Sending in the peace troops! Probiotics
Fermented Foods: My trips to Japan last winter were profoundly healing not only in their ethereal spiritual shifts but also in a very grounded way by including new powerful microbe allies into my system.  While I fermented some of my garden veggies here in the past few years, I also learned new fermentation forms and ingredients there that I'll elaborate on in another post.  Currently my fermented diet includes coconut milk and cow milk kefir, miso (I make both), Berkshires made Hosta Hill kraut, kombucha, my own pickles from a few years back.  Fermented foods are especially essential to those of us either currently taking or in the past have taken antibiotics for an extended time.  Its crucial to build diversity of probiotic microbes in our gut to be able to better withstand and better integrate potentially harmful exposures.  My five week stay at an eco-village near Mt. Fuji, called Konohana Family, profoundly shifted my awareness of harmonious bacteria keeping us alive.  There I learned a new level of reverence for the microbe world, its divinity, its wisdom, its power to sustain us and change our lives drastically.  In a way you could say I felt recolonized (I don't condone in any other way than high vibration harmonious bacteria)!  The probiotics there were from the other side of the planet and long revered for keeping and strengthening the fabric of life.  While preparing these life saving micro-beings we often sang songs to them of gratitude and awe for their effect on us.  Eating dynamically powerful live foods adds life to your life.  Give it a whirl.  Sing them a song as you prepare and ingest, as they do their work in your body.  Its a marvelous thing.  [Note: With fermented foods, I find a little goes a long way.  Its a rather efficient means of feeding yourself.  I found myself not eating very much and being quite satisfied.  Ease into incorporating fermented foods into your diet.  It can mean a radical shift in your gut, which, to put lightly, can mean more time on the porcelain throne!]

Body Work
Self hand and foot massage:  When I do these first thing in the morning it drastically improves the quality of my day and experience of my body.  Dr. Quang Van Nguyen, a world renowned, very humble, "barefoot doctor" of Traditional Chinese Medicine, author of "Fourth Uncle in the Mountain", was my healing practitioner for many years of healing from Lyme and Babesia.  As you may know, much of Chinese herbal medicine can be very slow acting but also creates deeper shifts that last longer.  In addition to the herbal tea preparations he prescribes, much of my time as a patient of his was spent acclimating to the consciousness of more subtle, routine building, self care practices from diet to self massage.  Dr. Quang, suggested the self hand and foot massage to increase overall energy and decrease body pain.  It really works!  You need not know reflexology, just get to rubbing and probing intuitively, see what feels good for you.  Deep breaths and a heart of gratitude during the massage go a long way too.  In a culture that's driven on what the body can produce, our bodies really appreciate when we stop to acknowledge and nurture them in conscious ways.  Like the Earth itself, our bodies are what graciously host our sense of self and our ambitions.  Please join me in taking that daily morning time to be in awe, humility, and nurture for the body's generosity to us. 

Essential Oils/Aromatherapy
Frankincense Oil: a favorite this past year from treating cuts, burns, rashes, tooth/gum infections to even PTSD!  It came to mind more for the PTSD healing aspects right now.  If you've got trauma locked up in the body that is thawing and leaking out for attention, healing, release/integration, consider getting a little vile of this oil and dab some on you morning and before bed.  Personally, at the rise of media attention on police terrorism on black men I began to have PTSD symptoms I never knew were stored in me: any time of day flashbacks of race violence which resulted in blackouts and involuntary crying and body convulsion, extreme nightmares, panic attacks.  In addition to prayer and meditation, I sought out therapy.  That therapist, spirit-led and a 'woke-bae' guided me to frankincense oil instead of long term therapy sessions!  Whew!  What a savings to the pocket.  What a profound blessing to the body-mind-soul-nature connection.  Using the oil before I went to sleep and a couple times through the day, my symptoms simply vanished.  Vanished.  There was some kind of deep integration that happened, a healing beyond conscious understanding.  I didn't need to talk it out.  Intuitively it seems the oil activates a cellular restoration and awareness of safety. 

Soul/Spirit 'Work'
Nothingness 'practice': Yup, you read it right.  Do nothing.  You probably have a number of responsibilities to feed, house, clothe, transport, learn, heal, coordinate, perform in private and public life so, yeah, not something that appears easy to do or even desirable.  The good news is there is nothing to do to do nothing:)  A shift of perspective/consciousness helps us see who we are: a place of profound grace, God, Love, Christ Consciousness; a place of experiencing life has got you, you are life, not a worry exists there, its saturated with joy, peace, spaciousness--truly ineffable.  There are many paths to finding it and still no paths at all.  Eckart Tolle calls it the Now.  Some call it Awakening.  Some call it Nothing.  Some call it Grace.  The ego, as useful as it can be, often blinds us into thinking the ego is the only thing worth our attention.  In these moments of Grace, we somehow pop out of the ego drugged state and see theres something so gorgeous holding and being with and in all of us that what we're doing and taking so seriously is kind of hilarious, kind of irrelevant, compared to this rich fabric of holding and being.  I cant pretend I'm an expert at any of this.  I've only by Grace popped like popcorn a few times out of my ego attention and got to experience it for no more than a few minutes to days at a time.  The great ones among us and in history consciously know this is who we are and theres no leaving it even if we wanted to.  Theres no teaching it or learning it.  You are it.  Its the single most important thing to healing, to being, outside of feeling well or not in the body.  In that Love Saturation, there is only G-D, the unknowable yet Is at the core of all.  People seasoned in hospice work, people dying or in chronic pain, people who've known the depths of loss and tragedy and are yet happily alive often have the ego veils thinned or yanked away and consciously live from this grace.  A favorite read right now is Steven and Andrea Levine's "Who Dies?" where they tell the stories of Grace and Awakening experiences from their perspective and of others well acquainted with the beauty of loss and death.  Theres a Biblical scripture about dying (ego death) daily so that Christ may live within.  My favorite embodiment of this is Mooji.  Find videos and other resources at

Community ("Come Unity, Come Unity, Come Unity, Come Unity")
Unify like never before, inside and out: As a new soul sister of mine just encouraged me from afar: "Im so happy to be alive at the same time as you."  The recent swell of political and social scares are a great opportunity for us to come together, share resources, learn, listen, Be with each other in new ways for physical, mental, social, spiritual, communal health and evolution.  We are One and we'll awaken, deepen, expand, heal, and love better together. 

Weekly prayer vigil: If youre in the Berkshires/western MA or abroad, join us in body or spirit Sundays 4-5pm EST, for Community Prayer Vigil.  Its an open safe space share circle.  15 min each of Gratitude, Grief, Prayer, Song.  Leave with a connected warmed heart and a list of ways to join in the wave of communal healing for race, class, gender, economic and social justice. 

Intentional Community resources: if you've got some vaca time this year, spend some of it at an intentional community!  On this site theres a list of all kinds of them.  Its where I found Pendle Hill (the home of the Come Unity song:) many years ago, a Quaker retreat and training center for peace near Philly, Konohana Family (mentioned earlier) near Mt. Fuji, and many more of varying flavors and intentions.  I even had great body healing shift at a place called the Healing Castle in Schochvitz, Germany.  Each of these places had a unique way of creating and evolving intentional community suited to their needs.  While each has their weaknesses in some area, they were the closest thing to communal utopia as I've ever seen.  Its great to learn harmonious community by experiencing one.  Search the site.  There may even be one quite close to you!

More healing resources to come as they appear and reappear...

Saturday, December 17, 2016

God Everywhere. Even disease. Even Trump?

God Everywhere.  I know.  Its a stretch.  Its ethereal.  Where are the legs to it?  How does it ground?  How can we apply that here and now in our day?

That's just the topic of the book I've been writing since returning from Japan this past winter.  God, Jesus Christ Consciousness, Oneness, Eternal Indestructible Indomitable Love, showed itself to me in very powerful ways over there.  Even in the places I chose to stay for mere economic reasons, God showed up hardcore, holding up divine mirrors I could see myself in, making plain a love so grand no one can escape it, not even me in great pain of Lyme disease.  God is in disease.  God is in me.  God is seen in everything when the veils of fear are stripped away, when the ice on the heart melts and a brilliant Love/God/Jesus/Forgiveness/Welcome-Home-ness becomes mirrored in even the scariest of things. 

"Oh yeah?" you say!  Have I been hiding under a rock?  Do I not know the deeply unconscious and conscious oppression and murder of black families and other people of color have generally been sanctioned by this government from the founding of this country?  Do I not know theres a very odd outrageously offensively scary bloated infantile clown up for bat in leading the "free" world?  Don't I know people suck and only look out for themselves and their group?  Don't I know greed/ego/fear motivates most actions in this country, in the "civilized" world?  Don't I know I must fiercely protect what is mine lest I succumb exploitation from someone/something? 

Yes, I do mainly hide under a rock (by nature).  Yes, I do know and feel the gravity of the state we're in collectively.  And of late I oscillate on the pendulum, as you may also, between paralyzing fear and profound moments of Grace/Love coming from unexpected places.  And, also I know that when I tap into and see through the Jesus/God/Grace in me, the ride on that pendulum becomes more enjoyable.  The Love/Grace/Jesus is the still point of the pendulum, helping us to face those demons that are, dare I say, also God's/Love's creations here to stretch our hearts, stretch us into knowing the wholeness we always are.

Lets try this on for size (maybe have a pen and paper in hand to answer some of the questions or note what else arises):

-put in your mind's eye someone you love beyond anything
-imagine God in them, working through them, residing in them (Whatever that means for you.  Do you see God in them?  Do you feel God in them?  What does that mean to you?  What's your experience of them?)
-repeat exercise with others in mind that you readily love
-now put in your mind's eye someone youre having some mild to moderate annoyance with, some active daily/weekly trouble with
-imagine God in them, working through them, residing in them (What does that stir in you?  Are you able to imagine God in them? )
-repeat exercise with increasingly annoying/troublesome people and situations
(keep up the momentum from the other rounds of this exercise.  Do the same exercise envisioning Trump.  What does it look like for God to reside in and be moving through Trump as he is?  What does that stir in you?  What could that mean for the kind of actions to take in your rebellion and dissent of the election results?  How can you act, live, be in integrity with yourself and God and love in regards to a train wreck happening in slow motion?  What would it mean to face the incoming administration from a place of love and not hate/fear/panic?  How can we engage in a way where our activism, our words, our moves for deep change spring from a place WE LOVE DONALD TRUMP, RACISTS, BIGOTS, KKK, WHITE NATIONAL PARTY and not because we hate him/them (all the while paralyzing their destructive behaviors)?  How do we work with someone and his entire team of deeply ill and misguided beings from love and not hate?   HOW DO OUR ACTIONS AND EXPERIENCES SHIFT, FIGHTING THE SAME FIGHT, STILL DOING WHAT WE CAN TO EXPOSE AND STOP CORRUPTION, INJUSTICE, EVIL WHEN WE KNOW WE ARE ONE EVOLVING COLLECTIVE THAT MAY ONLY EVER REALLY SUSTAINABLY SHIFT IN ACTS AND POLICIES ROOTED IN GREAT LOVE?  How does your experience of loathsome people and practices shift when you see God in them?  What does/could that even mean? )

I have yet to answer most of these questions myself in regards to politics.  However, great headway has been made in doing this exercise in relation to what's been my more visceral and immediate "enemy" for seven years, severe disease. 

Will you join me in this adventure to let love motivate our actions, our being in regards to the scariest of our modern day demons?  Will you help me unveil the wholeness we are?  CAN WE HELP EACH OTHER SEE GOD EVERYWHERE?

I think so.

Thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dying to be Whole

Im telling you.  I just cant believe my dad died this summer.  Pastor Marvin Lewis Graham left his body on the rays of early dawn on summer solstice.  As much hospice support I was for others years ago, as much studying and reflecting and experiencing levels of death before, it feels like nothing prepared me for this.  Not a thing. 

Now still in the thick of both grieving and continuing body-spirit practices to keep my health optimal, Im finding some gems hidden in his death. 

If you were at my dad's funeral you would know a story I shared after my sister and I sang his favorite song.  I shared what happened the night/early morning of his passing.  Because I had maxed out my health and body energy in taking care of dad half of every week for three months, some deep chest pains and fatigue again arose.  My mother saw how worn out I was getting and she encouraged me to take a week off to recalibrate, get strong again.  Reluctantly, I accepted the encouragement and stayed home for a week.  Little did I know that was the last week my dad would be alive.

The last day of my week of rest, the morning of his passing I had an immaculately vivid brief dream:  I was at dad's bedside as I had been for many months.  His large pecan-brown heavy hand in my thin same color hands.  He lay there looking at me.  I said the words to him I couldn't bring myself to say in 'real' life, the words I know from experience in hospice that loved ones need to say for the sake of the dying.  "Dad, if you need to go now, its fine.  We'll be okay," I said from a still peace and cosmic understanding I only periodically know in non-dream world.  In the dream I gave him permission to be as free as he needed to be, do what he desired to do.  He looked at me, and with a childlike subtle ripple of joy, like he'd been given permission to go for a walk after being cooped up all day, said, "Okay."  Our hands let go of each others.  He swung his legs around off the bed toward the window.  Dad walked out of the room, like in the movies, but a little different.  He walked through the walls but was visible as he did so.  Everything was translucent, dad, the wall, me.  Dad died into a spacious whole state, out of the fragmented separate self. 

Dad died into wholeness.

A few hours later I woke up to a new message: don't worry about anything, theres not one thing worth worry.  Then I turned on my phone and got the text from my brother, "Mom says dad stopped breathing."  Was that dream real?  What's real?  Dad cant be gone because I feel closer to him than I did when I went to bed.  Dead?  What?  Just as in the dream, it was like the world was see-through.  Reality had shifted and I couldn't un-know what I then knew: even in death, there is something vibrant, full of life, a broadened sense of wholeness. 

And over the last month as I haven't been able to write very much or very well I wonder what good can come of ambitions dying, of the sense of purpose fading away, what wholeness can be had in the great void.  If I don't write, Im not a writer, right?  If I don't do Reiki, I cant call myself a Reiki healer.  But as my ambitions die, as my plans turn to ash, as the fog in my head only gets thicker, I've stopped fighting it and allow myself to experience wholeness unveiling itself in any circumstance.

The wholeness I speak of is very different than I had imagined it would be.  Instead of a firming up, instead of a sure solidity, Im finding wholeness much deeper and more alive in the void, in the nothing.  Its like what I imagine outer space to be.  While its a vacuum, its also the most fertile ground of existence.  Both the calculable, predictable and incalculable, spontaneous creations arise from this void.  The void births and holds all things, including this lush extraordinary gift of Earth we float around on through space. 

And what is the relevance to our ordinary extraordinary lives?  Who's got time for contemplating these things when bills need to be paid, mouths fed, cars repaired, education to be learned, a sense of security to be gained, diseases to be healed, lives to be restored, justice to be fought for, missions to complete.  All I can say is the more core desires die off in my life, including my cunning beautiful ego, the greater the sense of life, wholeness, connectedness.  But without an experience of it, these are just philosophies to twirl around in the head.

To move this from the head and into the heart, here's a favorite exercise of dying to/releasing our many identities that you may find helpful:
Imagine all your identities are articles of clothing youre wearing (black/white, woman/man, writer, healthy, healer, sister, daughter, lover, member, beautiful, ugly, scared, happy, sick, athlete, painter, weak, strong, human, etc).  Keep going.  Get down to your essential identities, your skimpy undies.  What are your core identities?  Imagine peeling them off and being naked without them.  What does it feel like to be a naked spirit/soul?  Who are you when all your identities have died off?  Who are you when youre not something/someone that can be described?  Do you still exist?  When whats most important to you dies, what is left of you?  (for similar assistance in things like this try

Of course you have to wear clothes to be a member of society.  Clothing/identities, theres nothing wrong with them.  Its fun and necessary to be creative to live a full life as well.  But no matter how much you wear, how fine it is, where its sourced, how much you paid for it, what those clothes symbolize and say about you, no matter the clothes, they do and will come off, as eventually will any identity you have.

I die/unveil daily as a practice to remember wholeness.  I practice remembering who I am underneath the clothing/identities and I know it is complete and whole without them.  This is a truth that sprang up while I was very ill in the body and helped carry me through my day in peace.  Now that the body is beautifully feeling well and functional again, Im finding the dying practice to still bring me closer to a fuller life.  My dad's death deepened and enriched this practice.

Maybe it doesn't sound that attractive but for those of us with whom illness has spent many years, with whom death and its many layers has paid us a visit for longer than we would've planned or liked, these practices can be a beautiful relief from the suffering that can cloud our very existence. 

Living to be whole is just as valid.  Dying to be whole is merely the other side of the coin, one we often deny out of fear. 

Whether you lean into life or lean into death, wholeness, love, being God's child, is not diminished.  We are whole with the stuff of life and we are whole without it.  These words guide my own heart back into my day without fear.  May it do the same for you.

Thank you, Dad, for dying into the wholeness that is you.  May we learn and follow even as we live. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Runnin' Free N' Joyful

In the comments section of the last post named Racism, PTSD, and Nature, someone asked, "Does trauma ever go away?"

It occurs to me that the pain may never go away entirely but with grace and heavy dowsing ourselves in love around it, the suffering of the trauma diminishes, and yes, the suffering of it even goes away.  How to have pain and not suffer?   Pain is pain.  We'll never get away from it entirely while still in the body.  But suffering is the resistance of the pain, the wrestling with it.  Its no easy thing to just divorce the two, but its possible.  I've experienced it from time to time thanks to various kinds of mindfulness practices (,, sometimes just moments of spontaneous grace.  Also when it comes to emotional trauma like the one I shared, it can really take movement and/or sound, something vibrational to move it out of the body.  For me, I needed the cries of that young hawk to stir it up. then allow it to move through me, actually release it out from my body in the form of full body convulsive cries.

Healing of trauma can happen, for sure.  But there will likely be scars, scars that with practice and time, when touched, no longer trigger a person into spiraling into the hells like they did before. 

Sometimes we have the fear of even giving the wounds any air because we're afraid if we feel the pain, it will be forever, that if we start crying, we'll never stop.  But its not true.  I thought reliving the pain would never stop when the red tail hawk would start up again.  It took months of those spontaneous cries and releases but it did stop.  To this day, this same hawk has come by and cried when I need it.  No longer do I have knee-jerk full body convulsions from it.  Now the hawk cry is a gentle reminder to really honor what Im deeply feeling, my inner softer voices. 

Now its a joy to hear that hawk.  We even had a time yesterday late afternoon.  He flew above circling, circling.  I ran out to the yard and flew/ran with him around, around 'til he flew beyond the pines.  What was before a trigger for releasing convulsions of pain, is now a trigger for running free and joyful. 

That's what happened to me.  It can happen to anyone.  I was just gifted a disease for many years that allowed me to slow down enough to hear, connect, and release in this way.  Maybe we can avoid severe illness and heed the calls of release as they happen for us.

But as I stated here and other places, the disease was a gift.  Whatever the path youre on, its a good path.  The freedom is fuller after being in suffering-prison.  The joy sweeter after high doses of sorrow.  The good news is that one way or another, in body or in spirit, like the hawk and me, we will together run free n' joyful. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Racism, PTSD, and Nature, OH MY!

It was about 5 years into my recovery from Lyme disease, Autumn 2014.  The trees were just about bare.  The skies greyer more days a week, waking up to frost consistently. One afternoon, I heard a cry from the forest just on the other side of the pond.  It repeated itself over and over, somehow penetrating my body deeper, my psyche sharply, my heart like an arrow with every cry.  By two or three cries in, I found myself on all fours, wailing some primal wail, crying some ancient cry.  It overtook me that day as it would for the remaining two seasons.  The cry was of a baby red tail hawk and it would cry at random maybe 3 times a week in long successive screeches.  When it hit my ears and my heart, it registered as my young teenage self crying the sounds I couldn't utter back then.

Mid-cry I'd be reliving a scene from high school.  A scene where many of my white friends whispered and pulled away, my teachers did the same.  My teacher had called me a nigger to prove a point that calling homosexuals faggots was wrong.  He made a point at my expense with ongoing fallout for two years until I graduated.  A wound that would not heal for a couple decades, something I was sure I'd forgotten and let go of.  Every time that red hawk cried, I was right back there, 16 years old, in the hallways of a mostly white suburban sprawl high school, feeling something that couldn't even be called alone.  I felt like I didn't matter.  Despite my own and my family's cries of pain and outrage my experience didn't matter to the community and so somewhere in the hidden recesses of my mind my feelings on this and my experience no longer mattered to me either...until two years ago.  I stuffed it down with the community's urging.  The red tail yanked it back up to be healed. 

It took the cries of a young red tail hawk to awaken the numbed pains in me, give air and sunshine to the frightened places packed away.  It took being still, in nature, developing a relationship with it, letting nature in, in deep, letting the conversation transform me.  Thank you Red Tail Hawk.  Thank you all who rally and support for black voices to be heard particularly in this pivotal sliver of history. 

I remembered some portion of my wholeness through Nature.  Step outside, remember the red tail, remember me, take in those shimmering leaves, that cool air.  Look and listen and feel Nature holding you.  Let God/Grace/Love hold you.  Let this divine Mother Nature hold you until the veils come flying off and your wholeness is revealed anew. 

If you live in the Berkshires or close by, COME JOIN THE MONTHLY COMMUNITY PRAYER VIGIL.  INTERRACIAL, INTERFAITH, INTERGENERATIONAL...LETS GET TA HEALIN'.  Don't let our youth hold onto to the traumas we're now witnessing and experiencing.  Lets hold space on a regular basis to heal this experience together.  (BEGINNING EARLY NOVEMBER, TBA.  STAY TUNED.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ancient Medicine 1.0: Gratitude

I'll keep it short and very sweet: Gratitude.  Its one of the most unlikely medicines there is.  Every time though, before I start my gratitude practice, the thoughts come swirling, like a strong cold wind to warn and keep me away, "what good is gratitude going to do?  You need urgent change, concrete solutions, not the sentimental warm feelings of gratitude!"  And I usually entertain those thoughts longer than I'd like to admit.  But eventually, though its choppy and tough at first, I begin to list what is going well, who is there for me, what has been lovely, helpful, downright miraculous in my present life, where is the love flowing and overflowing, before I know it something's shifted, I've shifted.  Practicing Gratitude appears to widen a path, widens the channel between the small I and the Big (God/Love/Eternity) I.  I don't know how it happens, why it happens, or even how far into the process when it actually happens, but it happens, every time.  Without a doubt, shifting the focus from scarcity to abundance somehow transports us to abundance.  Im not great at this all the time but like any habit, it takes practice, daily if not more. 

Lets do this together here and now:

1)  Lets acknowledge whats not going well.  There's pain, disappointment, something or someone hasn't added up or showed up the way we expected, the way we had hoped and longed for.  Its sad.  It hurts.  We honor and kiss those feelings.  We see them.  We accept them. 

2)  Lets now open the door for our old pal, as old fashioned as he may be dressed and speaks: Gratitude.  Lets open the door and welcome him in.  Lets have a dialogue and list out what has been right under our noses carrying us, blessing us, adoring us, keeping us alive and loved up to this point.  Take the time to listen to gratitude, let it flow and maybe even write down all that's shared.  Keep going.  Theres more.  Each time you cant think of any more, give yourself another few minutes to find more to be thankful for.

3) Any shifts?  Observe and give thanks for any lightness of heart, any joy that's crept its way into your experience.  Bask in the shift small or large.  Really marinate in the shift of energy.

4) Any new or old insights into your original problem/puzzle? 

5)  Still stuck?  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Repeat the process, until you've felt a veil or more fall away, revealing your shiny original eternal Whole you.  (Need more assistance?  We all do from time to time, see previous post with "spiritual resources" and/or reach out to me )

We'll continue to unveil our wholeness together, one practice, one touch, one moment at a time.  <3