Family; Water; Dirt; Sweat; Yoga; LOVE

I am approaching the end of my time here in Colorado
it has been a very rich summer
very full
very challenging
very beautiful
very enlivening
inspiring
awakening
all that good stuff

I am sitting here in the basement apartment of my aunt’s house in Colorado Springs
there is a deer eating lunch outside my two windows
this is a regular occurrence
big males
strong females
little munchkin deer kiddos
most spots gone by this point in the summer
but it never ceases to still me
and make me reverent

My sister was here this past weekend and oh how I needed this time with her
she is my treasure
truly
such a teacher witness friend
On Saturday morning, we did a Dirty Dash with our cousin, her husband, and two of their friends
Got filthy
Had a blast
On the way home we received a video from our mother challenging us to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
If I was not on the internet everyday
I would be unaware of all the many views and opinions and stances people have about this whole frenzy
Distilling the many arguments against the Ice Bucket Challenge down into one simple thought seems to be
“What a disrespectful waste of water and a missing of the point of actually raising awareness about the disease of ALS…just learn about it and donate the money, why the whole challenge?”
I agree
And
Sometimes we pick our battles
And everyone stands somewhere else on the battle lines
and everyone has a different job to do
and it just sounded like a fun and creative way to raise money
which it is doing in great number
It probably is a really stupid idea to continue dumping water buckets wastefully in a time of the beginning of the water wars on our planet
AND
it is also a really stupid idea to flush many gallons of clean drinking water down the toilet every time we have to pee or poop
AND
it is also a really stupid idea to take a ten minute shower every single day
AND
it is also a really stupid idea to keep fracking.
SERIOUSLY. WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?
Water is our sacred treasure, the whole reason we are here, alive, on this planet.
No, we can no longer say “WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING?” There is no they. It is a we. We are allowing it. We are supporting a way of living that perpetuates such atrocities. We are contaminating our drinking water and the drinking water of the rest of the world every day this continues. This is our wound. Our blindness to our interconnectedness with the water and the earth and each other. It is up to us to heal this wound in our own hearts and in our own homes and in our own communities, as we continue to awaken to realizing there is one community of which we are all part with which reverence and respect and love is required.
So long story short,
We did the challenge
It was very fun
And very funny
And felt really great after running and jumping and dancing and rolling and crawling and climbing through mud all morning
With obligatory twerk breaks in between
After resting up and bathing
Dirt-ring-around-the-tub kind of bathing
We went back to our cousin’s house and hung with the fam and our new friends
Man, to have babies and kiddos crawling all over you with big smiles on their faces and giggles streaming out of them
Especially babies in whom you can catch glimpses of your own grandmother or aunt or cousin
It is a good life
Thank you for the children
for brightening the world
and reminding us of how sacred life is
and reminding us of how precious
and miraculous

When I brought my guitar into the house
As my new brother Heath requested,
My cousin Sara said, “Well he must realllly like you guys because he has been here all summer and this is the first time this guitar has even stepped foot in my house!”
We laughed
and i realized that is because this was the first time all summer that we were not outnumbered by children
I usually hung with her and the 4 kids
yes, 4
a 5 year old
2 year old
and 2 almost year old twins
i usually hung with her and them during the day while their dad was at work
and even when he was home
we were still outnumbered
So to be sitting in the living room with 6 adults
it felt so great to be able to pick up my guitar
and play
and sing
for me
for my cousin and her husband
so generous with their home and family and love
and for my sister
and Jody and Heath
two wonderful friends to my cousin and her husband
so wonderful friends of mine
Heath even made my nephew Peter a pair of glasses that he loves and are infinitely better for little Peter than his original ones
and most importantly
to get to play for the kids
to see their reaction
and engagement
and participation
in the music that was flowing from my vessel
or through
rather

That night I brought my sister to her first sweat lodge
There is a circle that sweats once a week here in the Springs
that my cousin and fellow tribesman Skye connected me to
and for which i am very grateful

Sweat lodge is the oldest ceremony known
It is held in an inipi
a dome-shaped structure built with bowed tree limbs and covered in blankets
hole in the middle of the dirt floor to hold the ancestors
represented by stones that have been heating in the sacred fire for hours
we enter in before the stones are brought in
we are welcomed and we pray
the first round of ancestors are brought in
two flaps covering the low door are pulled down
and it gets hot
and wet
and black

As I was told
this was originally for the men
because the women’s sacred bodies renewed and regenerated themselves every month
through their moon cycle
their menstrual cycle
The women’s bodies did that for them
but we
as men
had to go back into the womb of the Mother Earth
in order to be renewed and regenerated

Today is a different time
Women and men occupy different places in society and in families and in communities
Women’s cycles are not usually synched to the communities
Or they are controlled through birth control instead of the moon
We all need sweat lodge now
So many circles sit together
The men and the women

There are a number of rounds
the door opened between each
for air
and light
water is brought in and prayed with
and prayers are offered between each round
more ancestors are brought in between as well
flaps close
dark
wet
hot
prayers lifted in song
ancient song
drum beats
As one of the elder women says
“We come here
and we suffer a little
and we say thank you
to be able to come together
and pray in this way.”

Some times sweat has felt easy.
Some times it shows me my fears and anxieties
Mostly it does both
I always leave feeling grateful
and humbled
and honored
My sister
loved it
it meant so much to me
to be in lodge with her
The host family
Are angel people
Here to offer their lives
To their community
And the healing of our people
Wow

After we sweat
We eat!
Potluck style
And then we went back to my aunt’s house
and slept deeply

Sleep is so important
The bedrock of wellness
and longevity
The opportunity for our souls
to re-merge with the oneness of the universe
the opportunity for our subconscious to dance and play its way through our experiences
stringing them together into the tapestry
the opportunity for our bodies
to rest
and recalibrate
recharge
heal itself
with our ego mind
out of the way

sleep my brothers and sisters
may we find as many opportunities for each of us to sleep until our body wakes us up
not an alarm clock
as possible
(to the parents in the tribe…my apologies on this tease of a prayer 🙂

My sister is a western medicine practitioner
A PA in Oncology
She is strong
and brave
and compassionate
and dedicated
and so freakin smart
That work is quite the call
To work with very sick people
As they heal
As they die
Quite remarkable
And on top of that demanding job of loving service
She just completed her yoga teacher training
Not with the intention of becoming a yoga teacher proper
but with the intention of deepening her practice and bringing it to her patients

This is an example of how to walk the path
So often we tell our children when they are young
to figure out what they want to be
It is more helpful
to our children
and to our people
and to our earth
when we teach them to learn what their passions and gifts are
and then learn how to use those passions and gifts to serve the wellness of our bodies, our people, and our planet

So we went to yoga
Here at Cambio Yoga Studios
In Colorado Springs
(www.cambioyoga.com)
The first completely donation-based yoga studio in this city
Also the first yoga studio where I ever played music for a practice
Which has become one of my favorite ways to offer my gifts
To play music as a class practices yoga
Is very much like playing with other musicians
or playing with dancers
it is a co-creation
completely
it is about listening
working with the flow already present
not trying to create or divert a flow according to my mind’s ideas
It is an honor
and a privilege
And I have a special place in my heart for Cambio for bringing me into this expression of my work
Took a class with my friend Heather there
Just what I needed
I needed to stretch and strengthen and twist my spine
As I have been working through a lot with my wonderful spine this past two years
I didn’t even need to ask
She just knew what we all needed
And ain’t that the way

Lindsay is back in CA now
My mother is on her way here on Friday
She stays until Wednesday
and then returns home to MA
and i hit the road for a mad-dash to Portland
to be part of the wedding ceremony of two dear friends

I am very grateful to have this much time with family this summer
and to top it off will be this trip with my mother
She has not met the twins yet
and is very eager to do so
and we will also spend a night out in the beautiful wilderness of CO
my aunt, mother, and myself
circles around a campfire
under a blanket of stars

Life is very rich
I cannot seem to say that enough
It is a good word
It is better than saying life is good
because sometimes it is really painful and uncomfortable and sorrowful
It is better than saying life is full
because sometimes it is in the really vast, deep, still emptiness that we must sit
Life is rich
The sensations
and experiences
and vibrancy
is truly miraculous
I spent a long time looking for mystical experiences
and am finding
again and again and again
that life is the mystical experience
nothing excluded

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