Portland, OR

Tribe of Dreams Dispatch

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Portland, OR

natavi GRK


Mahju, short for Mahjula, meaning
Mahju, short for Mahjula, meaning “onward, flourish” in Malay

The impetus for this trip to Portland was to help Ahmond Starkin bring his beloved cat, Mahju, from LA, where they have cohabitating for the past few years, to her new home with one of his friend’s here.  She truly is an amazing cat, so sweet, talkative, playful, loving, and cute as all heck.  But Ahmond’s space in LA is pretty small, and she is a cat that loves to move, and loves to be outside, which LA-living is not very conducive of.  Ahmond is also working more and more in the field of his calling: music (both the creation of and the production of) www.ahmond.com , and is going to be having less and less time to devote towards this special little being.  So with a heavy heart but a clear conscience and affirmed intuition, he made the choice to find her a new home, which he did with an old friend of his here in Portland, LT.  And Tilly, the Tribe of Dreams Land Beast Earth Rover, was the means by which she would be transported.

Ahmond and Mahju cuddling and napping as I drove...
Ahmond and Mahju cuddling and napping as I drove…

We left Los Angeles on Saturday at 9pm and arrived in Portland, OR at 4:30pm on Sunday.  That would be about 19.5 hours on the road.  I had only arrived back to LA the Wednesday prior, flying in from Massachusetts, where I spent 4 weeks home with 3 separate excursions to 3 different parts of New York.  By the time we reached Portland on Sunday, the realization that I had been in New York, Massachusetts, California, and Oregon all within one week, was made more than apparent in my physical body: I was exhausted… and the intense energies of the rising full moon in Sagittarius, with all its water and emotion and deep “stirring of the pot” certainly wasn’t helping.

Driving by Mt. Shasta, the root chakra of planet Earth
Driving by Mt. Shasta, the root chakra of planet Earth

For the following two days, I pretty much did nothing but lay around, sleep, and eat.  My emotional and physical bodies were so depleted, and I could not even muster up the willingness to do my daily practices of meditation, breathing, or yoga.  I was pretty useless and I felt like shit.

Yesterday morning, I spent a luxurious 3 hours in my practice, taking the care of myself I was in desperate need of.  To be well in our lives, we must be grounded.  We must be rested.  We must be clear and focused and our vitality must be cultivated from within, otherwise we are no good to any of our relationships or responsibilities, and we are certainly unable to serve.

photo 1
             My mobile meditation center

And today, I awoke rested and feeling clear for the first time in many days, and a deep gratitude brought a big smile to my face as I got out of bed.  I gathered my mobile meditation center (candle, water, yoga mats & blocks, mala beads, tingshaw, sage, etc) and went out to the covered back deck of the house we have been staying at, the home of friends John and Austin.  Both the back and front yard are amazing gardens, which is very much the status quo here in Portland. It seems that almost everyone is growing at least some part of their food here, and there’s not much that is more inspiring than to see such a thing. I set up my space and began my practice overlooking the bountiful back garden while it proceeded to rain a glorious rain all around me.

What a morning!

Garden in front of house! (flowers, artichokes, strawberries, herbs)
Garden in front of house! (flowers, artichokes, strawberries, herbs)
Backyard garden (greens of various kinds, squash, peppers, beans, peas, raspberries, even a pear tree!...no word on the partridge yet)
Backyard garden (greens of various kinds, squash, peppers, beans, peas, raspberries, roses, even a pear tree!…no word on the partridge yet)
Ahmond sangin to us
Ahmond sangin to us

After my savasana (corpse pose, traditional ending to a yoga practice in which we lay still and flat and fully receive all the medicine we created during our practice), but before I got up from my yoga mat, Ahmond and his friend Matt came out to say bye as they were going off to the music studio, and I requested a serenade first.  Ahmond obliged and Matt and I laid on the ground being bathed by his beautiful voice and heart.

Let the blessings roll on!

They left, John was at work, and Austin left for a work trip to Philadelphia, so I had a home to myself for the first time in a while.  What a gift it is to be able to sit in a space, alone, and just listen to the quiet.  To decompress in a way we are unable to do when there is constant motion and company around us.  Life is about balance, and the balance between solitude and community is an essential one to find.  Too much of one or the other and the whole thing falls apart.

I was about to jump in the shower when my friend Francesco, who lives in Portland and who I have not seen since October, texted me saying he got a last minute gig this evening, which is when we were planning to hang out, and so if we were going to get together it would need to be now or never.  Forgoing a much needed shower, as well as a much desired breakfast, I jumped in the van, set my GPS for the Community Garden he volunteers at, and drove over.

Outgrowing Hunger Community Garden on SE 162nd Street in Portland
Outgrowing Hunger Community Garden on SE 162nd Street in Portland

The garden is enormous, incredibly beautiful, and the air smelled like straight up life.  It is amazing what a vibrational shift can occur within a mere 100 yards between the sidewalk on the busy street where I parked and the sacred land of this garden.  This garden is part of the Outgrowing Hunger project (www.outgrowinghunger.com), which builds cooperative Neighborhood Gardens where community members work together to grow healthy food for themselves and for neighbors in need.  This particular garden is an essential part of the lives of refugees and immigrants from ten different countries, including Mexico, Burma, Nepal and India.  Some of them even brought seeds from their own villages, continuing an unbroken connection between their people and the earth.  Imagine a garden where ten different languages are being spoken, and the only common ground is literally the soil beneath them and the water allowing such abundance.  Please watch the video below and hear some of these people share why this garden is important to their families: 

photo 4

While Francesco was speaking with two of the “reinas del jardin”, or “queens of the garden” as he lovingly refers to them, I met and began speaking with two men that were also visitors and had arrived shortly before I, David and Cody.  After speaking for a bit about where we were all coming from and why we were in town, they mentioned that they had a show in town this week.  We all talked a bit about our music, and then I asked them what their band’s name was.

“I’m the Polish Ambassador,” David said.

I started laughing.  Wow, what a synchronicity.  I explained that I had not only heard of his work, but I had become a fan of it and of his vision over the past year or two.  He is a pretty damn well known electronica musician, with his project The Polish Ambassador (www.thepolishambassador.com) as well as another project called Wildlight, both of which my stellar tribesister Kimmy Creation has introduced me to, mainly through a video she made last year hooping to a song by Wildlight.  Not only that, but I had been inspired by his Permaculture Action Tour in which he not only did a music tour, but incorporated eco-villages and permaculture design sites and held a permaculture action day in each of the 32 cities that he traveled to, encouraging fans from the show to come out the next day to get their hands dirty, learn, and build with their communities.  When I was in Boulder, CO for the Arise Music Festival last August, he was one of the headliners, and when I was in Williams, OR in October, he had a permaculture action day at the Seven Seeds Farm (www.sevenseedsfarm.com) in town, although I was unable to attend.  We had been crossing paths virtually and physically for the past year, and here I was, visiting my buddy at a garden close to his heart, and finally connecting with these two brothers walking this same path in ways that inspire, encourage, and motivate my dreams.  I am glad I skipped that shower!

After Francesco gave us all a tour around the garden and told us everything he could think of about the place and its community, he and I left to go share a cup of tea at his home.  Well, that turned out to be another magical twist in this day that seemed to have no end of beautiful experiences.  For the past year, Francesco has been living in a little house on the grounds of the Muse Mansion here in Portland, an amazing house that is home to a collective of visionary artists committed to the re-emergence of temple culture.

“We offer a space for the healing and performing arts of many genres, in our endeavor to support the revival of humanity’s connection to divine inspiration. Muse Mansion is a sanctuary for artful living and gathering. Weaving a sustainable community, the Mansion hosts intimate learning experiences, house concerts, weekly classes, salons and other special events.  Our mission is to inspire the expression of creation.”

View of the back of the Muse Mansion from the garden right outside Francesco's house
View of the back of the Muse Mansion from the garden right outside Francesco’s house

He has been helping tend the beautiful grounds that are permeated by the fragrant smells of a giant flowering linden tree, among other wondrously alive and generous plants.  There are food gardens and medicinal plant gardens, as well as spaces for hosting live music events and other community gatherings.  Francesco brought me into the main house to meet two of the sisters that live there and hold down the special prayer and intention of this place.  After Francesco’s introduction of me as “one of the best singers in the world,” making me blush profusely, they invited me to come back and play music there next time I am in town.  A true vibration of love, peace, and hospitality radiated from these women, and from the home they steward, and I am incredibly excited about returning to take them up on that offer.

Francesco harvesting
Francesco harvesting

After finishing our walk around the grounds, we sat outside and drank chai and exchanged stories about what we are walking through in our lives.  Francesco had a massage client coming soon, and I had to return back to Austin and John’s house so that I could finally take that shower, but this brother could not let me depart without offering me an abundance of greens to take with me back with me to my hosts.  He walked through the garden with me and as he harvested, spoke to me of his methods, explaining things like, “when you harvest greens, you want to take the whole stem, not just the leave, otherwise the plant will continue to send energy up the stem, essentially wasting its precious life force and stealing from the next generation as no new leave will grow there,” and “if you tear the leaves up about a half hour before you want to eat them, the plant releases phytonutrients, which basically are sent out from the plants immune system to rebuild itself as a response to an ‘attack,’ making even more life-supporting nutrition available to us when we eat them.”  He also had me take them 2 Yugoslavian tomato plants, a purslane plant which he explained is the plant with the most omega-3s, and a chiltepin pepper sprout, “the pepper at the center of the slow food mythologies.”  Is there a greater gift to offer someone than the food they have loved and tended to each day?

The delicious bounty I took home and reveled in upon returning home!
The delicious bounty I took home and reveled in upon returning home!

Portland is a city like none other I have visited.  It seems to be as close to a rural experience as you can have while living in an urban center.  Maybe that is just the impression on visitor like myself, but I am moved and inspired by the magic here, woven by the beautiful souls co-creating it.

Tomorrow…my first time in a float tank… but you’ll have to come back to the blog to hear more about that!

Be well tribe!


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