Bridges Not Walls

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I leave for Mexico on Thursday afternoon.  I am heading south to play Festival de Musicoterapia, or Festival of Music Therapy.

I was in Peru this past October when the organizers reached out to invite me to participate again this year, as I did last year.  I agreed, and began preparing a concert presentation called “Medicina de la Selva,” Medicine of the Jungle, inspired by the sounds, rhythms, and energies of the Amazon rainforest from which I was in the process of receiving a deep and profound healing.

I flew home from Peru on November 8th just in time to watch Donald Trump be elected president.

It felt like a piece of my heart broke in watching that, although I have been told that our hearts never break, but instead it is the encrustations around our hearts that crack allow space for new growth and expansion.

In the grieving, fear, and rage that followed, a new mission arose clearly inside of me.  I reached out to the festival and informed them that I would be changing my presentation.  In light of my country having just elected a man to power that had spoken with such hatred and fear towards so many peoples around the planet, and towards the planet herself, and who began it all with a venomous attack towards the beautiful people of Mexico, it was no longer appropriate for me to arrive as a guest in their land and make the offering I had been preparing. A new responsibility had arisen.

And so was born “Puentes y No Muros,” or “Bridges Not Walls.”

I am embarking on this trip as an ambassador of my people.  As a White, American man, I am going forth as an ambassador of peace and kinship, with a prayer of apology.  I go to say that I am so sorry for the unwellness of my people, and for the ways that our unwellness has hurt them and continues to seek to do harm.  I go to ask for forgiveness, and to recommit myself to being a bridge in this world between peoples and cultures and ideas, a passageway through man-made divisions and boundaries and separations, into a space of unification and oneness.

When I told my father of my intentions, he told me, “Make sure they know that there are many, many of us whose values and hearts and minds are not represented by our government.”

As I prepare for this trip, I am tending the garden of my own mind, heart, and body.  I am pulling away from the constant bombardment of more fear and tension provided through all forms of media.  There is a difference between being informed and aware, and being toxified and incapacitated by a perpetual feeding of the us vs. them war mindset, be it between our country and others or between the different ideologies at play in our own political arena.  What we engage in and consume in terms of information and media is voluntary, and I cannot do what I came here to Earth to do, and I cannot fulfill my mission with this trip, if I allow myself to be put and kept in a state of tension and unrest.  An angry person, an angry people, an angry generation, can never create an era of peace.  We must find a calmness in the center of the storm, not to hide or pretend or ignore, but to be fully in the apex of our own power.  And from that calm space, we can allow our actions of revolution and resistance to flow more efficiently and potently than they can when we are in the constriction of grief and rage.

So southward I will fly, a songbird of the Northeastern Woodlands of North America.  I will carry my drum and guitar, and sounds and vibrations of forgiveness and accountability.  I will carry water and allow myself to be a vessel for her healing and renewal.  I will carry sacred tobacco with which to offer a prayer for my people, for the people of Mexico, and all beings with whom we share this Earth.  And I will carry love and humility, the only tools capable of dismantling the weapons of Empire and sowing new seeds for the future.

Send your prayers with me so that they may carry me safely and swiftly through the skies, and I will offer my voice for all who wish to create a new world of fierce compassion and awareness of the radical interconnectedness of all Life.

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At last year’s festival in Tepotzlan

Through the Cracks

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“There’s a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

…………………………….

Upstate NY

December 7, 2016

…………………………………….

A fresh, crisp cold air has entered the scene.

Snowfall this week.

Lots of brightness.

White light.

The darkness has been thick lately.

The cold air and clean snow feel right.

My heart is beating: North Dakota,

North Dakota,

North Dakota.

Standing Rock, thank you so much.

I needed you.

We needed you.

WE NEED YOU.

Oceti Sakowin Sioux people, we need you.

Lakota Nation, we need you.

First Nations, we need you.

Thank you for reminding us

what true power is.

For reminding us again

that revolution works.

Prayer works.

Nonviolence works.

Courage and tenacity work

and are required.

We need to remember this, for doing so is our greatest power.

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“Protect the Sacred” by Aaron Glasson

Watching Standing Rock through the windows of the internet

seeing mythology enacted

a mind-in-decolonization cries out,

“Right the wrong!

Right the wrong!

Right the wrong!”

Time folds upon itself and the past is present

the present is past

and we are demanding a new FUTURE.

Old wounds never addressed

are opening

and infection is being purged out.

 

The body is healing itself.

 

We are the body.

 

 

…………………………………..

Earlier this week, the Obama administration denied Dakota Access permission to complete their pipeline which they have forced through indigenous land,

because people showed up, stood in the way, in prayer, celebrating the truest of true gospels:

WATER IS LIFE!

And they refused to be moved,

and they continue to do so in the face of unrelenting corporate aggression.

The true warrior way has been accepted on the front lines:

“You can beat me

even kill me

but still I will remain

unmoved

and a hundred more will come and stand in my name

For my name is Water

and I am Life.”

This is the courage being asked of all of us now as we move into a time of understanding that we are all the front lines,

there is nowhere left to hide from the fight,

and as more and more join together to affirm and acknowledge our shared original lineage to Mother Water and Mother Earth,

and we know that humanity has won a battle here.

 

Brief?  Surely.

But a moment of triumph nonetheless.

A flash of light.

 

…………………………..

We live in a war-torn world

with war-torn bodies

and war-torn minds.

This is our civilization’s most consistent tradition.

 

John & Yoko were right:

fe5860fc4fd60f149cabb43f72693393-1000x1000x1“War is over, if you want it.”

 

Well, we want it.

And we are getting it.

Battles lie ahead,

with surely greater costs,

and yet, we find ourselves entering into a period of culmination,

the apex epoch of the single, continuous war that has ravaged the human species for millennia, by which all struggles, battles, and conflicts have been encompassed.

This is no traditional fight over territory;

this is no traditional fight between different peoples with different ideas,

and nor is this a battle that can be won with fists or swords or arrows or guns or bombs.

No.  This new time is laying bare the unresolved sickness in the foundation of our civilization, and what is resulting is the fight for the inherent right of the planet for ALL territory to be well, to be free, and to be shared equally and stewarded collectively with great reverence, love, and wisdom.

This is the fight for the heart of humanity,

for all beings to have the possibility of thriving, with clean water and fertile soil and pure air,

to have safety with which to create life, family, art, beauty, and peace,

and to be truly free

no longer operating under imposed and false illusions of freedom.

 

This is a war that has been waged against the Earth.

This is a war that has been waged against each other.

This is a war that has been waged against our own selves.

Warfare is an internal state of being that is mirrored and manifested into the outer realms.

 

And so is Peace.

 

As we walk through this new time,

with the task of embodying and enacting peace on this planet,

more humility, courage, compassion and caliber is needed than ever before,

for now, it is no longer only men and our ideas marching into war,

as if that were not bloody and perverse enough.

No, now, our brilliance and innovation has been used for dark magics and we have manifested true beasts of Empire to join in the fight.

 

These beasts, or corporations as we have come to know them,

are heartless, man-made Frankenstein machines

with invisible bodies

but alive nonetheless,

blown to life with the breath of nonpresence and disease

and powered with the life force of sleeping men.

These beasts are now in the battlefield,

fighting on behalf of the part of ourselves that knows only destruction,

 

and we are required to meet them

face to face

and stand unmoved.

 

One carries poison.

One carries medicine.

 

Each human heart contains a medicine made potent through countless generations of protection and preservation and fortification.

Now is the time to trust these medicines.

This is the moment for which they have been made.

 

We,

the Shambala Warriors,

the Medicine People,

the Keepers of the Light,

the Bastard Children of the Empire,

the 7th Generation of Indigenous bloodlines that withstood colonization,

the descendants of the enslaved and the enslavers alike,

joined by those that have gone before,

and those that are yet to come,

we, from all walks and paths and lineages and nations,

unified together as an army of liberation

armed only with the weapons of fierce compassion and insight into the radical interdependence of all things

stand here with one clear mission:

to enter into the very heart of the barbarian powers

those that lie externally

and those that lie within

and dismantle the weapons.

 

 

 

Armies stand guard to protect the Empire,

seeking to keep us from reaching the heart at all costs.

Our message to these forces is clear:

 

“We carry medicine that the Earth herself has cultivated

to redeem the heart of the human people.

She cannot be stopped in her deliverance.

We are but vessels in her service.

These bodies are temporal,

this medicine is eternal.

The body will heal.

It is has been written.

And,

there is a place for you at our table

if you so choose to join.”

……………………………

Please, PLEASE do your heart and mind, and humanity as a whole, an incredible service and follow the link below to watch a group of U.S. veterans, led by Wesley Clark Jr., stand in the name of their ancestors and lineages and apologize to the First Nations for a history full of genocide and desecration.  It is one of the deepest, most profound reflections of the healing not only possible, but happening, at this intensely transformative time for the Earth and all her Beings.

Veteran Apology to First Nations

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***Some concepts in this text have been inspired by Starhawk’s book, “The Fifth Sacred Thing” and the film “Joanna Macy and the Great Turning,” both of which I enthusiastically encourage others  to seek out.