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

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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.”

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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.

Grow the Tree Within the Machine

 

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“The Fifth Sacred Thing” by Android Jones

 

I returned home to the United States a little over two weeks ago after a 6-week journey down in the Peruvian Amazon.  It was an incredibly beautiful, difficult, and profound trip, from which I returned home renewed in mind, body, and spirit.  I now stand in deep gratitude for that fortification as this past stretch of weeks have proven to be a true challenge to and invocation of all that I acquired and practiced and developed in my time in the jungle.

I flew into NYC on the evening of November 8th to find, much to my shock and horror, that no, we would not, after 240 years, finally be electing a woman to the highest office of the land, but instead, a man with no true leadership qualities or experience whose image embodies the very worst of our people and nation: greed, arrogance, pride, hatred, fear, racism, sexism, ignorance, cruelty, disconnection from Earth, and self-centered self-obsession… namely the main characteristics of capitalism and patriarchy.

Every day since, I have tried to sit here and write something in response.  Something that could clearly articulate and express the deep emotions swelling inside me, and the countless clarities about my self and my people and my nation that have been firing off inside my mind and heart.  Something that could show solidarity with all those in deep grieving, comfort for those in fear, information for those that are confused, guidance for those enraged, understanding for those that do not understand such strong reactions to the election results, and inspiration for all of those wondering where to go from here.  Basically I wanted to write what I really wanted to hear.  But that call has proven far too big a task.  For since the night I arrived home, we have been bombarded with atrociously clear reflections of the truth of who we are as a nation and people, from a swift rise and expansion of openly expressed hatred, white supremacy, and misogyny, to the perpetuation of the deepest American shame and disease being illuminated through the courageous action of the indigenous movement of water protectors at the Standing Rock pipeline blockade and the violent and inhuman treatment of them by the government and the oil companies (as if they are separate entities).

There is a part of me that for some time now has been scrambling to desperately hold onto some sense of “nice, calm, agreeably spiritual voice of wisdom,” but as I lay in bed unable to sleep on election night, I felt that part of me shriveling away and a part of myself that I have been both calling forth, and also hiding from, finally awakening.  This part of me is not calm.  Not nice and sweet and palatable.  This part of me is the radical revolutionary, the spiritual warrior wielding Saint Michael’s flaming blue sword, and he is enraged, standing on a precipice, thunder coursing through his nervous system, screaming at the top of his lungs,

“WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE WE DOING?!”

How naive and blind have we been?  How comfortable in some kind of safe bubble?  The sheer fact that so many of us were shocked by Donald Trump’s election is incredibly informative. Where have we been?  What country have we been living in?  How lulled into comfortable, safe complacency and ignorance we have been by our privilege that we have been able to so greatly underestimate the power and pervasiveness of fear-bred hatred and spiritual heart disease in our nation.  Those of us that met the election with shock have some deep soul-searching to do about how out-of-tune we have been to the deep cries from our indigenous brothers and sisters and our brothers and sisters of color for centuries as they have been trampled and killed and decimated and disenfranchised, and as the Earth has been mined and poisoned and stolen and ravaged. How out-of-tune have we been with women, our sisters and mothers and daughters, as they have been raped and abused and dominated and dismissed?  For they have all been screaming out warnings to us about these poisons running through the underbelly of our culture for ages, and if we had been really listening, not only would a figure that symbolizes what Donald Trump does not win the election, but the circumstances that made it possible would have been remedied long ago.

It is no longer the time for nice, quiet dialogue.  There is a war raging on this land, and it is time to WAKE UP MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

RISE UP, MOBILIZE, UNIFY, and face the beast of Empire head on.

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“The Beast” by Android Jones

 

Actually, no.  Let me correct myself.  A thousand yesterdays were the time for that.  There have been people on the front lines doing just that: looking the beast in the eye and refusing to yield, ever since it first reared its head ages ago.  These are whose cries and calls and pleadings for back up and reinforcements and allies to join them we have been too deaf to hear.  But it is sure as hell better late than never, and we had all better open our eyes and ears and hearts and stop waiting or hiding or shying away from the fight for peace, people, and planet, because it is more urgent and emergent and essential than ever before, and that urgency only grows.

This is not a battle that can be won without each of us that hear the call abandoning our old selfish ways of being and standing up with courage and conviction to answer it.

Rage alone cannot heal anything, and unchanneled or unexpressed, it only wreaks more havoc and destruction.  But it cannot be ignored.  It must be touched and opened and felt and expressed in order to harness it and use it to create something potent and powerful.  Otherwise it festers and depletes and poisons our system.  The morning after the election, I felt the clear call to go to the forest and scream.  A deep, primal, bellowing scream of rage and sorrow for the thousands of years of devastation upon the Earth and humanity.  I did not yield to that call, and the other night, as I was dancing at a 5Rhythms class, a modality of dance used to embody and express our inner processes, I realized that that call was not a desire.  It was a deep need, an instruction straight from my soul.  And in order for me to have access to the sheer raw power being offered to me in these times, I must listen.  And so I will.  I will find the forest to hold my screams, and I will release them, and then I will take their medicine and transform it into songs and words and actions that can serve.

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Cover art for Starhawk’s “City of Refuge,” painted by Jessica Perlstein

This is what is being called for, requested, and demanded at this time.  All creatives, artists, rebels, witches, medicine people, revolutionaries, change-makers: this is our call to action.  This is our call to cast off our complacency and comfort and dare to create with bold courage and passion.

“…I knew this was coming, and I wanted more time to prepare, and to look away and be comforted through distraction and the promise of change without struggle. There is no more looking away, the time is now, the responsibility to not collapse foregrounded above all else… We are the descendants of all those who faced this in their own times. Just as they reached out, pulled together, wove more resiliently, so shall we.  Where there is fear there is power, and it is our magical birthright to step into this fear and transform it into creative response. From Empire culture to earth cultures, we grow the tree within the machine.” -Rain Crowe

It is time to join the army of liberation that is storming the gates, and to do so with inexhaustible might.  Violence can only beget more violence, and the beast does not reside in one man or building or city or nation, but instead within the heart of each of the Empire’s children.  Meaning all of us.  So we must transcend the old ways of waging war, in which what we resist persists, and our weapons must be weapons of song and poem and word and prayer and bodies marching together in infallible strength and holy peace.  Empire/Dominator Civilization is an energy of that we must first root out in our own selves, for it is only in the doing of this that the wisdom and guidance of to how to root it out in the rest of the world can be granted.

 

We must now follow in the footsteps of the ancestors of all people:

Pray for the resiliency to walk through these dark times, together, and cultivate and protect the sacred seeds: the seeds of generations yet to come, the seeds of the plants that will nourish them, the water which is the very seed of Life itself, and the seeds of freedom, beauty, justice, harmony, love, and peace, which they will inherit and plant deeply into the Earth.

Now is our time on Earth to spread these seeds with every step and breath our life force allows, for we will continue to reap what we sow, and the seeds of Empire have borne rotten fruit.
It is time for beauty to reign.
May our prayers and dreams and visions of a free world survive the passage through time carried in the blood to our future generations.

 

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“The Fifth Sacred Thing” by dreamnectar

 

 

 

The Grandmothers Are Gathering

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For 13 years now, the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers has been holding, carrying, and walking behind a prophetic prayer for humanity and for the next seven generations that will walk upon the Earth.

At the end of this month, they are gathering to complete their work where they first came together to create it in 2004: the Menla Retreat Center in the Catskill mountains, the original land of the Iroquois Confederacy.

On the surface, this gathering is a healing retreat; below the surface, it is the fulfillment of a prophecy.

These women are midwives of a new time for Earth and her people.

They have answered a call to unify our species, across continents and cultures and colors and creeds,

to heal our people and planet so that peace may reign.

 

We have been so very ill.

For the countless generations now

we have been plundering the Earth

the animal kingdom

plant kingdom

insect kingdom

and our own kingdom.

We have been plundering our elders and our children.

We have been desecrating our bodies

these original temples of the sacred

our minds

these magnificent tools of creation

and the world around us

our home

our refuge

our Mother.

We have been asleep to compassion

and to peace

and our grandmothers have been watching.

 

Our grandmothers have been praying

working

protecting

loving.

 

They have been enraged

grieving

weeping

mourning.

 

And they have been remembering.

They have held the power of their wisdom and wombs, and they have remained standing in the face of it all.

The prayer of their hearts has been kept alive.

 

The International Council of 13 Indignenous Grandmothers has acknowledged that we are now approaching a precipice, and that this is the time to unleash that prayer and power.

At the pinnacle of our ignorance and division and greed and sickness,

we can see our unwellness reflected in our minds, bodies, partnerships, families, communities, nations, and civilization as a whole.

Women of this planet, it is you who are the ones that carry life within the waters of your wombs.

It is you who are the walking, talking, breathing avatars of the planet herself

and it is you who are the ultimate healers of our people.

As this council comes together for their last time in this official capacity,

we are invited to witness these women manifesting myth within the physical plane.

This work is a beacon of Light

a revelation beyond hope

that shows us the abundance of transformational healing energies that are available to human beings at this time.

We are now sick and suffering enough to be humble

and being humble is the fundamental requirement to receive.

 

These grandmothers, and all the women they represent, have carried this prayer and this work as an incredibly powerful offering of service.

They do not carry it only for their own lives

as they do not have many years left here

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Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance

and in fact, one of them, Grandmother Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance of the Oglala Lakota Nation,

passed through death into the realms beyond earlier this year.

They are carrying this for us,

those of us that will remain here beyond their bodies.

And they are carrying it for those that have yet to come

those that are coming in through the watery gate between heaven and earth.

 

As our grandmothers gather to lay down their prayer upon the Earth

we are called to receive it.

We are called to hold it within our own hearts and minds

to carry it forth with our own bodies

with our own actions

with our own words

with our own work.

 

They have done their part in the fulfillment of the prophecy of peace on Earth;

it is now our turn to do ours.

 

All are invited, welcome, and encouraged to join us for this gathering, and you will find details of how to do that below.

But for those that cannot join in person

you, too, are needed.

You are needed to receive the prayer

the medicine

the blessings of these women.

The prayer, medicine, and blessings of their mothers and grandmothers,

of every one of our mothers and grandmothers

all the way up our bloodlines

our lineages

right to the origin place

the one well from which we have all come forth.

 

I invite and encourage all to build an altar within your homes that can serve as a portal of reception.

 

Build this altar

and then listen

and hear.

Hear the prayers for our healing

the medicine songs

and the very voice and breathe of the Earth herself.

Sit before this altar and pray prayers of thanksgiving for these women

for all womankind

these creatures that no matter what we have done to them over the course of the patriarchy

have continually welcomed us back home

cleaned us off

and nourished us

in the greatest human example of unconditional love and forgiveness.

These beings that God has sent forth to our people to carry a higher vision of humanity

a vision that speaks and lives the truths of balance

harmony

justice

beauty

and love.

 

Yes, our grandmothers and their grandmothers and their grandmothers before them have done their part.

Let us come together to say YES to doing ours

not only with words

but with the very essence of our daily lives.

May we do this for our own lives

for the life of our ancestors that dreamt us into existence

for the life of our brothers and sisters of all species and kinds that walk the Earth with us

and for those that will inherit the world we leave behind.

We say YES by making our homes an altar

and our lives a prayer

that will heal our bodies and minds

and strengthen our families and communities

and unify our nations

in order to heal our waters

heal our soils

heal our air

and heal the very beating heart at the center of Life that has continued to carry us through.

 

Here, now,we say YES.

And thank you.

 

Aho.

 

-Natavi Orion

Tribe of Dreams

www.tribeofdreams.com

Grandson of Agnes Brzezniak Kozicz and Margaret Elin O’Donnell DeSantis

Great Grandson of Phoebe Peggy Cole DeSantis and Margaret Rouleau O’Donnell

And all those whose names I do not know but are written in the codes of my DNA

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Alliance Statement of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:

October 13, 2004

We are thirteen indigenous grandmothers who came together for the first time from October 11 through October 17, 2004, in Phoenicia, New York. We gathered from the four directions in the land of the people of the Iroquois Confederacy. We come here from the Amazon rainforest, the Alaskan Tundra of North America, the great forest of the American northwest, the vast plains of North America, the highlands of central America, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the mountains of Oaxaca, the desert of the American southwest, the mountains of Tibet and Nepal and from the rainforest of Central Africa.

Affirming our relations with traditional medicine peoples and communities throughout the world, we have been brought together by a common vision to form a new global alliance.

We are the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come.

We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth, the contamination of our air, waters and soil, the atrocities of war, the global scourge of poverty, the threat of nuclear weapons and waste, the prevailing culture of materialism, the epidemics which threaten the health of the Earth’s peoples, the exploitation of indigenous medicines, and with the destruction of indigenous ways of life.

We, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking and healing are vitally needed today. We come together to nurture, educate and train our children. We come together to uphold the practice of our ceremonies and affirm the right to use our plant medicines free of legal restriction. We come together to protect the lands where our peoples live and upon which our cultures depend, to safeguard the collective heritage of traditional medicines, and to defend the earth Herself. We believe that the teachings of our ancestors will light our way through an uncertain future.

We join with all those who honor the Creator, and to all who work and pray for our children, for world peace, and for the healing of our Mother Earth.

For all our relations.

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Aama Bombo – Tamang, Nepal
Agnes Pilgrim – Takelma Siletz
Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance – Oglala Lakota
Bernadette Rebienot – Omyene
Clara Shinobu Iura – Brazil
Julieta Casimiro – Mazatec
Margaret Behan – Cheyenne-Arapaho
Flordemayo – Mayan
Maria Alice Campos Freire – Brazil
Mona Polacca – Hopi/ Havasupai/Tewa
Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance – Oglala Lakota
Rita Pitka Blumenstein – Yup’ik
Tsering Dolma Gyaltong – Tibetan

http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org

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CLICK HERE for Event Info for Creation to Completion: A Healing Retreat

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There  are only 2 days left to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign that is making this gathering possible, and we need to raise $5000 more!  Can you help?

Click HERE to contribute!

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