Tuesday, May 30, 2017

If it's easy, it probably isn't worth doing

During my work out I felt empowered contemplating how working out isn't supposed to feel pleasant, although it does feel good in ways.  The feel good comes post-exercise. First the pain, then the rise.  A natural progression that is adjusting my attitude and challenging the lingering demons of entitlement which completely take over my thinking if I don't stay conscious of them.  

I'm navigating the space between and negotiating the concepts of the dialectic: 1) the answers are in the pain, 2) following the path of least resistance, and 3) edge-awareness.

The whole is definitely greater than the sum of these parts.

Other interesting insights which came while on the stationary bike:

  • watch out for my tendencies to hit the proverbial easy or eject buttons
  • notice the seeming angel on my shoulder telling me to seek pleasure, "happiness", comfort, etc...when I seek those states of being, I'm often heading down a dark path and am totally unaware...
  • follow the dark path, feel into the pain, sadness, difficulty, build tolerance for discomfort, be brave, be bold, stretch, push my own edge appropriately, and pay attention at all times...happiness is not to be sought, is not my goal, is almost delusional even...being is my purpose.  Listen to the angel that supports me to be brave, to face conflicts, to attempt to do what's hard, to not be lazy, and to soften in the pain.

Learning about the type of learner I am...inner curriculum/inner teacher

Um...I find it interesting and humbling when I get pissed off and bored, or whatever, with a book, concept, or project, a book in this case, and then when I'm ready to receive its message and Truth, then I get it.  An aha! moment! I love it!  Then I'm thinking to myself, why am I such a brat on the journey; sometimes, not all the time.  I'm working on that.  For the most part, I think I do a decent job concealing the brat, but I'm sure I use to fail miserably at by burning bridges left and right, running away from conflict, quitting this or that, such as school, and reacting in other unskillful ways.  Oh Laura...Little Laura Night Gown...we have so much learning and growing to do and we're making it happen.

Well, so, now I'm reading The Shaman's Body by Mindell for Consciousness 2 and it makes sooooo much sense to me.  Helps that I re-read it and not when I was falling asleep.  I think following through with The Funeral opened doors inside of me too.  That facing of pain and place and fully immersing myself into that experience, in conjunction with all of the mandala artwork and meditations in Archetypal this quarter, has advanced me to the next level.  I really like how Shaman's Body validates my experiences that healing and the warrior path of the heart does not and is not supposed to feel blissful and safe.  One on this path is going to encounter lots of problems and will be forced to face them, and this is going to suck, and that in that pain and suckiness lies power, love, healing, inspiration, magic, greatness, enlightenment, etc.  Most "spiritual" books are so loaded with bullshit that say this work is pleasant and I'm excited to find a book and path that tells the truth.  I feel motivated to keep being brave and to push through the interludes of feel good that happen when I have accomplished solving some problems.  I will not stop here or there, I will forge on because I know I have capacity to do so and because the path of the tender warrior is my destiny.

My mantra once again: the answers are in the pain.

I'm definitely clear on how yoga, mindfulness/Silence and stream entering, dance/somatic movement, art-making, and now, psycho-drama/Gestalt, plays into the work I feel inspired to do.  Talk-therapy has its importance and I like it, but I'm not interested in doing that all day long for my living.  Also, research shows talk therapy isn't effective in trauma work, work which I feel guided to participate in.  And, even with other issues, I don't think talking is very effective on its own anyway, not without other deeply transformational, active, and body-based practices.  So, as surprising and appropriating as it feels to me in this moment, shamanic healing paths/dreamingbody work, and the concept of identity fragility with a focus on engaging the unknown and change (like Bowie masters in his work), and how to explore all of that through the arts, are the directions I'm interested in traveling. I feel alive and excited knowing this!  Feels like bold work!  Mindell has piqued my curiosity and I am on board with learning about the various ways altered states of consciousness, and not just being on a substance, as I'm least interested in that, are ways to achieve deep healing, self-understanding, self-mastery, and closure to trauma, etc.    

Onward!  In bocca al lupo!




Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Funeral

Well...I did it.

The Light Figure presentation was to channel Bowie  through designing, performing, and being present at Ray's funeral (since I was unable to attend his real funeral), a journey which I took my classmates on to be my witnesses, in Consciousness 2.  Mission accomplished. I delivered.  And my buddy videoed the whole thing so now I'll move on to editing it and taking the art to the next level.  I know how terrified and powerful I felt performing this piece but it will be another level of healing to watch myself with compassion and without judgement.

The feedback from my colleagues were tears and speechlessness.  It was all very moving and I hardly knew anyone was in the room while in my role or whatever that was.  I'm still developing an awareness for what exactly transpired but I know it was good and good for me.  I know I felt a release and calmness in my body and a spaciousness in my guts, both indicators that I did what I was guided and needed to do.  I feel more free now.  The theatrics, miming, silence, costuming, face-paint, props, identity fluidity, and shifting into singing and playing guitar felt empowering.  I was sooooo brave trusting my audience to hold me as I played this scene out.  It feels awesome to be so audacious and creative and I want to do that more!!!  The seeming pretend land of the stage and artful abstraction of the design, which I saw in my mind's eye first and then carried out to a T, gave me the safety and space my soul needed to express itself in full force.  Also, I rarely share my music but am feeling more confident to do so especially now that I have hearing aids and can hear myself, which is really helpful with pitch, tone, etc.  Now that I have a new car, I think the next purchase is going to be a new steel stringed electric-acoustic guitar and maybe a small amp.  I'd love a distortion peddle and some other sound modifying gadgets, but one step at a time.  Will be nice to have a steel string to accompany my classical so I can work on other styles and play a little louder and more rockin', perhaps.  Maybe a 12 string like Bowie played! They sound awesome!

Alas, this life: loving, living, relationships, death, growing and healing, developing professionally, making art and music and especially playing guitars, is causing me to develop more and more calluses.  While calluses can be sad, tough, and ugly, they're also integral to being able to handle more and do more, so I'm learning to see them as a good thing.  I can definitely see how they will help me be a loving witness to others' pain and struggles once I'm a therapist.

These days I'm keeping my new mantras in mind:

1. The answers are in the pain.

2. Why shouldn't I suffer?  I'm not above it and my pain is only a minuscule touch of what others have been forced to endure.  Why shouldn't I have lost my loved one, experienced abuse, etc?  Having a broken heart has felt so unfair but the real question is 'why NOT me!'  It isn't fair or right, per se, but it is and I'm just one more person who has felt hurt by life.  I'm not minimizing my pain, I'm accepting and ready to see it for what it is, and it is both a right of passage and a normal part of life that doesn't have to hinder me from living and loving.  Trauma doesn't have to be such an obstacle, not forever anyway, and I can be creative and productive with my pain and suffering rather than immobilized.  I can use it and sculpt it.  Others have lost their entire families, have experienced the worst atrocities known to man, and have endured oppression for centuries, for example.  Suffering is terrible, it's horrific for some, and it's a brutal part of life and the human condition.  With the information about healing from grief and trauma, and with the projects I'm working on this quarter, I am aware that I wish to be more bold than ever.  I plan to gently and mindfully move straight into the pain and suffering rather than to avoid it and to see what happens as a result.

This funeral performance/channeling felt like a step into a new paradigm.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Archetypal Psychology vs. The Psychology of Archetypes???

Week 8 Journal

The fact that I drew the meditation discussed in Silence, and all the images and symbols which appeared in my meditation, before it took place and before I had read about it, feels affirming that I am on track (not that there is a track or a goal) and am tapping into Silence effortlessly at times.  I just notice it and that I am in it and it feels amazing.  Precognition is an indicator of connection and gnosis taking place, in my humble opinion, so I always take it seriously; seriously in a non-serious way. 
Sardello explains that one can enter Silence at any time through an act of attention and through multiple active ways.  I could not agree more!  In my life time one of the active ways I’ve tapped into or entered Silence is through art-making, which is why I chose art therapy as a career path.  I feel that art-making along with other intra-journeying and mindfulness tools have the power to assist individuals and collectives in healing.  For me, art-making has always been much more than just a relaxing or contemplative exercise.  It’s been a way of dropping into the more subtle, deep, magnetic and electric currents of life and art is about Self-expression, even during times when I felt totally lost, blocked, and far from myself.  Art has always been an anchor that brought me back to a space where Self could be known and possible.
Art-making has also been a way that my guides show up in my life and teach me different things, share messages, and offer suggestions, directions, and comfort I need.  I believe those guides are both within me and are called forth from the great What Is, also called Silence.  The processes feel divinely collaborative.  During art-making, I experience mental release, lowering of defenses, calmness in my body, transcendence of certain parts of myself, freedom, receptivity and reciprocity. 
These feeling states are helpful for entering Silence but I believe one can enter and just always live in Silence even when experiencing more seemingly unpleasant feeling states and experiences.  For me, Silence is achievable with repetition and remembering what Silence feels like in my body and I learn and relearn the path to getting there or dropping right into it.  It takes practice.  The thing is, intense feelings in general don’t persist when in Silence….it’s all fleeting.  It’s a curious process of transformation that is interesting to observe with compassion and non-attachment, like the Zen witnessing of clouds coming and going.  I have learned to approach my art-making in the same way too.  Sardello’s book helps me concretize some of my spiritual or contemplative experiences.  I appreciate his language and his wife’s poetry very much.  Their words and knowing feel so validating.  I think this book would be very difficult to write unless one has legitimately and diligently practiced entering Silence, so I feel impressed with and inspired by their perseverance and ability to describe it so eloquently.       

I am experiencing the benefits of integration as I work with the meditations, my personal archetypal language, and the art-making processes.  Noticing the Alchemist, who also appears as a falconer, is astonishing.  I had no goal to conjure such an image although The Alchemist is one of my favorite books.  It's just amazing that these images and archetypes showed up to help me again.  The Lovers and The Magician also showed up.
Falcons have appeared in my work for decades, along with other birds, and are now showing up in meditations.  I deeply appreciate the concept of Soul Retrieval and how birds can be used to retrieve dissociated parts of the self.  I experienced just that today.  I felt energy, which appeared as falcons, and I also heard their sirens, soaring out of me towards the chiming sound currents of the bell, catching the currents, and then bringing them into my heart enclosed by a force field or vessel of sound waves.  Once again, I feel affirmed that my Soul has been guiding me toward individuation and healing for a very long time via the images, bird images and more, which appeared in my imagination and art work to help me.  McNiff refers to these images as necessary angels that never come to hurt and always to help.  I love that!  I always knew with a felt-sense that they were doing that, and that I was special for being able to experience them as such, but it’s really exciting to learn the science behind this archetypal phenomenon.  I am so grateful for my new knowledge in this field and am curious about where it’s taking me and how I will be able to serve others on their healing journeys. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Buyer's Remorse?

The way I was able to purchase my new car was through Chase Bank and they support and fund the Dakota Pipe Line.  While making the deal no one mentioned to me which banks would be asked to finance my car...it didn't matter at the time and I moved forward without even considering.  I'm sure the powers that be count on such desperation and mindlessness.  I mean, I and my mom need a car so now we have one and I'm a fucking hypocrite with great fuel economy.  I take money and lending from a predator and I've thrown my values to the wind one by one lately.  It's so much more convenient to throw them out, which must be why folks do it.  It's cheaper and easier to just join the rat race and do what everyone else is doing.  It's sooooooooo hard to go against the stream and resist...and I've been in resistance for so long, perhaps not as much as should have been, but I tried.

I'm just laying here in tears feeling so sad about life and about the forms of negotiation I have made, am making, and will likely make. I'm selling my soul to the Devil and I'm not even going to be an awesome musician like bluesman Robert Johnson in the trade....it feels like that's just what happens as one get's older and one has to make concession after concession in order to get by.  Little by little I feel I lose some integrity and dignity...nothing can balance that... How am I ever going to travel the world if I'm tied by down debt to college, cars, etc?  In conjunction with compromising values, I've signed away the future and my freedom, or so it feels right now. Will revisit this issue and see if it and my feelings change.

The pressure I feel is momentous!  I feel so alone walking through this world of hard choices that harm...it feels like the odds are so against me and others who want to make compassionate, truly nonviolent and sustainable consumer choices.  Feels like I'm being forced to give up and give in all the time...in every direction....give in to defeat....and so I drink some wine and cry tonight...it feels like a trap no matter which way I turn.  Feels like I can't win for losing.  Feels like I can't afford to choose the right choice.  I'm a full time waitress and grad student...I know I have luxury problems and they're pretty hard.  With my luxury problems I just keep wondering when or if it's ever going to get easier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPW8y6woTBI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uB0gQr3zSM

Right of Passage

The uni(Multi)verse pushed me into a new level of adulthood/entrapment today.

This push is exciting and depressing all at the same time because in ways I realize that as I get older and attempt to improve the quality of my life, I sign away freedom, become in dept, and obligate myself to being tied down in one way or another.  I'm trying to keep an open mind about it.  Maybe it won't be so bad.  In a way it's kind of cool and I feel like such a big girl!  Our little baby's all grows up!

While I witnessed in slow, fatigued and overwhelmed motion today, by signing page after legal page, losing myself and clogging up my future with payments and required consistent hard work for the next many years, I also felt and feel hopeful that my choices to invest in myself in various expensive ways are going to offer exciting returns that I will really love and enjoy.  Perhaps the returns will pan out in ways I could not have imagined for myself and therefore would not have chosen if not for sort of being forced by a series of unfortunate events.  I get it.  I'm learning that about myself and that I'm the sort of learner who has to be pushed hard, under certain circumstances anyway.   This time it took mom and Maggie getting in a car accident, not her fault, them being injured, and the truck being totaled.  All of a sudden not having a car and having to figure it out and move forward made me hit the pavement and work it out.  The whole thing has really pissed me off but now I feel kind of happy.  The new unexpected change is kind of cool and thankfully Maggie and mom weren't hurt too badly.

So, here I am, 37 years old, and I purchased my first brand new car!!!  It's a sexy, black 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and it turns out that I'm the second person in Santa Fe to own one, as if that makes my purchase more cool and it sort of does, I guess.  It get's 58 miles to the gallon and looks way hotter than a Prius.  The car is fine.  It's good enough,which is why I chose it but I had to negotiate and be sooooo patient to get what I wanted.  All I really wanted was to not agonize over which type of car is the best.  I just needed to get my damn car and get the hell out so I can move on with my life.  I did that, sort of.  I didn't eat one bite of food and sat waiting all day.  A positive affirmation came in the meantime, however.  Apparently I'm super trustworthy and folks seem to want me to be their therapist because the men at the dealership ended up gravitating to me and telling me all their extremely painful and personal business.  Uh, TMI, dude...I can't believe you just told me all of that while I'm waiting for your company to fiance my automobile, but...okay...I'm listening and maintaining boundaries.

I left the dealership after 11 hours of wheelin' and dealin', being patient, and them working with me and my finances, which aren't even bad.  I've been trying to establish good credit over the years because I learned that not having debt and bullshit to pay off is actually a bad thing and might even be worse than having bad credit.  What?!?!?!  I just don't understand this human condition!!!! How can that be?  Okay, so whatever, I'm learning as I go.  So now I'm in enormous debt and now I'm good to go and people will give me stuff and I can pay it back?  Now I'm worth doing business with...because I'm totally trapped in the system?  Okay, that makes sense...not!  And more and more getting trapped in the rat race so I can improve my quality of life, as it were.  Okay?  It's all, the capitalistic way is, really complex and frustrating, actually.  All the hoops one has to jump through, unless I want to stay poor and I don't, it's all so hard to understand and maneuver...I wonder if I'll ever not feel like and alien in all of this madness?  Anyway, I'm trying!!! I'm trying soooooooo hard!

So, that was my day.  I'm glad I drink now because red wine and a nice dinner helped it all feel a little less intense.  And now I've learned that Netflix has a David Bowie documentary so I'm pleased.  Funny, because I have this hot car sitting outside in the parking lot and while I'm signing the papers I'm thinking about how I need to get my ass on my bike and ride to work more often.  On the other hand, it's a hatchback and the back seats lay down pretty flat, so I can drive out to some remote place and make a bed in the car to sleep in.  That in itself is extremely valuable to a girl like me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abum9IDymTE





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sound and Vision

Moving into video...

The ways this light figure project are developing are so surprising.  I am planning Ray's funeral and am going to document it.  There will be planned and improvisational performance, miming, face paint, magic tricks, gender-bending, identity fluidity, glam, ceremony/ritual, theatrics, and me singing and playing guitar; an original and a Bowie cover.  It will be a fifteen minute funeral for me to further grieve my loss and celebrate and channel two awesome people who transitioned.  And, this summer I'll be taught how to edit the video so I can make it super psychedelic.  Maybe I'll even share it on YouTube and my website!  One step at a time though.  I hope no obstacles come between me and this endeavor.  I need this... And the experience will enrich my future art therapy practice and the media I'm able to implement with clients.  It seems only good can come from these efforts.


The Hero Within: Personal Reflection (for Consciousness 2)

Cultivating a deeper perspective on the archetypes Pearson describes, as well as others, is adding rich dimensions of creativity, gnosis, and healing to my life.  I enjoy the intra-subjective wild-goose-chase and deep-sea diving into my psyche and feel self-trust building as I venture into the unknown.  As an artist, my creative processes serve as messengers and muses coming forth as teachers and healers who show me how to become and express myself more fully and authentically.  In studying archetypes more directly, I see that I have been working with this material for decades, which feels validating.  I totally agree with Jung that the Soul is fully capable of guiding one toward individuation and healing, if one is willing to go for a ride…and I love traveling!  (The “wanderer” speaking.)
            My plan is to continue working with archetypes in my art and to learn how I can empower future clients with this practice.  Since I am consciously collaborating with archetypes, I recognize them everywhere now.  I can see life as a precarious stage and humans as characters trying on different ways of being. Goffman’s and Bowie’s work help me cultivate this viewpoint.  Bowie used both theatrics and archetypes to explore the fluidity and fragility of identity.   

The more I explore the realm of archetypes the more I develop and categorize my own symbolic language and symbols like a linguist or archaeologist.  I reference external sources to research universal meanings, but am more interested in developing my own schematic reference materials and definitions.  I plan to continue to fearlessly and gently excavate my unconscious and decode the surfacing images.  I feel excited about discovering a treasure trove within myself and have always dreamed of being a philanthropist of some kind.  I hope my work will make a positive difference for at least one person other than myself.  (The “warrior/altruist” speaking.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Archetypal Reflection/Blistering...waste of time


While reading The Heart-Mind Matrix, I keep feeling annoyed with the ways Pearce states ideas.  He has some great ideas and is building on the work of others’ but he so often fails to cite sources, which makes his work seem chumpish.  (Why do we read so many old books that don’t cite sources and studies at SWC?  Many students wonder about and discuss this; just a side note.) Not only that, but while the book has some interesting ideas, I find that he contradicts himself a great deal, which is unfortunate, as that cancels out some of what seems to me to be pertinent material.  As much as I am trying, I am having a difficult time taking his book seriously, and again, not because there aren’t interesting topics.
For example, I find the “neural tube/sense of self” (pg. 92) subject fascinating and would like to understand it more.  Pearce briefly introduces the concept, explains it with his “strange loop,” heart and brain phenomenon, sort of, and then putters off after a few paragraphs and cites not one relevant scientific source to back what he proposes.  He then jumps to the concept of the human fear of death, which obviously connects to concepts of the self, and adds in a lot of judgment about humans, but fails to make connections that make sense, to me anyway.  Personally, I’m inspired by a thinker and writer who is willing to be brave and riff on their own ideas and intuition, but this book is full of riffing and not much evidence at certain points.  I think the material would be stronger and more helpful to learners if it were strong in both areas.
As far as contradictions go, his concept of humans being a cancer on Mother Earth is apocalyptic and interesting.  Perhaps he is correct.  He believes that most humans have ceased to participate in the right reciprocal relationship we should be participating in and that we are draining the Earth of her life force.  Now, I don’t disagree with this dystopian view point, per se, but I am curious about what seems to be confusion on his part.  Pearce goes on to discuss in the following paragraphs that humans and Cosmos, Man and God, are one; that the creator cannot exist without creation and vice versa; that to understand our own creation is to understand all creation. These are broad, sweeping, and bold statements of his values and beliefs that humans are in some sort of alignment, not in chaos, with the Cosmos and Creator.  So how is it that we’re also so fucked up, ruining everything?  He expresses all throughout the book, one argument after another, how he believes in the magic and omnipotence of a Divine, sentient, intelligent, coherent, and loving being which is within all, yet his pathological view on humans contradicts the perfect design he purports.   Wouldn’t such a powerful, all-knowing Being have all the aspects of the Multiverse worked out?  Maybe it does and the future doesn’t look too great for some?  I don’t know!  Pearce seems to though and that's off-putting. 
I have seen this in other philosophical and spiritual books and it always perplexes me.  I understand that these complex issues are not black and white, therefore, I hold no expectation for Pearce or anyone else to have it figured out and explain it seamlessly, but I would like to see a more careful and thoughtful deliberation process.  One that engages me to drop into that heart/mind center he preaches about and feel a deeper, more resonant Truth, one that I can trust, inside of myself.  I know how to do that and Pearce doesn’t inspire me with his writing at all.  I find some new age books, like this one, to be lacking a leg to stand on when they hop around from subject to subject, positing big ideas and supposed truths, without making the effort to collaborate with and cite many schools of thought, scientific and mainstream, along with others.  For me, this is a huge dis-service to me and other readers because all we can do is either take his book at face value or not. There's nowhere else to run with it.
It’s fine with me that he has contradicting ideas, I mean, I feel confused about the purpose of the human condition all the time.  I’m constantly questioning, feeling it out, and searching for what feels real for me.  However, less conjecture, which comes off to me as spiritual by-passing and woo at times, would be more effective.  I’d like to experience more organized thoughts, supported through a social constructivist approach where lots of views on reality are negotiated.  He talks a lot about the Great Mystery, but doesn’t seem to have faith in it and its design?  Or else, why is he so down on humans?  Aren't we part of the great evolving masterpiece?  Perhaps, I'm missing something?  If wondering and exploring about the What Is, not preaching, were the point of his book, I’d find such vulnerability and inquisitiveness really profound. 

(I take full responsibility for choosing to attend SWC.  Plenty of good learning is going on amidst some stuff I really can't stand.  The process has been extremely valuable for me in personal development I had not anticipated.  Knowing what not to do, in some instances, is valuable information.  Also, being that I'm not very studious, SWC was a good choice.  The bar seems quite low much of the time...I mean, I get to study David Bowie and make collages for Pete's sake!  The real learning will come in practicum, internships, and getting to work.  Studying Bowie is real learning, however.)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Honor Killing?

Not the kind that has to do with married women in India (perhaps other countries/cultures too) who's husbands die and so they get put to death in order to follow him into the after life, so as not to be cursed with living the rest of their lives as widows...

I'm currently intrigued by and curious about how a person can honor animals yet kill them for different reasons, mainly to eat though. I think I'll never be able to understand sport and trophy hunting, but I'm beginning to understand and even honor the killing of animals to eat.

Yesterday, on break in class I walked on campus and witnessed one of our resident bunnies.  I think it is the same one I saw the other day. It is very calm and still, munching on grass, and unafraid as long as I keep my distance, which I'm happy to do.  So, I just watch it for 10 minutes or so...and my gears start turning.  I notice how much I adore the bunny and it's cuteness.  I feel love for it! It has a cute fluffy tail! I admire it and it's peaceful, simple life.  I think the SWC campus is a wonderful place to live a bunny life. If I were a bunny I would live in the flowers, trees, and grasses.  There's a stream and lots of rock formations and it's quiet and the humans there are pretty nice too.  Maybe the bunnies know they are honored and adored by the humans?  I hope so.

But then, as I pondered, I began thinking about if I could catch the bunny and eat it?  Could I transition between loving and admiring the bunny's cuteness to stalking, killing, and eating it?  I thought of how other animals might see the bunny.  In the wild, it seems animals only kill in the present moment when they're hungry and just to survive.  In general, I think they don't take more than they need and they live one moment, one day at a time.  Most, although some animals do, don't think to hoard food for the future.  They live in the now.  I think animals go hungry a lot too.  They deal with feast and famine periods.

Then I'm thinking of one of the speakers who came to school.  He's a Lakota wisdom keeper and he's very generous with teaching non-native, non-Lakota people about his people and their traditions, which I'm deeply grateful for. I know I cannot properly explain all he said so I express what I can remember with great respect and awareness that I am not an expert on the Lakota or First Nations people.  I apologize if I mess it up.  I want to learn though and so I'm processing what he told me.

One day he explained to me a process of hunting which his people used to practice and maybe they still do.  They painted the animals, especially Buffalo, on cave walls to honor them and to capture their spirits for the hunt. He explained the power of visual schemas manifested in image form and how that is one example of the mind and co-creation, bringing thought to form. He added that this power is why many Native peoples object to having their photos taken, especially by people who do not understand their traditions and have a history of bringing harm to them. Anyway, the Lakota, and other Native peoples, deeply revere, honor, see the magic and beauty in the animals they hunt, kill, and eat.  That's the type of honor killing I'm curious about today.  I'm also exploring the parallels, if any exist, between that sort of killing, victimization, being a Survivor, etc.

I know how it feels to fear that someone is trying to kill me and I did not feel honored by him/them.  Eating meat, as I hoped it would, is helping me to heal victimized parts of myself and to take new views into the world of violence and carnage.  It's a dark, macabre place, and I'm loving what I'm learning about myself and am learning to embrace all of my thinking, feeling, and curiosity.  It feels very personal, validating, and brave.  Life has a lot of brutal aspects to it.  More and more I'm learning to be okay with it, not advocate for brutality, but to be in a deeper state of acceptance and awareness so I can be more open mind/hearted, work with it effectively, and really be of service.  I know that my 17 years of in and out of vegetarianism/veganism had altruistic motives but it has also been a way to protect myself from more deeply understanding the levels of violence I've endured personally and seen in the world.  I'm ready to understand more about the human psyche, even in people who aren't nice.  And strangely, participating in death cycles more, through eating meat, rather than avoiding them, is helping me to open my mind and be willing to examine my judgement of others, life, the world, psychosis, the dark side, etc.

I'm especially interested in learning if I'd be able to kill an animal, in a deeply honoring way, for food. Actually, I have caught and killed fish when I was a kid and that did not bring up an emotional response for me.  It was "normal" in my family. Could I also be a huntress and kill other creatures?  Do I have the endurance, strength, fortitude, like a mama lion, to hunt animals to feed my babies?  Could I chase a baby animal because it's an easier pray and take it down?  If I decided to try the lamb tacos we serve at the restaurant I work at, doesn't that mean I should be able to kill a baby animal too? Do I have the courage and tenacity to align with nature and raise animals and crops as farmers have for centuries?  I mean, I eat meat now, and it's helping me understand a lot of things, but I just go to the store and buy it.  I want to participate in the whole process.  I want REAL.  Would I use a bow and arrow, a gun, a knife?  Would I cry the first time I killed the animal?  Does a hunter get use to it and tolerate the shock of the whole experience and the sadness from taking a beautiful life from the world?  Does the hunter see the animal as a being that matters or as a meaningless other in order to kill?  I hope I would never get use to it...that seems so numb and wrong.  But I'm sure, the experience and emotions evolve and the hunter becomes more tolerant of the event.  It's normalized with repetition.  On the other hand, I suppose some people's lust for killing get's really strong because they hunt for more than they need.  It becomes fun for them.  How can that be? Are animals who are stalked or raised and killed, victims?  Is it always wrong to be victimized? Is it ever just part of life and can be honorable?

Also, why is it culturally acceptable to eat some animals and not others? If eating animals makes the eaten victims or pray, then what are the ways victimization is normalized?  I respect systems and rules, but where do all of these rules come from?  How do these rules/norms/morals/values exist in the human condition? Context dependent, as always.

This is scary stuff to explore.  Many horrific things others have endured throughout history come to mind, as well as the normalized and or accepted brutality that happens in Nature every day, and humans make TV shows and air that version of reality on the Discovery channel.  And I wonder...well, given all that has happened and happens, why shouldn't the bad things which have happened to me, have happened?  I'm not better than those people and animals who loved, lost, suffered, etc.  This seems to be Life.  Can I deal or not?  Why should/would I be exempt from the suffering that so many others go through?

And I wonder if my little dog Maggie has felt afraid that another dog would kill her?  What is that fear like for her?  Is she at all aware within the feelings?  Being part of the food chain is very REAL for most creatures, so my guess is that she has some semblance of awareness.  I worry about her dying all the time and feel sad about when the time will come.  Loving someone and losing them is one of the worst things in life.  But I'm unwilling to stop loving just because they might leave.

Someone that I experienced being victimized by is an avid hunter.  He feeds his family with the food. Butchering the animals is a lot of messy work and they do it in their kitchen at home sometimes and it's a family event.  Imagine a giant buck dead in the kitchen!  Wow! I wonder if he deeply honors the animals he kills and butchers?  He might.  I had a strange thought in meditation yesterday, I wonder what it would be like to go hunting with him?  Maybe I would experience more healing?  Maybe our relationship would heal?  Maybe he can teach me how to kill and prepare the animal?  How is it that our family dynamic made him a hunter and me a vegan?  That's really interesting to me.  I would only want to learn from him if he honors the animal though, and I don't know if he has that ability and it feels judgmental to assume that he wouldn't honor the animal.  I don't know.  Why I wonder about this is because I've maintained years of distance from him based on my own aversions based on how I think he lives and my judgement of his character.  This is based on my experiences of this man from the past...and some of his political and other world views that I know of.  Maybe he's not that guy anymore?  I know I've avoided and been unavailable for relationships with people who are different from me through veganism, liberalism, being on the far left of pretty much everything.  I'm not changing all of my values per se, but I want to be fearless and objective in examining myself and how I've been in the world and in my family too. Maybe I don't have to be such an outsider?  I've felt like an alien, but maybe I can do things more like other people do them and enjoy it too?  Being a Survivor isn't a black and white thing, but maybe I have maintained certain types of aversions and behaviors in order to keep myself separate because being too close to people scares me?  And I'm incapable of being neutral, as I think all folks are, so what do I really feel and believe here?  Healing from victimization is really complex and more nuanced than most people know, I think.

I wonder if the person I was victimized by feels like a victim of the same situation, but in different ways?

Anyway, I'm just thinking about a lot of stuff and navigating my way through it all.  I'm glad I have the courage to look at all of this and I think I'm making good progress.

I've noticed that since I went back to eating meat, enjoying it very much, and negotiating my old and new ways of thinking, I don't feel so traumatized by blood, dead things, pain, and death.  Maybe that's just my psyche trying to make excuses for and justify the cruelty and pain that my dietary choices cause other beings?  I was out walking not too long ago and saw a dead cat in a ditch, rotting and gnarling, and I managed to look at it and hold my gaze without judgment or wincing.  I did feel a bit sad though. Poor little kitty!  I hope it didn't hurt, whatever happened.

If it's normal, whatever that means, to think about and associate food with killing, then I'm wondering about sex too, and the variety of ways humans and animals negotiate the complexities in rules within sexuality.  When does one depart from normal animalistic visions, feelings, desires, and appetites, and venture over to unhealthy, abnormal, or deviant?   Obviously, one very important indicator is when someone hurts another person, but why is it okay for humans to hurt other animals the ways we do, such as in honor killing for food?  Isn't it still victimization?  Does the concept of victimization exist in the non-human animal world we call Nature?

I wonder what Gavin de Becker would have to say about these ideas and questions?

All I know, and can say is true, is that my exploration is positive because I'm writing music again. I'm questioning the authenticity of identity, which is supposed to be fluid and unstable to certain degrees, if one is exploring the big questions that is.  It's been years since I wrote a song, I think.  A long time anyway.  This one is an old unfinished song that is now finally finished as of today.  Thank you Bowie and Ray for all of your inspiration.  Diving into these dark spaces within myself is overdue.   My dreams are super intense and sexy lately too.  So, thanks also to my unconscious and to my various parts which are waking up! Finally, thanks to all of the animals and plants whose lives and deaths give me life.  I honor you.  I know my words are mediocre displays of gratitude and aren't near enough to balance what has been taken from you.

using all the sacred parts: https://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

waste not, want not.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Final Light Figure Project

I was able to visit Ray in the hospital when he was dying. I spent a week with him.  He was still alive, sort of, and on "comfort care" when I had to leave.  It was so utterly surreal to leave Ray's hospital room at 4:00 am, mom and aunt in tears, still in shock that their boy was leaving planet Earth and not on a psychedelic trip...

Saying goodbye to an unconscious, supposedly brain dead (who I felt knew I had been present and had responded to me a few times but not enough to survive and wake up; consciousness is a nuanced thing) man who had once been the love of my life, was....there aren't words for such occasions. No.  None.  This one of the most surreal events in my life.  Watching Ray die; not being there for the last breath, but hearing about it, was even more surreal.  I can sort of wrap my imagination around it, as I don't think it was dramatic.  He just breathed one more final sigh...that's how many people leave.

The thing is, I didn't live in LA at the time, and so, I missed his funeral.  It was a simple service but I wasn't there. I wasn't there when his family scattered his ashes at the bell in San Pedro or from a boat outside of Long Beach. One can only fly to visit a dying or dead person so many times when finances are an issue and when one lives across the country.  Do I visit while he's alive and hope to make a connection, or do I go for the funeral.  I opted for ICU and hospice.  His friends and lovers said if he'd would wake up, it would have been for me.  He moved around some, and that filled us with naive hope, but he never woke up.  Sometimes his eyes opened and seemingly looked around the room, or he would squeeze our hands, but the doctors said it was all involuntary.  It felt like so much more but maybe I just couldn't accept what they were saying?  No, there were a few times when he looked at me with yellow eyes rolling around, struggling to focus on me, and I know he saw me and we were alone having a silent conversation.  We forgave each other and we talked about how things can be different next time...because there's always a next time even if no one knows how or when that will be.  It really happened...not making it up.

Anyway, working with Bowie, my light figure for this mandatory project at school involving working with a deceased person who inspires me and who I feel a connection with, has helped me do some deeper grieving of losing Ray.  Bowie died about month after Ray and they have so many common personality traits.  We have a 15 minute final project coming up in a few weeks in Consciousness 2 that is supposed to encapsulate some of the big work I have done while learning about Bowie, and not just learning but allowing Bowie to guide me and help me, and a fairly audacious plan is forming.

I think a funeral for Ray that I plan, attend, and perform at, is in order. Very much Bowie puts Ziggy Star Dust to rest, sort of thing?  I guess. I was thinking that it can be theatrical, can involve miming (totally inspired by Bowie) with some paintings if I can get them finished, burn Copal and make ashes (representing his) to scatter in a miming piece, a little of Ray's and Bowie's music, pictures from our wedding and life together on a projector for a few minutes, candles and x-mas lights, and then I'll dress in a gender non-normative Bowie inspired costume and play Bowie's Soul Love for the class on guitar and sing.  I'm not sure if I can pull this off, but it would be really good for me to try.  I'll get an A, no doubt, even if it's a disaster, which it wouldn't be.  It seems a little strange to ask class members to go through this with me, but some of them know me three quarters in and know about this hardship in my life and might be honored to participate?  I don't know.  I guess that would be the audacious and unabashed part of the project, which I feel Bowie is most known for and which I love so much about him and his work.  It would be another portal into my own brave new world.

Anyway, it's just an idea that came tonight.  Whatever I do needs to be deeply authentic and brave. I'm counting on Bowie and Ray to help me figure it out and make it special.  I think this could be a pivotal and transformative experience for me so I take it very seriously and want to reach my potential.

Is this really graduate school?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kx9o1idWrE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMThz7eQ6K0

https://soundcloud.com/dougoc/all-the-time-ray-day




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU1stwHBXI8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kszLwBaC4Sw

The next song reminds me of my inner teacher/inner curriculum meditation and going into the white...which was the death/deathlessness archetype and I later wondered if my vision and experience was also a forecast of the crazy snow storm that came last week? Me and my dog Maggie had a lot of anxiety and then the storm came.  Maggie freaks out when it storms. It was totally out of the blue and our deepest snow all winter, yet at the end of April?  Was so weird....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFOtIiRzFtQ&index=13&list=PLMaJI33eTT_Qef6lJxvn--SeT33PWHuzs

....and the white, no light, just the color white and nothingness....felt like a waiting room...felt like in my meditation, I just wasn't able to get beyond this white, although could be much more or less...no way of knowing while I'm in the body.  Don't get to understand all of that right now, which is fine with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bToet4R7Hec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc4bBHLJpz4&list=PLMaJI33eTT_Qef6lJxvn--SeT33PWHuzs&index=7



Film references for project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kCpegoNusM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlmuuQBM4Gs&list=RDjlmuuQBM4Gs#t=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijRS0RdyrHg&t=10s




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Light Figure/weekly articles for "scrapbook"

1.

"According to a recent study by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), workplace discrimination for women who wear the hijab is three-fold, as they are judged for gender, ethnicity and religion."

"Yet, Abdullahi said that "the stories we are familiar with as Muslim women are stories of agency and resistance."
"However, these are not the stories we are being told in the public sphere. The only way forward is to continue the resistance, as we will not choose between our religious identity and our right to employment."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/day-rallies-muslim-women-labour-rights-170501135615726.html


2. 

"For Benallie, Tsingine's death, and the deaths of 23 other Native Americans at the hands of police in 2016, is "a sad affirmation that this racism and violence committed towards Native people is systemic."


"Benallie says the struggles of Native Americans must be viewed through the lens of "settler-colonialism", likening their situation to that of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land."


http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/01/police-violence-native-americans-arizona-170111083205542.html


The Navajo Nation is a 71,000 square kilometre semi-autonomous territory spanning three separate US states and essentially serving as a reservation, with "border towns" like Winslow and nearby Flagstaff lying on its edges. These border towns have served as guard stations to control the Navajo, Benallie says, with police as the "tools of the settler-colonial process".

"Although Native Americans account for 25 percent of Winslow's population, they averaged nearly 64 percent of arrests from 2012 to 2015, according to police filings."


http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/11/trump-victory-race-factor-161109083108637.html  (The US is not a post-racial society)


3.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/magazine/the-border-is-all-around-us-and-its-growing.html



Notes:

Concentrating on human rights issues, as I think Bowie would have been more inclined to go that direction with his responses and work.  Some of his songs and videos address colonization...Let's Dance, for instance.  Video shows colonization, exploitation, dehumanization, and forced assimilation of and racism directed toward Aboriginal people's in Australia.

On the ongoing issue about ethics/personal freedom/feminism/Hijab and Arabic and Muslim women discriminated in the work and public places throughout Europe, the connections I make to Bowie's work has to do with his bravery in using the body, clothing, and fashion as resistance of dominant cultures and paradigms.  Bowie's work confronts hetero- and gender normativity and one's presentation, but the basic premise is that people should be able to dress how they want to and be who they are.  Women's bodies and their struggle to control them in all ways is ongoing space for social resistance opposing men and governments who believe that women should not have control over their bodies, and lives for that matter.  I'm pretty certain Bowie would call himself a feminist, despite his iconoclastic nature and aversion to labels.  Discrimination of women wearing hijabs is a race/color issue too, no doubt.

Relationship/connections between "border towns" and "tools of the settler colonial process" and Trump's wall between Mexico and the US/ban of Muslims/anti-refugee and immigrant positions/racism/targeting sanctuary cities/proliferation of global white supremacy.  Bowie's concert in Germany and Heroes, a love story about twp people separated by the Berlin Wall, is now considered part of the force which contributed to the deconstruction of the Wall. I'm wondering about how (not if) Bowie would have felt/thought/ responded to the issues of police brutality?  Racism in supposed post-racial times?

police brutality/colonization = government sponsored/led white supremacy movement?  Jane Elliot says the pro-life movement is a white supremacy issue as well.  White supremacists fear being the minority in America.  Whites are already the minority in the world and have been for ages, if not always.