On the heart-wrenching day of the Las Vegas shooting, it was really hard for me to navigate life. Everything felt stuck and foggy. All my feeling barometers and compasses either went haywire or kept tripping on the same thoughts or feelings, stopping me square in my tracks. I felt tight, noticed pockets of intense energy that was either trapped and so scattered, I couldn't formulate a cohesive story that made any sense or was able to offer me cathartic release. It was like being blown to bits by a bomb on a feeling level . . .
And the truth is, there is no rhyme or reason that can wrap senseless violence like this back into anything coherent but because my mind, heart, body and soul stubbornly yearn for coherence and integration, I felt tense, hopeless, enraged, defeated, powerless.
As a highly-sensitive intuitive empath, it felt irresponsible to proceed in any direction. It would have been like driving a car without lights and a broken GPS in the dark in a brandnew busy city. Formula for disaster.
Fortunately, I learned along the trials and tribulations of my life that going inward is still an option. IT'S ALWAYS AN OPTION, no matter what, and it's most often the BEST option.
Going inward, I gathered up the pieces one by one and weaved them back together. I had no idea how long it would take to regroup. It could take days or weeks sometime. Practice has taught me not to spend my energy on that which doesn't work, which is to get in my head. Most of the time, my judgments and beliefs are what get in the way.
Although it may seem like you are internalizing the injustice, violence, or harm by not having a strong reaction, you are actually externalizing the harm by learning to becoming intentional, pro-active and preventative. You are not mirroring the same behavior on an energetic level, which it is, even if your story content is different and you feel righteous to have your reactions. So did the attacker. And sadly, all perps. In their minds, they are victims of injustice and rightfully doing what's necessary to set things right, as deluded as that sounds.
Something else what I learned, which is the tiniest of distinctions, is that the answer is not to discard our brilliant and insightful thoughts and corresponding feelings either. You just put them aside for a moment so that you can mend and reset your energetic body to baseline Wholeness in alignment with mystery first. This offers a great antidote to our own delusions.
Renaturing ourselves means no longer trying to outsmart mystery and no longer trying to
dismiss and override our deepest wisdom vessel
by thinking of it as a pain-body rather than a truth-body.
Once you've reclaimed and retrieved all your shattered bits and you notice that the complex and harmonious interplay of your feeling barometers and intuitive compasses are somewhat working, you could try trusting yourself again.
It feels safe and wise to revisit what you were thinking and feeling and you are no longer stuck. The catharsis and release of deep feeling happens. In my case, it happened during my first WomanSpeak training call with a wide diversity of women, all passionate about empowering women and strengthening the network of connections not only between us but with the planet and our many causes and missions. Deep feelings and tears of gratitude welled up. I sank so deep, I once again could touch base —the field of luminosity and love— and received.
It by no means changes what happened—the latest siren of a series of sirens that are hardly pausing for longer than a moment these days. Sadly, alarms have been warning us about these increasingly more devastating crises and canaries have dropping dead for a very very long time.
What do we do? Do we adapt? Do we stay in a continuous state of heightened crisis and frazzled nerves? We can, but it's bound to make us sick, very quickly. What other choices do we have?
At my mother's senior home loud alarms and calls for help go off almost constantly. There is always someone in need, and there is always someone responding. We can grow despondent to the calls or we can learn to respond to the best of our abilities, take turns, support one another, neutralize the overstimulation, and clear it from our bodies as quickly and as best as we can . . . if we want to stay in this marathon for the long haul.
And a marathon it is. While it seems like we are becoming more violent as a nation—because of modern-day assault rifles and the ability to slaughter massive amounts of people in a short amount of time—this country (and many others) has a deep and unhealed violent past that originated in Europe, was imported here, and has been redirected at indigenous people, African slaves, women, and many other pockets of marginalized people at a scale and severity over the past generations that far surpasses the Las Vegas massacre. And today, centuries later, their descendants are still suffering and dying at disproportionate rates compared to the rest of the population.
Is this violence resurfacing in "unstable," "mentally ill" people in ways that are really that unpredictable, or do unconsciousness or anti-consciousness persist and re-emerge in new bodies, just like consciousness does, until properly and fully realigned with Wholeness? In my opinion, they do.
It may sound more overwhelming to think that the healing that's needed doesn't only pertain to our modern-day messes, but also to our historical insanity. Another way to look at it: our hard work and evolution of consciousness in modern society are just like our anti-consciousness and unconsciousness coming to a head.
We are all being provoked and called to confront and unravel unresolved shadow parts at their deepest core and root levels. It's hard to re-member this truth and ground in this higher level of dynamic and paradoxical wholeness, but we and a growing number of healers from all over the world are getting to the heart and bottom of old historical wounds to heal karmic patterns and long-standing issues once and for all.
To my fellow bodhisattva warriors who've chosen this arduous path and are not satisfied with ever dropping out either: I appreciate you for your presence, for showing up day after day, and for catalyzing the energy generated by travesty and crisis to take yourself and those in your circles to the next level of consciousness and healing.
OUR TREE ANCESTORS
Have you thanked our tree ancestors today? Did you know that there wouldn't be a "Mother Earth" if it weren't for trees and their nutrient packed green leaves gifting us and our oxygen-breathing four-legged and winged relatives life, and if it weren't for wood which together with oxygen, caught fire from the skies, which we learned to harness and cultivate, making life so much more bearable and us much less vulnerable to being attacked by both big game and the tiniest of bacteria.
We could cook, consume, and digest our food, particularly meat, more quickly, which for better or worse, exponentially grew our brains, gave us a competitive edge, more free time to be creative, establish a homestead, and an insatiable yearning for more conquest and power. What have we done in return?
Disconnected from our origins and sacred ancestry, we began to log wood for profit and discovered that we could exploit and conquer many more of earth's resources and beings through mining, industrialization, housing developments, agriculture, raising farm animals and cattle, and the like. We have since then cut about half of the planet's trees—close to 3 trillion, yes, 3 trillion trees!—often ancient giants, our biggest allies and earth's biggest lungs in recycling carbon and producing oxygen.
We've managed to create so much disharmony and imbalance for ourselves and the next generations, we are now in continuous crisis mode and still refuse to see the truth of our dire situation.
Where do we start? One answer: we can reconnect to our wise tree ancestors and learn to listen to their guidance once again. We can re-member our deepest origins and resolve our human problems at the root level by re-tree-ting our denatured selves and start by clearing ourselves from our mistaken identities.
I started a closed Facebook group where I offer free guidance, articles, a taste of my tree meditations, and videos. I sometimes feature other respected teachers, such as the wonderful and brilliant Sangra Ingerman, shaman and author of Soul Retrieval and Shamanic Journeying. She offers such a rich and helpful intro and overview of this topic. I also so appreciate that she took it to an advanced (and quite controversial!) level that informs and affirms why I do what I do at the intro level: she explains how our ego attachments can get in the way even in the shamanic journey (through our attachments to the form of our guides, methods, techniques).
My first and main guide, Rainbow Crystal Woman, began to challenge this the day after she came through for me. I needed to consult and deliberate this for years before I could muster the courage to trust it because of so many cultural messages and assumptions that it challenged.
Ego attachments in spiritual practice is a blindspot that is easy to miss. After years of teaching shamanic journeying, I decided to teach the 7 sacred directions set-up with the help of a tree guide because of Rainbow Crystal Woman's teachings that this would allow clients to be more aware of their soul structure and keep it in balance - meaning that they'd receive well-rounded guidance from guides that represent each of these directions (for starters!). Come on by and soak up the inspiring and powerful vibes from everyone in this private fb community.
I had a prophetic dream more than 10 years ago right after meeting Mark Plotkin, founder and president of the Amazon Conservation Team, and learning about ACT's pioneering environmental work, which began three decades ago in the jungles of Suriname. In my dream, we were deep in the heart of the dense jungle of my native Suriname, soul siblings of the same Amazon mother working side by side.
The dream caused me to feel sad and deeply unfulfilled, like I'd somehow missed the boat and was not doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. It reminded me of how I felt as an undergrad in college when I reluctantly accepted that anthropology was not my calling, as much as my soul basked in what I was learning in class and was craving the work that Jane Goodall and other anthropologists were doing in remote and exotic jungles and places. I was always homesick for the rainforest and had many confusing and unresolved yearnings for "home" that I could not tease apart.
Fortunately, a wise and clear voice had come through and told me that my path would be about "home" but different. It would require my presence here in the US and would be about exploring our inner jungles and inner nature sanctuaries. That's when I decided to major in psychology instead.
When I clicked on this link and saw my eyes and book's cover surrounded by familiar, gorgeous rainforest images, I was instantly transported back to that dream, especially since I'm explaining to Mark in our interviewthat I see my awakening journey and soul renaturing efforts as complimenting ACT's many projects and successes in protecting sacred land, sacred healing wisdom, indigenous governance, and uncontacted tribes in partnership with local indigenous leaders and shamans.
These impressive undertakings are supported by none other than Jane Goodall, and other environmental heroes on their board: Julian Lennon, Jeff Bridges, Susan Sarandon, to name a few.
Wow. I think it means that I have come around full circle and have finally arrived . . . back home . . . doing what my soul is supposed to be doing, in my own way, helping others do the same.
If you missed this related article, Renature Your Denatured Spiritual Self that I wrote for the September newsletterof the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, here it is again. ACISTE, with pioneers and board members such as Stanley Krippner and Charles Tart, is a great advocate for clients who may be struggling with spiritual transformative experiences, and came up with this wonderful set of ethical guidelines: Competency Guidelines for Professionals).