Healing work IS Anti-racist work IS Decolonial work IS Ecotherapeutic work IS Sacred Grief work IS Rewilding work.
These are not and cannot be seperate if we are to dream and enact ourselves into regenerative, cooperative, co-liberatory, earth-honoring habits of being and doing.
We know the dominant/dominator system is sick and dying. Perhaps it’s already dead and we haven’t quite accepted it? Perhaps we’re living in its corpse and like butterflies from a messy cocoon we must sprout out?
How do we respond?
Yet, like a mosquito at the river’s edge, I’m troubled by incessant questions: If white supremacy was dismantled, if capitalism completely collapsed and transmuted into something that worked for all, if the patriarchy and heteronormavity imploded, if empire was composted, we are still left with root questions:
How will we relate to each other and our earth home?
How will we belong ourselves in a reciprocal, mutually honoring and life-enhancing way?
Will we know how to say hello and goodbye to one another?
How can we hold our monumental griefs together?
How will we compost the emperor and police within us?
How will we ask “What serves creativity and Life?” as our basic operating premise?
What alternative slower and local ways will we cultivate to meet basic hominid needs?
How will we imagine new ways of loving ourselves, each other and the world?
It’s a tall order. It fact it’s too damn tall, as all sacred journeys are. Yet…I feel we’re up to the task. Not as a to-do list or a smart strategy, but as a way of walking in the world. Minute to minute practice full of failure and learning. Not to be completed in one lifetime, but steps on the journey.
My third stomach knows. The ancient river in my bones know.
I feel it’s why we’re here now. Doing this. Beingness. Together.
As earth elder Joanna Macy says, “What a gift to be alive right now.”
Having for a few years now invested in practicing the dirt path of Deep Belonging, I have come to realize its twin trajectory is Deep Lost. I grew a course and a life around deep belonging and see it ultimately as an ecospiritual decolonial journey.
But without the recognition of Deep Lost, I fear reinforcing the incarcerations of white modernity. Deep Lost is like the underworld meander towards which the roots of deep belonging tunnel, beyond Salvation Highway where all the recognizable signposts are.
These are times when things must be spilled that have no currency in the economy of convenience. That can’t be mopped up with the tools of the Imperial Janitor. This isn’t about peak bagging, it’s about peat bogging.
We are so utterly found that we are lost. Yet we don’t yet know how to become sufficiently and redemptively lost. This requires probably the most courage of all.
In order to do so, we must dissolve the inherited coordinates of modernity, untether ourselves from toxic progress and solutionary fundamentalism, tear up the all-too-human maps, if we are to find our way—back into the relational universe.
So far, that universe is still sending out invitations. Invitations that we experience as inconvenient. As tragedy. It seems the bigger the invitation, the grander our denial.
Yet Invitations/Initiations will continue to emerge that threaten to thwart our habitual thoroughfares. Threaten our thick theatrics and thin theologies.
Increasingly intense crises and cracks will continue to invite us across thresholds of initiation, to break open the paved highways of our hearts until tributaries may flow in and out. Watershed moments. This is the potential of Deep Lost. And in that there is a promise of Permeability.
The theory is: the less intentional we approach it, the deeper the cracks, the harder the falls. The bolder the word ‘Die’ will be on the invitation.
The MORE intentional we approach it, more possibilities open and co-liberation grows. That doesn’t guarantee it won’t hurt like hell, but it can mean becoming humble co-creators of the Unfurling.
Deep exhale. Guilty on all counts. A verdict isn’t a fix, let alone transformation, but for a moment we can lean into a sacred pause and sit with it all, including the contradictions. Sit, cry, celebrate, laugh, commune, dream. Feel our body and breath.
Today, at least some accountability squeaked in by the skin of our teeth. It took nearly a year and the collective voice and energy of millions of people who care.
It seems we are always performing emotional and spiritual labor because of and for these violent systems we live within that keep delivering body blows and soul slams, especially for our BIPOC family. It’s beyond time to divest from these systems—materially, psychically, emotionally.
Justice? It’s not with reform and more money. It’s not with tinkering on the edges. It demands deep dives into Whiteness and what psychological function it performs, along with a courage to dismantle the fossilized old and the boldness to experiment with new ways.
We continue to hold the vision of a new way of being together, a multi-species, post-capitalist, decolonial earth-honoring society of care. The Village with soul and guts and maturity and play. One where black, indigenous, and people of color don’t live in fear of being harassed, stolen, killed. Knowing the work of composting imperial structures of racial capitalism, policing, prisons, and extractivism is part of why we are alive in this moment.
People are increasingly opening to alternatives, coming to realize the systems we’ve inherited and co-created are fragmented and deficient (to say the least); and for all they’ve provided (for some), they haven’t provided happiness, justice, or meaning.
Which means we can co-liberate and co-create new ways, bequeathing better worlds to future generations of people, both human and non-human.
So let us dream big and keep speaking and living and sharing the vision of the world we want. While also supporting concrete grassroots efforts for structural change like #Landback, #NoLine3 and www.Yes4minneapolis.org or other similar local efforts.
When invited to teach an upcoming Ecotherapy course, I realized that something beyond more knowledge or even skills, as commonly understood, is required. Something in me balked at overly-academicizing it, and felt that all-too-familiar intellect taking over, alienating my body, heart, and soul. So these are some spring wild poppies and prickly cacti that emerged through the soil:
1)Deepen your own soul and intimacy with wild nature. Carve sacred pauses in order to practice deep listening and cultivate wholeness.
3)Hone your skills of belonging. Finding that belonging is not only a place but a skill honed with a fierce heart. It is as much a ‘How’ as a ‘Where’, steeped in relationality and stalked by the sacred.
4)Shape your sacred why and wild purpose. Your truth is a medicine for a world that needs it. Your gifts are both a belonging and a deep responsibility. Trust. Trust what you hear when you practice 1-3. Let what needs to be visible become visible, what needs to become invisible become invisible. The joyful gravity of you enacting you ripples out infinitely.
5)Locate and inhabit your niche in the ecosystem of healing. )Locate and inhabit your niche in the ecosystem of healing. “Where your soul’s gift and your positionality (dynamic social location of power + privilege) meet is your ecological niche for a hungry world.” (This beautiful & dangerous framing is from Pinar Sinopoulus-Lloyd (@queerquechua) of @queernature)
Use your privilege towards co-liberation. Become comfortable with uncomfortability. Relinquish power-over. Examine Extractivism in all its forms. Embark on the pilgrimage of Decolonization.
6)Experiment and dance on your growing edge. Shapeshifting is not only allowed, but a basic operating instructions of the cosmos.
7)Live the cycles. Become an apprentice to moon and sun and with river take your counsel. Hitch a ride with a wild wind and honor the seasons, internal and external.
8)Let your animal body be pulled by the scents, shapes, and tastes of the world. Resurrect pleasure, flow grief, surrender to awe. Embody your values. Align thought-feel-flow-movement. Calibrate your body to your heart.
9)Become defeated by the other-than-human.
10)Let all the lies die.
“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”—Rumi
The deep longing that brought you here doesn’t care about the categories or forms of your culture. It doesn’t f*cking care what people think. The dominant culture is over—time to get ridiculous and follow your calling. What’s ‘reasonable’ is cracked open for re-invention.
Your soul calling doesn’t care about TV ads or the social media algorithms. This incessant soul calling whispering through your bones doesn’t care what you smell like or if gray peppers your beautiful head. It doesn’t care what the reasons offered for war are. It doesn’t care about your retirement plan or how many things you’ve managed to own you. It doesn’t care how much your body mass index is or the 3-month high of the consumer confidence index. It doesn’t care how much you recycle or whether you saw the latest greatest Netflix show. It doesn’t care about the next big thing in home decorating.
Your soul calling only wants to unfurl endlessly, co-creating the universe in the way only it is able to, and meant to, if allowed to breath. If allowed to be embodied through you.
It longs to fulfill a unique niche in the ecosystem of energies. One that brings necessary medicine to the whole show, interrupting the regularly-scheduled broadcast. This wild purpose that you’re aimed at is a way of deep belonging.
So let your ridiculous out!—as in preposterous, humorous, queer, strange, and awesome. And needed.
Be ridiculous and ludicrous and fall in love with it! It’s a key to the doorway into our next paradigm.
So jump in and Let your heart be preposterously big and foolishly overflowing with impossible ideas and absurd dreams, Screaming “I’m outrageously alive!”