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So many activists are stuck in cynicism. Originally they must have been motivated by the things they cared about. But these feelings of what is precious seem to have gotten buried. And in this state they can easily attack a potential ally.

This is how we lost the US election. By ‘WE’ I mean all the people who care about environment, reproductive rights, fairness, justice and equality. Because our values lost, we lost.

This Video is a deep case for how an important campaign was undermined by negativity-based activism. The explanation of how activists sabotaged a mainstream movement that would have provided an opportunity to carry our values out to a larger scale.

If you want more information about values-based activism have a look at: Are You Playing Activism Whac-A-Mole….?

Thank-You

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I am back in Bali – yippeee! – and it feels like I am witnessing the Holy Naga everywhere!!

The Naga is a serpent. An ancient symbol that can be related to our primal spirit. A deeply essential part of our being – and oftentimes our protector.

Some cultures (e.g. Christianity) seem to have a prejudice against Nagas.

Other cultures revere Naga.

In Lao and Thailand the Naga is represented clearly looking out from temple rooves and depicted in sacred artefacts. The Buddha is often seen seated in meditation with a multi-headed Naga arching over him, protecting him from behind.

In India Naga are represented in many places, and feel the East Asian style of curled up corners on rooftops is a nod to the Naga.

Even in Western Europe, the new temples being built to Norse Gods Odin and Thor have dragons emerging from their roof’s edges. And now I feel I am seeing you Divine Naga – countless times, here in Bali.

In Western culture the primal/reptilian/kundalini spirit is sometimes denigrated. People accuse politicians of being reptilian. Eve was seduced by that devious snake. Saint Patrick slaughtered the snakes of Ireland, and that terrible dragon heroically slain by Saint George. Tolkien lazily conforms to this too, but then Game of Thrones is bringing it back into alignment…

I reckon that to be sane and live wholistically we must embrace our inner dragon. Allow ourselves to be carried by our deep-seated primal power. Our restfulness, our basic natural drives, our fierceness, our directness, our surging power.

And the there’s a possibility of reacting against our reaction, an anti-anti-Naga paradigm. People like Osho who have seduced Westerners into reacting against any suppression. ‘I am rebelling against the Christian control of my sexuality.’ This is a disempowering position to hold.

If we first react against the Naga because it is too wild, then we react against our suppression, we are lost in a space of double disconnection. Welcome to 90% of today’s New Age Tantra Industry.

A direct embodiment of Naga, living with this inbuilt driver of our nature and honouring our instincts, is awesome.

Naga is embedded in the base of the brain. Deep awareness. Rub the base of your skull now, the place where spine meets skull. Bring awareness to this holy place – the bridge between mind and body.

 

I sat with a brother in the forest today.

I listened deeply as he shared his situation in life.

I acknowledged his strengths, and invited him to experience a part of himself that I felt was under-represented.

And as he felt more deeply into this side I sensed a shift, it seemed he moved into a place of ease.

The belief that we just need to allow our full self to work as one complete system is so beautiful. We may have learnt to avoid part of our being or blocked some emotions, but when we welcome this part as well, the fullness is enlivening.

And the satisfaction I feel now for supporting this fellow inspires me to host more healing sessions.

Forest Healing

I was supportive of my partner choosing to do Dancing Eros, and I felt uneasy about it. When I was invited to the graduation night I made a commitment to be there. When I learnt what was planned for that night I felt very disturbed.

Dancing Eros is a series of workshops that support women to be more connected with their bodies, more confident in themselves and more expressive of their erotic nature.  It is based on four archetypes that the women explore through dance: Maiden, Wild Woman, Slut and Priestess.

After five weekly workshops each woman invites her partner (or a guest) to be a witness at the final ritual.  The guests/partners would sit in a circle facing outward.  And then the women dancers enter the room and circle around them, so each woman is randomly paired with a man. They start dancing erotically in front of him while he watches intently. After a minute or so they all then rotate one space anti-clockwise, gradually circling around all the witnesses, while expressing themselves sexuality through the four archetypes.

Some people will feel right away how this disrespects relationships – by treating one’s partner as an anonymous nobody, and dancing erotically for a series of strangers.  I believe ritual is a super-powerful language.  And this ritual says: “you are insignificant to me and our devotion is insignificant.” Ouch.

In the week leading up to the ritual I tried very hard to convince the facilitator and the originator of Dancing Eros to evolve the ritual to make it compassionate.  I am the one who has sat with my partner during her difficulties.  And this relationship holds her long after Dancing Eros has ended.

The organisers didn’t like my objections/perspective and after a couple of days they decided to shut me out of the ritual altogether.  I spent the week leading up to the ritual riddled with adrenalin.  I could hardly sleep, and ate very little – both unusual for patterns for me. It was a traumatic time, as I waited for something that was jarring with my soul.

I have experienced situations before where powerful women were unkind to me.  So the treatment I received also resonated with past wounds.  But this time I didn’t just want to submit out of the guilt of being a male.  Men should not abuse women, and women should not abuse men.  Simple.

On the morning of the ritual the facilitator phoned me (I am appreciative of this, thank-you).  She said she wanted it to be a safe space for the women.  She heard the essence of my need to be there and the devotion that was driving me. I agreed to be honouring in the space and I was given a reprieve.  I cried in gratitude.  I had just begged my way back into the picture. A picture that had not changed.  Yet for the sake of our relationship surviving through Dancing Eros I was very glad to be able to witness my partner.

While we waited nervously outside the venue I pressed a finger I’d cut at work onto my notes, swearing in blood to be a ‘Respectful Witness’.  It was a serious undertaking and during the ritual I held firm focus as a witness. I was only distracted twice for a second or two during the 90 minutes.  I saw each woman very deeply.

It happened four months ago, and last Friday night I was crying in the pain of having my beloved being torn away as she gradually moved around the circle. She was also anonymous in the train of erotic dancers.  Entertaining other men. Men who don’t share our depth of devotion.  Dancing erotically in front of each stranger, while I could only silently watch the next woman appearing before me.

As a man in that space I felt castrated.  I was dishonoured. Unable to express devotion for my beloved.  It was painful, it was destructive, and it needn’t be that way.

Things escalated  as it went on.  It had an air of intoxication.  There were beautiful aspects present, especially during Priestess, the final archetype. She was phenonemal.

I was silent during the sharing afterwards – I still felt meek after only just being allowed into the space.  The sharing struck me as superficial.  Once it was over my partner and one of the facilitators heard my truth.  I feel the Feminine is also an internalised energy.  Why did the workshop push the women to be so outward?  What about the embodied guardian of her womb?*

Innocence was trampled that night.  My heart still feels this loss from time to time.  I feel I was abused.  Why is something with so many positives aspects delivered in a way that generates trauma?

The morning after, as I emerged from sleep I was struck by the sharp sense of having a shrunken heart.  My heart, that generally shines like the sun toward my partner, now cowered in my chest,  frightened like an abused animal.  Dancing Eros sunk a wedge between us.

For future events my wish is that Dancing Eros honours relationships.  Honours devotion and love, modesty and innocence.  Even honour the value of shame.  Shame is a voice from the conscience that waits for us to acknowledge what is precious.

In men’s work I have always honoured my partner. I have respected her and held boundaries for her.  Mens work is a lot about being present, loving and loyal as a partner, a father, a comrade and a friend.

Dancing Eros carries a deep value for women.

Please honour wholeness.

Honour the Partners.

5410524399_cfd3721163*At the workshops each archetype is danced as a demonstration for the participants before they have a chance to explore it individually.


Who’s up for a game of Whac-A-Mole?

You get a puffy hammer, and every time you see a bad thing you whack at it… frantically trying to keep up with each bad thing that comes along.

There’s a couple of probs with this approach to activism. There’s a gap… a void where there could be a unifying vision. There’s always this whacking out at every negative thing, but when do we take time to  clearly identif what inspires us? In business they say ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’

Also, keeping to only negative messages does not let people know what deeply motivates us. Personally I love forests because they are majestic works of Nature, and exist as thriving webs of life. This is deeper for me than just being pissed off about logging. And if people only hear me ranting, they won’t have a chance to understand what I feel is precious. It takes an emotional risk to express what we value, and it also contains emotional power to influence change.

Being ongoingly negative and cynical can also create rigid cultural divisions. Stating what we oppose is a for of splitting. Stating what inspires us is a chance for unifying. It’s a powerful approach to focus on what we VALUE.

It doesn’t mean being fake or denying the reality of the threats or to what we care about. But it does promote a better way of doing things in the world. Sharing the values that we feel need to sprout…

When we witness a terrible thing, we feel disturbed in our hearts, and know that something is missing. Our sense of care and decency was offended. It has cut against our values. Our heart is calling for something to be done about the situation. And we have a choice of just attacking the negative factor, or acting as champion FOR the values we want to grow in the world…

An example: there may be a situation where a human being is being treated with a lack of compassion. We are affected by this, and can see that compassion is the value to champion.
“How can we influence there be more compassion?”
“What new patterns would mean more compassion?”
“How can we collectively build compassion?”
“What can I do in my own life to embody more compassion?”

Values are potent, they hit people in the heart. Our tradition of story-telling is woven around values. Values have a powerful impact within our culture and they are contagious.
Values are enduring. They don’t split people into ‘us’ and ‘them’, they create momentum toward a general positive outcome.

Championning values is making proactive choice for this world.

Communicating values is how we fortify change.

Go well warriors!! Let your heart’s passion manifest!!

People often talk about ‘releasing’ difficult emotions…

Using the word ‘release’ as if it were just like dropping something in a bin.

This reminds me of what Julia Butterfly Hill said – we cannot throw something away – because ‘away’ does not exist. Julia Butterfly Hill famously spent two years living up in a giant Californian Redwood. Her presence lead to the long-term protection of these ancient trees. She had plenty of time to contemplate the big picture. Earth is one whole. So there is no such thing as ‘away’!

Our emotional landscape is also one big whole. Our soul is the experience of feeling. But if we choose to reject parts of who we are, we can block our feelings. Experiencing or resisiting.

‘Release’ can be like cracking a dam wall. Releasing the emotion to flow like water. Letting it have it’s natural course. Allowing….

Releasing feelings to swim within…

This sort of release is life-affirming. It may feel unpleasant at first, but inevitably lets us be more alive.

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(thanks FortheVline, great photo!)

How to ‘win’ at Head vs Heart …

My favourite I Ching wisdom is:

To find harmony between Yin and Yang we give Yin as much space as it desires, it will always take the right amount, and when Yang meets Yin at this point perfect harmony is acheived …

This is super-relevant for the whole Head versus Heart thing; when we allow Heart the space to be however it desires, and then Head meets it, we are in harmony.

In practical terms this means pissing off our rational thoughts for a while, granting time and space to allow connection within our watery emotional depths, breathing gently, allowing any feelings, however strong or subtle, to come and go, and only then, to re-engaging mind.

The State of Play …

Chief Oren Lyons gives a very astute report on humanity’s current predicament.

So people ~ are we a parasite on the brink of killing our host ?
or ….
We are heartfelt & humble revolutionaries breathing our powers into planetary survival !!

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