Personally, I’ve realized the profound need for me to slow down and tend deeply to my own body, heart and mind after having given so much outwardly towards this last birth. As much as I’ve felt a pull to “do more” for the world at this time, I have had to see that perhaps the most radical act of service would be for me to let myself R E C I E V E. It’s been a long process of closing up all the Rites of Passage...and now as I prepare to go inward and away from the world, I have to trust that the few missing pieces will land as I begin to land back within myself. I also need to trust that “the world” will continue to do its thing as it always has – and as much pain and forgetting as that involves – it’s not up to me to save or awaken anyone but myself.
These are indeed dim times. I say dim and not dark. Dim in the sense that the light of truth is dim. Because for me the dark is fecund, rich, alive - like fertile soil and melanated skin – not something to be feared as colonization taught us. And so these are also dark times – if we let them be. Many of us are waking up in this darkness.
As many of our great ones have passed away in the past few months - Malidoma Somé, bell hooks, & Thich Nhat Hanh (each major influences on my own life and work), and also the beautiful Tibetan master with whom I took refuge – Khenchen Trinley Paljor Rinpoche - it is not a question of when change will happen, but of how we choose to show up in this Turning of the Ages. The end of 4,000 years of patriarchy/ dominator culture takes time, just as it takes time for our own bodies, hearts & minds to heal and re-member themselves. And it often gets worse before it can get better.
In some ways, I have felt I've been in hiding these past years – protecting the baby that was Rites of Passage, and also my own heart. I know I am not alone in this as I’ve watched fellow visionaries & warriors also living with caution in an era of witch burning led most devoutly by those who declare that such things must never happen again. And yet they are. To speak is an act of defiance, and yet to stay quiet is a kind of self-betrayal that makes the soul small & weak.
I have watched with great sadness over the past 2 years as our innate human drive to care for each other has been co-opted by those with power to separate and control us under the guise of our safety. Meanwhile our collective anxiety has been manipulated toward agendas immune to democratic scrutiny, and critical discourse pushed out of the public sphere all together. At the same time I have experienced waves of powerless & heartbreak and also waves of fortitude & determination as I’ve been uncovering deeper layers of the neo-colonial extraction that’s happening in our world - from the nature around us to the nature inside of us.
Underpinning my work and worldview for 2 decades now, has been storytelling as the primary means of shaping our personal & collective future. Who's story do we choose to tell? The dominator's? Or our own? And how do we know the difference? In my view, there are really only two paths. One is an indigenous or ancestral path. The other is the dominator's. It can be very hard to discern between the two because we've all been deeply colonized, and carry the weight of grief, fear and trauma. The process of decolonization is arduous and long, and requires tremendous discernment, devotion and tenderness. But once we see the truth, we can't go back. And once we are willing to feel it all, we can't keep choosing fear.
In the power-over paradigm, nature and human life are seen not for their intrinsic value and inter-being, but as extractable commodities and markets. And the "truth" matters not so much as what's most convenient to those wielding power. The biggest resource to be mined for profit is no longer just inside Mother Earth, but within our own minds... In this context, I'm increasingly wary of any dogma or establishment that demands our trust without having earned it. Narratives which claim to advocate for our well being are indeed penned by the very same powers who have always made us - women & BIPOC (and all living beings) - unwell since the disease of colonialism first spread through the planet. Where I choose to put my faith instead is in a re-membered & whole way of being with ourselves, each other and this home of ours - Gaia; one simultaneously new & ancient.
In contrast to a world ruled by a technocratic 1% with their Icarian promises of never-ending progress, in Rites of Passage: 20/20 Vision, we offered beautiful, precious and life-giving embodied visions of what's possible for us as women and human beings when we hold the value of soil, water, seeds, flower & fruit above what's man-made - in the way our wise ancestors did - when we value connection over separation, love over fear - our sovereign True Nature. I will continue to stand for and live into those visions, and continue to challenge the dominant narrative with the aliveness of this much older and more fertile story. Now more than ever, I encourage us to cultivate deeper knowing, and stay open, heart-centered, compassionate, curious and critical. Stay connected to what's real.
I will be taking a sabbatical year to dream into how best I can be of service during this Great Turning, and prepare for a fresh gestational cycle. As ever, my personal mission continues to be to preserve a whole transmission from my ancestors for the future generations. To do this I must embody it more fully in order to be able to serve others - especially women and BIPOC - who are ready & willing to release the colonial paradigm of fear and control over our bodies & minds, and step fully into a re-membered way of being. This will take time, more than 10 intensely-packed days of transformation. It will take our lifetimes.