How to Create the World We Desire

All of this complaining about what we don’t want in our presidential candidates is not creating one iota of effort toward what we do want – inclusive policies and spaces for all (people of color, who are LGBTQ, with disabilities, with mental illnesses, living in poverty, veterans, immigrants, etc.). We cannot sit around hoping a President and Congress of any political party are going to create the world we desire. We have to do it in our own neighborhoods and communities and cities. We have to envision and bring to life spaces where every voice is welcome at the table and where neighbors support one another in times of joy and times of hardness. We have to do more than imagine what is possible, we have to start doing the hard work of making it possible so that the people around us who are lost in fear can imagine it, too.
Tearing down other people – whether they support Trump, Hilary, Bernie or Jill – is only furthering the violence that sustains patriarchy, greed, and exclusion in our country. I am choosing a different way. I seek to build individuals up, no matter what they believe, because tearing people down will never change their minds. I seek to focus on the complexity of our humanness rather than make others one dimensional based on one belief they hold or one action they’ve taken. I seek to understand and find ways to include rather than judge, shame, blame, and exclude.
The only way the world will change is if we create the world we desire rather than sit on our asses arguing while waiting for national level politicians to do it. Thousands of self empowerment coaches are not going to change it or it would have already changed. Hundreds of thought leaders are not going to change it or it would have already changed. The only way the world will change is if those of us who envision something else get out into the world and take action to impact policy at local levels and go out to improve the lives of the marginalized in practical ways so that they know they matter now rather than hoping they’ll know they matter later. Talking about supporting marginalized communities online is all good, but many of them don’t have access or interest in the online world. What they know are the people who will look them in the eye when walking downtown and will have a conversation with them if they approach and will volunteer to provide much needed services like meal delivery. Our neighbors will be touched far more deeply by our reaching out to build relationships than if they happen upon our latest blog post that says we care about their story from a distance.
The past three years are actually the longest I’ve gone since my first year of college without volunteering for my local community. I had some deep internal healing to do. But now, no matter what I choose to do for a business, I know that I also need to volunteer on the front lines in my local community so that I can impact lives of marginalized people here and now. I have to go beyond my privileged bubble and get in the trenches. I will also seek ways to experiment with radically inclusive spaces for community members to meet and interact, spaces where someone homeless with a mental illness has as much of a voice as the highest level professional in the room as long as they are respectful. Listening spaces. Spaces for creative interaction. Spaces where the fullness of our humanity can be honored rather than excluded. This is the only way others will be able to see and believe that these kinds of spaces are possible and good for all of us.

What Wild Means to Me

A Wild Art Form has Appeared by Existentialmoose at DeviantArt
                  A Wild Art Form has Appeared                                 by Existentialmoose at DeviantArt

Wild is the girl who used to wander the woods with imaginary friends, finding sanctuary from emotional abuse and addiction among the trees and in the water. The teen mom who escaped to the city every few months to be free with her friends, losing herself to the music at raves and adventuring through altered states of consciousness. The young witch who danced and sang by candlelight in ritual, the smoke of frankincense and myrrh circling her body, ecstatically connected to All That Is. The mountain woman who lived in a “barn” surrounded by redwoods on the side of a mountain and put an ax through her fingernail trying to chop up kindling for the wood stove to keep her daughter warm. The erotic party hostess who artfully created spaces for hundreds of community members to dance and play without the inhibitions of the “real world.”
And now, the magic maker coming back to life after many years of slumber. The daily burning of holy basil and rose as an offering to my ancestors and my creativity. Fingers in the soil of my little container garden; dahlias, begonias, jalepenos and herbs thriving with my care. The soft grey cat who lives on the downstairs porch that we’re going to adopt as soon as we get him to the vet. The community garden that grows at the end of our building, tended by a homeless man for many years. The ducks and geese that wander the fields and dive under the surface of the creek for food. The 50+ breeds of flowers that grow within blocks of my apartment building. And the crazy love and ravenous passion I have for my new husband. Five years together, including a trip to hell and back, and our connection vibrates with more magic than ever.

Wild means being open to what is real about life – the deep, holy, magical connection of everything to everything, the emotions that ebb and flow in this ridiculously beautiful and brutal experience of being human, the expression of all the quirkiness and craziness that makes each of us so fucking spectacular. Being wild is letting loose, letting go, being real in all that is natural to you – talking to the birds, howling at the moon, shaking your hips at the person watching you across the dance floor, growling as your lover brings you to the edge.

Being wild is Being, without all the trappings of insecurity, judgment, and shame.

#wildheartwriters – for the next 30 days I am participating in a writer’s circle and will be posting my responses to the daily questions here on the blog as well

Because My Heart Walks Outside of My Body in a Dangerous World

Because I had to initiate myself as an artist through the blood, then and now.

Because I am a woman who bleeds.

Because I am a mother whose blood became life. Because my blood is their blood and their blood is mine.

Because my heart walks outside of my body in a dangerous world.

Because my blood cannot and will not be ignored. She sings, she screams, she demands a voice yet has no words.

Because transgression is my language and disruption is my purpose.

*Work in progress: something about the heart of a (birth) Mother vulnerable to the world. Clay and menstrual blood.

my heart

Wild and Transgressive

Wild Woman by PlaviDemo at DeviantArt

There is a new fluttering inside of me,
a sparkle, a heat,
a resurfacing of magic and intuition,
a reawakening of eros,
an enlivening of the wild witchy
and transgressive soul
of my love, art, sex, and embodiment.
Something is trasformed inside of me
after being stripped to the bone,
ripped from everything
that kept me small and hurt,
small and hurt,
trauma trauma trauma.
No more.
I am waking up,
for real this time.
No more illusions, delusions,
projections, pretensions,
blaming, shaming,
nor the pretty package
of spiritual bypassing.
I descended to Persephone’s underworld…
and the dark ripped me to shreds this time,
abandoning me with barely a wisp
of a will to live,
let alone love.
I hide in a cave,
sewing myself back together,
woman made of cracks and fissures,
bruises and scars,
held together by clay,
blood, and gold,
each shattering and mending
creating the paradox
of deeper wholeness.
I follow the light
of other dark dwellers
I listen to their songs,
I sit in their circles,
I spill my grief at their feet
as they hold me with their presence.
I remember how to make my own light,
to tend the flame
with candles and incense
(rose petals, holy basil, and myrrh),
the red glow of palo santo,
and the words I write
to guide myself home.
I am coming back to myself
and I am meeting myself for the first time.
Art: Wild Woman by PlaviDemo at DeviantArt

On Being a White Mama to Children of Color

It is not freedom or privilege to live in fear.

It is a confusing and complex experience to be the white mama of two mixed black and white young adult children in our country today. I am trying to figure out where I fit in in this culture war over skin color when I am white *and* I spent 23 years of my life nurturing two children of color with my blood, sweat, and tears. I would never ever say “not all white people,” that is not my stance. I am awake to and actively learning more about the atrocities of institutionalized racism. I will not diminish the realities of being a person of color in this country. I know we need to tear the whole system apart and build a new system where oppressed and marginalized people no longer exist. I know the pendulum needs to swing to voices of color. As I listened to Jesse Williams’ BET awards speech I thought “Hell Yes” with every line. When my daughter posted this morning that Beyonce’s Freedom performance gave her life, I thought “Yes, thank you for the powerful voices and stories of black women silenced for too long.” I am immensely grateful for these disruptive and brave black voices speaking on behalf of my babies and the community they are connected to by blood and history.

I just don’t know the best way to use my own voice as the white mama of children of color, whom I am connected to by blood and history. I desire to be respectful, and I desire the respectful recognition that myself and many other white mamas live in the same fear as mothers of color (there are people on both sides of the war who see our mixed children as an abomination), just as I am the mother of two queer children and fear for their lives for that reason, too (though I am also queer so that’s a whole other situation). I haven’t been able to write about it yet because Orlando frightened me so deeply, in a way I have not experienced before. I am scared for my brown skinned queer babies. My whiteness will not protect them. And I cannot, nor would I try to hide the target that queerness puts on their back. I taught them to wear their identities with pride.

I don’t believe respectful silence is the way because there are many mamas out there like me – black, white, and every other color – probably also wondering where we fit when we have already embraced the “other” by bringing them into our own body and giving them life. There really is no deeper embrace than that. Nor any more apparent fact against the concept of otherness. The fact that anyone still believes there is an “other” in 2016 boggles my mind. Whether you’re into science or religion (the core teachings, not the modern interpretations), both say we are the same more than we are different. There is no other. And yet our culture operates under the assumption of an other – that woman is other than man, black is other than white, queer is other than straight – and may kill my children based on this false assumption.

So I start using my voice here and now, perhaps imperfectly, by saying I am a both white woman and an angry, scared mama who is on the battlefield fighting for racial justice. I am a fierce ally for people of color, fighting on the side all of the mamas of children of color who know our culture has to do better by our babies. It is not freedom or privilege to live in fear, not for our children, and not for our mama hearts that all bleed red when they are shattered with the loss of a child.