“I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks”.

Every once and a while, there’s a perfect moment to dig down deep and expose a splinter. My language uses medical metaphors, because I am a MAD doctor…

And a “little bit crazy” due to my ongoing dance with a schizophrenogenic culture (go look it up).

splinter... fireworks... you all get the image?

splinter… fireworks… you all get the image?

 

 

The founder of Burning Man  is the man quoted on that title line of this piece.

A new level of "Don't know Nuthin' 'bout No Black people"

A new level of “Don’t know Nuthin’ ’bout No Black people”

This is what wikopedia has to say, about Burning man:

Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by 10 main principles: “radical” inclusion, self-reliance, and self-expression, as well as community cooperation, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy, and leaving no trace.”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Man

I have been, once. my brother goes every year. We are both Black. Burning man

The Guardian article (from which I took the quote from Harvey) goes on this way:

“According to the most recent Black Rock city census, compiled yearly by a team of academic demographers and anthropologists to determine the makeup of the festival:

87% of burners identified as white; 6% identified as Hispanic, 6% as Asian, and 2% as Native Americans (figures rounded)

– on the latter of whose ancestral lands the event occurs. The smallest demographic of burners – 1.3% – identified as black.

 

Why might so few Black folks make it out to Black Rock? Well, Mr. Harvey, let me speak for myself.

I love camping. But Burning Man isn’t about “camping”.

I attended my one and only Burning Man when it was about 10,000 people in a desert environment. I followed all the directions on how to attend and have a good time. I portaged in enough water. I had a great tent, and good camping support, in the partner I had traveled with. I brought no money; I was excited about the idea of barter, and brought an “alternative to cash option’ that was perfect for the desert.

Tootsie rolls.tootsie_roll_small

They didn’t melt, but they were chocolate. And, I figured ahead of time that I had a good idea, because already traveled in communities of Wyld and Edgy Bohemian-Sourcing Alternative Minded Cultural Edge-walkers, and chocolate is always a treasure!

My partner got dehydrated and overheated within the first few hours of our arrival. Being the very selfish human that I was back then, i chose to wander the festival alone, rather than nurse him in our tent and lose out on the first night of our (only registered for the weekend) 3 days of fun. never had I seen such free and varied expression of ART. “Capital “A” kind, and small “a” kind. I have always had a great interest in cultural anthropology, and this was a fascinating community.

But, Who were The Burners?

1. Essentially, they were young. They were wanderers into a desert environment, and were playing at the edges of something…spiritual? art? “More Would Be Revealed…”

2. They loved fire, and were using the element as a huge metaphor for personal empowerment, and transformation.

3. Their form of “free expression” (back in the 10,000 people attending days) included a HUGE amount of cussing/cursing/”fuck you!” speak. On the local radio stations. In face to face communication.

4. Their form of free expression in their bodies was all about BDSM piercings/cuttings/ and pain.

5. And, they were overwhelmingly WHITE. And from privilege. I’ll define privilege with a world perspective, meaning, “had a roof over their heads/went home to a refrigerator to put their food in/and a closet for their clothes”**

I SAW them.

But, I don’t believe that THEY saw me back then. I have always been a Black person hanging out with a lot of crazy (like me) white folks. No biggie. Just means that I have learned to pay attention and to notice things.

Like the fact that– before the “Big Burn” there were white guys driving around drinking cans of beers and getting pretty reckless in their cars. And that– as The Big Ritual– got closer– an entire community of religious/ spiritual people were holding SPACE for the ceremony. Really. kind of clumped up together, hari krishnas, and rabbis and monks.

The Big Burn Was very peaceful that year.

THAT year. Unlike this year

May he rest in self-immolated peace

May he rest in self-immolated peace

But when I wandered The Playa– expanded into an open heart by MY particular magic medicines (NOT alcohol), I moved as far away from the center of action as possible, when the band playing around the collapsed fire after The Big Burn broke into “Dixie”:

Something that makes a Black woman like me– who LOVES camping– go “Hmmmm…

For Your Information (since we are all about the “teaching moments, right?), here’s what a neutral source (wikopedia) has to say about “Dixie”

“The song presented the point of view, common to minstrelsy at the time, that slavery was overall a positive institution…”Dixie” made the case, more strongly than any previous minstrel tune had, that slaves belonged in bondage. This was accomplished through the song’s protagonist, who, in comic black dialect, implies that despite his freedom, he is homesick for the plantation of his birth” (bolding mine)

Don’t know what “minstrelsy” is? Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit

Look. It. Up.

So my one and only experience of Burning Man was wonder-filled. And “artsy”. And full of free expression.

And, also a place where I needed to maintain vigilance regarding my welcome. Vigilance, as a Black woman in the space.

Vigilance, regarding who was around me and what they might do next (that year, one of the workshop was on “How to Make a Molotov Cocktail).

So, Larry, just for the record… I didn’t ever come back, primarily because your fucking festival got bigger and bigger, and more and more expensive, and more and more elitist (based on those 10 principles you SAID you believe in) AND has an “element of unexamined ‘freedom of expression’ ” that could tip– at any moment– into white mob/lynching/blood lust/dangerous to women and any minorities behavior, especially on Sunday after the Ceremony.

Burning Man– as a vision of “Utopian Society” at it’s essence– hasn’t got a CLUE how to actually build that vision across any lines…

And Burning Man is just an extreme example of a phenomenon that leaves me getting a little more crazy with each passing day of Life in AmeriKKKa.

Just like the Occupy Movement. Which seems to have ended with a whimper, just as it got the “aha” about this class/race thing.

And, my Rainbow Tribe. That found it’s way to LGBT tolerance/celebration ahead of establishing the BBC Camp (originated at the Green Mountain Vermont National– anyone know how it went in Oregon, this year?)

And,  like my pagan communities. Who seem to be getting the hang of it, finally.

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

And, like my ecstatic dance communities, who sit in the present moment at an apocalyptic opportunity. Where veils can be lifted from eyes that have chosen not to peer into the Dark Too Much.

All are counter-culture communities  originally “fueled” (translate funded) by wealthy whites of privilege. Mainly male. When women ARE involved, we are often putting in the labor, because we DON’T have the money, honey.

So Larry, some Blacks don’t like camping, I am sure. Your over $300,00/year attendees don’t like camping– they bring all the amenities of The Urban Silicon Valley Life with them. But they aren’t risking a Bad Scene due to “free expression” clashing with racial awareness; FUCK TOLERANCE– we are just talking common sense, and self awareness.

Speaking my truth to power, as someone who will never again go to Burning Man. And, on behalf of a brother I want to be safe AND WELCOMED at future events.

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

 

** that simple question, asked in the Awaken the Dreamer social consciousness raising program, makes the AmeriKKKan who answers aware that they are beating out 87% of the world’s population, with that answer.

Posted in Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Race Relations Commitment, Thirteeth Fairy Stories | 2 Comments

Taking it to The Next Level?

I call you all “Opeyemi’s Avengers” because they say that the best revenge is to live well…I am cultivating a community of 120 “units” that I can safely midwife through current and future crises as the global heart awakens, and We All Fall Down (Through?)

6 min intro, below.

http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z9ewb-7175f1
6 signed on,  of 120. That’s 5%…

And, sometimes I wonder if this whole idea is just sort of an fathomable..

But another way of looking at all of this is to review my various supports, already present:

–420 “likes” at my Facebook “Temple of the Healthy Spirit” page:

https://www.facebook.com/Temple-of-the-Healthy-Spirit-254916400027/
–44 subscribers to my “The Doctor Speaks” you tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8VPUZFLSArsXTfzLG52XAg
And, 40 donors to my “Go Fund Me” campaigns, since the Trumpocalypse.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones
I also travel in communities of kindred souls: Dance New England, Earthspirit, Quakers, U-U’s, the  Haydenville Congregational Church all back East, with bridges West through the Alternative Library, Echoes, Southfork Valley, and the KAVZ radio station in Whatcom County.

I hope I am gaining more clarity on how to communicate what I hope I am offering my communities:

Reciprocal beneficiary support.

 Exposure to each other’s lights and shadows, with greater authenticity.

Awakenings, with grace.

A growing tool box of Wellness practices.

I welcome feedback on how I can manage putting all of these  into one box other than my patreon site. I’m using it now (and my  PayPal account) to allow me to keep track of people easily; to be able to press one button for group messages that go to “my entire crew”

So here are the websites for donations and signing up (can be done with a contribution as little as $1) below:

www.patreoncom/DoctorO
www.ceremonyheals.com/services

Opeyemi’s Avengers arise!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As Houston Drowns

houston 2
Going Rogue…
But not at all certain that I actually got SOUND with this video…
Fear not; the action is enough…
And the poem under the description comes from my SpiritFire tribe on the East Coast: http://spiritfirefestival.org/
“to ALIGN my design
With the rhythm divine…
I dive into the Cosmic Serpent Mind
Where I rise from its depths,
From my roots,
Spread my wings,
And I open up my HEART…
And this FIREBIRD sings…”

REMEMBER TO BREATHE.

Things are getting pretty FREAKY out there. Second major U.S. city drowning… houston 2
Remember the good news: New York made it. Twice, now. 9/11 and Sandy.
Did that have ANYTHING to do with it being a predominately WHITE city still (unlike New Orleans and Houston)? I hope not.
I will remember that the “Occupy” movement had just had a Great Adventure with Organizing; and what they learned, they used: http://theweek.com/articles/470714/occupy-sandy-how-hurricane-sandy-resurrected-occupy-movement
What are the prayers for Houston, now?
Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs | Leave a comment

About CHARLOTTESVILLE and Sororities

My daughter of the heart just posted the comment below from on Uju Anya on Facebook this a.m:

“Dear white people: COME GET YOUR COUSINS (emphasis mine). Seriously. Speak up and take a stand. This is not the time to claim individual responsibility, #notallwhitepeople, colorblindness, or whatever other lie that keeps you from feeling involved in this mess. Nazis, Klansmen, and other white supremacists are marching on a college campus and through the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. They’re not wearing hoods. They’re assaulting the few counter protesters that get close. Police is not stopping them. Armed militia are surrounding and protecting them. These white supremacists want to be seen and known, because their allies and sympathizers now hold the US presidency and major party leadership. If you are not actively and explicitly speaking, arguing, snatching wigs, and challenging your relatives, friends, social media followers on the topic of racism, inequality, white supremacy, hatred, and xenophobia, you are contributing to a culture that literally KILLS people. Stop hiding behind “respecting political differences and freedom of speech.” This is not just politics. You benefit every day from this shitty system. Now cash in some of that bonus and do some house cleaning.”12dyson-articleLarge

This issue of speaking up or staying silent hit me up close and personally three months ago in ways that are still reverberating through my life. I succumbed to terrorism, identifying eight facts about my life that make me a target for murder and mayhem here in AmeriKKKa under Trump.

My worldview with respect to race and white fragility, in a post Trump AmeriKKKa, led me to fish or cut bait…And, I let go  of membership in a women’s circle that had fed and nourished me for over 20 years. I divorced that most enduring support group this spring, just as I left to emigrate to Canada.

I was not the first woman to leave this group, over its  20-year history, nor was my leaving the most dramatic. But it was extremely painful. And, as I make meaning of it now, it had everything to do with my worldview clashing up against that of my sisters.

All of whom are white.

All of the language I use from this point on has to do with sororities. That is deliberate.

that would be ME, the BROWN one...

that would be ME, the BROWN one…

Urban dictionary definitions of “sorority” numbers 1 through 3:

1. “A group of girls who have come together because they look similar, and are now kind of friends.”

2. “A group of girls who pay to have friends.”

3. “A group of women who band together under a greek letter title. Often based in traditions, many sororities have rich histories. The girls call themselves sisters, and tend to have close friendships. Upon entering the sorority, each new member is assigned a “big sister” who will be her mentor and friend, ideally forever. As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty, partiers, nerds, prudes, or just average hard-workers.

By definition number one, I “never fit in”, with my women’s circle. I have always been the only black member of this group despite the ebb and flow of several other women joining and leaving. Since the Trumpocalypse of last Fall, I had come to realize that I could not tolerate the white women sharing from their hearts about the challenges of being in families where they were hearing racist comments from relatives. Just hearing their shares (understanding they did nothing and had no strategies for doing anything) left me traumatized. Yet for most of the winter, I had no words for my discomfort.

By definition number two, I was paying to have friends. Paying emotionally, that is. Biting my tongue and attempting to swallow indigestible pieces of the other women’s lives that gave me severe heartburn.

By definition number 3, I allowed myself to participate in a culture of emotional bullying.

GF 2

I shared here on my blog (in a fairly anonymous way) my response to words said in that sorority circle that challenged me deeply. The response to my use of those words was a furor of accusations of deep betrayal that shocked me at the time. But not any more. Under definition number three of a sorority, I had simply not understood the rules of the game:

“As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty…”

shhh... don't tell anyone.

shhh… don’t tell anyone.

For three months, I have wondered whether I was cutting off a vital source of solace and connection for a petty reason.

With this weekend ‘s events in Charlottesville, I know deep in my heart that I Did The Right Thing. The Right Thing for me, a black woman with many white friends, and biracial children, in a country  where the fires of white supremacy are threatening to burn us out.

I am a bohemian, bisexual,  pagan,  polyamorous, integrationist abortionst (those labels plus my black womanhood add up to my eight lethal identities).

Total Truth. With that much “oddness”, I am never going to fit into any formal group terribly well. At age 60 I am finding some peace in truly “grokking” that  fact.

I intend to continue to find resilience and meaning at the margins. And I embrace the ongoing work of decolonizing my mind. Alone. In small groups. And wherever humanly possible.

 


 

Posted in Thirteeth Fairy Stories | Leave a comment

About BREASTFEEDING

Black mom in Africa nursing

It’s World Breastfeeing Week, August 1 through 7.

http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

As I said on my facebook page, you may want to start here, with this 6 minutes from NPR:

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/06/26/534021439/secrets-of-breast-feeding-from-global-moms-in-the-know

This issue– when I first heard about it, made me so sad that I created a spontaneous 3 minute video that was very emotional:

The video below has more balance, and shares a very personal story:

The NPR reporter ends her story with these words:

“I also got help from a lactation consultant, and made it through”

What leaves me sad and confused, is this– how in HELL did we get to the place where the “lactation consultants” (yes, I am using sneer quotes, due to the business end of this phenomenon) are prescribing equipment, pads, and accessories enough to fuel an entire AISLE at the local Target or K-Mart? That’s right, an entire AISLE next to the one for babies who get formula/bottle fed.hqdefault

New families, please BE AWARE that not all lactation specialists are the same. And even those covered by your medical insurance may be suspect for ulterior motives.

Tried and True…

Still coming at you…

Is this community: http://www.lllusa.org/

La Leche League:

Don't be fooled!

Don’t be fooled!

La Leche League International (LLLI) (La Leche is Spanish for “the milk”) is an international nonprofit advocacy group that distributes information on and promotes breastfeeding. It was founded in 1956 in Franklin Park, Illinois as “La Leche League” and has a presence in more than 85 countries.”

(from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Leche_League)

When YOU need help, go for the GOLD!


Over-100-women-started-breastfeeding-in-public-at-a-Romanian-Museum

 

Posted in feral M.D. blogs | Leave a comment

Consolidating Power, Pride, Privilege and Purpose

My image– of who I have been since late April and how I am living is straight out of the film, Gravity:

I have been spinning and spinning since I left New England this past spring and breathing into the full catastrophe of an unexpected series of unfortunate (and “DEEPLY-fortunate-but-how-did-I-know-THEN!”) life events. My life is “gelling”  here in the Pacific Northwest. Things are not only unfolding EXACTLY the way that they should, but I am moving forwards with optimism, enthusiasm, and direction.

I have had most amazing and heart felt community support from many places. Thank you all.

This essay/blog will go out to as many of those places as I can remember. I am moving into Fall consolidating my efforts, and quantifying my skill set.

For my patreon.com/doctor0 supporters (www.patreon.com/DoctorO), my “Go Fund Me” Campaign donors (https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones), and the other folks who have floated me financially and supported me emotionally through the summer, THANK YOU!!!

With your support, I now:

  1. regularly record and air a WEEKLY 15 minute radio show and podcast, designed for listening in one setting or as three, 5 minute episodes

https://opeyemi57.podbean.com/e/jul-5-2017-kavz-wrap-show/2.

2. Fabulously  flaunt the Madwoman persona that I so feared 15 years ago:  by dancing in front of a samba band in the procession for all species this May/mariposa

supporting the naked bike riders by blowing bubbles for the kids/

naked bike riders

blowing bubbles and spouting my (genuine) love for Jesus,

freedom-art-son-of-god

freedom-art-son-of-god

 

 

in front of the nasty guy with the bullhorn calling me a fornicator, at the Bellingham Gay Pride March/joining the Echoes Congregation in their LGBT pride focused worship service:

song of solomon quote

(and having the honor of reading that  “Song of Solomon” psalm–“you’d sound great, reading the phone book” a 30-something man gushed afterwards) /dancing, as the singer at the Mount Vernon Unity Church sang of community connection, when Spirit moved me…/committing to my MEMOIRS for real …

Public Service Announcement:

I just saw “Girl Trip”** and something about the message of the movie that rose above the stereotypes has to do with that yearning for deep sensual/ sexy/ spiritual connection with other good women. And that white ameriKKKa sees something in “us” that is always too loud, too brash, too forward. Yet deeply craves it as well. 

**The trailer is HORRIBLE. Just see the movie. And Black women get to play Black women, NOT TYLER PERRY.

Writing memoirs, I  attend a weekly group and get feedback from 3 white elders in their late 70’s through early 90’s. If THEY “grokk” what I write, then I am meeting my goal of becoming ACCESSIBLE, as I remain mystical.

Because now I know what I am. I am a Seer: a person who is supposed to be able, through supernatural insight, to see what the future holds…an expert who provides forecasts of the economic or political future…”our seers have grown gloomier about prospects for growth”…archaic a person who sees something specified….”a seer of the future”

 Zhinni (Black Lilith) - 2nd House

I can look back over my life and SEE that I have always been 5 to 15 years “out of synch” with whatever the ideas are of the larger community: socialized medicine. Home births and abortions. Alternative medicine complimenting the conventional. Inter-racial loving. Community living. Ecstatic enjoyment of life! Not so much seeing the future as seeing with CLARITY. And being good at seeing unusual situations and seeing from impossible angles.

I hope at 60 I can relax into that 15 year gap. It has been a life torture. I can now see it’s just me– choleric as ever and impatient dancing into a world that likes to take it’s transformations slowly.  Culture-change

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Phoenix Rising, Temple of the Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing My Memoir, Everyone!

I am settling for the summer at this farm:
http://www.ic.org/directory/river-farm/

the one day old calf takes TWO of these, twice a day...

the one day old calf takes TWO of these, twice a day…

Time to write, again.

I am coming out as a psychically sensitive woman from an oppressed minority in AmeriKKKa, who developed many amazing strategies and coping mechanisms to survive in a culture of crazy making conradictions and trauma. Those strategies served my African American slave descent smart girl, sexy, privileged self quite nicely.
smart girls
Until twelve years ago, when they did not.

I wrote about that experience, as an essay titled, “Waking From Despair” featured in the complication “Hope Beneath Our Feet”:
https://www.northatlanticbooks.com/shop/hope-beneath-our-feet/

As I said, time to write, again.

noon at farmNow 60, I coming out of my second serious “spiritual emerge and SEE/initiatory process” I intend to share  the truths that I have seen, and the ways that I was silenced/ mimimized/ shamed and blamed for seeing them.

The tools I have developed– strategies that served quite well to get me through long days in the belly of the conventional medical beast–generalize to many or us and to our experiences.

The money will allow me to PROCEED with my writing, while simply doing my part at the farm. I won’t have to aggressively look for ways to pay the basics for July and August: car payment/ car insurance/ car repairs for July = $865.00

And, you patrons and donors will get “preach and teach it” video and voice recording updates, so I can shape the stories with feedback, as I go!

we can do itHo Ho Ho and Tally Ho!

FROM CHAPTER ONE: Who am I?

(Oh yes one thing. My spelling of “AmeriKKKa” has everything to do with the title of my memoir. At 60, a deepening understanding of where my country has been, where it is, and where it may be going underscores it all)…

“I describe myself, in 6 words or less, as “a black bohemian refugee from ‘Negroland’ “.  I was born into a time and place where the politically correct names for my people have shifted: from “colored” to “negro” to “Black” to “African-American”. I choose to add the description “slave descent”, to distinguish my story from that of 1st 2nd and now 3rd generation immigrants to AmeriKKKa from sub-Saharan Africa in this century.

My now 91 year old aunt traced my mother’s family line back to an ancestor named Savannah Curry in Union Point, Georgia. I can recite with pride my place in that lineage: I am Opeyemi mother of A*** and grandmother to M***, myself the daughter of Alfredine, who was the daughter of Emmie, who was the daughter of Julie, who was the daughter of Savannah Curry born into slavery.

Seven known generations in AmeriKKKa. Probably more. Too painful to go back, right now.  census-of-1860My aunt traced my mother’s family line back through to the 1860 Georgia census, but she stopped, there. Enslaved Africans were not listed by name; the list was simply a list of plantation owners’ property. First, the rugs. Then, the furniture. Then, the enslaved Africans.

On that list, my ancestor was identifiable, only because of the family’s story that goes with her. That Savannah was the mixed-race child of the plantation owner. That a good black man had married her enslaved mother, and gone on to have several black children with her. My aunt identified Savannah in that census report as the first child on that list. The one listed as “mulatto” under “a negress” with “three pickaninnies” listed by age on the lines below.

All honor to my ancestors; these people who were not slaves, but whose condition was slavery.

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered...

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered…

None of my family has yet had the courage to attempt the genealogy on the white side of that family tree.
Too painful.

When my brother had his DNA sampled, he was troubled by the inconsistency that result placed into The Story We Told Ourselves about my father’s side of the family. 73% sub-Saharan African was expected. But 27% European descent? Grandma Pearl said there was a Cherokee woman in the family genealogy on my father’s side. Was that a lie? Did she prefer telling a story of Cherokee blood to the painful realities of “mixing white” and the implications and questions that issue raises regarding power and sexual consent?

Or, did the DNA lab just not have enough data to accurately identify the genes of First Nations folk, since AmeriKKKa has almost exterminated those lines?

Too, too painful to know. “

Well, I am settling in nicely in Whatcom County, here in the Pacific Northwest. Since where I intended to land in Canada is currently ON FIRE, this doesn’t seem like such a bad option. Gotta get serious, about staying balanced. WRITING works, for me.
Any support sent my way, is much appreciated!

https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones

wildfires-of-note

Posted in Temple of the Healthy Spirit, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Reporting out, on WELLNESS

Last blog was angry and tense. I warned folks, ahead of the read…

This time, I am feeling very optimistic about my life and my world. I always promise to fulfill my intention to GO THROUGH my emotions, to the other side.

I am not a Buddhist. Mindfulness is wondrous, and I need to rant/scream/shake rattles/ make voodoo dolls and stick pins in them, WHATEVER.

ART from Afiay stay 1

Because I am claiming my identity as an African-AmeriKKKan, slave descent woman who is NOT supposed to be alive. Meaning, on reviewing my life, I understand that:

  1. I was never supposed to have succeeded as well as I have
  2. I was supposed to have “assimilated” more thoroughly, in order to succeed
  3. I have been infected with a level of internalized oppression designed to destroy me.

stay loudAnd yet I rise. And soon, I THRIVE.

Spirit and Synchronicity have gifted me with two months of over the top adventures. Those experiences leave me with new knowledge and understanding of who I am. And, of who I AM NOT.

First, I thank the Mary Ellen Copeland Center for giving me the opportunity to attend “Wrap Around the World” on a scholarship. I breathed through biting my nails two days before I was due to begin driving the 14 hours to the three day international conference when I only had $4 “accessible”. $4 doesn’t fill my tank, and even if I slept in my car, I couldn’t do it on that tight a budget. So when I had no money for gas, I decided that I simply would have to cancel the trip, if my assets didn’t “liquify” on time. We can skip details of the reasons I didn’t have access to more money (and I thank those of you who continue to help me tread water out here, through donations to www.ceremonyheals.com/services), but the essence is this;  AmeriKKKa is so class-driven that we constantly shame, blame, and SEGREGATE people who don’t have steady incomes, stable and documentable addresses, credit cards/”good” credit histories.

Access to my money came through one day before I began to drive. Hallelujah!

WRAP around The World taught me several things. First, I didn’t know that California has been the crucible for the Mad Pride movement over the last 40 years. Thank God (Goddess? God-US?) for those white kids who dropped out from their wealthy families, took too much or the wrong LSD, and ended up on psych wards! Because they had the privilege to get released. And the compassion (through their lived experience) to care about the Ones Left Behind.   WRAP types

When I looked around me, marveling at the amount of MONEY that was clearly being used for preventative mental health in California, I learned that this was due to “The Robin Hood Tax”. California has been taxing it’s millionaires at a rate similar to the REST of us for over 10 years. Much of that money has been channeled into preventive mental health. And it shows.

WRAP supplies

Third, WRAP Around the World got me excited, because of the DIVERSITY of faces and places represented in that room of several hundred folks. Black Christians. Brown Muslims. White social workers. European visitors. Go-Getters from Hong Kong.

WOW.

Inspired and encouraged, I drove that 14 hours again, three days later, and came back “home” to the Bellingham, Washington area to attend another mental health community event: Hope and Resiliency in a Complex World”

flyer for Hope and Resilience conference

flyer for Hope and Resilience conference

At one of the local high schools, parents, teens, young adults, and “other Carers” shared from the heart strategies on what works, how to live together with more authenticity, and how to get/ Stay well.

Wellness Recovery Action Planning, IN ACTION!

Look to this site, and to my “Temple of the Healthy Spirit” facebook page, for a more in-depth discussion on the practical tools from these two events.

For now, I am happily fatigued, and will do good self care by resting.

Be Well, everyone.

the cartoon

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness | 2 Comments

Anger Management Strategies?

It has been just over one month since my life blew apart, and decided to re-integrate into Something I Never Imagined.

I am almost ready to call the horrible psychic rapists ( I do NOT exaggerate, here– thank GOD for good therapists!) I encountered at the Canadian boarder “hit man angels”.

Almost. Not quite.

Because, as Trump attempts to take the Paris Accord down, and AmeriKKKans begin to fight back, I landed in a state with good government:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/climate/american-cities-climate-standards.html?_r=0

I can feel less ashamed of my “fellow citizens” from here, then from Massachusetts or Vermont, where I used to live.

Since the timing of my personal catastrophe coincided with the end of a 6 month on line program with Dr. Stanislav Grof, I have been grateful to have progressive Spiritual community who is reverberating with these awful times on the same “wave length” as me. And I hope we will all continue to grow from our trauma dramas.

Now, about ANGER MANAGEMENT.

I am a very VERY angry woman. At 60, I am (finally?) understanding how much of that anger has been healthy coping strategies for the amount of CRAP I face, every day of my life as a Black woman on this planet, at this time. And, I am also understanding (finally!) how much of that anger has been something that I turn inward, spew at loved ones, and fire in any direction but the right one.

Yet, anger can be power.

I watch white women flinch, at mildy raised voices. Cry, as their “default” coping strategy. They beat traffic tickets. They manipulate groups. What an example of white privilege that continues to go unexamined. And oh yes…  when BLEEDING each month, how many can do nothing except lie in their beds anemic and untouchable?

The above is an example of an uncensored RANT. Even writing such words gets me labelled “cruel”. And sometimes cruelty is about using any tools available, to try to get an empathic response. Anywhere.

I listen to the Canadian Broadcast Network these days. Top of their news in British Columbia is a (white of course) nurse who murdered 8 seniors in her care, “because she was angry.”:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/01/531061749/in-canada-ex-nurse-pleads-guilty-to-murdering-8-nursing-home-patients

And then there’s another (white) woman that I know who got a year of mandated counseling, when she tried to run over a bunch of belligerent teens with her car.

So white girls, GO FOR YOUR ANGRY POWER! No one is gonna KILL you for it. As happens to Black folks.

To this day (meaning as recently as LAST WEEK), white people feel entitled to comment on my reactions, even on how I look at them. It is no wonder I default to the emotion that has the best armoring potential for me. Even knowing that is what a sick and twisted AmeirKKKa wants me to do, to maximize possible state approved punishments, it is still what is most comfortable. I intend to continue to move forward, outside of my comfort zone.

Tears never got me anywhere, except humiliated. I am working on that, too. Because I deserve the power of all my emotions, even my tears.

And I have said here before, I refuse to stay in the box of “strong and ANGRY Black woman”.

So I share here today a story that I wrote a few years ago. It is how I cope with my own rational brain, the part of me that sees NO WAY THROUGH with white supremacist assholes now actively collapsing the country I was born into. It is where I take my anger, and weave it into creative imagination, and MAGIC…

May it be so!

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Becoming a BABY ELDER

sad-black-womanThere is nothing quite like thinking you have nothing left to live for, to re-set priorities.

I have spoken quite bit about the trauma and drama of April into May of 2017. I find myself unexpectedly looking a life that feels as foreign and strange as if I have been teleported to MARS.

My pithy but powerful motto–designed to both inspire BLESSED UNREST and to help hold perspective–has been this:

“If you have a roof over your head/a closet to put your clothes in/ and a refrigerator,  you are better off than 87% of the world’s population.

That’s a statistic from the Awakening the dreamer Symposium:

Years ago, Bill and Lynn Twist designed this powerful program, holding an expectation that Americans would awake to the hypocrisies we live with, with respect to our ecological/ environmental/ spiritually ignorant/ and social justice issues for this world.

But WE DIDN’T. And instead we elected an absolute ASSHOLE Hell bent on accelerating our downfall.

Okay. Whatever. Spirit let me experience a “fall” down to having NONE of those 13% of privileges that most AmeriKKKans enjoy. No fridge. No roof. No closet.

BUT I STILL HAD MY CAR, which probably kept me from totally imploding.

As I have said, feeling waaaay beyond “feral”…
Feeling “ROGUE”.
 
Below is the best definition I have found, as I continue my word-smithing and RE-FRAME/re-claim this word:
 
“ROGUE–an elephant or other large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies…”
 
MORE background:

” Rogue, by itself, has been used to refer to an elephant that has become violent (either from being separated from their herd, or because they have been injured) since at least 1835. When ‘going rogue’ was first used it had a fairly specific meaning of ‘behaving in an erratic or dangerous fashion.”     

No one can stop me, NOW!!!

No one can stop me, NOW!!!

 
And, even MORE:
” Urban dictionary carries the definition of ‘GOING ROGUE’ as ‘to cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction. To pursue one’s own interests.”
 
Yes. I would say that’s about where I have landed.   
 
So, look for me: working as a WWOOFA this summer/ and/ or teaching at a local community college/ and raising a RED TENT or two in Northwest Washington state/ and teaching about CANNABIS as a useful medicine (please let’s not get into the hypocrisy of tobacco and alcohol comparisons), and continuing to find ways to include more sensuality/ spirituality/ and access to information on sexuality in what we call “health care” in AmeriKKKa.
 
Still a Wayseer (but I don’t believe in the medical model he uses to describe brain chemistry AT ALL):
P.S. And I believe that ANYONE can become a Wayseer, not that it is a “special gift” for us Mad Folks, alone… we are just the “point people”
Other resources for The Strange and The Sensitive among us:
Posted in feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Mid-Life MIDWIFE? Heal Thyself

In the language of the metaphor that I have chosen for this exciting phase of my life as a healing artist, I have just survived a major crisis. Crisis as dangerous opportunity. Three times now, I Have been gifted with the opportunity to model in my own life the principles and tenants I am attempting to teach/coach/mentor.

First, I had the physical challenge of kidney stones and made a conscious choice to manage them totally outside of a conventional allopathic model. At age 60, I consider myself lucky to beat the statistics: the average AmeriKKKan is on two drugs for chronic illness by age 50. I am on none. Yet I recognize that my kidneys are my “weak point” in my body; when I am feeling pissed off and hurt I develop kidney stones. Then I must cope with healing them which involves horrible episodes of renal colic when passing the stones. After no episodes of this painful physical phenomenon in over 12 years, I have had two episodes since October, 2014.

The first  episodes happened one month after I started a job where my strengths,  and skills were under the control (note that word– it becomes very important as I share my life choices and story) of an enthusiastic but inexperienced young white, female manager in a social service position.

When the kidney stones first hit,  I had driven myself to a site I was to work at, that is 45 minutes from my home. I was incapacitated by the renal colic, I had to not only have my supervisor drive me back home, but I had to leave my car. I sat in the passenger seat puking the entire trip.

Not the best way to impress your boss,

eh ? As a treatment plan, I worked with a naturopath, used an amazing herb (chanca piedra–it is an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, and dissolves stones), good hydration, cannabis (a muscle relaxant, analdesic, and anti nausea tool), and–when things were truly horrific–all of the above plus 400 mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours to got me through those episodes.

Mischief managed, times two. The Lessons Learned there? Both renal colic episodes related directly to issues at work. Perhaps this was not my ideal job?

I have written here about my second challenge the mind loosening…versus “losing it”. Triggered by the Trump Administration, obvious white supremacy rising here in AmeriKKKa, and personal experiences with increased racial hostility and misogyny, I found myself feeling out of control_frightened and without sufgicient coping strstegies/tools.My best option was to seek support in the alternative peer respite model of Mental Health crisis/recovery work, NOT in a psych hospital. I posted about all this, in a series of short videos at my YouTube channel:

When I was ready to return to work, I had less than 3 weeks left before my great adventure North by Northwest to Canada was to begin. My social service corporate job gifted me with paid leave those last two weeks, giving me more time to pack up my life and prepare to leave.  I suspect there might have been some mangerial awareness that I was still emotionally in a hair trigger place; plus a recognition that my job–as a African-American slave descent woman expected to work with disinhibited (translate mentally ill or developmentally disabled )white Americans of working-class background HAD BECOME UNTENABLE. Three days a week I was working in the VERY town on which The Simpsons Springfield  is modeled!

Okay. One lesson, for The Body.–keep your medical care SUSTAINABLE. Second lesson, for The Mind.–keep your coping skills and strategies up to date with you life challenges. On to lesson three. Spiritual crisis.

Spiritual “emerge and see.”

Car packed and ready to go, I traveled to the Vermont/Quebec border tp begin my cross-country adventure to Vancouver Island. I had booked Air B&B reservations, across the trans-canada highway route.

 

My planned (red) vs. travelled route (green)...

My planned (red) vs. travelled route (green)

But, I was turned back at the CANADIAN  border. My dreams rapidly turned into a nightmare. To make this long story less long, the essence of it is that 4 INTERROGATIONS (not 2–the US side of the Border kept me and questioned me as to “where did I think I was going and WHY?” as well as the CANADIAN side)  over a week, with a solo drive across TRUMPS Middle AmeriKKKa in between the Quebec rejection and the B.C. rejection left me hopeless, despairing, and acutely suicidal.

Acutely suicidal, for the second time in my 60 year life. 12 years ago, I went over that edge and made an attempt from which I was miraculously saved. This time, I used all the tools I have to stay on this side of the veil. And they worked.

The lessons?

I am in a culture whose values have been poisoning me; reducing me to the culture’s belief that without a home, and income, or cash on hand I am a worthless piece of shit. Those white male border guards looked right through me and used their power over me to enforce that belief. I am at 60 a PTSD/ sexual abuse survivor who got malignantly triggered with loss of control issues (that felt like rape all over again) to the breaking point.

And I’m still here.

I ask those who would judge me harshly to ask themselves how they would be thinking about all of this, if I had high blood pressure or heart disease, survived the last three weeks in Hell, only to have a heart attack or a stroke as I was turned back at the BC border.

Now, it is post-crisis clean up time. Very messy. Very humbling. Very challenging. I do my work from this place, with growing strength and balance.

More life experience, to help others through mid-life crises. angel quote

 

 

 

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs, Phoenix Rising, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

NO FOOL, This April First

“Here we stand at the edge, the chasm yawning,

art by Emily Balivet

art by Emily Balivet

Dare we look past our fear to light beyond?

Heart to heart we can feel it dawning,

Hand to hand we connect, and travel on.

As we leap, the abyss, so deep below us

Terrifies. And on Faith we must rely.

No fool’s fall will await, if life has shown us

Love’s True Path, and we know

That we will FLY.”

The above is a poem that I wrote for a man I had been with for nine months, about three days before getting a “Dear Jane” letter from him. That was close to 20 years ago. I keep bringing out this poem and using it to move me through particularly narrow and difficult challenges in my life.  It served to bless a community of women, called The Crystal Amethyst Sisters. It was published, at the Millennial. I have read it with my husband in mind. I share it, as I head out into a Big Life Adventure.

Today I gather my thoughts and my feelings and prepare to leave the lovely sanctuary of a week in a respite. Am I ready to fly?

Yes.

I used the quiet time of this past week to review various aspects of a complex and challenging life, on my way to a new one. I found ways to “quantify” some of the trauma dramas in my life; particularly the ones that seem to be stuck on repeat. I have had major epiphanies. Racism has damaged me much more than I had imagined. My privilege in AmeriKKKa– when compared to that of my white friends and colleagues– maps out on a scale of one to five as a ONE. All of my Black Sistars (no, there are NOT that many) map out as either one or two/five privilege points. Most of my white sistars map out from three to four/five.

Three have five/ five points of privilege: all of those three have held positions of authority over me at various times in my life. All three are younger than me; two by several decades.That fact gave me a big reality check on schizophrenogenic realities of the uphill battle to Stay Sane While Black (and FEMALE) in AmeriKKKa.

But at least I believe that I see with clarity what I am up against. I see the toxicity of the stories of female to female betrayal that keep every woman focused away from looking at what patriarchy and capitalism actually DO to us; a society of Apologetic Predators.

Myself included.

I will be taking a one month break from blogging here at Ceremony Heals. I will be culling my lists, contacting folks who “like” me at Temple of the Healthy Spirit and here. I intend to  shape a cleaner, LEANER presence over social media.

If you “like” me, please join my patreon support group: www.patreon.com/doctorO with $20 pledges for May, June and July to float me over to B.C. without too much anxiety over my exorbitant auto loan payments (there’s a long Santander driven story there…) OR…

Send a one time donation, here: www.ceremonyheals.com/services at my paypal “donate” button.

I am migrating North to join a community of women who recognize the power of Fierce Dignity as a mover and shaker in their lives. And I will continue to pray for my sistars here in The Lower Forty Eight.

Look for May postings, from my new location!

 

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