Or rather, a weekend in which I met with an intuitive counselor and did 5 years worth of therapy in 2 1/2 hours, stumbled into a workshop for writers that might as well have been created for me, made a connection with a keeper of stories of my hometown and finally figured out which haircut I want. In that order.
Bioneers was its usual mix of the inspiring, indulgent and incredulous. On the one hand, there was the moment when I almost bumped into Caroline Casey, who was wearing purple from head to toe and looking cute as a button (that goes in the inspiring category). Then, there was the realization that the booth down the row from us was selling elephant dung paper (the incredulous). And let us not forget the demographic of the conference (the privileged of the 99%…you could say the other 1%. The indulgent.) To speak from a place of gratitude, I will say that the great thing about the Left Coast, and the Bay Area in particular, is its ability to know no limits in the exploration of all points of human curiosity. Need to fly with the Pleiadians or let your freak flag flap in the breeze off the tip of your loin cloth? Then come on over folks! Marin county is for you!
On friday afternoon, after the aforementioned therapy session, I felt like my own little light particle and as such, felt right at home. I set up the interactive piece at the Holos booth (scroll down for more on that) and then sat back to enjoy the scene. We had passes that granted admission to most of the afternoon workshops, and as I perused the schedule I came across one titled “Ecomythology.”. There was no description but the title was intriguing enough to lure me over.
I walked into the tent and was surprised to discover that it was being taught by Luisah Teish. She is the author of Jambalaya, and teaches locally at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Women’s Spirituality.
I owned her book a million years ago, but it has been quite a while since I thought of her. The workshop was a raucous, saucey and tender two hours. She told us the story of her own earth grief, when the woods and land around her Louisiana childhood home were ravaged and poisoned by Exxon. I found myself holding my breath, hand over heart. She spoke of the importance of indigenous people being heard and healed, but also humanity’s need to move forward in its racial and ethnic definitions. Instead of territories drawn and boundaries defended, she gave anyone who feels a connection and protectiveness towards the earth a definition that we can all take on as our own. Primal Life People. We are all indigenous to the planet.
She then encouraged us to take 20 minutes, right then and there, to write about our own experience of earth grief. You would think, given this blog, this past summer, this past month, my pen would have over-floweth. But I was still all glowey from my therapy session, and I was all tapped out! I did write a little piece, but I chose not to share it with the group. Towards the end, she gave us her email address and said we had one year to complete our writing and send it to her. She also encouraged us to submit it for an Anthology of Ecomythology that she is publishing. If my parents are reading this, I know what you are going to say and don’t worry…I have just found myself a goal.
The next day, I mustered up the courage to have a conversation with the director of Earth Medicine Alliance. When he spoke at Holos’s conference on Ecopsychology, he had mentioned working with Darryl Babe Wilson, and my ears perked up.
Dr. Babe. as he is called, is of the Pit River Nation (Achuma-we and Atsegu-we). These tribal lands include the area where I grew up, and the hot springs that I make a pilgrimage to as often as I can. I read his autobiography several years ago, The Morning the Sun Went Down, which is both terribly tragic and also redeeming. Within his compelling words were descriptions of places and people that I know well, and, as so often happens when I learn something about the first peoples of my hometown, suddenly what was invisible was made visible. I had tried to track Dr. Babe down for a paper I was writing in grad school, but to no avail. So when I heard that EMA had worked with him, I had been itching to ask about it ever since.
The conversation was predictably awkward, but still a nice connection, and the director turned me on to a series of video interviews with Dr. Babe.
This is the first of six parts, and in it he talks about the power residing in Mt. Shasta. He also busts a hole in anthropology’s approach to wisdom traditions, and just how demeaning the words “myth” and “story telling” actually are. But what I like the most about this interview, is his description of that land I love so dearly, “There is magic everywhere….and in abundance”. Indeed. This connection with EMA was also important for me to make, for if I ever manage to move back up there, I am interested in working with the inner mountain communities impacted by logging, land loss, poverty and alcoholism.
For our Holos booth, I offered an interactive piece called “Soul Seeds” and I thought I would offer it here as well, since it is easy and fun.
This was taken on Friday, right after my arrival from the therapy session. I told you I was glowey. (Dress and vest – thrifted. Hat – Target. Boots – Fluevog.).
Planting Your Soul Seeds
You will need:
a small, business card sized piece of either cardstock or cardboard
a same sized piece of tissue paper
paper mache glue (flour and water mixed together)
a soft, small paintbrush
a colored pencil
seeds native to your garden or bioregion
1. Take a moment to think about something you want to “compost” this Winter…a habit, self-belief, a pattern etc.
2. Take your piece of cardstock or cardboard and paint it with the “glue”, while thinking about what you want to “compost”.
3. Sprinkle a small pinch of seeds onto the cardstock/cardboard
4. Take a moment to think about something you want to “gestate” and “germinate” over Winter….a goal, a new way of being, a project, etc. Make this one word.
5. Write this word with the colored pencil on your tissue paper. Place the tissue paper over the seeds and cardstock. Paint a thin layer of “glue” onto the top, gently sealing both pieces together.
6. Place your seed card on an altar, mantle or dresser where you will see it over the winter months. Come February (or after the ground thaws in your area), plant your card in your garden or city tree well. Sprinkle with water and let nature do the rest.
As for the haircut? I haven’t gotten one since before Fern was born, and have been trying to rock the woodland-fairy-mermaid-70’s hippy look. Not so sure it’s been working. Then last night I watched “Crimes of the Heart” and fell in love with Sissy Spacek.
Hey all you fashionistas, is this a haircut, or just the way her hair is styled? Would it be a gigantic pain in the ass since my hair has minimal wave? Could I just sleep with curlers? Can I pull this off? Imma gonna try today by pulling my hair back and just doing the front.
The best part of the weekend for me had a lot to do, funny enough, with style and appearance. I had encounters with more than one person that stirred up feelings in me I haven’t had for a long time. Nowadays I am surrounded by loving, supportive, respectful folks. But there was a time not so long ago when I hung out in certain scenes that were narcissistic, mean spirited, image oriented and spiritually bypassing. For too long I stayed in these circles based on my own feelings of inferiority. No more. But I talked with multiple people at Bioneers who gave me the once over and approached with haughtiness. It was a true testament to how things have changed in that I immediately recognized how crappy it made me feel…and I didn’t buy into it. Instead, I kept it real, I kept it loving, and killed ’em with kindness. What I received in return was an eventual melting and show of vulnerability. I realized, not more than once, what a severe waste of time it is to buy into social competitiveness and “better than thou”. Life is too precious to spend energy on being popular.
But once I have my Sissy Spacek hair, just you watch out! (I jest, I jest).