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Creation as the Body of God - Richard Rohr 

The incarnation of God did not happen in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. That is just when some of us started taking it seriously. The incarnation actually happened approximately 14.5 billion years ago with a moment that we now call “The Big Bang.” That is when God actually decided to materialize and to expose who God is. This alone provides any solid bases for reverence, universal sacrality, and our attempts to form a spiritual ecology that transcends groups and religions. 

Two thousand years ago marked the human incarnation of God in Jesus, we Christians believe, but before that there was the first and original incarnation through light, water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, fruit, birds, serpents, cattle, fish, and “every kind of wild beast,” according to Judeo-Christian creation story (Genesis 1:3-25). This was the “Cosmic Christ” through which God has “let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made from the beginning of Christ” (Ephesians 1:9). You see, Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but the title for his life’s purpose. (Some believe, as I do myself, that the ancient Hindu love of Krishna, also a human avatar and incarnation of the divine, was revealing the very same mystery.) 

Jesus is a concrete truth revealing and standing in for the eternal truth of the union between the divine and the human, or the Christ Mystery - or Krishna. I myself believe this, but just to believe it is not to live it. The living of this love mystery is the important thing and not the correct naming of it! I have met Hasidic Jews, Hesychastic Orthodox, Sufi Muslims, and “pagan” animists who live it much better than we do. 

As the Letter to the Colossians puts it, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation” (1:15); he is the one glorious part that names and reveals the even more glorious whole. “The fullness is founded in him, everything in heaven and everything on earth” (1:19-20). Or as our Francisan philosopher, John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), put if, Christ was “the very first idea in the mind of God,” and God has never stopped thinking, dreaming, and creating the Eternal Christ Mystery. The Dominican Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) add, “The immense diversity and pluriformity of this creation more perfectly represents God than any one creature alone or by itself.” 

For most of us, this understanding represents a significant shaking of our foundational image of the universe and of our religion, I am sad to say. Many Christians have the world as sadly inert, non-enchanted, unholy, and even dangerous and evil. As if God’s creation could be separate from God! Yet if any group should have come to this quite simply and naturally, it should have been those three groups of believers that call themselves “monotheists”: Jews, Christians, and Muslims and claim to believe that the world was created by one good God. It would seem to follow therefore that everything - everything without exception - would bear the clear imprint and likeness of this one Creator. How could we miss that? Did Satan, in fact, create some of us? We monotheists are the very ones who said “No!” to that. We believe that “One God created everything out of nothing” (Genesis 1:2) 

We could perhaps say that this terrible misperception was a disastrous act of human self-congratulation and self-absorption. For some reason, Christians thought humans were the only creatures that God cared about, and all else was literally just “food” for our own sustenance and enjoyment - animals, plants, sun, water, and earth! The world was just a gratuitous painted backdrop so we could do our Christian thing and be “saved”! Yet God created millions of creatures for millions of years before we came along - many of whom we never saw and others of whom we have yet to see or discover - for no human purpose whatsoever. God seems to be concerned to communicate Himself/Herself as endless, multitudinous beauty, love, and fecundity. Almost shocking, isn’t it? 

For many Judeo-Christians, God has created a seemingly “throw-away world.” The so-called “Stone Age” people, the ancient civilizations, the Persians, Greek, Aztec, Mayan, Inca, and Roman empires, even the poor ones we called barbarians, were merely warm-up acts for us. None of them really mattered to God, neither woman, child, beast, nor man. God was just biding his time, waiting for good Jews, Christians, and Muslims to appear, and most preferably Roman Catholics, conservative Orthodox, or Born-Again Evangelicals. 

I am not being unfair here; this is quite literally true. A sort of cosmic narcissism, it seems to me. But if you do not see the individual ego (the separate self) as a problem, it is almost impossible to recognize the corporate separate self as an even worse problem. This nationalism, ethnic cleansing of various sorts, burning of heretics, persecution of all that was “not me,” including the rest of creation (animals, all growing things, earth, and water), were literally “fair game” for us. Poor God must just cry. 

If nothing else, one would have thought good people would be shocked and scandalized at God’s gross inefficiency and non-concern for life. But if only got worse, as Christians were assured that all Hindu, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, atheists, communists, and unbelievers of any stripe (all “not me”) were also of no interest whatsoever to their Creator. Apparently, God just likes white Christian Americans, preferably Republican - while this very group wastes not a tear on the fact that their worldview leaves 99 percent of what God has created since the beginning of time lost, rejected, and even punished for all eternity. And this is the group that dares to call itself “pro-life”! 

Christians must realize what a muddle we have got ourselves into by not taking incarnation and the body of God seriously. It is our only Christian trump card, and we have yet to actually play it! As Sally McFague, a Christian theologian, say so powerfully in her book The Body of God, “Salvation is the direction of all of creation, and creation is the very place of salvation.” All is God’s place, which is our place, which is the only place and every place. 

In the fourth century St. Augustine, and official “Doctor of the Church,” said that “the church consists in the state of communion of the whole world” (Ecclesiam in totius orbis communione consistere). Wherever we are connected, in right relationship - you might say “in love” - there is the Christ, the Body of God, and there is the church, the temple, and the mosque. But Christians sadly whittled that Great Mystery down into something small, exclusive, and manageable too. The church became a Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant private club, and not necessarily formed by people who were “in communion” with anything else, usually not with the natural world, with non-Christians, or even with other very tiny salvation, hardly worthy of the name. God was not magnanimous, or victorious at all, despite’s all our songs of “How great is our God”! 

Our very suffering now, our condensed presence on this common nest that we have largely fouled, will soon be the ONE thing that we finally share in common. It might well be the one thing that will bring us together politically and religiously. The earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend (just like God!), might soon become the very thing that will convert us to a simple lifestyle, to necessary community, and to an inherent and universal sense of reverence for the Holy. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of these universal elements. I know it is no longer words, doctrines, and mental belief systems that can or will reveal the fullness of this Cosmic Christ. This earth indeed is the very Body of God, and It is from this body that we are born, live, suffer, and resurrect to eternal life. Either all is God’s Great Project, or we may rightly wonder whether anything is. 

“From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth, and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan inwardly, as we wait for our bodies to be set free.” Romans 8:22-23 

It seems that St. Paul is saying here that we human ones might be the last ones to jump aboard God’s great plan and direction. There is the groaning of growing in all of creation, and the groaning of resisting and “waiting” in all that is human and animal, and in everything that is forever being born in new forms, forever growing and dying. 

Non-human creation has been obedient to its destiny, it seems: 

“Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: ….myself it speaks and spells, crying What I do is me; For that I came. - Gerard Manly Hopkins 

Wouldn’t it be our last and greatest humiliation, surely the “first being last,” as Jesus says, if we one day realize that all other creatures have obeyed their destiny unblinkingly and with trustful surrender - all except us? Just watch the plants and animals for even a short while, and you will see their loving obedience. We alone have the “free will” to deny our own destiny. 

It is only humans who have resisted “the one great act of giving birth,” and in fact have frequently chosen death for themselves and for so many others besides. We can do better, we must do better, and by God’s patient grace, we will do better - once we recognize that it is one shared creation and we are all a part of it for better or for worse. 

At the level of survival we are fast approaching, our attempts to distinguish ourselves by accidental and historical differences and the theological subtleties - while ignoring the clear “bottom line” - are becoming an almost blasphemous waste of time and a shocking disrespect for God’s one, beautiful, and multitudinous life. I do still  believe that grace is inherent to creation, and that God and goodness will still have the final word. - Richard Rohr, Creation as the Body of God

Equal Experience 

It is a common belief that we are here for the experience. Whether it is Christianity and being saved by God or universal consciousness interacting and getting to know itself. Whether we are here for one solitary determining moment or to experience everything from birth to death one thing is true, we are all experiencing something. 

  

This is also true of the animals around us. Your dog doesn’t blip out of existence the moment you leave and reanimate exactly how you left them when you return. While your gone a canine could experience a plethora of things. Sun bathing, enjoying the lush taste of filling in cushions, investigating the smell of shoes forgotten under the couch. 

  

A bird could experience a outdoor festival. Decibels ranging from 70 to 130. If it hurts your ears its probably even louder than that. Hearing is a birds second most valuable sense. It uses it to be aware of predators and prey that it can't see. Without it defending and providing for itself and possible family is difficult. If damaged permanently self dependency is impossible. 

  

A plant  or tree could experience a area that it is not native to. If it thrives it can actually destroy ecosystems. Without intervention the whole landscape and ecosystem can be impaired. Only by committing a form of genocidal entrenchment against the alien intruder can balance be restored and native wildlife return to rebalance the homeostasis. 

  

Now when something or someone is made for a type of experience and doesn’t get to fulfill it what happens? A quick peruse on facebook would conclude a feeling of bereft isolation. Or at least that’s what the humans seem to be displaying. What about animals? If we make a dog sit in a kennel for 10 hours a day instead of being allowed to run and swim and smell and familiarize itself with the world around it do we expect it to be happy? 

  

If we create a dam without considering the birds, animals, native plants and trees do we run the risk of causing harm to them? And if we don't take the time after the project is completed to see if we did would we even know? How many lumber companies go back to an area a month later to see how the world they lived in for a few weeks was affected? Or do we expect it to blip out of existence once we turn our backs a start walking away? 

  

Now with plants. What if part of our experience with plants and trees are how we ingest or interact with them as well as their experience of us? I recently began distilling herbs and have worked through pine and am currently running juniper. While researching places to find juniper I stumbled along some news stories of the juniper dying  in large numbers across southeastern Utah in large numbers. Maybe its because it feels like a dog in a cage. 

  

I have a respect for Juniper based on the ways I've seen it respected and treated within Native American circles. I am grateful and amazed by the way that it has distilled. I think about what it might be experiencing while it boils, the oils being caught up with the vapor of the water. Flying. Up into a cylindrical glass world only to be antagonized by 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Watching the condensation and the small wisps of white as the vapor freezes for less than a second and reveals the microscopic rivers of hydrosol and alchemical sulfur before falling into the holder. Waiting…for the next experience. 

  

I would propose that our world is dying from lack of attention. I would propose that we are feeling the same forlorn disappointment. I believe that if we start thinking about what the plants, animals and ecosystems are feeling around each of us as we live our lives that might change. Whether at a outdoor festival, a Denny's parking lot, a natural hot spring or our backyards. Maybe we might all experience something new for a change. Maybe that can start the real change. 

  

Thank you for listening.

Skin and Dirt, A Year and a Half without Shoes 

I’ve been thinking a lot about skin. It’s endurance and its flaccidity. I had a theory that if I went a year without shoes I could create a temperance to every climate and forego my dependency on shoes. I mean, if someone breaks into your house and threatens you while you’re in your undies and you only then realize that you always thought karate was an inaccessible opportunity to you for any perceived reason and you now need to try to run from this intruder low budget horror film style. How inconvenient it would be at that moment to realize you need your shoes. “Hey, Mr. Criminal, before you shoot me could you give me a 3 minute head start? My hands are shaking and I might not be able to lace my shoes per usual.” Give me a break. I, for one, didn’t do karate and sometimes feel physically helpless in situations I’ve been in. It would be comforting to know that I could run fast and intentionally if the situation arises. 

I learned a lot more by taking off my shoes. I learned what compost felt like after walking through glass and litter for 3 months. I’ve been in love with compost since that moment. The beautiful feeling of well kept, non tilled dirt. I found an amazing video that you can watch here https://youtu.be/breDQqrkikM that goes into detail on the web of interactions that are happening underneath our feet. The different textures, roughness, silkiness, warmth, coolness. It reminds me of my skin. 

“An area of skin the size of a quarter contains some three million cells, one hundred sweat glands, fifty nerve endings, three feet of blood vessels, and nearly as many lymph vessels. The whole skin has approximately six hundred and forty thousand sensory receptors that are connected to the spinal cord by over a half a million nerve fibers; tactile points vary from seven to one hundred and thirty five per square centimeter.” Deane Juhan, Job’s Body 

Notice how it says that the tactile points vary. The interesting thing is that through repetitive stimulation the amount of sensations you can become conscious of can grow. Your shirt has been on you since you put it on. But can you say that you consciously were aware of the stimulation of it touching a quarter sized area on your sternum containing around fifty nerve endings? What if you went outside without a shirt on? How long would it take before you stopped noticing the feeling of the wind on your chest? Each one of your hairs have sensation too. I’m pretty awestruck when I think about this. 

So a year of new stimulation on the soles of your feet for a year…well…it turned into a year and a half. Unfortunately massage school needs you to wear shoes. Some of those steps went by unconsciously. Others hurt more than I could re-account. But now that schools over the shoes have been off and I have readapted much faster than I expected. Which was a side effect of the experiment that I had hoped for, but had not expected. 

Another encouragement for this experiment was a appreciation for the physical abilities of Native American scouts. 

“Consider, for instance, the Native American scout of centuries past. As a protector and provider, the scout served as the eyes and ears for the tribe…if necessary, he could run for two to three days without stopping. He found his way by the sun and the stars and variations in landscape. He could stalk as silently as a mountain lion and catch game with his bare hands. He could detect the presence of a fox in the croak of a tree frog and see the coming of a storm in the flight of a mosquito. He knew his environment intimately and felt a deep reverence for all the creatures that shared it with him…They were an expression of the potential that is in all of us.” - Tom Brown, Natural Observation and Tracking 

I mean…dude. Come on, how awesome would that be to walk into a grove and know more about your environment in seconds that you could learn in years without the prior experience. Not to mention the physical stamina to run for two to three days? Imagine the heart muscles on these guys! So adapting my feet to rough surfaces seemed a small investment into this type of discipline. 

But I found there were things that I could not do in society now that I had made this decision. And that was an investment I wasn’t expecting. That year and a half I didn’t go to a bar, got kicked out of restaurants, stores and malls. Oh, and I was jumping couches, laundry rooms and beds of trucks at the time…that was fun…more necessary than fun actually. I brought the new stimulation to the nerve endings throughout my body that had began acclimating to these new life decisions the moment I made them to the one place I didn’t expect to go. Massage school. The cheapest option I found to learn anatomy. 

And so we go back to the skin. For the next year I learned the body and had the practice of touching and being touched in very safe and respectful ways. I lost a lot of the toughness that I had built, but gained references to stimulation so I could learn more about the environment of my body in seconds than I could in years without those experiences. And that durability and toughness is more important that I had realized. Through the help of a prior teacher who specializes in neuro-somatic reintegration I have been able to see my body flux between extremes in incorrect angles of bones weekly. She even moved my temporal lobe yesterday. Still feeling that one. :) 

That durability. The ability to physically do what you mean to do that day without physical regression or injury. That’s important to me. I almost consider that the determining factor between predestination and free will as debated by theologians. Whether or not God predestined you before you were born to climb a tree at 40 years old, if you’re a 300 pound diabetic, I’m sorry, but you can’t physically climb that tree without some obstacles. Take God out of the equation; If you want to climb a tree as you walk past it and have not taken care of your physical body or your senses through consistent stimulation you might not be able to climb that tree. That’s predestination to me, and it encourages self discipline, so there ya go. 

I know I didn’t incorporate this much into this rant of ideas, but the integrity of the ground is as important as the integrity of our skin and muscles. Only she takes a lot longer to heal in some cases. I believe the integrity and the detoxification from plastic of the dirt and the reversal of carbon being pumped into the air is as important, if not more important than everything stated above. I love compost and healthy dirt. My skin and the earth taught me that. I hope this encourages you to get outside and move around and grow some more nerve response to our environment. With practice and consistency we can learn to see and feel more in a moment than we could in a year. I’ll end with one more quote. 

“Since we are no longer hunter-gatherers, it is not as important for us to be so aware of and alert to nature. Our society does not place much premium on nature awareness because modern conveniences have taken away its survival value. But we pay an unseen price for our comforts. Our senses, like unused muscles, either weaken and atrophy or are never developed to their full potential.” Tom Brown, Natural Observation and Tracking.

Is there another way? Chewong?  

After being raised in Mormonism and studying in Christianity I am very familiar with the idea of the Second Coming of Christ. Things get so bad that we have to be saved from it. But as we walk through this life I’ve found it ironic that we as a human race are the ones making it bad in the first place. 

Previously I wrote about the entitled mentality that I see within modern day Christianity (https://rhettrobertson.com/blog/blog/son-of-god-entitled-or-cultivated) 

 Since that was the prominent religion during the time of our nation and government creation I proposed that it still affects our society at large. We are cool as long as we have our needs met. Our needs are met by huge corporations that have enough influence due to the money we pay them to destroy our ecosystem systematically. Now, in a digital world, we watch the videos online of the destruction, but somehow it doesn't connect as someone else's current reality, so it seems to me that we comment about how wrong it is, maybe even share it on social media and continue with our regular routine. Aside from the thousands and possibly millions that actually go to places and protest, but in a country of estimated 325,196,448 people…a few thousand can only make so much of a difference. 

But Christianity is not the first to propose this concept of a second coming and a destruction of this world. The Chewong people of Malaysia believe in a source of all things called the Tohan. They also believe that there is a plain outside of our perceived reality where other beings live. They use to live here with us, but the world became to hot and too toxic. Their prophecy is as follows, "If Tohan discovers that these humans too have squandered his gifts - if he sees that once again there are too many people, too many deaths, too much blood from killing animals, and too much urine and faeces and that this has again made Earth Seven very hot and unhealthy - then he will once again unleash his vast powers of destruction. 

Before he does, he will, as always whisper soft words of warning of world’s end to all surviving Chewong, as well as other neighboring Orang Asli, or indigenous peoples. Then, as the cyclic cataclysm unfolds, he will transform them into flower buds and fly up to Earth Six, leaving those human beings who tormented Earth Seven to suffer the final pains of extinction.”(Wisdom of the Elders;Suzki,Knudtson) 

So, we have a creator, a people group, a desecration of the world, a rapture of sorts and a heaven a.k.a. Earth Six. 

I wanted to know what the other Earths were about, so I dug a little deeper and found a paper about their social life that caught my eye. These people live in absolute peace. Have been for as long as they remember. Completely harmonious to the environment around them. They have their own language, customs and boast about their fearfulness instead of their fearlessness. (Wait...what?) I made it available at https://rhettrobertson.com/resources. It's only about a 10 minute read and it was extremely intriguing. 

Now going back to Christianity for a second. I also read an amazing book called the Isaiah Effect. It talks about how Isaiah saw two specific worlds that were stark contrasts from each other. One had rivers of fire that ate everything in its path. The other had peace. Total and absolute. The writer proposed the idea that Isaiah might be seeing parallel realities here. One where the world is completely tarnished, hot and unrepairable. The other is cultivated with love and attentiveness. Both are possible, living in different parallel universes. We decide which one we end up living in by our actions now. 

I was considering this concept when I heard about Standing Rock. I found out that there is a oil line underneath the Great Lakes in Michigan already pushing 23 million gallons of oil a day. (http://www.oilandwaterdontmix.org/problem) Dakota Access Pipeline is already completed. It’s already spilling oil as well. 

(https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/11/dakota-access-pipeline-spilled-oil-84-gallons-of-oil-in-south-dakota.html) 

If both of these pipelines fractured or broke there would be millions of gallons pouring through 1/3 of our continent. Catch that on fire and you have rivers and lakes of fire. Which is the reason why I went out there in the first place. 

….Can we take a second and consider the idea that caring about the ground, water and air around us is a better idea than ignoring them and waiting for some dude to come grab us out beforehand? That the very companies that are offering us all the amenities that we are living with are the ones that are causing the serious health changes that we’ve experienced over the last few decades. The other book I’ve been leaning on recently is called The Body Electric by Robert Becker that talks about energy and it’s affects on our bodies. He ended the book by saying that the electropollution from all of the electronics around us could be the main cause of most of our societies more complicated and more traumatic diseases. As well as the source of our depression, lathargy and other medically define mental disorders. He was blown off as a heretic for most of his career. 

What if there are two options? Instead of waiting around for the next thing to happen what if we came together and started working to create a real change in this world? I think it starts with some practical questions. Why did we ever think someone could tell us we couldn’t gather rain water? Why can’t we have front yards that have gardens instead of grass? Why don’t we share our talents and skills freely with people more often? Why do we live the way we live? What could change? 

I know a few groups that have some ideas. SLC Air Protectors (http://slcairprotectors.org) are looking at different bills that are being presented in our local government. Ecstatic Dance SLC (http://ecstaticdance.org/slc/) has partnered with the Krishna Temple to grow a garden in the back. They also have a Permaculture group meet there on Monday's at 6pm. 

How can I grow as a source of knowledge to help you? How can we connect in a more authentic way with each other and ourselves? I’m tired of the answer, “This is just the way things are.” Please tell me, is there another way? Could there be another way? Is it worth trying? 

For those that read these, thank you so much. This is one of the ways that I know how to help. It means the world to know that it is appreciated and valued. Please share with anyone you think might be interested and I encourage you to follow some of the links through this to find some amazing information. 

Love you Family,

No Trespassing (Short Story) 

A man walks into a gated area. The owner sees this disruption on his property and confronts the man. 
"Why are you on my land?" 
The man looks at the owner incredulously, "Your land you say?" 
"Yes, my land. Didn't you see the 'No Trespassing' sign?" 
"And why do you believe this land to be yours?" 
Puffed out chest, the owner exclaimed, "Because its been in my family for generations." 
"And how did the first of your generation aquire this land, sir?" 
"We fought for it and were the last to stand upon it." 
"And now you have a sign to determine the borderline between the land that you are responsible for through ancestral inheritance and the land I am allowed to walk upon?" 
"Precisely!" The owner questioned to himself how long he would allow this dialogue to continue. This was getting ridiculous. 
The man continued, "So being that this is your land I assume you are prepared to defend it at any moment." 
"Against you sir," the owner felt for his gun concealed under his shirt, "I am." 
"What about the fires that have engulfed our western coast? Could you defend against that?" 
The owner blinked, "Well...no one can defend against that." 
The man stood still, "Then I would say fire has more of a right to this land if its ownership is determined by the strongest and last to stand. Would you defend against an earthquake? A flood? A tornado?" 
The owners hand fell down to his side, "No sir, against such odds I would not have any form of recourse." 
The man smiled, "Then the elements lay claim to your property sir. Now I will finish my inquiries with this. Do you breath air? Drink water? Stand up on the earth? Feel warmth from the sun?" 
"Yes sir, I do." 
"Then they lay claim to you and I alike. And with that context I will continue to walk upon our land, breath our air, drink our water and enjoy our warmth. For we are dust hiding behind signs. Its about time those signs be taken down." 
The man tipped his hat and continued to walk. 
The owner stayed still for a moment. Then his hand went to the back of his shirt again. "Keep walking then." The holster clicked.

Homeless: Entitled vs Desperate 

I've been asked a lot about my time when I was homeless. I've also heard a lot of people's opinions on the homeless population in Salt Lake, Utah. Some people talk about how they only use the money for drugs. Others believe that some are regular people that change out of their rugged clothes at their car at the end of the night. I've always seen the homeless as individuals in one of two mentalities: Entitled or desperate. I've been considering correlations with that concept with recent experiences. Here are my thoughts, I hope you finding something of value in them. 

My personal favorite way to see what mindset someone is in when they ask me for something is to offer the resource instead of the money. I'll ask if I can buy them food, or get them the bus ticket. Some will willingly take the offer and come with me to the destination where their need is. I get to have good conversation over food and hear their story, or at least ask some questions as I drive them to the bus stop. Some don't take this offer and reiterate that all they want is the money. I usually will not share with these individuals who are only in it for the cash. 

But some do just want to eat, or make it to an area or a relationship that makes them feel a little more at home. To have a full stomach validates the belief that you are provided for and your needs have been met. To be around your friend or family member that you love allows you to invest your time the way you want to. Some people travel a long ways and go without many meals to feel at home. Either by investing into a passion or into a location that brings peace to their lives. 

I recently allowed myself to fall back into a lifestyle without consistency. I spent 2 years living with an awesome roommate where there was never a raised voice or a fight. I knew I was home when I walked in the door because all of my art, posters, and very often many of my close friends would be there. My brother even came and lived there for awhile. I had a routine that was easy, not many needs, and a lot of wants. 

Once I left inconsistency became the only constant reality again. Jumping from couches, sleeping outside, going from one adventure to the next. Recently I ended up in the Rainbow Gathering for 4 days. While I walked in I had multiple people come up and welcome us home. That's one of the things they do, they call their gathering home for those who come. Contemplating this concept during the 5 mile walk into camp encouraged me and gave me hope for the experiences that were to come. That lasted up to the point we made the turn and saw the camp itself. The beginning area was filled with cars, bonfires, and negatives vibes. I immediately went on my guard and started preparing to defend against anything that might happen. 

My friends that I was with convinced me that it was only my perception and that I needed to be positive about the situation. I complied and we continued forward. We made it to the first fire at the welcome tent and finally sat down. Songs were being sang with a guitar, people were smiling and enjoying each other. I guess I was wrong, I guess this is a version of home that we had found. But then some individuals came over that weren't feeling too good. The extra curricular medicine that was freely being shared there had been too much for their stomachs, and they were looking very desperate to me. 

I brought them back to camp and started helping with their overdose. It lasted through the whole night until the sun rose. I helped everyone with their tents, and with little sleep during the 8 hours car drive, 5 mile walk, and an all night drug scare, I began making my way into the belly of the beast. 15,000 people showed up to this gathering (which was beginning to feel like a unsupervised festival of entitled children) and I had only seen the front door of the whole camp by that point. 

Without going into too much detail, the remaining 4 days were consistent reflections of that first night. People going far past their limits, reacting violently (either internally or externally), and others either not responding or responding negatively. Even though everyone kept saying that this was home I felt very different feelings about my surroundings. I felt like a vulnerable animal around other vulnerable animals. And I didn't feel much trust, I didn't see many people helping. I saw a lot of entitled kids partying and playing, but not many leaders willing to sacrifice for others. And the few working hard to keep everyone fed and hydrated consistently reflected a feeling of not being appreciated when I was around them and helping them. 

When I think of a home dynamic I think of selfless service. When I was sick my mom would care for me regardless of any personal dysfunctions we were experiencing at that time. She would make sure that any need was met with the upmost attention to detail. When I was without direction my father would sit down and help me find practical ways to move forward with my life. When I was without friends my brothers and sisters would bring me into their games and allow me to be a valued participant. When I wasn't thinking about the next thing I wanted that I didn't have I would be more free to reflect this love back to them when they need it. 

But now I see many people walking away from those that love them unconditionally to find "home." I'm not sure if they are leaving home or going home through this decision, but I know that when I was their age I left, feeling I was entitled to something different. I'll give you the spoiler. I did find something different. I found the entitled tantrum ridden child inside of me that cries with fury when I didn't get my way and I found the desperate cold infant that had to accept any help when any was offered. I learned what it was like to be alone for months, hiding out in a basement of an evicted house, trying to kill myself with drugs that I rarely was able to stomach. I learned what it was like to feel accepted when others would help me, but I was always thinking about the next thing that I didn't have. That I felt I was entitled to. 

What I didn't have was the time invested in those closest to me to see the value that they saw in me. If I did I would have seen the value in them and reflected their unconditional love back. But I always ran to the next thing instead of being content where I was. I always felt like if I had more adoration from more people. If I had more people showing up to my shows...or even one person show up to a show sometimes. If I had more than what I currently have I would feel content. Today I still fall into this. If I only had one sale of one song on my website. If I only had more people asking for Reiki sessions. If I only had enough money to take that class that I've wanted to take for years. 

If I only had more. Because if I had more, or at least something different I might finally feel like I'm home. 

But I've always been home. I've always had someone show love when I needed it. Only recently have I learned how to show that love back. 

I'll tell you a secret. I've never felt more love then when I am able to share unconditional love with someone else. To feed someone who can't eat by themselves. To offer service when someone is desperate. Not entitled. Not feigning for glory. Not looking for adoration or praise. But appreciating those around them that are already showing it. 

To love those that have already shown love to you. That is my new home. And in this house there is no king, queen, master, leader, teacher, elder, priest, prophet, healer, seer, mother, father, brother, sister, niece, nephew, cousin, aunt, uncle, daughter or son that does not show their love through what they do. Love reflected through an investment of time to their service to others. 

My question to myself today. Who do I serve? Those that I'm trying to gain the love of? Or those in my own home that have already loved me? 

I love you family. :) I am here to serve. I am desperate, but I am joyful. 

Praying for you,

Rapture: Who's got the Golden Ticket? 

I think it's interesting that ever since Christ left us here and returned to heaven a lot of people have been chomping at the bit, waiting for the clouds to part and for Jesus to come back. Even the disciples repeated constantly that He would come back in their day and age. Then the martyrs that Fox's book refers to. Then the Roman Catholic church, then the Puritans.  

In recent years we have seen a few different groups try to guess when it will be. We had that huge thing recently where a lot of people sold everything they owned only to be told the day after that it had been a spiritual rapture. That everyone who had been confirmed for heaven were now accounted for. But we aren't leaving this world yet, unfortunately for those who had given their life savings to those they trusted.  

But that's an interesting idea. Those they trusted. The people that sold everything they had believed that the end was nigh because they trusted someone else's ideas. Their interpretations of the signs around them instead of looking at it for themselves.  

Another thing that I wonder about is what did Jesus do for the first 30 years of his life? Was he coming to terms that he was the Messiah? That he had a mission that was going to pull him away from everything he knew and put him in world where the old rules of social living were no longer aspects of his reality? Jesus spent 3 years walking around with 12 dudes, some women that we rarely hear about, and a flock of people sometimes. Didn't have his own house, his own transportation, his own food, his own water. He completely depended on what would be brought to him through the day. In some of the cities that didn't like him he probably went without food, water or shelter consistently.  

But he had the lucky ticket. He was the lucky one that was called to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. After 3 years of homelessness, starvation, dehydration, and self deprivation he was hung on a cross for breaking into temples and throwing all of the 'business peoples' money on the ground. He was the one out of all the others that was chosen for a specific purpose, not for his own glory, but to bring glory to those around him. 

Now...when you give yourself for the glory of another what do we call that? Worship.  

When you adopt someones idea that the rapture is imminent and Jesus is coming back, to the point of selling off your life savings and everything you own, you are acting on faith on that which you don't immediately see. I would call that worship.  

So when someone tells you what to believe or how to feel about something you can choose to worship that belief or that person by conforming to it.  

But should we worship every idea that is proposed to us? Should we believe every person that claims to have a vision? Jesus had a vision, Buddha had a vision, Judas had a vision, Ghandi had a vision, Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. (haha! gotcha!)  

Let's go back. Many people over the last 2000 years have been telling us that Christ is coming back any day now. What if he's already here? What if he is going through the same possible self realization that he could have gone through 2000 years ago? No one really knows for sure what he did. Maybe he just waited patiently to speak.  

But we know what he did once he did start speaking at 30 years old. He started a mission which was nothing but service (worship) for everyone around him every day until he was crucified.  

So, in the analogy of Willy Wonka, who do you think has the golden ticket? Who is going to be the special one that gets to go on that one mission that no one else gets to go on?  

Here's the real question. If it was you would I worship you? Would I support you even to my own self deprivation? Even to my own death?  If it was me would you worship me?  

What has your day reflected so far? What has your heart reflected so far? If you were Christ, would you worship like he did? Or would you expect to be the recipient of worship by others like he worshiped the pure light in each person he tried to save before he was killed?  

That's a hard truth to ask Rhett. I know...I've been living it for 7 months. I wanted a new experience and this is what I got. I wanted to be able to relate with Jesus in a real way and I got what I asked for.  

What experience are you asking for?  

Thank you for reading :) 

Throwing Stones 

Had a recent interaction with someone that really left me vulnerable. As some people know, I went through a season of life where I was a devout Christian in a local non denominational faith. I was taught that the Word of God as found in the Bible has the ability, when shared, to bring about lasting change in someone’s life and help to fortify their experience here in the things they want in their lives instead of the things they are shamed by. I still believe this message. So I’d like to go a little Old Testament with you for a minute. :) 

So. David. Same David as David and Goliath. You’ve got a kid, probably in his teens, that hears about a big scary man that has been killing his family members in his tribe, criticizing and laughing at the God that he was raised to respect. He goes out onto the battlefield with a pebble. “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45 

Then this kid puts one pebble in a sling, hits the giant in the head, kills him, and cuts off his head. 

I feel like good words from God have this kind of power. One good swing with some good truth or a good story from a good friend has completely realigned, readjusted, and kind of popped my head off my shoulders many times in my life. It doesn’t seem to take much. Though it is possible to go from speaking good things to speaking bad things. Peter said something profound and “Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:17. Then Peter said something stupid, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’” Matthew 16:23. Maybe it’s good to think of our words as stones or rocks that we are throwing sometimes. I’d be good to look at it before we send it out of our mouths. Before we cause someone to stumble over them. 

Let’s go back to David. Kid kills a giant, secretly gets anointed King behind Saul’s back, who was the current King. (Different Saul from New Testament Saul who became Paul) Goes through years of Saul trying to kill him, ends up becoming King officially and leads as a man after God’s own heart for years. 

Then one day David sees Bathsheba taking a bath on her rooftop. Dude trips up bad, has sex with her, kills her husband to cover it up, then spends at least 6 months before the prophet Nathan comes and calls him out in 2 Samuel 12. 

Hey! You just got the cliff notes from 1 Samuel to 2 Samuel. That’s pretty legit! 

So now David’s family has a bunch of weird incest and murders over the next few years. He ends up getting usurped by his son who is trying to kill him and goes into hiding just like he did with Saul. 

Now he’s walking down the road one day thinking about how one night completely destroyed his whole life up to that point. He’s gone through a lot since his difficulties with Saul, but now this happens. “As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!’ Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.’ 

But the king said, ‘What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” who can ask, “Why do you do this?”’ David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.’” 2 Samuel 16:5-12. 

  

I’ve also been through many extreme life experiences since I was the one preaching online. Some have been as shameful as David’s time with Bathsheba, others I was a king of my own freedom and happiness. I’ve felt the misery of the curses and the beauty of the blessings. 

  

Recently some might have seen the conversation that I have had recently with a very passionate Christian. I initiated conversation with him because I was hoping to toss a pebble in his shoe for him to think about as he interacted with people through his life. I feel that a lot of stones were thrown back at me. Yesterday and today it escalated to a point where I chose to block him. 

  

I know where he’s coming from and I love him for being so passionate about what he believes to be right. 

  

But the Bible also says look at the fruit. By the end of our interaction I was a liberal, mind controlled, homosexual Palestinian that he felt was criticizing and laughing at the God that he takes very seriously. But he had to throw a lot of stones in order to feel like he was getting his point across. 

  

I want to be like David where I only have to offer one pebble in hopes that it changes someone’s life. 

  

I’m trying to be like Jesus where I can stand for the one being pelted by rocks and ask that we stop throwing things at each other altogether. 

  

I pray that this experience leaves a lesson for me, for the specific individuals directly involved, and for those that read it. 

  

 

Daily Meditation, Hearing the Silent Voice 

Everyone has their daily practices. Some people wake up and have to make coffee first thing. Others will spend time in bed with their phones, sometimes for hours, before getting ready for the day. These habits are either invested in consistently and they grow in importance to us. Or they come in like a new year’s resolution and fall back away the 2nd week of having that fancy gym pass. 

Once I entered into the Christian faith the first thing I was asked to consider was the underlying impacts that these seemingly inconsequential thoughts and actions were creating in my life. When I lay in bed for hours before I get up how do I feel once I finally have the motivation. What am I looking at as I lay there? Am I thinking about how it seems that everyone else is listening to each other and being heard? Or am I thinking about the people that I could listen to and maybe learn from? 

That’s been a huge aspect of this growth for me. Even when I was homeless between the ages of 18 to 20 I just wanted to help and be heard by those around me. When I feel comfortable enough to speak, which is thankfully more often now, I enjoy doing so. When others speak I try to listen as intentionally as I can. Words are powerful, intentions through your words are powerful. 

But to be honest, I think we speak way too much right now. 

I’ve been learning recently how important the intentions that are sent out from us are. And these are not reflected by words, but by energy. Energy that begins building in our hearts the moment we wake up and will still be there when we try to sleep at night. Every thought, every inclination, every internal commentary affects the energies that we are portraying by just being in this reality, and everything can pick up on it. 

Why should you not be afraid around a rabid dog or a wild animal? They can sense your fear. 

But here’s my question. Can you sense your child’s fear when voices are raised? Can you sense your dog’s fear when the fireworks are going off? Can you sense your lover’s fear when you leave out that one aspect of the conversation that changes the whole context of what you’re saying. 

Can you sense your own fear? Can you feel how it is affecting your environment? Do you care enough for yourself to find habits that help mitigate the fear and help grow the courage to stand a little straighter in the face of adversity. 

I use to spend hours in bed with a phone, starting my day by watching all of these people talking about how excited or fearful they are. And they would change their story each day. I would get into judgemental mentalities where I felt that no one would want to hear what I would say. Then I would go through the day thinking dark thoughts about the people around me that were obviously living such amazing lives on the outside, but felt so tumultuous to me on the inside. 

But then again, I’ve felt pretty tumultuous myself during those times. And I wasn’t building a habit that helped, but one that exasperated the situation even more. 

The personal habits that I have incorporated into my life to help with this are as follows. I hope that some of them would be habits you can incorporate into your life. Just like coffee in the morning, they grow stronger and more stable with consistent time investment each day. To those individuals that showed me these practices in the first place, thank you. :) You know who you are. 

Instead of grabbing my phone in the morning, I like to sit and breath intentionally as I first wake up. Dreams have been getting more intense and sometimes I feel like a bag full of spiders and rats running around causing havoc to my energies. Laying and breathing helps start the day more intentionally. 

Next I like to go through a yoga sun salutation. I try to do these 3 times a day. Morning, afternoon and evening. Picture of flow is at the top. 

Through the day I like to put good intentions and thoughts into my food while I eat. Which means I usually eat in silence or prefer silence. 

I like to repeat mantras in my head during the day when I can feel that balance of energy inside of me start to shift through my emotions. My favorite one is Om Mani Padme Hum. Which is roughly translated to the universal lotus holds the jewel of enlightenment. 

I like to read, study, practice, or think about something a little farther than I did the day before. 

I like to listen to intentional music and try to consider what kind of energy influx certain songs will have at certain times. 

I like to listen to the wind, the rain, the water and especially the birds through the day. Allowing times of silence where the world around me can speak for a moment. 

I like doing epsom salt baths. But really really hot ones. Kind of mixes the idea of the intensity of a sweat lodge with stagnant water instead of steam. You can put all kinds of cool things in it too. Essential oils, diatomaceous earth, stuff like that. 

More than anything, I like to pray. I like to intentionally try to think and say good things about people in my mind and out loud as I feel the pull towards my own selfish behaviours. 

I feel like these practices allow one main thing for me. They allow me to hear what I am saying and what others are saying when words aren’t enough to reflect the true heart behind the emotions. I’m grateful for these practices and I hope that some of them might help you too. 

May we hear our hearts, hear our minds, hear our bodies, hear ourselves, and through this hear each other in our moment by moment truths. May it lead to compassion, love, trust. May it lead to moments when words can be used to uplift. 

May everyone’s verbal and silent voices be heard.

Son of God, Entitled? Or Cultivated? 

Christ constantly called himself the son of God. After he left, the mentality that we are now the sons and daughters of God germinated throughout the converts which filtered through Roman Catholicism before being brought over to America. America was an opportunity for new growth, and especially, new converts. 

The first people group we met were the enemies of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes. They had met the French first down south. So they knew enough of the language to get one point across. The Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribe were Sioux. Which is French for enemy. 

The mentality that was brought to America through the settlers was that of entitlement and ownership. Immediate gratification. We are the Sons of God that are here to industrialize and commercialize everything for our own gain. Even the individuals that live on the land that we think we own. 

Remember Andrew Jackson? That ring a bell from history class? Let’s see what he said in 1833. “My convictions upon this subject have been confirmed. That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear. Such has been their fate heretofore, and if it is to be averted it can only be done by a general removal beyond our boundary and by the reorganization of their political system upon principles adapted to the new relations in which they will be placed.” 

So picture this for a minute from a Native’s perspective. Your family group and tribe have lived on this land for centuries. You have sacred songs and ceremonies that have been passed down by elders for generations. The ground is sacred and deserves a reverence as she is walked on. The tobacco is sacred and is smoked at specific times for focused intentions. The ecosystem has found balance with the give and take of plants and animals to keep your family alive. 

Then one day a group of new settlers come in, call you an enemy, tell you that you are inferior to them and their hidden intentions and begin killing 6 million of your tribe in the name of industrialization, commerce, and degradation of the ground that you have been taught to walk on with respect. 

The one thing some tribes had was plant medicine. But in the 60’s hippies looking for “immediate enlightenment” trashed the peyote farms in Texas and made it illegal for even Natives. 

Let me repeat that. Our need for immediate gratification desecrated a sacred medicine that has been treated holy by the people it was given to and made it illegal for even them to use. 

I’ve met a lot of people recently that are once again looking for that immediate gratification. Some in regards to enlightenment. What I have learned from the medicine that has been shared with me is that anything that is worth doing is worth giving time to the process instead of expecting immediate results. You don’t plant a tree and get fruit from it the next day. That’s what Walmart is for. 

I’d like to see a world with less Walmarts and more people cultivating their our fruit trees and the fruit of their own lives for months or years instead of 5 minutes and then telling everyone they just went through one of the greatest changes in their lives. It has been a 7 ½ year process of a lot of really high ups, really low downs, and a lot of guidance and direction that I really didn’t want to listen to at the time. But someone treated me like something sacred and gave me their time in hopes to see good fruit over months, years, or even decades to come. 

I’ll end with this. We already had a Son of God and he already died on a cross. We don’t need another one. What we need are Sons and Daughters of God that show some respect for his creation again. That cultivate the ground for years to bring lasting fruit instead of going to McDonalds for a burger right now because I’m hungry right now and someone should put food in my hand because I have enough money to justify it. True justice is found in the earth. When you hear the screams of 6 million dying so that you can be here right now. Looking for your immediate gratification. We need to respect the equality of all things. Not the entitlement of one race. 

Jesus washed his disciples feet. Would you wash mine? Would I wash yours? What about the homeless drunk? What about the children dying on the Native reservations? 

Are we really so enlightened and sacred that we can make a whole nation into the image of the enemy Sioux and justify it with ignorance? 

What does it really mean to the be the Son of God? Because He was also the Son of Man. And my human family, of all races and colors and walks of life, have been begging for a savior of men from God a lot longer than I have. Do we put in the years of hard work, or do we go to Walmart for a quick fix? 

I love you. I pray for us. May we learn from history. I never want to see this part of history repeated again. 

Mitakuye Oyasin

Summary

 

Here I leave everything that I've written or has inspired me that has stood the test of time since I began writing in 2010. 

I hope it uplifts and encourages you.

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