Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vote with your feet and walk in the gap.

The monsoons are heavy and thick with water loaded air, so much so, you can smell it. It makes for a long moment when you have to go out into it no matter how short or long the jaunt. All of this is happening as I am bringing water elemental teachings to my students. It's funny how when you teach, there are new things learned, understood, and clarified. It's sort of like an unending period of training that brings about new questions and thoughts of your own as you try to anticipate what your students will ask. There is always something that surprises you. Goes to show how differently people think about similar circles. Which is why I am always surprised when other people expect you to think and do as they would in any given situation with a smug " well I would have done that. . . it's only logical." Well, no, it's not unless you share perspective and exact experience.

This is why there is such a schism in the craft, even within a single tradition, not to mention everything else in life. Currently the largest schism I am witnessing is between the genders. There is one side saying that their way is better than the other and they should hold power. Well, I disagree and this is why. Any time there is one agency holding any sort of power a perspective is negated because it does not fit into that agency's paradigm of how things should be done, usually to the disadvantage and victimization of all perceived minorities or opposing factions. We see this happen all the time and tend to ignore it: men vs. women, Christianity vs. anything else, cats vs. dogs, heterosexual vs. homosexual, GMO's vs. organic foods. . . the list can continue for quite a ways here so I'll just commit a sin and assume you get it.

The problem we are encountering is is not a schism between what is being polarized, but the negated perspectives that cause the polarization in the first place. Remember the phrase: walk a mile in someones shoes before you judge them?" Maybe instead of judging them we should be observing their experience and absorbing its effects. I know that sometimes the problem comes about because an experience is not properly communicated through either humiliation or deception. Which is why it is important for us to not judge when someone does communicate something such as Marion Bradley Zimmerman's daughter did, or Jada who has recently been attacked and then again through social media, or when someone in power such as Paul Ryan says something to the effect of rape being a method of conception in regards to his pro life views. I suppose it's a step up from someone such as Todd Akins who clearly is mistaken when he was heard stating that a woman who is raped cannot become pregnant because the body shuts down. What these two examples illustrate are the difference between someone who holds an ideal of life and the other is either severely uneducated or worse deliberately spreading lies. While it's an abomination to say the things both of those gentlemen did, it exposes their mind set and it should be heard so we can decide how we are going to use our power in this situation. However, in order to determine this we need to be able to listen to the perspectives.

 Are we going to like everything we hear? Absolutely not, but we do not have to agree with it and can make different choices. When you shut a faction down, choices are removed leaving other factions disenfranchised and trapped in whatever situation they are in usually resulting in a volatile situation. Each side is so busy vying for power and control that they not only refuse to acknowledge the other as human beings they stop acting as human beings. We see this most eloquently in the public conversation being had about how the unborn are people, corporations are people, but women and their reproduction organs must be legislated into an oblivion as though we are not people. They become so obsessed with their goals, fears and agendas that the means justify the ends and they justify anything they did while minimizing or even denying harm done driving each faction into deeper raving, foaming at the mouth, madnesses until no one can see straight. They become sociopaths or they may have started out as psychopaths. Either way, the real goal of these fighting factions is obtaining power and not just any power. . . the worst kind: power over.

You will hear all sorts of reasons why Patriarchy should rule and why Matriarchy should rule, some of them may be deceptively seductive and sound logical. However, the true course of power should be managed in a balanced manner that heals schisms which means that not one agency should rule everything: not Matriarchy, not Patriarchy, not Oligarchy or Theocracy. We should shudder when any one agency vies for power in the manner we are seeing happen today in all arenas. We should deny them that power in any way we can. The best solution: vote with your feet. The Grand Canyon may have a huge gap between the sides, but the places between those gaps are beautiful and worthy of exploring. Ok, you might need goat feet. . . but first go inside and see if what you believe are really your beliefs.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Got Goat Feet?

Everything around me was moist and green and fertile. I had forgotten what the forest floor looked like with its black black earth that crumbled beneath my hands as I wandered off trail to forage for oak moss. It had been far too long. I remember camping every year at least twice a year up until I was married. But here was the forest patient, as ever, with a certain lack of people noises that usually haunt my everyday existence. Birds sang * sometimes squawked*, the creek babbled, the bees hummed, beetles popped and clicked, and the breeze made a chorus of the leaves in the canopy above. The way the light filtered down upon me in dapples and streams made a dancing mosaic of the mosses and ferns on the floor and revealed patches of wild raspberries. It horrified my little man as I began to pick them off the canes and pop them into my mouth: Mom! that's not food! His Oma asked him where he thought raspberries should come from and he replied with a matter-of-factly from the store.

He needs more woods. He needs more 8000 feet elevation up in the clouds, play in the water, stomp off the trail with mama Mount Lemon. He refused to go up one of the hills with me because his Aunt told him the bears will eat him, but he plucked up the courage to go and skim the edge of the creek with me earlier in the afternoon. . . not sure what the hill up had to do with bears, but oh well. Miss B. went on a four mile hike with her Opa, Aunt and Cousin, got a lesson on how to use a compass and to wear better shoes hiking. It's been what feels like a thousand years since I was in a forest that felt remotely familiar and home like. I have been in Flagstaff woods and it's not bad, but it's not like the woods I grew up investigating with sticky pine resin covered fingers. The earth is still compact and baked to a hard clay tile forest floor. . . Prescott is better in that area of feeling familiar, but Mount Lemon just sang with a familiar, wet, black voice.

It felt good to scramble up the side of the mountain off the path and to a place hidden by fallen trees and sprawling patches of ferns and moss to leave an offering to the spirits there where the eyes of man can't pry to see. I whispered my secret words to the secret folk and without looking back used my goat feet to shimmy back down to the trail. That which I had gone to fetch was found. I had secretly hoped to spy some mistletoe to harvest, but the only mistletoe I spied lay on the ground dying with it's tree long gone. Only broken branches remained.

I will have to return to Mount Lemon often with children in tow to get them to earn their goat feet and mad wild berry picking skills up in a place where clouds make islands of mountains. I feel like I am finally waking up again after being shut down for so long. I didn't know I had been shut down until I started to wake.