Summer Sadhana

Where do I come from: An Analysis

I come from strong willed, curious famers. Generations back to ancestors called scotts, pennsylvania dutch, cherokee, german quakers; further still to those who danced with the cycles of the moon and abided the seasons with ritual & faith. Saying grace at dinner & bedtime methodists. Capable, good hearted, sometimes naive, hard working, military serving, daughters of the american revolution qualifying, land loving, river admiring migrant texans.

Described by a number of researchers as one of America’s oldest and yet least well-known and largely invisible subcultures“, I come from smithsonian viewing, rv vacationing, landmark visiting, vbs attending, fire pit singing, horseshoe throwing, rocky mountain or wranglers wearing, pasture playing, livestock tending, national geographic reading, early home computer using, red cross, girl scouts, independent, helping hands southerners.

Cornbread, pot pie, taco, spaghetti, or chicken fried steak night, do your chores, latch key kid, jump rope for heart, gifted & talented, just say no to drugs, FFA, 4-H, apple pie baking, rodeo sports, boy crazy, small town graduating, junior college drop out, city bound creative.

I come from a performance conservatory, business apprenticing, manhattan streets education. Service industry working, theatre district yoga, open-mics, dance-floors, subway/bike/ducati ridding, girl kissing, nytimes reading, bagel eating, street meandering, sexual assault surviving, theme parties, red wine, flirtation and enthusiasm filled decade.

I have been a beach transplant and an excitable community & cultural justice advocate. I’ve been know to socially participate, house & personal business renovate. A coalition building, divorced, good at the scramble, invested in spiritual evolution, flow arts occupying, cis gendered strait passing bi-sexual. An anti-racist studying, meditating, traveling, ego eradicating, glitter loving, emotional clairsentient sapiosexual who’s working towards integrating & recalibrating the unconscious and seeks pleasures. All of this to say that I am an intersectional human, like the rest of you.

So, since we are all magnificent and multi-faceted how about we lower our weapons, embrace our fullness, soften our words, compassionately enter the field of play, sharpen our discernment, make collective care a priority, and let love shape our values so we can be true agents of solidarity?

Also, please vote.

I, You, Me, We, Them, They, Us

August 2020

I had a powerful, mystical,  experience this month as I drove from Chamberlain, SD to Bozeman, MT across highway 212.

Backstory goes like this: 2020 was supposed to be the year of self discovery, a makeover, a chance to reconnect to my center if you will. Having finally cycled through the end of a six year relationship that included co parenting, marriage, householder duties, and an evolution in responsibilities (and friendships) both domestic and professional, I decided that I would give myself the gift of travel to spur my imagination, bury a few long held narratives, celebrate independence, and glide towards a new physical location in which to plant some roots and develop community. 

My expectations were high indeed. 

We all know what followed next; shelter in place, a disjointed pandemic response, terrifying unemployment, a resurgence of social justice in the form of the #BLM movement, crisis schooling, a rise in domestic violence, a deep yearning for “normality” for “relief” for anything to make it all stop…the only thing left was a horde of locusts and the potential for “first contact.” All of this to say, it’s been a year of incredible upheaval, uncertainty, and (for me personally, if not also collectively) a time to reevaluate our priorities and relationships at all levels. 

So, though my travel plans shifted their beginnings by about three months I hit the road (covid test negative) with a face mask, a box of disposable gloves, plenty of hand sanitizer, and a list of off the grid locations by which to land as I made my way across these great “united” of states.

Being on the road offered the opportunity to invest in self study and I chose to spend my time listening to several podcasts in order to educate myself on the topic of White Supremacy; Specifically, how our inherited system of capitalistic oppression has impacted Black descendants of slaves and Indigenous Americans and by extension the way I have unskillfully moved through the world in ignorant support of those systems. Let me be clear, these are deeply rooted and complicated truths to uncover, dismantle, reconfigure, and embody and I am not qualified to educate anyone as I am still a student (and white). If you are looking for resources for your own anti-racist work I suggest you start here

These were the thoughts that were top of mind as I’ve traveled. 

Advancing into Wyoming I was greeted by a red fox that I enthusiastically called out to from the comfort of my Subaru barreling down the road in the midday heat. Acres and acres of flat land transformed into mountains with trees and winding rivers as I meandered through Custer National Forest, whose name screams of colonialism, and on through the lands of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. By then I was acutely aware of my own existence being built on the occupation of the lands, far greater than what is highlighted as boundaries in my Rand McNally road atlas, and so I offered up a silent prayer to the ancestors announcing that I had come in peace and I acknowledged my own compliance in the continued subjugation of their people. I asked for safe passage. It was the right thing to do, ask permission, to enter and travel through lands that are not ours. 

As I passed from Cheyenne Nation into Crow Nation I offered up my prayer again and a brown beaked hawk swooped in front of me riding the wind with grace and competence. I said thank you feeling that I’d been received by the wisdom that these lands, and their inhabitants, possess. The stunning views were more than enough to humble my heart and break it wide open to the grandeur that is called Montana. Quickly, the temp dropped by twenty degrees, the wind picked up thrashing against my car and the tall grasses that cover the countryside. I had to slow down so as not to get knocked off the two lane severely under maintained road. Dark clouds as far as the eye could see rolled in and blanketed the region. Lightening transformed the sky and the rains arrived. It wasn’t violent, it was stunning and commanding and my attitude shifted to deferential and alert. 

I said: Spirits of the Air I hear you!  Spirits of the Water, I hear you! Spirits of the Earth, I hear you! Spirits of the Fire, I hear you! I realized in that moment that all four elements were on grand display and that I was trembling. I understood that there’s great power in each of them, within the history of these territories, and that somehow I was remembering something… 

So, I sit and listen. This encompasses the extent of my Sadhana. 

I watch the wildlife and I remain open to the teachings of nature. I’m asking the old timers to share their stories and for clues that will illuminate the land and its rich history. From the front step of my cabin in a valley outside of Three Forks next to the willow tree and a field of dancing yellow flowers I ask the land to guide me. In return, I offer my life to the service of the liberation of all beings. In return, I anchor my thoughts on the remembrance that we are all one.