Community building requires community healing. And what does that look like?

"Staying ‘home’ and not venturing out from our own group comes from woundedness, and stagnates our growth. To bridge means loosening our borders, not closing off to others….To bridge is to attempt community, and for that we must risk being open to personal, political, and spiritual intimacy, to risk being wounded."- Gloria Anzaldua

"Quedarse en la casa'' y no aventurarse fuera de nuestro propio grupo viene donde estamos heridos y proviene nuestro crecimiento. Para hacer puentes signifa que abriemos mas de nuestras fronteras y que no cierremos a otros… Para hacer puentes es intentar comunidad, y para eso tenemos que corre el riesgo de ser abierto a personal, político y espiritual intimidad, a correr el riesgo de ser heridos. "
Gloria Anzaldua

Everybody is waiting for the movement to happen ! And we dont realize we are the movement. Its me and you coming together and having some honest and maybe painful truthtelling between us. But there is probably some beautiful thing we will create together as a result. I want to speak to each person in my community.Let's get the party going.

Todo el mundo está esperando a que el movimiento a ocurrir! Y nosotros no darse cuenta de que somos el movimiento. Comienza la communidad cuando usted y yo tienemos algunos conversaciones doloroso pero verdarosos . Pero es probable que algunos bellos cosas que es probablemente vamos a crear juntos . Quiero hablar con cada person en mi communidad.Vamos a comienzar esta fiesta !

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Dont you know that true love ask for nothing.

This is originally by Stevie Wonder but I also love this version by George Micheal and Mary J Blige.
This is what I define as suavecito/a. I like that Mary J is wearing a suit and that GM is all in his gayness.Its all about staying in love and loving yourself. Its about soul, self respect and self love of all of that you are good or bad. Its not about being somebody's else fake concept of cool or playing somebody's role or script. No formulas. Pure creativity is within them and their gifts.Being themselves...
I love that they are dancing with themselves and each other.
I sing this song all the time. Yeah I sing maybe not perfect but I sing. I just feel like this for the most part in everything I do. You cant take my joy away.. not now... not ever... even when Im right here inside me.
Ill be loving you always even when I am being cabrona...maybe loving you means I have to be cabrona. Ill be loving you always..winkwink

Friday, December 25, 2009


-John Lennon

I actually wrote this last year at Christmas, Monday, December 29, 2008

I woke up with this song in head and while I may be having a good time with family and friends this Christmas, the question today must be answered. What have I done?
The song is John Lennon’s Christmas Card to his beloved planet. Its more than a “I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” tralalalala song. It has the background singers and Yoko Ono singing, “War is over if you want it”
So John gave his planet a song wishing us well. John Lennon also left us reminder that if we really want war to be over, we can have it. So I begin to think of war.
If I think of what my country has done to other people in other countries or even within itself-a civil war I think about civil rights, apartheid and specifically apartheid with indigenous people and their descendents. I think about me and my Mexican people. I think of anti- immigration and gay hate. I think of self hate.I also think of conflicts between me and people in my community. In all my hurt, have I waged war against people, or have I waged war against the hurt between people? I have waged war with the hate and hurt within me and between us. I hate we cant get it together and be together. Togetherness is all I am after. Not together as in I own you. But a belonging. I belong to somebody. Somebody cares a lot about me is all about what I am about!! Have I gone to war against someone or something? Who and what am I fighting? And what is a good fight?
War is over if I want it.
So my war is over with you.
If no one is my enemy. Then what is destroying me and you? What keeps me from loving you? It brings me to my final conclusion that I am my own worst enemy. I have done my best to transform my hurt and I still remain in love. I want to master hurt -both mine and yours . I want to have the mastery to not walk away from a fight, but to face a fight by not fighting at all. I want to fight IT the things that divide not you.
I just want to be able to wave my hand or say the right things to open your heart, or better yet by my mere presence transform hurt. So
I must remain in love to wage war against the hurt between us. This in turn will become effortless and then I will have learned the lesson of
Unconditional Love.
Now, then this turns into a good fight not war.
And so now this is Christmas and my question is:
And what have you done for love?
War is over.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I can eat 6 easy all by myself. But gringo version would be two each. Chubby gringos would eat 6 easy. Im hungry. I love toasting tamales on a griddle where the corn husk is slightly charred with hot coffee or chocolate in the morning with my beloved and family all beside me and good friends.....maybe with some homemade salsista y eggs with chorizo....makes see God all over again.add some mezcal in my coffee...ummm.
Ora Si its beginning to look like CHREEZMAS. I love you baby! Eres Dios!
P.S You can only see God, if you are really in love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

You'll Lose A Good Thing

I awoke the other morning with the song in a dream called,"You'll Lose a Good Thing". At first I didnt think about what it all meant but I started to sing it in the dream and I sounded good of course.So, I think this is a lot on peoples minds or at least on my jedi knights minds lately. Or of the awakened minds I know,we have this to ask of our beloved. If you lose me, you'll lose a GOOD thing.
Jessica, my Jedi knight friend says, MO BETTA.
i had found different versions, but I thought since Im Tejana, how perfect than Freddy Fenders version of soul song. I love it. Here is the version of it and yeah I am a GOOD person.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Archangel Tzaphkiel
B107 - Turquoise/Deep Magenta
Born - 14th December 2009 at 11.00am
The deeper aspects of the Divine Feminine
The watery aspects of the whole of Creation
Dwelling within Binah on the Tree of Life
Ruler of the order of the Angels called Aralin
Guardian of the Akashic Chronicles and their mysteries
The holding of an eternal ocean of compassion
The deeper aspect of intuition, the inner tuition of the heart
The overcoming of obstacles and the healing of strengths
An invitation to inner disarmament in order to reveal the True Gold
The death of what was and the purification of Myrrh
A love that asks us not to "get out of the Way,"
but to become the Way
A glimpse, and a call, from deeper realities and dimensions
An expansion of personal individuation into the collective
Through this bottle She comes to protect the light workers in the temples of their bodies


The birthing of TZAPHKIEL commenced on the 19th November, the morning after Linda Tucker and I completed the White Lion Aura-Soma® workshop at Dev Aura. In the birthing processes of the Equilibrium bottles, it has been the longest we have experienced so far. When the understanding was given that the birthing would be complete on the 14th December, we realised that this day also corresponds in the Angelic realm to the Angel Ariel, whose name means "Lion of God." In addition, the function of Ariel as "perceiver and revealer of Divine mysteries" further relates to TZAPHKIEL as guardian of the Akashic Records, also called the Book of Life, in which the story of each soul is said to be written. TZAPHKIEL is offering us access to the ancient-future mysteries of Love and Truth so that more of the totality of who we are might become manifest in our present lifetime. As we progress from the energies of B106 to B107, we are approaching the end of a long tunnel that has been filled with shadows. As the new light of personal and interpersonal harmony dawns, we can begin to see the peace that beckons to us from the spaciousness of a transformed future.

Since 14 December corresponds to the heart influence of Ariel, the connection between the Lion and Ariel (which relates to B23 of the Equilibrium bottles) with the emergence of TZAPHKIEL suggests that what comes to us through the birth of B107 is the power and purpose of a compassionate Lion-Hearted Love -- a love come to alchemize us further toward the golden-beingness of personal and collective individuation. Thus, TZAPHKIEL invites us to expand the feeling of love into the purpose and commitment of love. This expanded love holds an ocean of compassion in which we may bring all we have ever been into reconciliation and harmony with all we might become. It is a love that asks us not to get out of the way, but to become the Way. It is a love with the presence to not only energize the little things in our daily activities -- events, encounters and the why and how of what we do -- but also to propel and expand our personal individuation into collaboration with the individuations of those around us, and ultimately to all in the evolution of the collective Earth-Heart.

In our personal journey of individuation we often respond from the mental plane rather than listening more to the star within, the shining essence of our being which speaks to us an "inner tuition" ever reminding us of who we are. As we go along in a direction where decisions are made and perceptions understood mainly from the intellect, the inner light may seem to dim. Thus when we sense a "call" from a more profound level or dimension, at first we may feel an uneasiness or anxiety. The Deep Magenta in TZAPHKIEL is the depth that is being stirred as the soul asks us for deeper acknowledgement. Each of us is a gossamer light-being, fragile within the density of our physicality. We often push at our physicality too hard, and in our striving the gossamer may seem to shrink as we begin to feel our vulnerabilities, which we can mistake for weaknesses. However, when difficulties surface and give us a feeling of being over-exposed, they are actually asking to be healed, and ultimately revealed as our greatest strengths.

When we look at the numerical correspondences of 107, we are given also the sense of a test -- a test in relation to the karmic patterns of B10, the Wheel of Fortune, and B7, the Garden of Gethsemane, the final test of faith. B10 is about the karmic seeds and the consequence of what we plant, and the 7 is the test which is always amplified to maximise our opportunity as we plant the seeds. When these two bottles or understandings come together in the Green/Violet of the Troubadour, B17 (10 + 7), then we are reminded of the colours of the B106, Misty Pale Olive/Misty Lilac, and we see the progression from the muted light of B106 to the soul-stirred illumination of the Turquoise in B107. The B17 Troubadour bottle represents the outward journey of B95, Archangel Gabriel, messenger of the star. This reminds us of the soul/ incarnational star connection that enables us to bring down that which is above us through that which is before us: the information, energy and raw materials of the conditioned patterns needed to commence the transmutation toward the gold within us.

Since we tend to identify more with the dense material of our being, TZAPHKIEL as the Divine Mother comes in compassion to help us birth the light body from within the chemistry of our physical bodies. In this way we are offered the "light-support" needed to respond to the soul-stuff within and above. As we engage the deeper within-realms, the energetic presence of the soul star above us is drawn closer to our physicality. The "base mettle" of our humanity is transformed by the commingling of the human and the divine within us. We ultimately become "temples of light," as the fullness of who we are and what we are here to do is illuminated and expressed.

It might be said that if Truth is the "What" of our purpose, then Love is the "Way" which can illuminate how our Truth is to be expressed. TZAPHKIEL comes to help birth and accelerate us into alignment with our mission and purpose. Change and loss are experiences that create space in us quickly for the taking in of something new. As we become lion-hearted, with the courage to allow rather than resist difficult events or circumstances, we begin to see them as the contraction of energy that necessarily occurs before the bursting forth of new life. And when we are truly ready, some ordinary event will suddenly -- and yet naturally -- occur, leading to a remarkable encounter or opportunity that will seem to draw together all the elements of our creativity and life experiences as if we had been prepared our whole lives for this moment by some prescient future. As this occurs, TZAPHKIEL can help to ease us out of old karmic patterns as well as the contrivances of effort - the pushing and pulling at life to achieve this thing or that. Where we have become over-identified and fatigued by circumstance -- losing sight of our bigger purpose -- the rescue aspect of the Turquoise of B107 invites us into the grace of unfoldment and the wonder of allowing ourselves to simply step into the flow of our fulfilment.

The numerology of B107 further illuminates the rescue aspects of the Turquoise that are related to our individuation. 107 reduces to the single digit 8, the numerical correspondence for manifestation, and we must not forget that this is connected to the whole of the Aura-Soma® ("light-body") system (the letters of Aura-Soma numerically correspond to 8 as well). B8 (Anubis) relates the story of how the heart is weighed against the feather for lightness of being. As this story affirms, when love propels us we often move through our lives with a sense of flying or "floating on air." A heart that is not heard or expressed becomes heavy and wing-tethered. TZAPHKIEL calls forth the questions of Love and Truth that determine how much our hearts are heeded in our life choices: Do we love what we do, or are we doing something other than what we love, or are we unable to put our love into what we do because we are out of love with ourselves?

TZAPHKIEL therefore comes as the Divine Mother to support us with compassion and protection so that we might allow our hearts to return to expressing love through what we do and the way in which we do it. This support is offered in the Clear/Turquoise combination of B86, which is the return journey of the 8, relating to Titania, the Queen of the devas and the fairy realm. Titania's story of "release from misplaced love to a remembrance of her true feelings" invites us to activate the "colour code" of Love and Truth residing within our own hearts to create a life that matters -- a life that is utterly expressive of our own unique being and purpose. To help us with this, Titania's winged devic realm offers to be our intermediaries to the angelic realm in order to bring messages from above to the Earth plane. In this way, the Earth of our personal and collective physicalities, as well as our planetary dwelling, may be healed and evolved by the resonance and acknowledgement that human interaction with the devic world brings. Supporting this interconnection is also part of the mission of TZAPHKIEL.

TZAPHKIEL brings the first bottle to contain the essential oil of myrrh. This month commemorates the long-ago birth of a new Light of the Divine, heralded by the Nativity Star of the Christ. Paradoxically, myrrh -- long associated with funeral preparation -- was one of the three gifts given to the newborn Jesus. This correlates with the concept that the birth of the Christ in physical form began mankind's transition from the "old covenant" to the "new covenant" -- as the birthing of a Love that would ultimately transcend the aspects of dogma and law that held humanity in old Self-defeating patterns. Thus, a new birthing may be said to signify the death of what was so that what will be can be born. Myrrh's anti-microbial properties also suggest a support against subtle energies, as well as societal constructs and manipulations, which can sabotage us as we begin to birth more of the eternal totality of ourselves into the present life.

This energy of TZAPHKIEL, expressing the deepest aspects of the Divine Feminine to nurture and protect, does not have to be pushed or pulled, but rather allowed and accepted as an expression of the I AM of Life Itself ever-birthing within, through and as us. On the outside, it is Love living out loud with lyricism of heart and a joyful roar of purposefulness as we crawl, walk, leap and fly through our days and dreams upon this Earth. It is Love with the lightness of being that is so naturally expressed when it no longer has to strain against fear, unwillingness, shame or feelings of unworthiness that usurp our most precious birthright, which is to be Love Itself. This is indeed the time of emergence for the particular and unique hue of Love-in-Beingness which each of us has come to shine forth into this world, a world which so needs the full Love-and-Truth of us all.

In Love and Light
Mike Booth, with thanks to Terah Cox

AURA-SOMA Products Limited
Tetford, Horncastle, Lincs. LN9 6QB
T: +44 (0) 1507 533581 F: + 44 (0) 1507 533412
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Solstice Monday Dec 21 2009

--- On Sat, 12/19/09, wrote:

Subject: Soul-Stice 3 Year Phaselock with 2012!
Date: Saturday, December 19, 2009, 7:10 AM

Greetings Tribe of Light


Please tune in, esp at the precise moment:
Monday Dec 21 9:47AM PST, Yellow Solar Human day, 13Kan

but also, know that during Solstice the Sun stands still for 3 days
before the Return of the Light - so it is an auspicious window of time!

While these are important times to gather with our family and communities, these are also important times to go deep within ourselves and to let go of the old, making space for new life and new creativity to blossom.

In this regard, I would like to share with you a message I found very inspiring, in the hopes it might also move you to engage in personal ceremony during this 3 day window.

The following message is from my dear friend and cosmic ally, Ariel Spilsbury (author of The Mayan Factor and the 13-Moon Oracle):

"Dear Beloveds,

What a powerful "Duir" door this Winter Solstice offers! Solstice means Sol-sun and stice..stands still. Far from the frenetic energy that is promulgated by the culture, the three days around Winter Solstice are a time to go inward, to "stand still" in the darkest time, to deeply inquire into what shadow baggage is calling to be totally released before you enter into the cycle of the Return of the Light. Some things are true, and sometimes they are truer still. This is one of those times. We have been personally and culturally in a process of dissolution of our baggage for many years now, and THIS solstice is time to look at what single shadow you have carried in your life that is like a "curse" or "spell" that you have "been under", that you are truly ready to take FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS CREATION AND FULL RESPONSIBILTY FOR ITS RELEASE!

What pattern has come down your family line that you have felt to be completely unable to be changed, so powerful was its "spell"? And by spell i mean the strength and tenacity of the belief system or pattern. Reaction is a portable prison.* Culturally this is a potent time to break the spell and break free! These dark days during Solstice are particularly powerful for that process, so please consider taking time to do a deep contemplation to discover what the spell has been and do an intentional ceremony to release it for yourself and the collective One!

This does not have to be a "heads down, serious, un-fun" process. It can be as easy as asking yourself, "I wonder why I would cast this spell in my life and who is the character in me who is continuing to perpetrate it in my movie and further more "I think i will just make a new casting call and REWRITE THE SCRIPT of my life movie without that pattern!! That could be a lot more fun way to look at doing this process. "How can I animate and amplify the most desirable story/script for my life? What NEW VOW do I want to put into motion in my life?" For moving through the "duir" of the new year, these are questions worth answering in a Solstice Ceremony. As starhawk says in a wonderful chant you can use, "The Wheel is Turning, What Will You Give to the Night? Response: _____________ is gone with the night. Answer that and truly give it to the Dark Mother to be transmuted, that the Divine Child in you may be birthed this Solstice!!!

Starhawk's traditional Solstice Greeting: "This is the night of Solstice, the longest night of the year. Now darkness triumphs; and yet, gives way and changes into light. The breath of nature is suspended; all waits while within the Cauldron, The Dark King is transformed into the Infant Light. We watch for the coming of dawn, when the Great Mother again gives birth to the divine Child Sun, who is the bringer of hope and the promise of summer. This is the stillness behind motion, when time itself stops; the center which is also the circumference of all. We are awake in the night. We turn the Wheel to bring the light. We call the sun from the womb of night. Blessed Be."

"The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night, known also as the Mother Night. It is considered to be the start of a new year and the rebirth of the new sun. We honor the power of darkness, the Divine Mother, the womb of creation. Yule is the return of the sun and rebirth of light. It is a time of new beginnings and a great time for dedication to new projects. We celebrate and welcome the rebirth of the sun Goddesses. Winter Solstice is a magical time for visions. Rhiannon rides through the dreams of her people by night, transporting them to the place between the worlds where they can create their own visions, giving them a gift of what they need most, helping them to make their dreams real. Let us collectively dream a new heart-centered world where our visions of Heaven on Earth are manifested."


And here is an excerpt from my 2012 website to tune in with the larger picture page.htm

2012 - What's the bottom line?

On a collective scale, we are experiencing a time period in which all that has been unconscious is becoming conscious. All that has been hidden is being revealed. Whether we look to our own lives, or to the state of global affairs, the locks are being thrown off of secrets, the wounds, vulnerabilities, shadows and incongruencies are being exposed. Simultaneously, the truth and depths of our authentic beingness is also being revealed. As the Hopi say, we are living in the Time of Great Purification. Simple words, vast meaning.

We are living in precious and precarious times; exciting, fragile and mysterious. Our human population of 7 billion people is unprecedented. According to Wikipedia, by the year 2000, there were 10 times as many people on Earth as there were 300 years ago. According to 2009 data from the CIA's factbook, the world's human population now increases by 220,980 people every day. We are each drops in this sea of humanity, part of the physical and psychic collective. We are remembering our unity by facing our shared challenges. The crises we now face are bringing us together to inspire our constructive creativity. There is no way out of this prophecy, only a way through.

This is now the time to embrace all that has been dishonored or denied, for it is emerging to be purified and sanctified. All that is manifesting on the inner and outer planes reflects the sacred intensity of these prophetic times. The polarities and imbalances within us and around us are becoming clearer. Love, beauty, co-creation, and compassion permeate this world. Multi-faceted victories of art, community support, healing and evolution shine all around us, illumating the spirited grace of our true nature. Meanwhile, this world is steeped in fear, brutality, pain, and disease. Endless anguish of anxiety, separation, disconnection, confusion, isolation - alongside the toxic realities of egoic, callous greed and corruption, materialism, addiction, and dangerous ignorance. Accountability is required on all levels of our existence. In this process of becoming transparent, we are invited to shed egoic programs of fear and limitation, letting go of and transducing old stories about ourselves and our identities.

The 2012 synchronization is reminding us we are on a journey together; the twists and turns of our lives contribute to the collective manifestation taking place. We need to honor the importance of the closing of this cycle without hyping it up with fear and expectations. We need to let go of focusing on dates in the future and embrace the possibilities that live within us, right now, that are here to guide us into the new pages that we can write with our collective consciousness.

Let's drop the script that 2012 is bringing the end of the world and understand that it is bringing the end of a great cycle. Rather than passive victims, we are here to be conscious participants of this world age transition process. Let us perceive 2012 as a code signalling us that these planetary moments are summoning us to align with our deepest potential and access the deepest dimensions of who we truly are, knowing that as a whole we are enduring a great initiation process to learn how to live in harmony with each other and with Nature.

It seems the fundamental question this prophecy is pointing us to is: How can we live and operate in conscious awareness of our Oneness, our Interdependence? We are being asked to deeply understand that our lives are intimately woven together with All of Life. We must embody this comprehension and let it guide our human efforts.

The bottom line is that this world is ours to shepard. This moment lives within us. We are all instruments of culture. We need to focus our attention on our powers of creativity as human players in this planetary equation. Our mental, spiritual, emotional and physical energies are the vivid colors splashing on the canvas of Life. What is the quality of our collective art? How can we refine our contribution?

This is no time to try to figure things out with the mind, but rather to learn to listen from the heart. The more conscious we become of our potential to be conscious, the more our potential finds us; our self-reflective awareness deepens and flowers.

We need to support ourselves in processing the trauma of these times. Rather than furthering the trauma by numbing out and being indifferent, it is important we face the pain and tragedy of our world that is crying out. The medicine this can offer comes when we let it break our hearts into even deeper compassion, opening the channels for more holistic responses.

Ultimately, we can only find a harmonious way through this passage by finding our hearts. That is the message. Why? Because our heart is naturally tuned to the unity of all of life, and therefore lives in respect of it. By finding genuine compassion, we access genuine wisdom. As Jose Arguelles says: "We are the Peacemakers we've been waiting for!"

The moments unfold,
bringing tests and opportunties.
The mystery blooms in our heart,
with petals of innocence and stalks of wisdom.
We shine as fellow rays of light
in an emerging garden of loving awareness.
Basking in each others' abundant colors,
we are One under the Sun.

Eden Sky, Red Self-Existing Skywalker



Friday, July 31, 2009

Changing Our Attitude Toward Pain

From the book, “Practicing Peace in Times of War” by Pema Chodron -An excerpt from the chapter Changing Our Attitude Toward Pain

According to Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life. For one thing, we cannot escape the reality of death. But there is also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don’t want. These kind of difficulties are facts of life. Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love. All of these things would happen to you. If you got cut or burned, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes misery in our lives. What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happenings-this sense of ours that there could be security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.
In this very lifetime we can do ourselves and this planet a great favor and turn this very old way of thinking upside down. As Shantideva points out, suffering has a great deal to teach us. If we use the opportunity when it arises, suffering will motivate us to look for answers. Many people, including myself, came to the spiritual path because of deep unhappiniess.Suffering can also teach us empathy for others who are in the same boat. Furthermore, suffering can humble us. Even the most arrogant among us can be softened by the loss of someone dear.

Yet it is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely, or inadequate, there’s been some kind of mistake, or we have lost it. In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path. This is where real transformation can take place.

As long as we are caught up in always looking for certainty and happiness, rather than honoring the taste and smell and quality of exactly what is happening, as long as were always running away from discomfort, were going to be caught in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment, and we feel weaker and weaker. This way of seeing helps us to develop inner strength. And what’s especially encouraging is the view that inner strength is available to us at just the moment when we think we have hit bottom, when things are at their worst.

Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain?” Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace-disappointment in all its many forms-and let it open me?” This is the trick.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Activism and Mind Training By Pema Chodron

Activism and Mind Training

Gampo Abbey

When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi.

This [lojong slogan] has various translations. I have trouble myself with the word evil. But I think the translations all use the word. What it's getting at is when you find your life situation is causing enormous pain —or even slight pain— it's causing discomfort, not hiding from that, not running from that, in the usual ways we do.

Instead, let it transform you into the path of bodhi, the path of awakening. Let it wake you up.

I imagine on any average day of your life, you have a few you have of these painful emotions, outward situations that cause you to feel a lot of distress, emotional intensity of some kind. Then what is the suggestion? It says, Let it transform you.

First thing is taking the attitude of being curious about what's happening. In other words when there is pain, becoming curious. Just that, letting there be kind of a pause before the chain reaction begins.

Last week I talked about acknowledging being such a powerful tool. Acknowledging what's happening. You just acknowledge that pain is happening. Sometimes people will use different words they'll say, "My conditioning is kicking in here," or "My usual habits are being triggered here." You don't have to use fancy language. You can just acknowledge that you're feeling pain.

When you're sitting each day, instead of feeling the sitting is a time to chill out and forget about all that- particularly if it's got you in its grips, but little ones are also good to work with because they're not so overwhelming. When you sit down, first thing is you have to train in this extremely difficult and revolutionary advice to just let the words about it go, to let the words about it go, letting the thinking go, the story line. That is the basic instruction. It's not easy to do this. To sit and purposely churn it up a little bit. This is the contemplative part with your sitting practice this particular day- it may wind up being every day- you think about what's bothering you. To get in touch with the clenched quality of it, the sorrow, the grief, the loneliness.

What this is leading to is that first just acknowledge that something feels like a lump in your heart, or your throat, or your stomach, as is the energy if hot and molten, blocked and not moving, hard, but in any case pain, just pain.

Just start getting in touch with your body, find it in your body, find your unhappiness, your pain in your body. Usually we have places where we hold. It's valuable instruction to soften your belly because there is a lot of tension holding there. Just get in touch with it and breathe in and out where the tightness is.

You're trying to get close to it in an experiential way that's not just talking about it to yourself. Anything to get you away from the description of what's going on, who's to blame. Really being fully with the pain. This is somehow part of the pith of lojong is a whole different approach to being with pain, using it as an aid to awakening.

In order to use it as an aid to awakening you have to know it. We just feel this uncomfortableness and then there's a lot of mentally running away. Everything from dissociating so you're actually not there, which is involuntary and there's not a lot you can do about it except notice that you're dissociating. I'm not saying that you're supposed to do a specific thing, except that in your own way, in the way you're capable at that time, just acknowledging what's happening with an attitude of kindness. You can call it an attitude of self-compassion. That doesn't have to have any words to it. It's just a gentle approach to acknowledging that there's pain.

If it's possible to feel it, and the reason I'm stressing it is rather than think about it, you're going to think about it. The stories are going to blossom like a garden going wild, seeds popping out all over the place, flowering with your resentful thoughts, your how I'm going to get even thoughts, how you're going to make it all OK, that's my favorite, that's what I do. Or how I'm not going to do it this time. Whatever. As best you can, let the words go and really feel it as a way of knowing pain in a non-verbal way. Even if it's just for half a second.

If that's all you do, that is revolutionary right there. The heart of lojong is just taking a different attitude towards pain is something that can transform us rather than something we harden around, something that we protect against, we push away, and then the whole ego structure is really based on trying to get away from that pain.

It's kind of fear-based. I gave a teaching in Berkeley over Labor Day just on the subject of fear and I'll just say very briefly here what I taught that whole weekend is if you begin to find the pain, there is fear in it, it's the tension of pushing away, the hardness that you'll find there.

Someone said to me once, "Find the fear." I think the idea was that I was supposed to look and look and I wouldn't find anything. I came back and I said, "I found it. It's this huge painful knot in my solar plexus. And it's undeniably there." Then the teacher said, "That's already the resistance to the pain." What you're experiencing as pain is already the resistance to fear, the clutching, so there are meditations that could be of benefit to you where you breathe in and out of the pain. It's a mindfulness practice for going into the heart of the pain.
This is pain which we may call anger, pain we may call "rejection," pain we may call everything going wrong, stress, We call it a lot of things but if you actually sit down and go into it, you usually find a physically felt thing. Then you get as close as you can.

This is the pith of transforming unfavorable circumstances into the path of awakening, or letting the unfavorable circumstance transform you. People will often say "What does this have to do with the fact that people are living on the streets, people live lives where they are surrounded by violence, where they have no safety, no protection. I want to do something to help this situation. I don't want to just sit on my red or black or brown or whatever colored cushion and get in touch with MY pain."

The point here is that effective action starts with self-knowing, self-understanding of where we're caught.

You don't want to start helping people out of your uptightness, out of your strong sense of you're going to get revenge. It escalates the aggression and even though you may have short term successes, somebody has been so provoked by your aggression that the retaliation comes back. The cycle of aggression continues... century after century after century.

This is sort of like the Buck stops here. If you want to be an activist to work with the suffering of the world, jump right in and when you find that you can't do it, it's over your head, because your own fear, your own aggression, your own resentment, then do this practice.
It's not like either/or. You may be able to jump into a situation and the limits of your open-mindedness may be very wide. But when you meet the limits of your open-mindedness, then all your conditioning, all your uptightness click in.

Then it's like shutting down. You can't help this person anymore. They become your opponent. They're the ones driving you crazy. When you start to do the work of working with the suffering of the world, you find again and again that you can't get it to work out right. It's just people loving people.

It isn't that they turn out the way You want them to, or that the whole situation turn upside down because of your efforts. This is where the selflessness comes in, by jumping right in and being honest about meeting the edge of your open-mindedness and you experience it as pain, as rage, as resentment, as loneliness, as feeling misunderstood. We don't have to be activists to do this practice. It happens right in your own kitchen, your own office, on the streets, on buses, all over. You have plenty of opportunity to feel pain and to feel that we're in unfavorable circumstance or a difficult place...

The traditional lojong instruction is to then breathe in for yourself with the recognition that this pain is globally experienced, experienced by all of humanity, all our brothers and sisters feel this. We are very unique in terms of our personal histories, our stories.

When you get this close to pain, that's universal. Everybody feels fear, anger. Different things may trigger for different people. Breathe out sending relief.


Photo by Christine Alicino.
Pema Chödrön in conversation with Alice Walker
San Francisco | September 1999

Alice Walker: About four years ago I was having a very difficult time. I had lost someone I loved deeply and nothing seemed to help. Then a friend sent me a tape set by Pema Chödrön called Awakening Compassion. I stayed in the country and I listened to you, Pema, every night for the next year. I studied lojong mind training and I practiced tonglen.

It was tonglen,the practice of taking in people's pain and sending out whatever you have that is positive, that helped me through this difficult passage. I want to thank you so much, and to ask you a question. In my experience suffering is perennial; there is always suffering. But does suffering really have a use? I used to think there was no use to it, but now I think that there is.

Pema Chödrön: Is there any use in suffering? I think the reason I am so taken by these teachings is that they are based on using suffering as good medicine, like the Buddhist metaphor of using poison as medicine. It's as if there's a moment of suffering that occurs over and over and over again in every human life.

What usually happens in that moment is that it hardens us; it hardens the heart because we don't want any more pain. But the lojong teachings say we can take that very moment and flip it. The very thing that causes us to harden and our suffering to intensify can soften us and make us more decent and kinder people. That takes a lot of courage.

This is a teaching for people who are willing to cultivate their courage. What's wonderful about it is that you have plenty of material to work with. If you're waiting for only the high points to work with, you might give up, but there's an endless succession of suffering. One of the main teachings of the Buddha was the truth of dukha, which is usually translated as "suffering." But a better translation might be "dissatisfaction." Dissatisfaction is inherent in being human; it's not some mistake that you or I have made as individuals. Therefore, if we can learn to catch that moment, to relax with it, dissatisfaction doesn't need to keep escalating. In fact it becomes the seed of compassion, the seed of loving kindness.

Alice Walker: I was surprised how the heart literally responds to this practice. You can feel it responding physically. As you breathe in what is difficult to bear, there is initial resistance, which is the fear, the constriction. That's the time when you really have to be brave. But if you keep going and doing the practice, the heart actually relaxes. That is quite amazing to feel.

Pema Chödrön: When we start out on a spiritual path we often have ideals we think we're supposed to live up to. We feel we're supposed to be better than we are in some way. But with this practice you take yourself completely as you are. Then ironically, taking in pain-breathing it in for yourself and all others in the same boat as you are-heightens your awareness of exactly where you're stuck. Instead of feeling you need some magic makeover so you can suddenly become some great person, there's much more emotional honesty about where you're stuck.

Alice Walker: Exactly. You see that the work is right ahead of you all the time. Pema Chodron: There is a kind of unstuckness that starts to happen. You develop loving-kindness and compassion for this self that is stuck, which is called maitri. And since you have a sense of all the other sentient beings stuck just like you, it also awakens compassion. Alice Walker: I remember the day I really got it that we're not connected as human beings because of our perfection, but because of our flaws. That was such a relief.
Pema Chödrön: Rumi wrote a poem called Night Travelers. It's about how all the darkness of human beings is a shared thing from the beginning of time, and how understanding that opens up your heart and opens up your world. You begin to think bigger. Rather than depressing you, it makes you feel part of the whole.

Alice Walker: I like what you say about understanding that the darkness represents our wealth, because that's true. There's so much fixation on the light, as if the darkness can be dispensed with, but of course it cannot. After all, there is night, there is earth; so this is a wonderful acknowledgment of richness. I think the Jamaicans are right when they call each other fellow sufferer, because that's how it feels.

We aren't angels, we aren't saints, we're all down here doing the best we can. We're trying to be good people, but we do get really mad. You talk in your tapes about when you discovered that your former husband was seeing someone else, and you threw a rock at him. This was very helpful (laughter). It was really good to have a humorous, earthy, real person as a teacher. This was great.

Pema Chödrön: When that marriage broke up, I don't know why it devastated me so much but it was really a kind of annihilation. It was the beginning of my spiritual path, definitely, because I was looking for answers. I was in the lowest point in my life and I read this article by Trungpa Rinpoche called Working With Negativity. I was scared by my anger and looking for answers to it. I kept having all these fantasies of destroying my ex-husband and they were hard to shake. There was an enormous feeling of groundlessness and fear that came from not being able to entertain myself out of the pain. The usual exits, the usual ways of distracting myself-nothing was working.

Alice Walker: Nothing worked.

Pema Chödrön: And Trungpa Rinpoche basically said that there's nothing wrong with negativity per se. He said there's a lot you can learn from it, that it's a very strong creative energy. He said the real problem is what he called negative negativity, which is when you don't just stay with negativity but spin off into all the endless cycle of things you can say to yourself about it.

Alice Walker: What gets us is the spinoff. If you could just sit with the basic feeling then you could free yourself, but it's almost impossible if you're caught up in one mental drama after another. That's what happens.

Pema Chödrön: This is an essential understanding of vajrayana, or tantric, Buddhism. In vajrayana Buddhism they talk about how what we call negative energies-such as anger, lust, envy, jealousy, these powerful energies-are all actually wisdoms in disguise. But to experience that you have to not spin off; you have to be able to relax with the energy. So tonglen, which is considered more of a mahayana practice, was my entry into being able to sit with that kind of energy. And it gave me a way to include all the other people, to recognize that so many people were in the same boat as I was. Alice Walker: You do recognize that everybody is in that boat sooner or later, in one form or other. It's good to feel that you're not alone.

Pema Chödrön: I want to ask you about joy. It's all very well to talk about poison as medicine and breathing in the suffering and sending out relief and so forth, but did you find any joy coming out of this?

Alice Walker: Oh Yes! Even just not being so miserable. Part of the joyousness was knowing we have help. It was great to know that this wisdom is so old. That means people have had this pain for a long time, they've been dealing with it, and they had the foresight to leave these practices for us to use. I'm always supported by spirits and ancestors and people in my tribe, whoever they've been and however long ago they lived. So it was like having another tribe of people, of ancestors, come to the rescue with this wisdom that came through you and your way of teaching.

Pema Chödrön: I think the times are ripe for this kind of teaching.

Alice Walker: Oh, I think it's just the right medicine for today. You know, the other really joyous thing is that I feel more open, I feel more openness toward people in my world. It's what you have said about feeling more at home in your world. I think this is the result of going the distance in your own heart-really being disciplined about opening your heart as much as you can. The thing I find, Pema, is that it closes up again. You know?

Pema Chödrön: Oh no! (laughter) One year of listening to me and your heart still closes up?

Alice Walker: Yeah. It's like what you have said about how the ego is like a closed room and our whole life's work is to open the door. You may open the door and then discover that you're not up to keeping it open for long. The work is to keep opening it. You have an epiphany, you understand something, you feel slightly enlightened about something, but then you lose it. That's the reality. So it's not a bad thing.

Pema Chödrön: No.

Alice Walker: But it's frustrating at times, because you think to yourself, I've worked on this, why is it still snagging in the same spot?

Pema Chödrön: That's how life keeps us honest. The inspiration that comes from feeling the openness seems so important, but on the other hand, I'm sure it would eventually turn into some kind of spiritual pride or arrogance. So life has this miraculous ability to smack you in the face with a real humdinger just when you're going over the edge in terms of thinking you've accomplished something. That humbles you; it's some kind of natural balancing that keeps you human. At the same time the sense of joy does get stronger and stronger.

Alice Walker: Because otherwise you feel you're just going to be smacked endlessly, and what's the point? (laughter)

Pema Chödrön: It's about relaxing with the moment, whether it's painful or pleasurable. I teach about that a lot because that's personally how I experience it. The openness brings the smile on my face, the sense of gladness just to be here. And when it gets painful, it's not like there's been some big mistake or something. It just comes and goes.

Alice Walker: That brings me to something else I've discovered in my practice, because I've been doing meditation for many years-not tonglen, but TM and metta practice. There are times when I meditate, really meditate, very on the dot, for a year or so, and then I'll stop. So what happens? Does that ever happen to you?

Pema Chödrön: Yes. (laughter)

Alice Walker: Good!

Pema Chödrön: And I just don't worry about it.

Alice Walker: Good! (laughter)

Pema Chödrön: One of the things I've discovered as the years go on is that there can't be any "shoulds." Even meditation practice can become something you feel you should do, and then it becomes another thing you worry about. So I just let it ebb and flow, because I feel it's always with you in some way, whether you're formally practicing or not.

My hunger for meditation ebbs but the hunger always comes back, and not necessarily because things are going badly. It's like a natural opening and closing, or a natural relaxation and then getting involved in something else, going back and forth.

Alice Walker: I was surprised to discover how easy it was for me to begin meditating many years ago. What I liked was how familiar that state was.

The place that I most love is when I disappear. You know, there's a point where you just disappear. That is so wonderful, because I'm sure that's how it will be after we die, that you're just not here, but it's fine.

Pema Chödrön: What do you mean exactly, you disappear?

Alice Walker: Well, you reach that point where it's just like space, and you don't feel yourself. You're not thinking about what you're going to cook, and you're not thinking about what you're going to wear, and you're not really aware of your body. I like that because as a writer I spend a lot of time in spaces that I've created myself and it's a relief to have another place that is basically empty.

Pema Chödrön: I don't think I have the same experience. It's more like being here —fully and completely here. It's true that meditation practice is liberating and timeless and that, definitely, there is no caught-up-ness. But it is also profoundly simple and immediate. In contrast, everything else feels like fantasy, like it is completely made up by mind.

Alice Walker: Well, I feel like I live a lot of my life in a different realm anyway, especially when I'm out in nature. So meditation takes me to that place when I'm not in nature. It is a place of really feeling the oneness, that you're not kept from it by the fact that you're wearing a suit. You're just in it; that's one of the really good things about meditation for me.

Judy Lief: I assume, Alice, that as an activist your job is to take on situations of extreme suffering and try to alleviate them to some degree. How has this practice affected your approach to activism?

Alice Walker: Well, my activism really is for myself, because I see places in the world where I really feel I should be. If there is something really bad, really evil, happening somewhere, then that is where I should be. I need, for myself, to feel that I have stood there. It feels a lot better than just watching it on television.

Judy Lief: This is where you bring together your private practice and your public action.

Alice Walker: Yes. Before I was sort of feeling my way. I went to places like Mississippi and stood with the people and realized the suffering they were experiencing. I shared the danger they put themselves in by demanding their rights. I felt this incredible opening, a feeling of finally being at home in my world, which was what I needed. I needed to feel I could be at home there, and the only way was to actually go and connect with the people.

Pema Chödrön: And the other extreme is when our primary motivation is avoidance of pain. Then the world becomes scarier and scarier.

Alice Walker: Exactly.

Pema Chödrön: That's the really sad thing-the world becomes more and more frightening, and you don't want to go out your door. Sure there's a lot of danger out there, but the tonglen approach makes you more open to the fear it evokes in you, and your world gets bigger.

Judy Lief: When you are practicing tonglen, taking on pain of others, what causes that to flip into something positive, as opposed to being stuck in a negative space or seeing yourself as a martyr?

Alice Walker: I think it's knowing that you're not the only one suffering. That's just what happens on earth. There may be other places in the galaxy where people don't suffer, where beings are just fine, where they never get parking tickets even. But what seems to be happening here is just really heavy duty suffering. I remember years ago, when I was asking myself what was the use of all this suffering.

I was reading the Gnostic Gospels, in which Jesus says something that really struck me. He says basically, learn how to suffer and you will not suffer. That dovetails with this teaching, which is a kind of an acceptance that suffering is the human condition.

Pema Chödrön: It is true people fear tonglen practice. Particularly if people have a lot of depression, they fear it is going to be tough to relate with the suffering so directly. I have found that it's less overwhelming if you start with your own experience of suffering and then generalize to all the other people who are feeling what you do. That gives you a way to work with your pain: instead of feeling like you're increasing your suffering, you're making it meaningful.

If you're taught that you should do tonglen only for other people, that's too big a leap for most people. But if you start with yourself as the reference point and extend out from that, you find that your compassion becomes much more spontaneous and real. You have less fear of the suffering you perceive in the world-yours and other people's.

It's a lot about overcoming the fear of suffering. My experience of working with this practice is that it has brought me a moment by moment sense of wellbeing. That's encouraging to people who are afraid to start the practice-to know that relating directly with your suffering is a doorway to wellbeing for yourself and others, rather than some kind of masochism.

Alice Walker: I would say that is also true for me in going to stand where I feel I need to stand. I feel I get to that same place. I also appreciate the teaching on driving all blame into yourself. We need a teaching on how fruitless it is to always blame the other person.

In my life I can see places where I have not wanted to take my part of the blame. That's a losing proposition. There's no gain in it because you never learn very much about yourself. You don't own all your parts. There are places in each of us that are quite scary, but you have to make friends with them. You have to really get to know them, to say, hello, there you are again. It's very helpful to do that.
Pema Chödrön: One of the things the Buddha pointed out in his early teaching was that everybody wants happiness or freedom from pain, but the methods human beings habitually use are not in sync with the wish. The methods always end up escalating the pain. For example, someone yells at you and then you yell back and then they yell back and it gets worse and worse. You think the reason not to yell back is because, you know, good people don't yell back. But the truth is that by not yelling back you're just getting smart about what's really going to bring you some happiness.

Judy Lief: The lojong slogan says Drive all blames into one, that is, yourself. But there are definitely situations where from the conventional viewpoint there are bad guys and good guys, oppressors and oppressed. How do you combine taking the blame yourself with combating oppression or evil that you encounter?

Alice Walker: Maybe it doesn't work there. (laughter) Pema why don't you take that one. (laughter)

Pema Chödrön: Well, here would be my question: does it help to have a sense of enemy in trying to end oppression?

Alice Walker: No.

Pema Chödrön: So maybe that's it.

Alice Walker: I think it's probably about seeing. As Bob Marley said so beautifully, the biggest bully you ever did see was once a tiny baby. That's true. I mean, I've tried that on Ronald Reagan. I even tried that on Richard Nixon, but it didn't really work that well. But really, when you're standing face to face with someone who just told you to go to the back of the bus, or someone who has said that women aren't allowed here, or whatever, what do you do? I don't know what you do, Pema, but at that moment I always see that they're really miserable people and they need help. Now, of course, I think I would love to send them a copy of "Awakening Compassion."(laughter)

Pema Chödrön: It's seeing that the cause of someone's aggression is their suffering. And you could also realize that your aggression is not going to help anything. So you're standing there, you are being provoked, you are feeling aggression, and what do you do? That's when tonglen becomes very helpful. You breathe in and connect with your own aggression with a lot of honesty. You have such a strong recognition in that moment of all the oppressed people who are provoked and feeling like you do. If you just keep doing that, something different might come out of your mouth. Alice Walker: And war will not be what comes out.

Judy Lief: It seems to me that Dr. Martin Luther King had the quality of a tonglen practitioner. Yet he didn't ask us not to take stands.

Alice Walker: He was from a long line of Baptist preachers, someone who could really get to that place of centeredness through prayer and through love. I think the person who has a great capacity to love, which often flowers when you can see and feel the suffering of other people, can also strategize. I think he was a great strategist. I think he often got very angry and upset, but at the same time he knew what he was up against. Sometimes he was the only really lucid person in a situation, so he knew how much of the load he was carrying and how much depended on him.

As activists, it is really important to have some kind of practice, so that when we go out into the world to confront horrible situations we can do it knowing we're in the right place ourselves. Knowing we're not bringing more fuel to the fire, more anger, more despair. It's difficult but that should not be a deterrent. The more difficult something seems, the more it's possible to give up hope. You approach the situation with the feeling of having already given up hope, but that doesn't stop you. You said we should put that slogan about abandoning hope on our refrigerators.

Pema Chödrön: "Give up all hope of fruition."

Alice Walker: Right. Just do it because you're doing it and it feels like the right thing to do, but without feeling it's necessarily going to change anything.

Pema Chödrön: Something that I heard Trungpa Rinpoche say has been a big help to me. He said to live your life as an experiment, so that you're always experimenting. You could experiment with yelling back and see what happens. You could experiment with tonglen and see how that works. You could see what actually allows some kind of communication to happen. You learn pretty fast what closes down communication, and that's the strong sense of enemy. If the other person feels your hatred, then everyone closes down.

Alice Walker: I feel that fear is what closes people down more than anything, just being afraid. The times when I have really been afraid to go forward, with a relationship or a problem, is because there is fear. I think practice of being with your feelings, letting them come up and not trying to push them away, is incredibly helpful.

Question from the audience: Thank you both for being here and bringing so much pleasure to so many people tonight. I'm asking a question for a friend who couldn't come tonight. She was at Pema's three day seminar and she left on Saturday feeling badly because she had got in touch with her anger and couldn't stay. Now she feels she's a bad Buddhist, a bad practitioner. I've been trying to tell her it's okay but I think she needs to hear your words.

Pema Chödrön: Well, tell her we're used to using everything that we hear against ourselves, so it's really common to take the dharma teachings and use them against yourself. But the fact is we don't have to do that anymore. We don't have to do that. It's just like Alice saying that the heart opens and then it closes, so she has to realize that's how it is forever and ever. She'll get in touch and then she'll lose touch and get in touch and lose touch. So she has to keep on going with herself and not give up on herself.

Question: This is really hard on her because you two are her favorite people in the entire world.

Alice Walker: And she didn't come?

Question: She's so broken-hearted.

Pema Chödrön: She didn't come because she was so ashamed of herself for not being able to stay with it...that's not true, is it?

Question: Yes, it is. Pema Chodron: Really. Wow. You should tell her that she's just an ordinary human being. (laughter) What's a little unusual about her is that she was willing to get in touch with it for even a little bit.

Question: My name is Margaret, and I have practiced Tibetan Buddhism for a number of years. About eighteen months ago, right around the time that for the first time in my life I fell in love with a woman, the Dalai Lama made a number of comments pointing out where the Tibetan tradition did not regard homosexuality as a positive thing, but in fact as an obstacle to spiritual growth. It reached the point that I left the sangha I was connected with and found a different part of the spiritual path that's working for me now.

I have gay and bisexual friends who are interested in Buddhism but some of them have been stopped by what the Dalai Lama had to say and by the lack of coherent answers from other people. I think it would be a big service if you could address that.

Pema Chödrön: Well, listen. I have so much respect for the Dalai Lama and I think that's where people get stuck. I didn't actually hear those comments, and I heard there were also favorable comments. But aside from all that, as Buddhism comes to the West, Western Buddhist teachers simply don't buy that. It's as if Asian teachers said that women were inferior or something. I mean, it's absurd. That's all there is to it. (applause) It's just ridiculous.

Question: Let me ask you to say that often and loud.

Pema Chodron: Sure! I go on record. And I'm not alone, it's not something unique with me. Western teachers, coming from this culture, we see things pretty differently on certain issues and this is one, for sure. But the Dalai Lama is a wonderful man, and I have a feeling that if he were sitting here he'd have something else to say on the subject.

Alice Walker: You know, when he was here at the peace conference he was confronted by gay men and lesbian women and he readily admitted that he really didn't know. He didn't seem rigid on it. But also, when there is wisdom about, we should have it! Wisdom belongs to the people. We must never be kept from wisdom by anybody telling us you can't have it because you're this, that or the other.

Question: I have a question about the connection between tonglen and joy. I kind of understood the moderator's question about when you breathe in so much suffering, how do you avoid becoming so burdened or martyred by it? What I'm understanding about tonglen is that there's something kind of transformative about it, when you breathe in suffering and then you breathe out relief and healing. I keep thinking about that prayer of St. Francis of Assisi about being an instrument of peace, and where there is hatred, let me sow love, and where there is despair, let me sow hope. I'm wondering if joy has a place in the ability to make that transformation.

Alice Walker: I think the practice of tonglen is really revolutionary, because you're taking in what you usually push away with everything you've got, and then you're breathing out what you would rather keep. This is just amazing. I mean, it really shakes you up.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Greetings Family of Light

I wanted to share another reminder about tomorrow's New Moon/Total Solar Eclipse: July 22 4:58pm pacific time, Blue Crystal Storm.

It is being called the Solar Eclipse of the Century!
As Daniel Giamario writes: " When determined by length (six minutes 39 seconds) and centrality (the umbra only 275 miles north of the center of the earth) the total solar eclipse of July 21 through July 22 is rightly called the Solar Eclipse of the Century. None will surpass it until 2114." We invite you all to join in and tune in and meditate during these 6 1/2 magical minutes!
This New Moon/Solar Eclipse also aligns with the "Vayeb" which is the purification cycle on the 13-Moon Calendar that always closes the last 5 days of the year. It always spans July 21-25, and it is the time to purify the old and close the year on as high of a vibrational note as possible, paving the way for the New Year cycle to begin on July 26th, Yellow Self-existing Seed.

Also, we wanted to share these new videos featuring Dr. Jose Arguelles. We hope that they might inspire you to join us in activating the Rainbow Bridge Meditation on the Day out of Time!
(They are also on our website homepage)



Greetings Family of Light

I am sending a 2nd email out to clarify my last email -
the New Moon/Total Solar Eclipse is on Tues July 21, Blue Crystal Storm

To clarify, the partial eclipse begins at 4:58 PM pacific time
and the moment of greatest eclipse occurs at 7:35 PM pacific time,
so there is a whole window in which to cast our new moon prayers and intentions! Apparently normally a new moon impacts us for 2 weeks, but with the addition of the eclipse, its affects will ripple for about 6 months!

In UTC timezone:
Partial eclipse 23:58:18 (Jul 21)
Total eclipse 00:51:16 (Jul 22)
Central eclipse 00:54:31 (Jul 22)
Greatest eclipse 02:35:21 (Jul 22)

According to National Geographic, it may be the most viewed eclipse ever!

This alignment of the Sun and Moon can represent the connection between our Conscious and our Unconscious, as well as our Masculine/Yang and Feminine/Yin qualities. There is a link-up of people meditating starting at 7:35pm Pacific Time for the 6 1/2 minutes of totality, with the intention of balancing the Masculine and Feminine. Find out more at

It is being called the Solar Eclipse of the Century!
As Daniel Giamario writes: " When determined by length (six minutes 39 seconds) and centrality (the umbra only 275 miles north of the center of the earth) the total solar eclipse of July 21 through July 22 is rightly called the Solar Eclipse of the Century. None will surpass it until 2114."

This New Moon/Solar Eclipse also aligns with the "Vayeb" which is the purification cycle on the 13-Moon Calendar that always closes the last 5 days of the year. It always spans July 21-25, and it is the time to purify the old and close the year on as high of a vibrational note as possible, paving the way for the New Year cycle to begin on July 26th, Yellow Self-existing Seed.

We'll see you in the magic!

Many Blessings!
In Lak'ech - I am Another Yourself
Eden Sky of SkyTime

Monday, July 13, 2009

EVY AND HEALING Part 2 (Part1 see June 16, 2009 )

Again I am in Monterrey। I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting my update. I traveled back here to visit Dr. Garcia last week and again, my mind was blown away. A little under a month ago, I'd walked into his practice with my cane and walked out twirling it like a baton... OK, I've been told I exaggerate. I didn't lean on it as much... it wasn't twirling :) I walked out very cautiously but definitely WITHOUT pain.
You know, it is so easy as Westerners to disregard anything that we cannot readily prove or explain. It is no wonder that I waited as long as I did before deciding to take my health into my own hands. I've saved myself and my precious body from undergoing major surgery.Anyway, my appointment was short and to the point. Dr. Garcia said he loved the way I was healing and that I looked wonderful. He preformed his routine as he'd done 26 days prior. The only difference was that I had no basis for comparison. I've been pain free since and I have to stress OFF OF NARCOTICS. I have never felt better.
Doc mentioned that my metabolism had started to kick it up a notch and that I should see even more improvement as my body and liver react to their new state. Don't ask how he knew my liver was doing well. That is what he said and I believed him. I am hooked. I will be back here in August and as many times as he asks me to come back.
During my visit I asked that he treat both of my children for allergies. We'll see how they fare once sniffle season hits. Diego loved the "massage". He said he felt just as relaxed as he does when I massage him for bed. Mia couldn't stop talking about her visit the entire ride back to my parent's house. The doctor looked at her and asked if she was constipated (poor baby). Once he placed his hand on her belly, he asked if she had eaten a hotdog or a hamburger. Mia had become vegetarian about 7 or 8 weeks prior and decided to take a break while in Monterrey and eat meat. She had eaten both! I guess you can debate that the doctor saw a couple of "gringo" kids and assumed they ate hotdogs and hamburgers. Again, go ahead and debate... I'm sold!

Dr. Garcia is an orthopedic doctor. He used to preform surgeries in Houston back in the States. He did that for a long time and thought his track record sucked. He was causing bodies more harm than good. He reevaluated his career path and turned to his mother land for guidance. He is of Chinese decent so he traveled to China for 5 years and has combined techniques that have produced results like the ones I have experienced. He claims to be the only one in America ( American, the continents not the U.S. of A. ) to practice this method.I'll be traveling home in a day or two.
I'm homesick, my heart aches, and I'd love to sleep in my bed. I'm exhausted.
P.S.I would like to apologize for omitting names from my last e-mail. I was excited and failed to publicly recognize those that were essential in my physical care and sanity in the days and months after I left the hospital.
If you are reading this e-mail, I deem you important and I appreciate you. My dear friends Raf, Suza, Luna, Blanca, Lois, and Ana... junto a mis padres, Cyn, y familia-- GRACIAS.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

FEAR lyrics by Jazmine Sullivan

I'm scared to try cuz I'm scared to fail
I'm scared to die cuz I'm scared of hell
I'm scared to kiss scared to hug
I'm scared of sex cuz I'm scared to touch
I'm scared to look cuz I'm scared to see
I'm scared of you cuz I'm scared of me
I'm scared to fly cuz I'm scared to crash
I'm scared to move on so I live in the past
I'm scared to fight cuz I'm scared to bleed
I'm scared of love cuz I'm scared he'll live
I'm scared of drugs I'm scared to drink
I'm scared to swim cuz I'm scared to sink
I'm scared to learn cuz I'm scared of truth
Don't wanna gain weight cuz I'm scared of food
I'm scared to think that the label dropped me
I'm scared to think of my album floppin

This may sound silly but it's true
So don't pretend it aint you too
We all afraid of something here
Cuz yu aint human with out fear

I'm scared to start cuz I'm scared
I'll quitI'm scared that people wont like my shit
I'm scared of fame and paparatzi
Rumors startin and people watching
Scared to grow up cuz I'm scared to grow old
Scared of the dark and being alone
I'm scared of war I'm scared of jail
Scared to share a secret cuz I'm scared you'll tell

This may sound silly but it's true
So don't pretend it aint you too
We all afraid of something here
Cuz yu aint human with out fear

See video

Friday, June 26, 2009

Revolutionary Artist

"The role of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible." —Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and activist

As an artist, writer and actvist, I am fascinated to hear artists talk about their art and what they were trying to express. Some people are artists for the attention or fame or ego rush. I was at an art show last night and I never thought Id be hanging out with local artists,the art world, or the fashion world. As a matter of fact, I poo poo the pretentiousness I usually find at these functions. And I hate most art. I want to be wowpowed. Im usually bored with most art or written word but at the same time I am always excited with all the good stuff I can get my hands or eyes on. And as for fashion, I like to be comfortable. I hated it when all the girls when i was coming of age, were into getting dressed up and into the latest fads. But nearing age 50 , I need and want to be polished. I have done some hard work on myself and I am proud of it. Its like polishing up the vintage sportscar that you personally restored. I am a work of art. Y I know it. Prince said cool was self respect. I am cool. I respect myself. No chingues.
I think all art should heal something either for the artist or the viewer/reader/listener. So in my opinion, an artist is a healer. Otherwise, its masturbation. Anybody can make something pretty but can your art move people to a more sacred space or peaceful state.
But really, all I see are people looking for the attention they never got enough of when they were little in their art. Some people just slap paint on the canvas and there is no thought or conciousness to it. they groove to their own ego. And what about truthtelling in art ? Are you doing an honest expression or copycatting?I hate copycats. What made sad about Mexico was when I saw Mexicans trying to be as American standard. Can we be original?
i have to struggle with my art. I fight the censors and doubt of myself. I feel my work is worthless but I know better. So I keep on and pick up the paintbrush even if it kills me to do it.I have bittersweet memories when I am creating.Then I am shocked what my new self has created. And I cant believe I did THAT!
The picture above is of my mama y grandma. I wasnt sure what would come out when I took this. I hadnt even realized they both had on pink. This photo makes me smile for some reason. I guess its because its what is so common to me-two Mexican ladies behind the wheel of a car in a big modern city-Dallas, isnt a sight we put much thought into even if youre Mexican yourself! And I like the bright ass pink and orange air freshner from the rearview mirror against the dull city color. I think the photo makes you wonder about the conversation between the two and the music on the radio. I dunno, but it makes me laugh that perhaps I have taken you to my world for once!
These are my thoughts for right now. I am gonna put some recent pieces of my art that I have sold and talk about my process for each of them. All my art has a story.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rescue the Word By Marilyn Buck

sacred words are in danger
fugitives, they seek cover
bury themselves alive
shamed by the profane
purposes they are forced to servedressed in lily-white lies
words are in danger
english only vows
to tear out tongues
exiled witnesses
to collective memory and homeland ties
sacred words are in danger
trapped, they hang on billboards
judas-goats to conjure deception
sing them shout them
teach themwear them
around your neck
amulets against amnesia

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Evy and Healing

The following is from my friend, Evelyn Escamilla de Chicago via Tejas via Monterrey Mexico.I have been following Evy and talking to her for a few months about her back pain. When I was last in Tejas, we couldnt hook up for me to do some bodywork on her. I kept saying her problem was emotional and not to get the surgery. Her insurance didnt want to pay for it and I had told her a few months ago , there probably was a good reason why she hadnt gotten approved. Now after you read this, we all know why...
When I talked to her today, she was still processing everything.
I love going to Mexico and meeting traditional healers like Don Pedro, who does spine adjustments in the plaza de San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco or Enriqueta Contreras, the partera de Oaxaca.
This is the kind of story that gives all of us hope and faith in something sacred that we all have lost and hope to find again.And this is hard to do in an industrial world.
Thanks Evy for being so open about your experience.

I writing from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, México. I have been here since Tuesday. I usually don't like to travel South in the Summer months because of the hellish heat one suffers from while visiting but this time, our trip had a purpose other that visiting family.
As many of you know, I've suffered terribly from a ruptured disc since April 21, 2008. I have put my body and pocket book through the ringer. I tried chiropractic to relieve my pain. I did acupuncture daily for the longest time to help as well. Heat therapy, Cold therapy, massage, spine decompression & inversion ( which helps by the way ), four nerve blocks in my spine, hundreds of ibuprofen, hydrocodone, and other nasty narcotics that have ruined my digestive system. I have tried prayer... yes... I know some of you are in shock.
I am a very spiritual woman. I do not practice any religion but believe in a power not easily defined.I reached the conclusion last August that I would like to undergo disc replacement surgery as offered by my medical team headed by my orthopedic surgeon. Disc replacement and fusion of my vertebrae were the two options. I was initially denied by my insurance company. I underwent the grueling, painstaking process of practicing patience for nine months while we appealed their decision three times.
The final decision came in May where Blue Cross Blue Shield denied for the last time stating that due to my age and the length of time disc replacement surgery had been around for, it was too risky. It was unsure how my body would react to the new disc and that there would be a possibility of further surgeries down the line. Arghhhhh! Mother Fu&*ers!So for almost 14 months, I have relied on my parents, on Cynthia, and my amazing girlfriends (you know who you are). It has been a humbling experience. I have learned to let go and let the pieces fall where they may. It has been difficult. I am a control freak and you all know that. I have learned to appreciate... truly appreciate the tiniest things. I have incredible children who I have learned are compassionate. They are appreciative, helpful, and generous. I am so very fortunate.Anyway, back to my trip.
I came to Monterrey because my youngest sister had mentioned a doctor/healer man a friend of her was seeing. My sister, her husband, and my mom have also visited Dr. Gabriel Garcia for various ailments. I heard all kinds of incredible stories of his healing power so I decided to come see him. I am very practical and the strictest of skeptics so my decision to see the shaman was due to my desperation. I decided to visit blindly. I did not research him nor his credentials online.I visited La Esperanza Friday morning. We walked into a waiting room. It was all pretty formal. We paid our fee and got a number, 8. There must have been 30 parties waiting. I watched as people paraded in and back out of the consultation rooms. There were two. Every person that walked out had an amazing smile on her/his face. It seemed that the visits were very short. Under 5 minutes.
My number was called and my mom went in with me. She wanted to make sure that the doctor knew that she had "finally" brought me in to see him. He asked what was wrong. I told him I had ruptured a disc over a year ago. He asked me to stand and said "don't you dare let anyone operate on your back, you will not be fine". He began to rub my head, stroking. It was not a massage, he was barely touching my hair. He was speaking very softly as if reassuring himself almost in prayer that I was fine and that everything was going to be fine. He moved his hands to my neck and stopped. He said, "I see your problem between L4 and L5". My eyes had been closed up until this point. I was in shock. Not even my mom knew the details of the location of my disc rupture. She could not have mentioned it to him before. I was speechless.
He asked me to rest on the stretcher face down. I did. My mom was watching the entire time. He began to tell me how I was fine and how he was fixing my disc. He was passing his hands over my back on each side of my spine up and down. He touched every vertebrae softly. I could feel his touch. I could feel his energy run through my back. There was a point where I stopped feeling tense and let go. As he continued, he came to the point of my ruptured disc. Mind you that neither my chiropractor, massage therapist, nor orthopedic surgeon had been able to place their hands on that spot with out me screaming in pain. He touched the area. I assume it was barely, it must have been his energy because I felt no pressure at all. He counted 1,2, 3 and tapped it very very lightly. I felt that.
The entire time he worked on my back, my mom said that he became increasingly agitated. He broke out in a sweat. Mom had visited him various times before and taken other family members. She had never seen him like that.
Anyway, as he said 3, I felt something. It was very hard to describe. I felt a difference. I felt pain free. He ordered me to get up. I could not. I was in shock. I could not believe I even remembered what it was like to feel painless. I broke down and cried. It took me a whole minute to get up. I still could not believe I did not feel pain. Even my meds had not put me in that state.I got up crying. In complete awe. I shook his hand and he said I could hug him. I did.
He asked why I had not come sooner. I told him I could not make the drive once I decided to see him. He said that it was no excuse, that he had been waiting for me. He said he would've sent a chauffeur to get me. I walked out.
Mia and Diego were anxious to know if he had "fixed" me. It told them that I felt very comfortable. I was not sure what he had done but I thought that it had helped tremendously. They were ecstatic. I felt so much peace my friends. I can't describe the state I was in. I think it was peace.
I wasn't sure I could drive home. I was taking inventory of my feelings. Once we did make it home, I must have slept for two hours. I don't usually nap unless it is a med nap :) I felt so good. I had a wonderful day on Friday. I went to bed in this hellish heat complaining about nothing more than that... the heat. My back was fine.I woke up a little achey. My aches went away by noon. It has been over 24 hours and I feel fine. I feel great. I walked out of there without my cane and am walking around cane free.
I am heading home in the next couple of days. I need to get back here to Monterrey in the next week or so for a follow visit with the doctor.
If you have read this far, thank you. I thought it was important to share with you how amazingly well I feel right now. I love you and send you some of this great energy.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cielo Rojo ( Red Sky) -Lila Downs

Red Sky over Alburquerque photo by Maggie Price

I thought I would post these lyrics because I have been thinking about women's passion and desire a lot.My art work is expressing that more. What I like about this song is that it has two women singing to each other. about their love and forgiveness-longing. Maybe its menopause that has made me enjoy taste or sounds more intensely. I breathe much more deeply.I love bigger better.Maybe its that I broke open and not mended shut. Still voy caminando..pero donde?..Does it really matter when you are in the present time?

Sin tu cariño
Voy caminando
Voy caminando
Y no sé qué hacer
Ni el cielo me contesta cuando pregunto por tí, mujer.
Mientras yo estoy dormido
Siento que vamos
Los dos muy juntos
A un cielo azúl
Pero cuando despierto- el cielo rojo
Me faltas tú.
Deja que yo te busque y si te encuentro
Y si te encuentro
Vuelve otra vez
Olvida lo pasado
Ya no te acuerdes de aquel ayer
Olvida lo pasado
Ya no te acuerdes de aquel ayer.

All by myself
Without your love I go walking
I go walking
And I do not know what to do
and the sky wont answer me when I ask for you, woman.

While I'm asleep I feel that the two of us are beside each other
in a blue sky
But when I awake, the sky is red.
I miss you.

Let me find you and if I encounter you
And if you encounter me again,
Forget the past
And lets not remember yesterday.
Forget the past
And lets not remember yesterday.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Greetings Family of Light
Today, Crystal 1, May 30th, 2009 is Blue Crystal Hand.On December 21, 2012, the completion of the 5,125 year cycle of the Ancient Maya, it will also be Blue Crystal Hand.On the Buddhist calendar, today also marks Buddha Shakyamuni's Birthday.

I wanted to send a very quick note out to invite you all to be aware of this and to use today to imprint the most positive energy and vision possible, for right NOW and for the continued unfolding of our nows as we keep spiralling together through the shifting of World Ages...Tomorrow, Crystal 2, May 31, Yellow Cosmic Star, will mark exactly 1300 days left as we collectively journey through The "Closing of the Cycle."

I send unspeakable love to you all, from the heart of my heart.Thank you, deeply, for the work you are all doing in your inner and outer lives to refine and purify yourself as together we keep growing into the shining light of our Truest Nature.

May we all keep looking to our heart as our deepest source of guidance of how to navigate these days and these moments...And of course, as of today, we have entered the CRYSTAL MOON OF COOPERATION.MOON 12 always correlates to May 30 - June 26.This 28-day cycle is also encoded with the focus of: DEDICATION and UNIVERSALIZING.

Now that we have liberated and released in the previous 28-day Spectal Moon which we just completed, it is now time to allow everything to come together into a HIGHER ORDER!In this process, let us learn in a whole new way what it means to cooperate, not only with each other and the many elements of our lives, but also with our own higher selves so that as much as possible, inside ourselves, we can know we are working to come into our highest alignment.The more things come into a higher order, the more "shareable" they are.

This Crystal Moon also embodies the power of the CIRCLE in which all kin hold equal place and power. This is why people in 90 countries have "Crystal Day Round-tables" every 13 days when this tone comes around. It's also because Tone 12, Crystal, is also about reviewing the past and taking stock of where we are at and where we are going.

And of course, last but not least, let us contemplate the code "CRYSTAL" and see what insights and clues that may have for us...And of course, today, Blue Crystal Hand is called a "Magic turtle day" because the tone of the day and the tone of the month match - it is a DOUBLE CRYSTAL DAY!

I'll see you in the one heart as we keep unfolding and flowering together!

In Lak'ech - I am Another Yourself,Eden Sky, Red Self-Existing Skywalker

PS: On Crystal 27, June 25, 2009 Red Crystal Skywalker, I will giving a talk entitled "2012: The Mystery of The Maya" here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. If any of you are in the area, please join me!
Here is the link:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Letter to Anel Flores, El mundo Zurdo Art exhibit y la vida de Gloria Anzaldua

The last time I saw Gloria was in November at Esperanza, 6 months before she died. We went out and talked awhile, and she was on her way in a few days to el Valle. I talked to her about being a curandera and my work, writing , art, metaphysical and spiritual adventures and tales, and she finally had agreed to meet me sometime, in the next few days, so I could work on her body. This was major decision for Gloria because she had issues about touch. So it was about trust, tu sabes ? And she told me she was worried about her health. We couldnt get connected because of phone issues. So the next few month, she had emailed me several times, and a special email for my birthday. She always remembered. I took this for granted. death has a way of making us more grateful.And we got busy y then sass! I get a call from Randy Conner. And then Kit Quan. My first thought was who would take care of me now. She took care of me.

Gloria wasnt tight with too many people. But we were family and this is what has been quite painful. The 3 of us are messed up about her STILL. I dont know about Kit, but I can speak about me and Randy. There is a place we cant even begin to explain how us queers can speak about our love deeper than blood family but still a family. We had a life together.And oppression has made our family invisible.And we made history and paved roads with her. I talked to Randy last week and he said he didnt know if he could speak as a white man on the subject about her work and life. I said Randy, she called you regualrly for 30 something years to listen to her ideas, inspiration,doubts, grief and joy. She didnt do that with just anybody and yeah I had to listen to who she was upset with, and her joys and hurt too. And yeah she got mad at me too and Im sure I frustrated her, but she loved us and relied on us. we were family.
I have no words but just stories to convey how mind boggling it is to have spent so much time and the intimacy I had with her esp when she writing Borderlands. Smoking cigaretes, eating food, eating M&Ms,and sitting down talking tejana dyke borderland stuff and theory not just queer stuff but about Raza and sexaulity etc. And add in while she was in her ultimate Coalicue state.She didnt sleep for days while she wrote Borderlands.
Y there I was a young Tejana dyke hearing her ideas and telling her my ideas.She never treated me like I was young, but her equal.
Im 49 years old now, I am a butch woman and proud of it. But more than that I hope to reclaim the power of our mestiza india spirituality and sexuality. I am deeply blessed to have had the time I had with her.
And she speaks to me in dreams and other ways. And all I know is she wants me to be me and to quit being all shy and quiet. Randy and I are still close to her in other dimensions and how do we speak of such things even with our joteria? We are still in grief and in isolation. He and I cling to each other and are bonded not just in grief but we still have each other. What a glorious time we had with her! but we were just like you doing our work for love and for all of us. We were just rying to do what was right even without the support of anybody. It was just us. We wrote and painted for us sometimes just the 3 of us.
We are and have always been ahead of our time. But its time for us the elders esp the queer ones that are left, and there isnt many, to be our most powerful selves.The show and the love and work you have put into it is VERY important and you may not realize it. So let me say this:
We were NEVER supposed to find each other.
There are jotos out there that cant find each other still. We think we are the only ones and isolated-solitos.And work like this art show makes us more visible to each other and ourselves authentically and that is more huge than you may ever know. Its history. It make us all clear and more honest. It makes raza think about itself in our own eyes not the colonizers. It raises our self esteem. It heals and builds community.
Thank you for you work .
Y thank you Gloria.