Standing on the Shoulders of a Giant

We are here today because of the progress made by others. The arts, Mathematics,  Sciences, Medicine,  Humanities, Technologies, the list of other cultural and social systems they pioneer through. These giants are the thinkers and doers shaping the landscapes of our insides, inspiring us to see a bigger picture, expanding the mind, opening the heart and redefining the ecologies that we live in. 

These giants are often not really the defined  by their physical size but in the manner they were able change the course of humanity. Their insights into the progress of a society. How they gave justice to a cause with a voice. The still unmovable force to the challenge, yet flexible to maneuver the obstacles. Their perspective held a becon of light to shine on the yoke of injustice or ignorance. 

The myth of these giants grows as they meet every challenge with a determined action that forces transition toward a meaningful  resolution…. a better way… a just way… just laws.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was such a giant. She fought for equality. She saw her position on the Supreme Court  of this nation as a duty to bring fairness and equality   to the law for the benefit  of  everyone. 

She was a champion  of women’s  rights. She forged the path for many women to fulfill their choices to do what they wanted for equal pay and to have sovereignty over their bodies. Her work set a standard for how to defend and define the laws of this land in order to create the opportunities, growth and to provide protection to the vulnerable.

In the last few years she had become  a bit of a Rockstar in her popularity an icon of strength and determination. She fought for all of us until the end. She saw her duty to keep the Supreme Court balanced during this time of upheaval in this country.

Her body finally gave out after a long life. Like all heros she was human. She understood  the value and weight of that…. The limits, potentials, ways to push beyond what are obstacles  in the mind and society. To make something out of your life that is of purpose and service. Her one life. Her one body could never really do all the work yet she set an example of what could be done with the one you have.

Many of us will grieve her. In that grief we must also stand on her shoulders… used the platform she built for us to continue the progression towards equality and a better humanity. To honor her we all need to not let her work slip out from under us weakening the foundation of progress or vanish in the brutally of the environment we are now living in.

We need to channel our grief into action and support the next generation of giants.

Rest in power and in peace RBG.

Today we take the baton and run the next length of this race….

Big Things….

One of the hardest concepts to convey in my work is the notion of how large the universe  is in the context  of dreaming and visualizing  the potential  for understanding who we are.  The size is so large most people can’t  grasp idea. It is the conflicting diversities of finite and infinite. The shear vastness of space and time. As well as the realization that our tiny view has only a small understanding  of the complexity and eloquence  of its existence.

To comprehend very large things one has to let go of small thinking. For many the small thinkings are the very mental structures that keep their daily world together. Today’s social/cultural dynamics  also help to shape the way the mind is forced to move through complex things without the time to deeply explore. Today’s  technology  also adds to the mix. This processing  of anything bigger, deeper, different, or curiosity producing  more than what is need in the moment  is dismissed as not useful, distracting or even taboo. We can call this the autonomy of ordinary  reality. The mundane. The process of being functional  and productive for usually a greater good or common vision.

The opposite  of this way of being would be something  that shatters the mechanics  of the mundane  and shows the extraordinary…. the magical.  Most people live with an institutionalized filter called religion, government. Or some other power of control that manipulates the gateway to the mystery  and enshrouds this  knowledge in equal parts fear and violence…. because  to know the mystery  is to know your origins and the universe. That is a powerful thing….

Education is the great equalizer it can show the mystery of the universe. It can open the door way to the microscopic  world and to the billions of galaxies  that are accelerating away from rhe center of this known universe. To learn and free the brain from just surviving is the the greatest fear of the greedy, the controlling and  powerful. Knowledge is empowering. With knowledge comes choices and options. With knowledge comes the nuance that allows for diversity and divergent ideas…. knowledge kills the paralysis of ignorance and the polarized divisiveness of fear that leads to hate.

In the wisdom of  great cosmic diversity and the enormous complexity of how things come together  and fall apart in the universe….. The great Whatever… The Power That Be…. created  the scruffy, curious, artists, teachers, mischiefmakers, shamans, and scientists. We asked questions  and observed the many beautiful and amazing things all around us. We saw beyond the mundane… into the mystery and instead of holding that mystery hostage and away from the rest…. Or calling it a Diety to manufacture the prevention of communion by restrictions to a hierarchical class of elites and priests….. We invited all  who wanted to see and experience the magic…..

The problem  though was how to express the largeness of it all. The big, vast, amazing of all it’s beautiful knowns and unknowns.  

Traditionally, people get tossed out of their small thinking when something shakes their world up. Grief. Sickness. Natural disaster. Trauma. Something that disturbed the entire base of ones reality. Something so shattering that it tears the very fabric of what you know.

That tear in thd fabric becomes the door way to other worlds and deeper explorations of the seem and unseen universe. This awakening is also the moment one chooses to be alive and part of this experience of living. The inner language changes from ” I know” to ” What do I see, hear, taste, touch….?” The world grows in size and is less polarized by the taboos of power. The seeking is not to find worthiness but to find deep connections…. the fear becomes curiosity and kindness the vehicle to love.

And from that place of love we find belonging and purpose.

More doors open…. more things become known and the universe becomes accessible…..

The Natural World@Large …

It doesn’t matter how big or diverse the natural world expresses itself, it is an all encompassing experience. It doesn’t judge us. It meets us where we are at and invites us in. We are not insignificant nor are we dominant. We are a part of the unfolding mechanism that is nature.

It adapts to us even in our most violent and clumsy attempts to find a way to engage with it. Because all environmental ecologies are complex and evolving they do not react to us with malice or revenge (we humans project feelings of retribution, shame and guilt….)The natural world responds with the persistent drive to be creative and innovative towards renewal and a sustainable survival.

We can never out smart or dominate nature. It is the more divergent and imaginative problem solver…. She will always use what is at hand to create her self anew…..

The Call to Teach the World to See and Dream

It has been a couple years since I have offered a formal mentorship program. As this year has unfolded and refolded itself, I have been feeling the stiring of gathering the circle once again.  We are living in a time of change and vision.

All the challenges  of the last few years have tempered my vision to a clear direction. Removed the the obstacles  of doubt. My travels have shown  me a  world that needs the work of earth keepers, shamans, and artists.

The work to be a shaman is more than just a spiritual  practice.  It is the path of  knowing the fire of being alive.   Recognizing the preciousness and potential  of that awareness in order to mediate/navigate the process  to bring balance to the communities  we live in… through bridging the worlds of dreams and realities. This  takes the  willingness  to serve and stoke your inner fire to create, heal, and inspire change for the greater good of the universe.

We find all this in the complexity  and beauty  of the  world around us  and in the mysteries  of the cosmos. It is the exploring of art, science, ceremonies and the innermost places of our mind and spirit as it walks through time and space of this life time.

My mentorship program will be starting in January 2021. The Mentorship is limited to 13 people for the cohesiveness of created a working circle that supports and sustains each individual. The number 13 is also the number of moon cycles in a year.

I will interviewing those who are interested starting in October. The commitment is for one year. For program and application details Send an email to : adhizen@gmail.com

Mentorships

Rooted Shaman

It looks like this wandering Shaman has found a place to land and set up shop. After a challenging year of redirecting, going with the flow of changes and sorting out the next phase, I am ready to hunker down. Process the materials and experiences from my time on the road. My new home will be in Littleton New Hampshire. More details to come….

Journal Making

Starting Wendsday October 7th and meeting every week for 6 weeks at 7pm EST .

Making a jounal can be a wonderful experience into creating a place to store all your ideas, dreams, recipes and other personal writing and drawngs. Books and journals are magical things that humans have been using for hundrends of years. In this course you will design and sew together a beautiful grimore to meet your needs.

This course will be offered on ZOOM and after registrating you will recieve the links and a list of options for your jounal’s materials. Due to the complexity of the course it will be limited to 10 people. Preregistration is required by September 20th to make sure your get your materials for the course on time.

Over the course of 6 sessions your will make from start to finish a leather journal with archival paper. Participants will have a choice of leather color (chestnut, brown or tan….), white or cream colored acid free high cotton content paper, deer antler button or wrap closure, and thread color: natural, rainbow, or black.

The journal will be 9″ x 7″ with 400 pages (200 sheets)

Tuition/Cost for this work shop includes materials shipped via USPS priority: $250

The Re-Enchantment of Now

It sounds cliché but there is some truth to it…. “finding the light brings us out of the dark”…. or “we can’t  know the light with out the dark”.  Light is the crack opening because the door is unlatching.  Light emotes from the cracking of the container….. the stars pierce the time space void to twinkle in our nightsky and remind us of our origins and potential… After  long periods of winter  darkness we are drawn  to the warmth and sunshine of the returning Spring season.

Light and dark are an archetypal dance. Darkness has played the role of the mysterious,  the unknown, the subconscious, dreams/nightmares and the place one must wander to find the magic within. The Fool’s journey is to hear that call to the darkness…. the abyss of the unknown. Light is the illumination, the idea, the insights, realizations, awakenings, consciousness and the synthesis of that journey  through the dark into life…. living and the recognition of the present  moment  as where the magic resides in the mundane. Chop wood. Carry water… or that boring day job that pays the bills.

It is the return to the ordinary  that becomes the feritle soil for re-enchantment. Magic is not all blue lighening and sparks.  It is the ability  to take what is there and shift it into something for the greater good. The archetype Magician of the Tarot is a master over the elements. That means exploring the materials  and reactions of the universe. Sciences. Arts. Service. Understanding  how to move from one state to another… mastering  the mechanics and the mechanisms of the world and utilizing imagination, the potential and energy to create something  new or be in awe of the world as it is.

Every age and era has a new set of challenges and realizations  that are the hallmark of that time’s growth. Each of these has the potential  to tear down the past taboos and reorder things for a novel experiment  in society  and human conditions.  Today, we stand in the middle of  a cacophony of changes, voices and ideas fueled by the internet/social media into a paralyzing mush of incoherent babble.  The darkness is an assault  on our sense of who we are in a world that does not exist beyond a pixilated screen for most of us. The dark is a meme, the emotional hooks of a snippet  of video, the outrage of a seemly endless discovery  of horrors about humanity.  Some of this is the blatant manipulation of information/disinformation to trigger response(s). The collective disorienting nebulous consumes the rational and distorts the ordinary.  The fabric of life/living frays and pulls… the ground tembles and shakes…. the equilibrium  of the mind is sloshed about…. the will to live seeks a certainly… a crack that reveals the door way out of this bad trip…..

The simple cure starts with  the awareness that the our mind is being high jacked for the power dynamic  that  is  manufacture for maximum control and affect. Doesn’t matter which side or the content, the affect is the same you are disconnected from your sense of center. Your mind is held in the grip of chemical reactions that override the rational thinking. The pay off in the mind/body is a euphoria by dopamine or any of the other pleasure producing chemicals. When we side with a meme or respond to the support of our tribe of like minds we feels the rush of it. It is no different than any other kind of addiction. It creates a false reality of confidence  competence and belonging. And like all addictions it is progressive and the need for more to stimulate pleasure is a destructive feed back loop. It never ends well…. the carnage and loss…. yet from darkness light can come.

Re-enchantment begins when we start to focus on the present moment  and  looking for the light…. the opportunities  to care for each interaction and experience. It is not about what we know but what is there in each moment. It’s not about being right it is about being willing. The world will start to become less polarized, less stark, and the emotional hooks will snag less.  The universe will be more about the middle spaces of nuance, interbeing, equality, respect and diversity. Solutions.

Enchantment is that wonderful  balance of curiosity,  attention and awareness. By it’s  very nature it draws you into discovery.  It allows for you to decipher the clues and explore with the senses. Your body is not a burden  but the perfect vehicle. There is room for failure as a learning tool. There is  cooperation and collaboration as the mechanics to navigate  the world.

Re-enchantment is each of our jobs to dismantling this darkness.

Joshua Trees Burning

They stand like twisted contemporary dancers in the hot baked flat terrain. Dust rises and the fires look to find the fuel for burning. They burst into flames.

I drove past these trees along the highway towards the Mohave desert. This Feburary was the beginning of a strange shift in the world. There they were. The Joshua trees. Oddly shaped, Dr. Seuss looking, worshipping the sun and silent as myself and others whizzed by them back a forth along the road.

The first time I had ever heard of them was when the band U2 made there album and use the trees as a symbol for there their mysterious and musical expression. The trees seemed other worldly. It would be many years later that I would find myself among these strange trees. In awe and mystified by their presence. They added to the round boulders and other geographies of the California desert.

I was at the time looking for the mystery. Looking for the ecstatic experience and expression of the universe. I was on the road for work and to heal my emotional wounds. I wanted to find some justification for the pain in my heart. I wanted the beauty of this earth to somehow heal me. It did. In it’s own time….

This place of the Joshua trees touched me. The ecology of the land. It fueled all my curiosity. These trees were beautiful. A year later after my first visit, vandalism took some of the trees I passed back though to see them. I felt a connection to them.

Today these trees are burning as the wild fires in California rage. They are rare, fragile and symbiotic in an age that is fighting itself for deeper understanding and to get a footing in how to make a better world.

Standing Still

After 2 and a half years of traveling coast to coast eight times. My life consumed approximately 110,000 miles of roads and experiences.  The road ended in a park and ride in Connecticut in March. My 6 months of plans, workshops and  work evaporated in about 72 hours. I had to quarantine. All the places I would have stayed at during my travels were locked down.  I found my large view and experience of the world reduce to sleeping in my car,  trying to get a shower once a week, figuring out how to make enough money to eat….and pay my bills… working hard to find the motivation  not to give up. The world was in chaos and shut down… no places to go… I was ground to a halt.

I’m  not going to say it was easy or that it was fun. That I had some great epiphanies that open my soul. I was vulnerable, scared, angry, frustrated and often struggling just to keep a basic routine for a sense of sanity the first couple of months.

I come from strong stock. Giving up is not an option. My will to survive  is probably  stronger than most. If I set my mind on it don’t  get in my way. No matter what the obstacles,  the emotional  or physical pain…. push through it. Don’t give up. Focus on the task at hand… the next right thing…. ask for help yet don’t have expectations.

This period of time was a kind of feral existence. It resides in the thin edges and shadows of what we call civil society. I lived in a way that I could function and if you didn’t know I was homeless you probably wouldn’t have guessed. I changed my clothes every day. I washed up as best I could between showers. Did laundry at the local laundromat. I walked every day. Engaged in my practice of photography. The social isolation helped to keep up appearances.

I was aware that we all were struggling with the disruption of Covid-19. Despite my situation I felt I was doing ok…. counted my gratitudes. I wasn’t sick. I had a car to sleep in. I have enough to eat. I was getting some money coming. The active structure of my life keep the darker thoughts at bay most days. Writing and drawing helped prevent a complete mental break down.

Being reduced to a survival experience and having a overly active mind is challenging. My brain works like this: I over think everything. I want the big picture. I explore all the connections and nuances… my brain explodes… there are insights and ideas…. things to try… and the paralysis of too much. I have 30 years of skills in alternative and complimentary therapies, meditation…. etc… I got to test them all. Drag them through their paces and tossed out the ones that failed.

As grim as this all might sound, there was a lot of good over the last few months. There was progress. There was a tremendous amount of love and support. I finally found places to temporarily stay… work started to come in. Redirected my business model. Became very clear about what I wanted to do as the world changed.

I titled this blog post Standing Still. It comes from a Buddhist practice I learned many years ago. You visualize that you are a post in the ocean and the tides come in and out, sometimes the waves are still, somedays the waves rage in storms… all this happens and the post stays still witnessing and being a post. So, these past few months have pushed me to find that post in me. To practice that stillness as the world rages nowadays. This is not a detachment as much as it is the ability to not be knocked around by the experience and the emotions that are stimulated. It is the practice of learning to respond and decern. To know when to act. The experience has freed some of my mind and has given me clarity about how to approach and apply my services. I am grateful for that.