Bernie Minded Political Participation During the Day and Ayahuasca Indigenous Healing Ceremonies at Night

13 04 2016

Just another typical day in the Progressive culture of what is Salt Lake City, Utah.  Above ground workings within the political world during the day followed by evening underground indigenous Ayahuasca healing ceremonies going late into the night.  Perhaps one day they can all become above ground activities.  Perhaps one day we will fully respect the indigenous practices and rituals and encourage them and bring them out into the daylight instead of making them and their healing substances illegal.  The indigenous person influence has taken a beating both physically and mentally over the last 500 years or so and most specifically by the U.S. in its war on natives leading up to the modern day.  The spirit has survived and it is marching its way back as America heads towards redefining itself in the most recent surge in true progressive values with the Bernie Sanders movement.  A better world awaits as the populous is becoming empowered towards ideas centered around love, acceptance, unity, conversation, spiritual enlightenment vs. that of fear, intolerance, corporatism, militarism, money in politics, etc.  The indigenous person is being consulted for matters of climate change and creating harmony with the Earth and respect and admiration is being given.  A new America is surging forth.  A new generation is laying different seeds for what is considered the new norm.  It is a wave of empowerment and standing up and declaring you are ‘just’ in going against the ‘normal’ and acceptable ills of the past.


This Salt Lake County Democratic Convention happened a few days ago and it was an interesting affair.  I am a new delegate in my precinct and having not participated in them in the past they are crazy events to say the least.  What comes to mind is the thoughts and images of a rodeo, the popularity contests and dynamics of high school, along with the workings of events that remind me of the quick actions, conversations, and desire to capitalize by any means necessary of a stock trading room.  There is little room for non-ego based conversations to be happening throughout.  You either push forth your agenda, your plan, and your overall nature at talking as quickly, as loudly, as charismatically as possible to highlight your commercialized self, or else you stand to be eaten up and instantly passed over.  I get why this happens the way it does and the phrase of “don’t hate the player, hate the game” comes to mind.


There is mass confusion at all these events for the normal person who is wanting to take a stand and participate in local politics.  Part of the mass confusion is brought on by the new wave of people who feel inspired by politics due to the Bernie Sanders campaign.  The only problem is that the system is not organized or made for mass involvement and the growing pains of this systemic problem are being deeply exposed.  In an age where most of us carry around very sophisticated tools with our phones where we can bank, apply for loans, apply for jobs, basically do anything in our lives, all without largely being affected by fraud, we are not using these tools in our modern day political lives and still casting paper ballots and counting hands raised in rooms.  The system can be improved drastically and I hope in time the democratic process gets updated with technology just how everything else in our society has been updated.  In the meantime, there will continue to be massive voter suppression.  Not because of the efforts of those volunteers and others trying to make the system better but because the system is inadequate and without it being made for people to use efficiently, people will not use it and be passed over.


During the convention, mass confusion centered around the rules and how the whole convention process was supposed to work.  People used to the system blamed new people trying to participate as not knowing how the system worked and bogging down the whole affair.  Yes, this makes sense but being a highly educated citizen and striving to understand the system it has virtually been impossible for me to figure out the details of how it all works and what one would need to know in order to make it run more smoothly.  In my view as an outsider, it seems like nobody really knows how the process works and just tries to wing it based on what they know and expects perhaps that someone else knows.  This is a huge problem!  While going through delegate training there wasn’t any mention of overall rules of conduct pertaining to ‘Robert’s Rules’ or other such things that were brought up at convention.  Why aren’t there links to this information and why isn’t the spreading of knowledge about the system the top priority here?  Is the system just that confusing and messed up that nobody can tell, train, or lead anyone to know what is going on?  Or is just that it’s totally too much to take in for a common person and it’s set up that way on purpose?  Being new and witnessing the process going on, it comes across that most truly don’t know or that many don’t really want the new people involved to know how the system is supposed to work.  There are vast gaps to fill in this regard with moving forward.  I look forward to trying to help this cause and spread information to all the delegates I’m in contact with and beyond.  In systemic terms, we have very little moving forward if nobody knows the foundation upon which to conduct themselves.  It is coming across as manipulative, rigged, and set up for a small elite group.


The environment overall at the convention is like one big infomercial running on repeat.  There are buttons, tables, shirts, stickers, pamphlets, signs, sugared snacks, etc. all being projectile vomited in your face.  There are rehearsed 10-30 second conversations with people talking as fast as possible.  There are different high school classrooms for the different caucus meetings which are jam packed and clearly can’t fit the amount of people who are wanting to participate.  Not to mention that there are numerous caucus meetings happening at the same time so one cannot attend multiple caucus that define them.  For example, the women’s caucus and the disability caucus happened at the same time.  So what happens if you are a disabled woman?  I guess you just have to choose which one you are more.  During these meetings, and also in the main convention room, the way votes are counted is simply by the person on stage or the one running the caucus looking across the crowd or by pointing to people and counting the votes in their head.  How is this the system!?  Really, people are counting votes just in their head or by looking across hundreds of people in the crowd and proclaiming whatever numbers they come up are right?  This is completely absurd, and again, in an era of absolute technological growth and accessibility, to not use these tools absolutely promotes voter fraud and voter suppression.


The overall essence of the convention was the ability of one’s strength to catch the short attention span of the voter.  And if you saw someone interject and catch that attention span after you just did then your work was mostly completely erased and now you have to interject again making your efforts infinite lasting and absolutely exhausting.  The day was like one long Facebook back and forth rant with whoever having the last word seeming to have won the discussion.  Again, I’m trying not to hate the players but instead hate the game.  What has happened to us as a culture of people where we only overwhelming respond to this kind of stimuli?  Where have we gone wrong?  Have the tactics of commercials and repetitive advertising won us over completely?  How does this process create a winning system that can sustain itself healthily over time?  Maybe we’ve reached a point where it won’t and can’t anymore.


The amount that was meant to be accomplished in the span of one morning and afternoon needs to be split up over many days.  Our democracy needs to accommodate us with known rules of the event, a location that can actually fit the amount of people who want to participate, people having access to attend all the caucuses that they care about, and most importantly, a system rooted in technology that actually does a good job counting our votes and making sure voter fraud and suppression is not the result of archaic counting and voting procedures.  Living in a democracy and not having these basic needs met that don’t cater to the possibility of every voter showing up and participating means you don’t really live in a democracy.  Hence is the essence of our ‘democracy.’  It is an extremely inefficient process focused on people not really participating, not really efficiently counting votes, depleting energy, short term attention spans, infomercial and Facebook style communication strategies, and overall a system where whoever sounds the best and loudest and stuffs more things in your face and advertises as brutally and repetitively as possible seems to win.  Hopefully the Bernie campaign is the starting point where we make much needed changes in our democracy.  It’ll take people continuing to show up and demanding change like is happening now.  Maybe one day, we’ll look back upon this era as when true democracy was born.


My depleted nature left the convention where I was proud at participating but horrified at being an American voter.  All I wanted to do was have no stimulation and stare at a wall for hours on end.  Rather than giving in to the depleting powers that be, I took a shower and quickly strode off to an indigenous Ayahuasca healing ceremony I had been invited to.  I run a wellness practice and focus on helping people through preventable health practices and was invited to be exposed to this form of experience and medicine.  Having initially started in massage, training, and then nutrition, I have since ventured onto alternative medicine and a focus on plant healing that emphasizes empowering people and helping people process trauma, depression, anxiety, addictions, stress, while not relying on our common cultural approaches to healing that very often entail being addicted and reliant upon unnecessary and extremely toxic pharmaceutical medication.   Ayahuasca is an entheogenic brew that is the combination of two plants.  Entheogenic simply means a substance taken that produces non-ordinary states of consciousness for healing or spiritual purposes (usually plant based).


Instantly upon walking into the room, I was aware that I had entered a polar opposite environment than the one I was at earlier in the day.  The atmosphere was calm but intense and people were intentional with their communication with conversations being longer, authentic, and positively stimulating.  Beautiful music was also accompanying the event.  People were truly expressing themselves and connecting in inspiring ways all around me.  It took me a second to fully be able to express myself without the cutthroat manners in which I had been partaking in earlier in the day.  I knew I was in a truly thought provoking, healing, and supportive environment.


The indigenous Shaman was visiting from abroad and as the ceremony started we all created and expressed our intentions for what we wanted to process and how we wanted to empower ourselves to be better people from this point forward.  My intention was for me to re-connect with non depleting forms of communication with people and to analyze if I was really living up to what I knew I was.  With intention professed and more clearly in our minds we approached the Shaman and consumed some of the healing Ayahuasca medicine and laid back down at our respective places in the large room.  The medicine has the effects of purging out the negative energy and elements inside of us.  Physiologically this means that many at times are actually throwing up in their buckets that are at each person’s side as the medicine kicks in and allows you to purge the toxicity and un-pure parts of what is inside you.  Psychologically this means that as the night wears on and the medicine takes its full effect one is having entheogenic visions in their mind’s eye showcasing the true nature of yourself related to your intention. That adventure entails what one has become, what one is currently, and where truly one needs to go to be the best person possible.  Obviously the experience is individualized and people interpret this powerful medicine in an infinite amount of ways.  It can often be a scary experience to see it in raw form of what one has become and how aligned one is with their true nature.  The medicine exposes this, it exposes you, it exposes the culture we live in and the people we come into contact with, and the very nature of the mystical mysterious of the earth and our consciousness and everything in between.  It was a lot of work to fully take this on and dive that thoroughly into oneself and I can see why doing such would be avoided and an intimidating process for people.  It is often scary to analyze ourselves and allow us to be in an environment where we are vulnerable and looking outside of ourselves at who we are in relation to the earth and those around us.  The shaman and the music surrounding us was some of the most beautiful music I have been exposed to.  It was therapy in and of itself and with the combination of the medicine it truly aided me in my positive processing and development throughout the night.


I was fortunate to be apart of this ceremony and be exposed to the traditions and healing ways of an indigenous culture that have persisted for thousands of years.  I was also fortunate to be exposed to the convention earlier in the day to be aware of my own culture and traditions that have been around for hundreds of years.  One will feel absolutely at home in the culture and confines of the traditions in which they were raised.  There is no right or wrong when thinking about how one should act or go about their culture as long as it’s based on the effort of not directly hurting or oppressing others.  Obviously even that is hard to sift through and decide on.


Being exposed to the workings of the indigenous culture and the medicine they promote and the focus on well-being and empowerment and positive personal development, I can’t help but think our culture is focused on far too many of the wrong things.  The actions at the convention were speaking to a culture that is obsessed and defined by instant gratification, short attention spans, brutal advertised power grabbing, inefficient systems not really set up to help people or have people in mind, etc.  Through some very simple historical research, one can easily see how our culture has stood in harsh contrast to the indigenous way of life and it still does.  Indigenous populations are shunned and continually taken advantage of.  Their gods and their medicine is declared illegal even though something like Ayahuasca accounts for a large degree of healing within people and is non addictive and our bodies processes the minimal toxicity from its use quite well (unlike like say alcohol or cigarettes which are legal and extremely harsh and depleting to your body with very little, if any, health benefits).


These types of details seem to support that we are a culture stuck in a cultural trance based on what we are constantly exposed to in the media, our politics, our religions, our entertainment, our traditions with expectations and procedures, our overall advertising and systems of trickle down power and manipulations, our entertainment, etc.  The trance has seemed to take on a linear approach where we think we are getting somewhere with everything we are exposed to and that it’s leading to a better world.  We think we are achieving to end racism, we think we are bringing about world peace, we think we are ending slavery, we think we are fighting less wars, we think we are promoting a healthier world, and on and on, but in reality we seem to have been duped into just thinking these things and believing the constant cultural stories that are presented to us.  The results of our cultural framework and thinking seem to be coming more and more to the conclusion that we are in fact not substantially achieving any of those things, and in effect, possibly making them worse!  As we come to terms more with who we are and what we participate in and learn more about indigenous cultures and take in their influence and the medicine of the Earth, we may find that we are not as enlightened or producing as much good as we think we are.  Hence is the energy of the people standing up with the Bernie campaign and striving to go against the system and change it for the better.  I look forward to seeing where this movement goes and also taking in more indigenous influence and looking at things more from the perspectives of people who truly value their connection to nature and each other.  People who are consumed by promoting healing and pathways to enlightenment focused away from American consumerism, materialism, oppressive traditions, addicting and mind numbing drugs, short term attention spans, and gimmicky advertising and infomercial forms of communicating that easily take over our lives.  These things may provide symbols for what we believe in but often come with little substance.  I look forward to continually trying to create a bridge with our own culture in regard to these values.





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