The Utah Romance of Pollution, Mormons, Hunters, Hot Springs, Latinos, Nudists, Burners, Cannabis

18 01 2017

As the sun sets in Utah these days in the glorious cold, winter months the sun bounces off the fog and emits a natural pinkish, purplish skyline with the setting of the sun.  It’s what makes Utah unique in its nature.  Postcards are made.  People rejoice in how beautiful the landscape is.  Only China and Los Angeles present similar or more advanced sunsets.  Not because of the mountains or the snow but because China and Los Angeles are the only places in the world that have comparable amounts of smog and pollution to produce such pretty sunsets!  Forget asthma or environmental catastrophes or humans living in a bowl of car and industry exhaust.  The sunsets are so pretty and, ya know what, let’s go outside for a run!  After all, Utah is all about being active, even if being active kills you slowly while doing it in a pollution bowl.  The unawareness and uncaring of what is happening in Utah with the pollution is so far disengaged from people’s minds that it comes across as romantic.  I guess there’s a reason people call Salt Lake City “Little Paris.”  Oh wait, nobody calls it that.

 

Amidst the greens and purples of the sky in the cold, dreamy, pollution fog I thought it would be fun to venture out to possibly less smoggy areas in Utah and look for hot springs.  One such weekend day produced the most Utah day I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.  There are SO many hot springs in the Salt Lake City area and I wanted to see them all.  A partner and I ventured forth in search of these holy, medicinal mineral waters as we chose one that was a short hike from a road forty-five minutes outside of Salt Lake City near Saratoga Springs.  It was in the mid 30s as we hiked to our warm healing waters.  Upon arriving, the romance jumped up a few notches as the hot springs were basically a muddy, murky warm watered hot pit with little fish in it.  The spring was right next to Utah Lake which in the summer had signs that people should avoid swimming in it.  The woman I was with, a local Utahan I’ll have you know, jumped right in totally naked.  My standards of cleanliness and submitting myself to ill health were being challenged.  My CA elitist alarm was sounding, which is usually a sign that I’m being a snob so I quickly decided to do the opposite and took off all my clothes and hopped in.  The water felt so Utah.

 

There was about an hour where we were alone and it was so wonderful as the bubbles would come up and our feet would get sucked under by the incredibly hot water that was emitting upwards through the ground.  My partner decided that she was going to put the grainy mud from the bottom all over me.  This challenged all aspects of my thoughts about cleanliness and I quickly tried to avoid her, avoiding at all costs my head from going under or touching anything that was under the water.  The overall experience was nice.  We decided to light up a bowl of fine locally grown Utah cannabis and continued to enjoy the isolation and nature.  Our bowl, canteens, and clothes were right beside the bank on a wooden plank I had found in the bushes so that our things would be easily accessible and not get all muddy and cater to my sense of somewhat anal cleanliness.

 

A Latin couple joined us in our isolation which is always initially disappointing to lose your own mud pit but very quickly turned into the most romantic thing of all time.  They would sing to each other and the man was teaching his partner how to sing in Spanish.  It was the cutest thing of all time!  They were definitely allowed to stay in our space with us!

 

Then in the distance we heard nightmarish sounds.  The sounds of squeaky laughter, out of control bush trekking, and total disregard for all space and time.  Yes, it was children.  And not like a few but what sounded like loads of them.  There was no way out.  We were naked in a state you could get cited for it, our cannabis was sitting in plain sight on the shore in a state you could get arrested for it; we were totally defenseless against these little crazy monsters that would at any moment appear from the bushes.  Then, suddenly, they came and it was too late.  We would have to outlast them in the water without emerging forth (the water was murky so you couldn’t tell we were naked at least).  They were definitely a stereotypically white Mormon couple with seven kids!  The hot springs was only, at most, about 70 feet by 70 feet perhaps and very quickly we had screaming children all around us, looking for tadpoles, knocking into us, etc.  How come we don’t live in a state where you can get cited for this!  The parents did show a sense of remorse that they had totally ruined four people’s good time.  They did a good job trying to shush their kids and were very conscious that they were being annoying.  It was funny, actually, to watch parents try to control kids who were excited to be in water.  It was no use but the effort was noticed.  I hate you for being Mormon and having seven kids but thank you for trying to be nice about it and showing a sense of care.  Such is the Mormon way.

 

More people came and pretty soon we had people all around us.  As they were treating us nice and conversing with us it was funny to think about how they had no idea we were naked and if they knew they might dramatically think differently about us.  On the shore, hunter’s decked out in outrageous military regalia and giant guns would pass our mud pit.  They looked exactly how you would think trashy, hunter people would look.  Very hillbilly and large and not able to move very well and walking staunchly with their guns.  It is unnerving that these types of people are the ones that own guns but such is the way of America.  Not too long after seeing them we would see ducks above in the sky and suddenly hear gun shots being fired all around us.  Nothing was hit but about 15 seconds after hearing the guns all sorts of little bullets could be heard dropping fiercely into the water.  What the fuck!  These hunters walked right past us and even with 7 kids flopping around did not care about firing in our direction and having their fucking bullets land in the water we were in.  It was insanely scary.

 

The good news is that we outlasted the Mormon family!  They left and people started to thin out but then another family came.  Fuck!  My partner and I realized that we would have to approach this awkward situation at some point but the water is warm and feels good so let’s just keep going with hour number four.  It was quickly realized that this family was extremely different.  The mom jumped in and instantly dunked her head and starting very aggressively putting mud all over her face and hair.  Her kids were way more out of control as they were pelting each other in the face with mud balls, one in which came and hit my partner in the face which definitely produced a pissed off reaction.  However, we felt more familiar and comfortable with the mom because we soon engaged in a conversation with her about Burning Man, which usually instantly makes progressives and non-religious people feel comfortable.  Having this conversation, and being so amazed by the fervor that this woman was putting mud on her, I instantly felt comfortable to start putting mud on my face as well.  My partner and I gave each other mud facials.  It was a progressive connective Utah moment.

 

Another older couple came into the water and very quickly they were contributing positively to the Burning Man conversation.  Through the casualness of progressive, burner conversation they declared that they were nudists who had a nude wedding!  Wow!  This couldn’t have gone better for us being made to feel more comfortable about our being naked in the flesh.  The tides had suddenly turned.  Now we felt incredibly cool that we were naked and the nudists weren’t even naked.  Such assertively, progressive people we were; a rite of passage for any Utah Non-Mormon.  Burners and nudists make great company, especially for naked people.  We couldn’t have been more pleased with how our day turned out and the wonderful people we were around.

 

It was starting to turn dark so we ventured our naked bodies out of the water.  Another group of liberalized, younger people were surprised that we were naked and commented enthusiastically, “Wait, is everybody naked in here” and hence the other burners took up the “it’s wonderful to be naked” burner conversation.  Upon leaving we were thanked handily by the nudists for our display of activism.

 

What a great day!  The many faces of Utah.  I love it!

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Unattachment in Love Leading to Healthy, Expansive, Empowering Love.

7 12 2016

Unattachment in love isn’t about letting go of the person, or of the love itself. It has to do with remaining unattached to any expectations or predetermined end result that many use to judge a successful relationship. It seems that there is a blueprint for relationships that we all are expected to follow. We meet, we kiss, we talk, we have sex, we spend more time together, we say I love you, we meet families, we move in, rings and babies can follow.  Are we really in love with someone or are we in love with this chain of events?

 

This chain of events can easily have more to do with obsessing about following a plan than it has anything to do with love.  It is rather a very limited plan at that for what is capable between people in a relationship.

 

Unattached love is not the easiest form of love.  Following a plan is easier and can seem enticing and secure.

 

Loving in a relationship based in unattachment doesn’t mean that we don’t care what the other person does, or that there is no chance for us to get hurt, but it does mean that we love them enough to simply let the relationship speak for itself rather than use customary titles.

 

When we can change our expectations, our experiences can change. If we go into a new relationship with someone without any idealized thoughts on what it could become down the road, then we will give ourselves the opportunity for that union to develop organically, instead of forcing it inside the predetermined boundaries we use to define love.

 

Unattachment in love means that I love you because of the person you are, not because I am expecting you to love me back.

 

Unattachment in love is purely the ability to love someone freely. Both people are able to come and go at will, without ever feeling like there is an expectation for a specific set of behaviors or timelines.  Communication and expression and holding space and intersecting your empowered life with your partner’s empowered life and moving on from there is the foundation of unattachment love.

 

In order to truly love someone this way we have to first name and sit with our wounds; our fear of abandonment, rejection and whatever else we have been conditioned, since birth, to expect from a relationship. Once we can do this work for ourselves, it doesn’t suddenly end, but rather becomes easier to navigate unattachment.  We understand that our feelings don’t have to do with the other person, but with ourselves.

 

Unattachment simply means that we are choosing to love in a mindful way. We are showing up for one another when we can. For times when we can’t show up, we are each individually happy.

 

It means respecting the journey of our partner as much as we do our own, knowing that in unattached love we can’t force anything. There is nothing in this world any of us can do to make someone love us, and there’s also nothing we can do to stop someone from falling in love with us either.

 

When we can approach love as an offering, regardless whether the beloved accepts or reciprocates it, we bask in the essence of what it truly means to care for another, apart from our own needs and wants.

 

“Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life, and yet less attached to it.”

-Ram Dass

Above is a summation of the full article which can be viewed at ElephantJournal.com

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San Pedro Cactus Brew. Using Medicinal Plants to Take Charge of Your Own Healing

1 12 2016

Original posting can be found here at Keating Bodyworks

 

People commonly use San Pedro Cactus to confront a variety of ailments.  These ailments include approaching anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma, stress, in a different, communicative, and efficient way.  The medicine is used with intention setting to positively increase empathy, one’s connection to the world, one’s connection to oneself and others.  It is used to tap into one’s life meaning and fulfillment and purpose and allows one to process more efficiently whatever it is that is on the mind and also things that weren’t realized were on the mind.

San Pedro Brew

Notes: You need one big pot, serrated knife, small knife, smaller spoon, maybe pliers, strainer, large bowl, canning jars or grolsch jars, 4 lemons or limes based on how many cactus stalks you have

 

Step 1:

–take out spikes and cut end off if very dry and throw away.  Pliers work great for the spikes or just a little serrated knife, rubber gloves, canning or grolsche beer glasses (something that can be air tight closed and put in freezer).

Step 2:

–There are usually about 5-7 ridges on a cactus with their respective valleys between 2 ridges.  Cut down into the ridge and into the center of the cactus until you hit the center cortex.  Cut down into the ridge next to the one you just cut.  Both cuts into the ridge should either meet at the center cortex or come close.  Once two adjacent ridges are cut down into, then try to peel off those two ridges from the center cortex by pulling back on the valley.  If it doesn’t come off smoothly you may need to use the knife to aid in cutting it off from the center cortex while you pull back the valley.  Do this for all the valley and ridges.

–The goal of this step is to make sure the skins come off intact and the little bit of material under the skins.  You will be scrape it all off later so it’s okay if you do pull off some of the center cortex with the skins as this will be scrapped off later.  It is important for the skins to be intact

–Put the skins aside and if what you pull off from the center cortex is moist, or the center cortex itself is most, then throw it into the pot.  If it’s white, fibrous and super dry then no.  You want gummy, moist, slimy green stuff and not white, fibrous looking material.

Step 3:

–Take each skin and put it in front of you.  Face the skin down and take your small knife or spoon (I found a spoon to work much better) and scrape off the fibrous white center cortex from the skin.  If it’s white and fibrous throw it away.  If it’s moist, gummy, and snotty and green throw it in the pot.  Keep scraping away at the skins until the cactus skin is basically clear.  The stuff you want is what will be closest to the skin.  All that gummy, snotty, moist, slimy green stuff is what you want!  It’s ok if little bits of skin come off here and there with the stuff you want.  Do that with each skin and put contents into pot.  Throw the skins away after each one is scraped.

Step 4:

–Buy 4 lemons or limes to be squeezed in at any time before the first 15 min cook once the water is put in pot.  Use 4 fully squeezed lemons/limes per my 6 stalks which I obviously know what looked like but you don’t (this was about 3 to 4 doses).  Basically, 10 inches of one fat stalk is a good dose.  2 stalks of thin 6 inches is one good dose.

–Take the pot and fill it with cold water just so everything is covered in the pot (can be a little higher than the contents).  Wash off cutting board you used for scraping the skins into the pot.  Put on stove top between low and med heat to bring it to a slow simmer (don’t put on high to bring to simmer).  Once see bubbles in the pot set the timer for 15 minutes.  At this stage you don’t want the inside to bubble up like it does when cooking pasta or whatever.  That means it’s too hot and the lid needs to be taken off or heat turned down.

Step 5:

–After the first 15 min cook, drain contents into a shirt or an unbleached muslin cloth and let filter out into a strainer and into a bowl.  Squeeze out liquid from cloth until it almost doesn’t give out any more liquid.  Put contents back into pot and fill up with cold water again just above contents and not like the first time where it might have been a little higher.  You don’t need lemons/limes again.  Put back on stove and start 15 min timer again after when it starts to bubble and simmer on low to med heat.

Step 6:

–Drain second batch like how you did the first and squeeze liquids completely out this time.  Throw away shirt and cactus contents (or just wash shirt and feel how cool it would be to wear it again knowing you brewed san pedro with it!).  Pour into bottles.  You can store it in the fridge and it will be good for a week or in the freezer being good for 6 months.

–Ppl usually think the brew tastes much better if it is cold.

–6 oz of the brew is a low dose.  8 oz is normal dose. 10 oz higher dose.  This is for if the cactus was super dried out.  If it was more of a moist cactus then increase 2 to 3 oz for each dose.

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Defeating Trump and Trumpism. Corporate Rule as a Cause or Solution to Trumpism. The Fascism of the Two Major Political Parties and What To Do About It

10 11 2016

Is it more important to keep from fascism occurring or to lay the foundation to keep from fascism occurring?  Both Republican and Democrats cater to forms of fascism.  It is easy for us to point fingers at WWII movies and history textbooks and claim to know what fascism is.  This is the kind of picture book fascism that we possibly label with a Trump candidate at first sight, however, it goes much deeper than that.  Fascism is a form of authoritarian nationalism and authoritarian nationalism is defined by absolute obedience to authority at the expense of individual freedoms.  Most of us are giving our absolute obedience to the Republicans and Democrats.  Individual freedoms are being dramatically torn apart in direct and indirect ways by the two major political parties.  Individual freedoms are quickly on the decline while corporate freedoms are on the rise.  Corporate freedoms entail the massive incarceration of people in the “War on Drugs” and supporting for profit prisons.  Individual freedoms are compromised by not supporting a livable minimum wage of $15 an hour.  Corporate freedoms don’t support universal healthcare.  Individual freedoms are compromised by supporting the TPP trade deal that makes it against the law to write laws that interfere with corporations and their profits and allows them to sue governments in secret tribunals if a government does anything to interfere with their ability to make money.  Corporate freedoms don’t want to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united to get money out of politics.  Individual freedoms are compromised by bailing out Wall Street while not bailing out students in the pending student debt crisis or making college affordable.  Corporate freedoms don’t want green energy policies or a ban on fracking as they are not concerned about destruction to the environment.  Individual freedoms are compromised when our local police are excessively militarized and when the money in our country largely goes to blowing up other countries with rampant drone warfare, racist imperialism and the military industrial complex that creates extremism like ISIS.  Each one of these issues is immense in itself and the consistency is that corporations get what they want and people’s rights and freedoms are compromised.  This disproportionately and negatively affects minorities and working and lower class people, which is pretty much all of us.  Why are we so supportive of a political structure that is not catering to our interests and actually working against us and our individual freedoms?  Do we want to be blindly obedient to political parties and a government that is blindly obedient to corporations, or do we want a party and government that stands for the environment and the 99%?

 

What is more important, defeating Trump or defeating Trumpism?  What to do about all of this?  If you’re okay with all that’s mentioned above and willing to give more of your absolute obedience to corporate causes then the solution is to vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, as they might beat Trump as he is nothing more than a branch that needs to be cut off.  Corporations and the status quo will save us.  Easy problem, easy solution, all is well in the world after the election.  Back to Netflix.  However, if you feel that Trumpism is a result of corporate rule and these situations are only going to escalate and you no longer want to contribute to what’s oppressing the common person then your best bet locally is to align yourself with local progressive candidates and movements that you believe in, and nationally align yourself with a political party that doesn’t actually stand for the oppressive measures above.  These are the values put forth by Bernie Sanders and his supporters who by the way are, interestingly enough, being referred to as Sandernistas.  The natural landing place for them and for most of the left wing, the center, and some of the right wing as well is in the infrastructure of the Green Party and voting for Jill Stein.  The platform of Bernie Sanders was the platform of the Green Party and most people don’t know that.  It is a platform that will get the most accomplished against the corporate ills of our time and instead of pushing back against most independents, half of democrats, and a large portion of republicans, she’d be embracing their interests.  Bernie and Stein values give us the best chance to win in 2020 and beyond and able to position ourselves to defeat Trumpism and neoliberal, corporate dominated rule at the same time.

 

If we vote for Clinton we will be complicit in the election fraud and corporate rule over our lives.  It will feed Trumpism, and the elections of 2018 and 2020 will be much of the same as more far right wing populous presidential and political opponents will emerge against Clinton and establishment Dems.  Trumpism will be validated and an electrified base will vote her out.  If Trump wins, progressives, democrats, most independents and some republicans will be united in making sure he’s a lame duck who gets impeached.  If he does make it to 2018 or 2020 there will be massive movement uprisings and candidates like Bernie and Jill Stein will be recognized as correct pathways and what could have done away with Trump and Trumpism.  If Stein were to win, or come close, the same would happen with empowering the mass liberal left movement.  With the loss, the DNC would actually have to implement its “most progressive platform” in history rather than fighting tooth and nail against it as they’ve done against the Bernie movement.  They would actually have to listen to and fight for people and being a large, united left wing they would actually cater to our individual freedoms vs corporate rule and have dramatically positive results like Bernie was showcasing.  Opponents running against the interests of the people and standing for corporate rule would lose out in a heartbeat.  The left wing populous movement will cut further into the center and right than the right wing populous movement going in the other direction, especially once the Democrats stop pinning themselves to corporate welfare which is the reason the right wing is having a populous movement at all.  Bernie Sanders would have won this election hands down in a landslide against Donald Trump.

 

The left populous movement is continuing.  With Bernie bowing out it has made no difference as was evident at the DNC last week in the massive display of people power, movement power, and activist power.  The commonality we all have as people on the left, middle, and some of the right is that we are afraid of Trump.  However, the Bernie movement made it painfully aware that it’s more important to be afraid of Trumpism than that of just Trump.  We will not vote for the lesser of two evils and a system that perpetuates corporatism and Trumpism.  We will vote for a candidate who will do the most good for the most people related to all the drastic issues mentioned in the first paragraph.  Why would we support a candidate in Clinton and the Democratic party who does not support us?  If your best argument for voting for her is fear of Trump then you’re giving into the same fear mongering that Trump is using to keep her from getting elected.  You don’t want a candidate from a third party that has your best interests at heart because one of the candidates is scarier?  And what about the fact that the “less scarier one” in Clinton and the Democratic party worked with the media to rig an election, suppressed voter turnout, change voter’s registration, closed polling stations, committed perjury, took money from foreign governments in exchange for arms deals with nations that commit human rights violations, gave speeches to the biggest companies on Wall-Street for exorbitant fees (and refuses to release the transcripts), actively pushed for the trade deal that allowed for the rich to hid their taxes (Panama Papers) while doing the same thing with her own finances via Delaware, actively helped ensure that workers in Haiti didn’t get the minimum wage increase they deserved, and set up a fund to allow mega-donors to donate to her and down ticket candidates (but funneled 99.5% of all money raised in that regard toward her own campaign).  So this is the candidate that doesn’t scare you? Instead you’re afraid of the bigot with a fourth grade reading level who has no structured campaign.  The candidate that has no one in Washington wanting to work with or associate themselves with him and who has an inability to unite anyone except in opposition against the DNC neoliberal corporate machine?

 

And yet people will continue to ignore all of the evidence stacked against Hillary and the Democratic party and push for her because of fear.  Even the golden child and symbol of “hope” in Obama has stopped abruptly short of doing great things in order to please his corporate donors.  Dodd-Frank is a weak piece of legislation that basically says Wall Street firms need to police themselves (we know how that story ends). The unemployment rate may be down, but he’s done nothing to address the fact that most jobs are part time, low paying jobs and unemployment would be a lot higher if we addressed actual unemployment instead of what the government calls “unemployment.”  He’s paid lip service to the Black Lives Matter movement and militarized police to an astronomical level (even astronomical in comparison to what Bush did during his years) in what is known as the Byrne program (yes, look it up!). He’s opened relationships with and lifted the embargo against Cuba, which is a great, but only after negotiating terms to let multinational companies begin building there. ISIS isn’t decimated, they’re larger than ever. And the countries they inhabit are wastelands due to the inhabitability left behind by U.S. imperialistic drone attacks. The refugee crisis and the expansion of ISIS are directly correlated to our aggressive militaristic interventionist Middle East policy. He condemns ISIS for their barbarity, yet ignores the human rights violations of Saudi Arabia and those of Israel against the Palestinian people. The CIA and State Department have been caught arming both sides of the Syrian conflict with armaments and weaponry that is better than any they had previously, continuing the vicious cycle of our military industrial complex and selling death and destruction to the world.  Obama has also increased the production of nuclear weapons in the world by authorizing an expansion of our nuclear arms program with the building of thousands of small nuclear missiles.  He’s a great president for the system we have that benefits corporations at all costs, but he isn’t a president that represents the people or where we need to go. The fact that he is considered by some to be the greatest president of our lifetime is scary because the bar is so low in regards to how we think people and the world should benefit from their government.

 

Everybody likes to say if a third party had a chance at winning they’d vote for a third party, but if you’d just vote for a third party, a third party would have a chance at winning.  And for every person who has said they’re voting Clinton to avoid a Trump presidency despite the strong mass populous movement of people believing in Bernie and now going to the Green Party and saying things like #neverHillary, then you’re ensuring a Trump presidency by going against the swarms of people who are starting to believe the phrase, “Everybody does better when everybody does better.”  What would happen to us if we actually catered our actions for doing the most good for the most people?  The one problem is that the 99% has no political party that is working for them.  Instead the property and corporate party has two right wings.  The Democratic Party has already made its decision as well.  By selecting Hillary as their nominee they are more afraid of Bernie Sanders and the benefits and interests of common people than they are of Donald Trump, and they are pitting people in the middle of this mess and making them blame each other.  The current movement entails people being involved in an insurmountable resistance mode of struggle against the power of corporations.  The fear that Clinton puts on Trump is just a distraction so that the Democratic establishment doesn’t have to finish the conversation that Bernie started for why people are really suffering.  Instead, Bernie supporters are getting attacked for their ideals rather than the ideals of Wall Street and corporate rule that got us into this horrible trap in the first place.  Trump is a cartoon character of fascism.  Trumps have been happening for decades with Nixon, Reagan, Bush, etc. and they will keep happening as long as the corporate class keeps governing.  Trump says loud, direct, obnoxious, and racist things but is even less sophisticated and unified than his predecessors so he’s not really the threat people think he is, he’s just saying things out loud that similar people before him thought and believed in.  Only a non-corporate party can deal with the issues of what created Trump and the corporate greed destroying our communities and our world.  The realities confronting the ills of our state are a nightmare.  The capitalist model of our country is structured for corporate profit and as a result the 99% are trapped in a global race to the bottom.  A long time ago a group separated from England with the intention of creating a government that didn’t involve itself in the massive religious wars and death and destruction of the past.  That idea was separation of church and state and it was a revolutionary idea that only came to be after an actual revolution.  The modern day equivalent of that is creating a government that has a separation of corporation and state.  What kind of movement and revolution will we have to have in order for a better, more perfect union to be achieved?  Our country and our world being a healthy, great place to live will be dependent on the success of that happening.

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Standing Rock Native Space Holders. Masters of Dealing With Trauma.

6 11 2016

To see pictures that accompany the story below visit my Facebook here at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745178703&sk=photos&collection_token=745178703%3A2305272732%3A69&set=a.10154645339203704.1073741844.745178703&type=3&uploaded=42

 

This weekend at Standing Rock saw an influx of people coming to camp known as “weekend warriors”.  I think initially they are a bit made fun as they only come for the weekend but ultimately they bring an energy that is much needed at the camp and they are overall appreciated.  It is hard to find much condescending attitudes or bitterness at Standing Rock, despite the depressing things that are happening to these people.  These “weekend warriors” are an interesting mix of people.  Most are there to help the cause and offer their energy and support in any way they can.  However, some have come because they think Standing Rock is some sort of festival and reason to party.  It’s cringe worthy to watch these small amounts of people being so out of touch with what’s actually going on.  It makes white people and popular culture look like such idiots because they are mostly young, white, affluent people.

 

There was a parade of horses that came into camp this weekend that was a meeting of many of the political leaders of the tribes around the country.  Some were dressed in traditional garb, others in casual clothing, and they all met outside of center camp and paraded their horses around in circles to wonderful native drumming.  There were no media or pictures allowed at this event and it was weird to see so many people around and nobody using their phones.  There were annoying drones in the sky that were drowning out the speakers and the leaders would just patiently wait until the drones flew away.  Being at Standing Rock has made me HATE drones so much.

 

It was wonderful to see the political leaders of so many tribes focused on respecting each other and each being allowed to talk as the ceremony went on for many hours.  It was like night and day compared with our two most popular political parties in Republicans and Democrats who resort to fear, cheating, lying, and sensationalized fakeness.  The native leaders spoke of really introspective, peaceful approaches to life and their cause at large in a calm, casual manner that allowed for space and time for reflection and thought, and saying things from the heart.  Some of the main messages of these leaders were that the native people are, “warriors of love and don’t have to be angry to be brave.  Courage is the ability to overcome reactionary emotions.  Fear, anger, and hate are not the strongest we can be.  There needs to a big effort to keep from fear overtaking us.”  Negative emotions can, “spread like wild fire.  Many are watching us all the time including children and peers and we need to constantly be teaching them and showing others how to be.  When we are united and standing against fear this actually puts fear into the hearts and minds of those who spread negativity and stand against us.”  The strongest statement I connected to most of all was their view on resentment.  “Resentment can have traumatizing effects.  If we move beyond it our life is better.  If we move beyond it the life of the one we felt resentment for who maybe wronged us, their life is also better.”  Some of the more powerful words spoken in one of the more powerful environments I’ve been witness to in my life.

 

The native people of the United States have been fighting the battle they are fighting at Standing Rock for centuries.  They are the true keepers of the Earth, the true leaders, the ones who will have to play a major role in getting our world out of this catastrophic environmental disaster we have found ourselves in.  They’ve been the true space holders for the white culture.  The space holder at the expense of getting beaten, killed, re-located, almost completely decimated, etc.  They are masters at dealing with trauma because they have HAD to do this for the last 500+ years.  The only weapon they have in dealing with an outright military power like the United States has been in going towards internal healing and meditative practices connected to themselves and the spirit of the Earth.

 

One of the ways you witness these incredible space holding practices is in the way the native people interact with others.  In the middle of town, they have an open mic that can basically be heard from all over camp.  Open mic means open mic and there is no judgement or time limit on who is speaking.  I would often find myself getting impatient at what people were saying up there and how they seemed to be not going anywhere with their story.  But that’s just it.  It wasn’t about the content or the overall message having an impact, it was about self-expression and allowing for the fact that we all want those levels of self-expression.  When it is our turn up there on open mic would we want somebody to give us bad looks or pressure us off stage, or would we want to be allowed to have just as much expression as the other person?  It is a small price to be paid to be heard.  It means you have to equally, if not more so, hear others.

 

This also was apparent in one on one conversations.  Native people displayed incredible patience.  There was not a race to have competitive conversations or to say something the loudest or fastest, or be entertaining enough, as can happen with so many conversations we have during our day in our common cultural settings.  I feel like I hold space pretty well for people and this usually means that I give people the power to talk about whatever.  Unfortunately, this also means that people don’t know exactly what to do with this because most conversations are stimulation races and I have found that holding space for someone in this way can make the other think you are not really contributing to the conversation, and possibly seen as rude.  Silence is seen as uncomfortable and when you really allow someone to express themselves I think many in our culture do feel power at being listened to but they also feel a certain level of awkwardness.  This awkwardness possibly comes from feeling like you have too much power in a conversation and the other person is submitting to you, or not entertaining enough, or not fully participating in how our culture views a conversation normally happening.  It’s complicated obviously to explain these nuances, but it was so refreshing to be talking with native people who were making me feel that way.  It was basically a relief as I am not as used to being on that side as much.  I would take a deep breath and relish in the comfortable silence and the patience filled conversation and just the general sense of having my space enjoyed and me enjoying theirs.  It was pleasant to be feel such at ease and accepted.

 

The natives of this land have developed a very sophisticated, yet simple, approach to their relationship with the Earth.  With many decisions they make, their value is, “what will it look like in 100 years?”  As the myth of white culture, American Exceptionalism has swept across the land over the last many centuries they have witnessed this and decided to hold space for us even after everything they’ve worked for and created was destroyed.  They’ve continued that space in the hopes of one day that we would wake up!  Wake up to their ways and their value of the Earth.  In the last many years and especially in the last 6-12 months this feeling has grown immensely.  The Bernie movement woke a lot of people up to be able to hear more clearly the message the native people have always been saying.  We are evolving into greater beings.  We are seeing our Earth destroyed by corporations, our government, and the military soldiers that implement such moneyed interest policies across the world.  There are so many more of us now that can relate to the plight of the native.  We can’t REALLY relate because that is hundreds of years of genocide that most of us have not experienced but we can see now how quickly we will lose everything if we don’t step up to the plate as a generation and start standing with natives, our culture, the people of the earth who all care about what our world will look like in 100 years.  If the native people spent hundreds of years trying to relay this message with almost being totally wiped out, it is now our time to help lift them up, lift their message up, and stand up for most people everywhere.

 

I have left Standing Rock today but only physically.  I have learned and tapped into more the power of prayer since being there and my thoughts and intentions and positive mindset is with the people and their plight at Standing Rock.  I may return in physical form again as I hope to but in the meantime, I will take everything I’ve learned from there to help continue to help out the cause.  There is no other choice to take.  Our world is being gutted and innocent, peaceful people are being looked upon as terrorists and annoyingly in the way of corporate interests.  We have no other choice but to keep going in our resistance in order to make the world one with native ideology again.

 

Below are inspirational quotes I came across on bumper stickers that I saw at Standing Rock.  You can see these on my picture link I mention above too.

 

“Karma, it’s everywhere you’re going to be”

“Marriage = Love + Love”

“Friends don’t eat friends (picture of a pig and a chicken)”

“Once you realize nothing makes sense, it all makes sense”

“Breathe”

“What would the dude do?”

“Plant seeds and sing songs”

“Food is medicine”

“Everything in your life has led to this moment”

“Wherever you are, be all there”

“Plants Heal”

“Why find a cure when the disease is so profitable”

“Show me the path of wisdom and give me the strength to follow it”

“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe”

“The key to the future is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known”

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet”

“The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men”

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”

“Corporate plan for America, Loot is and leave it”

“Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex”

“Who would Jesus Bomb?”

“What if we destroy the planet before Jesus gets back?”

“The War on Drugs is war on the poor”

“Bernie Sanders for President!”

“Ask not what your planet can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your planet”

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”

“Equal means everyone”

“God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians”

“We spend more time congratulating people who have not succeeded than encouraging people who have not”

“The Hippies were right”

“I want gay married couples to be able to protect their marijuana plants with guns”

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure”

“Music is the weapon of the future”

“Hate is easy, love takes courage”

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die”

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Ending Corporate Rule. The Plight of Our Generation

4 11 2016

To see pics related to this story and today they can be seen here on my Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745178703&sk=photos&collection_token=745178703%3A2305272732%3A69&set=a.10154639081773704.1073741843.745178703&type=3&uploaded=11

 

North Dakota is surprisingly cold.  Sometimes I can be funny, though.  I forget simple things about taking care of myself.  Sometimes you don’t eat and wonder why you’re feeling crappy.  Sometimes you don’t sleep and wonder why you don’t have energy.  Well, sometimes in North Dakota it’s cold and you don’t put on more clothes or use more blankets and you wonder why it’s so cold.  I put on two and three pairs of pants, shirts, jackets, socks, and used another blanket, and surprisingly I wasn’t as cold anymore at night.  It’s funny how that works.  If somebody had told me I couldn’t wear shorts or just use summer gear in 30-degree weather I would have known;)   I guess it takes me a few days of suffering to figure things out sometimes.

 

I’ve gotten used to the sounds of drones and surveillance planes flying around.  At night it sort of reminds me of a white noise machine and has actually aided my sleep.  It is weird psychologically at times, though, that these sounds you are hearing are people watching you.  When the drone stops right above you it’s especially weird to know that it’s sizing you up.  And I wonder why I’ve gotten hacked recently.  Well, what is one to do?  How do you go against drones and surveillance and the technological juggernaut of the most ultimate super power military the world has ever seen?  You don’t try to fight it.  You just live your life and not cater to fear.  I do have a fantasy at times, though, that I’m going to invent some super high tech sling shot that can be used to knock drones from the sky.  Drones are a total invasion of privacy and when they come into your airspace it should be considered an aggressive act like someone threatening coming onto your property.  You should be able to shoot them down.  I wish I was carrying a bunch of baseballs with me.  Get that sling shot shortstop arm back in shape.  Damnit.

 

Today at Standing Rock was a pretty calm day full of practical activities of helping people out.  I spent some of it driving people to and from the showers to bathe.  To see the faces of the people after they’ve become clean after many days or weeks of not bathing and being stressed out is a magical re-birth experience.  They light up, they talk, they have a new window of momentum and inspiration to push forth with.  I was happy I could be the vein of transport for these people who were working so hard in camp.  I was supporting them and contributing to their strength.  To give them a way to relax and have a breather and create their own personal positive state change was huge.  It made us all feel good and created an immense amount of connection between us.  I have made friends forever by offering them this.  It felt heart centered and wonderful.

 

I also helped some people set up some huge military tents which is an extremely complicated affair.  They are like mini houses and take many people coordinating to get them set up right.  There are so many new people coming to camp and it is wonderful to see.  So many positive people showing up and creating more unification and solidarity.  Spiritual, peaceful, clergy representatives from Japan showed up today as well and held a big ceremony for peace and for keeping clean water a right.  They traveled so far and it has been amazing to see the international commitment to stand against the U.S. government sponsored oppression of free and peaceful people.  We will need it ever more from this point on as this fight seems to be the beginning of something big that will take a very long time to finish.

 

Doing all these activities today gave me additional opportunities to talk to many of the native people whether they were from Standing Rock or across the U.S.  There are hundreds of tribes represented here at Standing Rock.  One particular native women I talked to brought her kids and is upset with many in her community for not making the trip or at least doing what they can at home to fight for this cause.  “People need to step outside of their comfort zone and make their lives uncomfortable, for but a second, if we really want to stand up against this oil pipeline construction.”  This woman mentioned that most important of all was that many in her family wouldn’t consider leaving Wells Fargo, which was one of the biggest financial sponsors of the pipeline.  “My mom says she doesn’t want her credit rating affected or to have to re-finance her loan with a new bank.”  And here we see the crux of the issue.  The system we currently live in has pitted people’s own personal financial gain with corporate gain against the community’s loss.  Leaving Wells Fargo in this example would be an uncomfortable short term detail to deal with but would have long term fantastic benefits.  We need to start holding companies accountable and opting out from doing business with them when they do participate in shady dealings that contribute to financially sponsoring oppression.  The power is in the people and who they invest their money with but each person has to push to make their own decision about taking on short term discomforts for long term benefits.  People all have hard and busy lives and it’s a hard thing to convince people to do.  The government, the corporations, the banks know this all too well and have successfully pitted people against each other in this way.  How long will this go on for?  We have more control in these situations than we think.

 

Through many other conversations today with people from various colors, creeds, religions, backgrounds, etc. it is apparent that what is happening at Standing Rock is a global issue.  It’s a system of state sponsored terrorism standing up for corporate profits and enacting rules, laws, policies that affect people’s ability to live empowered lives or even be given basic resources like clean water.  The Native American oppression is the Palestinian oppression is the Black Lives Matters oppression, etc.  It is the people of the world suffering from corporate rule.  It is the people of the world suffering from fascist governments enacting racist, imperialistic, and corporate friendly policies that limit the lives of normal people in harmful ways.  To many here, it is becoming known as the fight of our generation.  These types of confrontations are going to rage on for years to come.  Corporations like oil companies who have taken over governments to do their bidding and enact violence to support their policies will not just voluntarily give up their power.  This confrontation is going to rage on in every country, every state, every locality for decades to come.  It will have to be demanded and taken from them in order for them not to destroy the Earth and the people that live on it.  The persistence and strength of what is happening right now at Standing Rock is just the beginning of a long fight.

 

Walking up to the front line today where the trucks were burned on the bridge by the natives to escape advancement by the corporate soldiers into the main camp at Standing Rock, there was now razor blade circular barbed wire all around these burned vehicles, over the barricades, and extending down to the lakes on each side.  Looking through it and past the trucks and barricades it was as if I was looking into a history book at what it looked like on the east side of the Berlin Wall.  There were full military, with their huge guns and about 50 vehicles and drones all standing guard in defense of defenseless people who are praying and seeking peace.  I was in a group of mostly media members who were taking pictures and doing interviews at this spot.  There was one point where it was projected on a loudspeaker that we would be arrested if we continued to trespass on the other side of the barricade.  Continue to trespass on the other side of the barricade?  Are you kidding me?  Is this what is has become where we are trespassing by staying on our side of the fence and on the land we were invited to be on?  This is basically what the native people have been putting up with for hundreds of years.  Like I said, get ready for this confrontation to be waged for years to come.

 

The reason there is no end in sight from a U.S. perspective is that we are currently a week away from an election that will either put a flaming, psychopath racist into the presidency, which has its obvious problems, or an imperialist, war mongering, corporatist instilling the same kind of oppression against people that we are seeing at Standing Rock and throughout the world.  You ask people here who they will vote for in the election and they just laugh at you.  Upon asking one man, he pointed to himself and said, “One candidate will hate me because of this (pointing to his skin while another will send in those (pointing to the corporate soldiers).”  Most do not participate in politics and only vote for locals they know or people who they feel will actually stand up for people.  Having worn a Bernie shirt one of the days here I received a lot of positive feedback and it makes me cringe of how united we would be as a people, as a world, confidently knowing we were moving in the right direction with a candidate who symbolically and realistically stood for people, for the environment, for the oppressed, against corporate rule, for Standing Rock, for Black Lives Matters, For Palestine, etc.

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Corporate Soldiers Trash and Return Possessions of Water Protectors While 1000 Clergy Members Stand in Unity Against Oppression at Standing Rock

3 11 2016

To see pictures that relate to the summation of the story below go here to my Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745178703&sk=photos&collection_token=745178703%3A2305272732%3A69&set=a.10154636558298704.1073741842.745178703&type=3&uploaded=30

 

Thursday started out bitterly.  I woke up and somehow the humid moisture had penetrated my tent and the top layer of my blanket was wet.  When I am cold it is cold!  Anyone who knows me knows I run extremely hot, am an oven for others, and even in freezing temperatures I often wear shorts.  These North Dakota nights and cold don’t mess around.  I can’t wear enough clothes and have enough blankets to not feel like my face is going to freeze off in the middle of the night.  And it is only November!  I can’t even imagine what it will be like here in a month or two.

 

After realizing I did not actually have frost bite, I organized myself and walked up to Center Camp to find that all the possessions from the Water Protectors and their north camp had been trashed and dropped off in one big pile by the corporate soldier military from the confrontation last Thursday.  On that day, the north camp was looted extensively by the invading corporate forces where 150 arrests were made and 70 cars impounded (the arrested persons were detained all throughout the state making it as complicated as possible for them to be processed and have the resources to get back to the reservation).  Religious ceremonies were interrupted and old women, children, and men were forcefully thrown out of their tents, teepees, and kicked out of their community and burial grounds they were trying to protect.  One man I interviewed today got his tent knifed open and physically thrown out on the ground.  Another new friend of mine also had a similar experience but was grabbed by his dreadlocks and had his necklaces ripped off (military dog tags I’ll add) and his hand broken as he was restrained.  He still hasn’t completely recovered his circulation from how tight the draw string hand cuffs were on his wrists.  The invading corporate police pushed all of the residents off their land and then proceeded to dig into the ground, through burial sites, to put their oil pipeline in.  The advancing U.S. corporate army only stopped when the natives lit two cars on fire that were blocking the bridge and roadway at a river crossing.  If this had not happened, many speculate that the central camp would have been attacked next.  The corporate interests were trying to advance as far as they could to create as much distance from the oil pipeline and the water protectors as possible.

 

Having not been here for this and looking at the landscape today it is hard for me to imagine that there were teepes and homes on the land that I now see across the bridge that is completely flat.  When the looted items were returned this morning to the central camp most things were ripped up and broken or already destroyed.  People lost a lot of possessions in this confrontation and to have them returned was a slap in the face.  Does it make any sense to return destroyed possessions to those you stole them from?  It seems like a way to try and make it seem like you did not do anything wrong.  I can see the justification by the corporate police now claiming that they acted justly by returning all the items that were confiscated in the way they had found them.

 

I spent much of my day today talking to people and being shown their wounds from the rubber bullets and/or bean bag guns.  They are some pretty gnarly wounds and nothing to be taken lightly.  People need medicine and medical help here.  There also is a general frustration that there is no way to fight back.  Many of the younger water protectors are frustrated that they really have no option in fighting back as the strategies of non-violence and peace is hard to implement in the face of such hostility.  “How has that worked for us” one man stated?  “It’s led to our slow extermination over the centuries.  We need to stand up and physically fight back!”  I can understand their frustration and at times I agree and other times I don’t.  Non-violence is an extremely hard thing to accomplish.  When it works it really works but most of the time it just feels like you are allowing rape to occur.  That feeling obviously does not get easier to deal with over time and leads to all sorts of trauma and stress and depression, etc.  It can kill slowly kill people and communities.  Some of the younger water protectors seek of doing desperate actions and sacrificing their lives and riding past the police lines in major acts of defiance.  You can see how suicide fighters gain momentum.  When people have no real forms of immediate self-defense, major desperation ensues and a depressed individual with nowhere else to turn can see this as a solution.  And the sad thing is that it can be extremely effective, but that is your last move.  There obviously is no life after such an action.  Decades spent trying to help out the world all go down the drain.  All of that energy goes into that last act.  These conversations are intense to listen to and I have no idea what to tell these people, except that I think decades of trying to make the world a better place is better than a last ditch effort of an intense suicide fighter attempt.  But I am white, I am not a native, I am a guest on their land and don’t experience their pain and their life so my opinion is not really considered and, honestly, should it?

 

On a lighter note, later in the early afternoon close to 1000 clergy people showed up and participated in a prayer ceremony of peace next to the barricaded corporate police blockade.  It was remarkable to see so many faiths come together and agree on peace and standing as one in the face of what was happening at Standing Rock.  Each congregation would say prayers in their own customs in a giant people ring, holding hands.  I have not had the best experience with religion in my life standing for positive things and seeing this act of solidarity was so motivating and inspiring to know that there ARE religions in the world that can have peace with people who think differently than them and ultimately know that standing for peace and tolerance and the oppressed makes us all win.  I was taken aback with emotion by these events.  The ring looped in on itself too and, even though it took many hours, each person shook hands and/or hugged everyone else in the ring.  I loved the connection created from this.  It made me feel like everyone at this event today felt connected with everyone else and it led to really wonderful conversations throughout the day.  The people here today are the true leaders in the world.  What happened here today should be emulated all throughout the world.

 

Back at center camp a women spoke today who was from Alaska and who had been at the camp for months.  She talked about how Alaska has dealt with their pipeline issues since they were put back in many decades ago.  There was of course the Exxon disaster that happened which was atrocious, but what this women was mainly stating was the subtle danger of the pipeline.  They have been told many times over that the pipeline is fitted with full safe equipment so that it won’t leak, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  There have been constant leakages that have occurred and at every moment in time they are dealing with a leak here and a leak there and it’s caused constant damage to water ways, nature, and the overall landscape of Alaska.  The end all be all of a pipeline is that it WILL leak and cause environmental damage and make our water and nature incredibly polluted.  There is no guarantee about pipelines not leaking.  It is a false promise dished out by corporate interests and if the pipeline is allowed to be put in at Standing Rock it will leak just like every other pipeline has and get into the waterways and float downstream to have atrocious negative effects on the people and the animals and the nature in the Dakotas and beyond.

 

This pipeline issue and investing further in the oil industry and fracking, etc. is the most important issue of our time.  Every state and place in the world is having to deal with this corporate interest trumping the interests of people and their communities and nature.  It’s happening everywhere!  It’s about valuing humanity and a right to live a healthy life over corporate interests.  We will get distracted by our political leaders that it’s about women’s rights or the first female president or gay rights or getting rid of the death penalty or pulling out of a war abroad or fearing Russia or fearing Iran or giving more people jobs and having a healthy economy, etc.  You name any single issue that is a hot button issue and that is what we will be led to be distracted on.  However, it isn’t about any one of these issues.  It is about ALL of these issues and the corporate rule that is having an effect on the rights of everyone, the environment as a whole, and all of us not having opportunities to have healthy life, liberty, and happiness.  It is time to stand up for all people and not just one group of people.  They will continue try this distracting approach, this dividing approach with single issues but we need to take on the whole problem and not put up with anything short of that.  What is going on right now is NOT working.  It is not leading to better lives being lived by all.  Everybody is doing far worse.  The environment is suffering tremendously and the negativity is spreading exponentially as years pass.  It is time to demand a change to the way things are being done.  It is time to stand up to a corporate government, corporate interests, corporate soldiers, and the ways our government are continuing to oppress all people whether it’s directly or passively, whether it’s Democrat or Republican.  The U.S. is an example of what happens when it hires out a corporate army.  Not standing against this and doing things as we always have done will put everyone and the world at risk.  We really have no other choice as corporations are aligning themselves to make profits at all costs while selling us oil to drink and oil to live in.  Is this the kind of world we want?

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