Get Your Life Out Of The Box: 5 Unconventional Tips for Tuning With Your Soul & Creating Your Dreams


Do you wake up for work feeling excited and curious about what your workday holds?  Or, do you wake up wishing you had a ticket to Hawaii?

When was the last time you felt that kid-at-Christmas rush in regards to you J. O. B.?  Or, do you sit at your desk feeling a little like stale toast?

I’ve lived my whole life out of the box.  I worked an office job for one summer in college.  I found out everything I needed to know.   I’ve never looked back.  I’d much rather live the light of my soul and passion than a slow, comfortable, predictable death.

Boxes work for cereal, but not for people.

You were not born to embody the status quo.  You were not born to fulfill the over-baked cookie cutter dreams of a culture that has lost it’s center and it’s sense of meaning.
C’mon… you were born to deconstruct boxes.  You were born to shape the world through your unique vision.  You were born to live the passionate truth of your soul.

You were born to do what you love.

Doing what you love isn’t just for lucky people.  It’s for anyone with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of love.  It’s for anyone who is willing tap into inner listening through body awareness and the messages of spirit and nature – and to take consistent, substantive steps to bring that awareness into the world as your work.

It’s for anyone who would rather dream than die.

What steps are you taking today to do what you love?


Here are 5 unconventional, and in my experience, highly effective, tips to live the dreams and create work that you love:


#1:  Stop doing what’s not yours to do.   

This may sound like a negative goal, but it’s not.  It’s the foundation for all big yeses.  The biggest reason most people don’t “get to do what they love” is that they are too busy doing what they think, “needs to be done” or just responding to whatever is in front of them.  Your body knows the sensation of YES.  Excitement = life.  If you don’t feel aliveness in what you are doing.  Stop doing it.  (It just takes a minute to feel this.  Take a few breaths and center in your body.  Then, just ask.  “No” feels dead or tense.  “Yes” feels awake, pulsing, tuned in, available, curious, present.)

#2:  Follow the feel good.

Once you get centered in the basic body sensation of yes (or no), then it’s time to tap into a deeper sensation.  When I say “follow the feel good,” I don’t just mean simple pleasure (tho that’s also a really great indicator).  “The FEEL GOOD” is the sense that what’s happening in your life is alive, lit up, potent, juicy or growthful for you.  The FEEL GOOD is the sensation of living in integrity with your soul.   This can include incredibly challenging situations.  It can also include shifting an attitude or behavioral set point – like letting yourself laugh or make intuitively driven decisions, even if you are “a serious person.”  To find that sensation, all you need to do is get a little quiet and check in with yourself – under the noise your body and your soul know what’s alive for you.

#3:  Fall In Love With Learning.

Dreams are never constant.  Dreams grow with you and your evolution.  And, they are co-generated by your willingness to explore, grow, learn and have new experiences.  Your soul is a voracious learner.   Feed your dreams by feeding your desire to learn.  Plus, if your dream involves doing something you’ve not yet achieved (which it hopefully does!), you will likely need new tools to achieve your goals.  Don’t be afraid to be a beginner and to ask for lots of help.

#4:  Choose a Better Story.

Life is really a fabric of stories.  You get the story you tend and love.  What is your “creation myth?”  Is it the “scrape and save” story, the “live at the margins so I can be free” story, or the “dreams are dangerous, best to follow the rules “ story?   I tend towards the “love always saves the day” story with a strong streak of “Hobbit with an elvin sword saves the world,” and an equally strong streak of “The Goddess meets The Medicine Path.”  It’s wild fun.  I also live the story of my life in a universe in ceaseless expansion and evolution whilst living on a gorgeous green planet that is teaching me (and all of humanity) the wisdom of limits.  I love how that story empowers my “life as a Great and abundant adventure” story.   What story do you choose?  (Some other fun options:  romantic comedy, inventor of universes, successful artist re-weaving the world through beauty.)  Once you get clear about your core stories, it’s useful to tease out aspects of them that might be in incongruity.  Congruity supports an uncomplicated experience of yourself and a unity of your energies in action.  If your story isn’t working for you, re-write it in a way that supports your FEEL GOOD.

#5:  Expand Your Concept of “TEAM.”

The universe wishes you well.  Seriously, you have a really BIG team.  You have all the people who know and care for you, who you touch and who have been touched by you.  You have colleagues and teachers and students.  You have special loved ones and core friends who know you inside out – both through affinity and time depth.  They have your back, and you can call on them any time.   And – here’s the real expansion – you have an unseen power team that is always supporting you, helping you to make better choices and waiting in the wings (for your request of help) to assist your awesomeness and your dreams.  Your unseen power team includes your Higher Self, your angels, your ancestors and your totem guides.  If you are reading this, it may be time to reconnect with that team, or to open to it’s existence simply by ASKING, if you haven’t already.

Bonus Tip:

Stop giving energy, attention or money to success gurus, unless you get a deep body yes to what they are offering.  Marketing is wicked accurate these days in terms of targeting your deepest fears and desires with perfectly programed language.  Start from the assumption that you are ENOUGH exactly as you are.  Ask, what do I really need and want to support my health, wholeness, happiness, growth and the manifestation of my dreams?  Then, ONLY go for this.

And, if DANCE is what you are most passionate about, if it’s your medicine and your magic, your home and your liberation, then come train with me as a Dancing Freedom Facilitator.   The next training is April 25-May 16, 2015 at my home, Seven Seeds Farm.  Find out more here.

…to your box free life!

How Life On a Farm at the End of the Road Has Changed Me

Oh.. the pleasures of soil and birdsong and baby goats and lambs!  This land is a living dance of earth medicine.  This is a place where we can truly remember the ancient patterns of planting dances, rain dances, harvest dances, a place where we can feel the ancient future patterns of dancing for our lives in harmony with all of life, where we can engage dance as a divine ceremony for the greater whole.  It’s a place where we can eat the food we danced for, wash our cell-ves in the water we danced for, sleep on the sweet earth we prayed for, and hatch our days into the dreaming awake prayer of a better world.  It’s a place where body and soul can heal in right livelihood, optimal nutrition, and deep nature immersion.  It’s a place where there are no veils between the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of our aliveness, where the birds and the bees dance with us, and where there is an honest, natural invitation to feel at home – just laying in the long grass in the sun.
It’s a place where community is exhalted – not because we say so, but because community is what makes this all possible.  Our hands tend the soil and our dancing feet tend our joy.

In my year an a half here at Seven Seeds Permaculture Farm, I’ve learned that the medicines of fire and the water are real.  I knew they were real before. But, now they are real in the visceral, embodied sense that I have daily relationships with them.  I tend my hearth daily… I chop the wood that makes the fire.  I am a part of the dance of that fire.  I know the deva of that hearth intimately.  It is my warmth, my comfort.  It takes all my prayers.

The water comes straight out of our ground.  It’s real water – untreated, unmediated.  It is free, so I am free in drinking it.  It is the spring of my body, the pulse of my blood, the fluid medium that makes my life possible.
These are truly my deepest allies – in all dances and all prayers.
I’ve learned how to bury my sadness in the dark earth and how to give my greatest intentions to the winds.  I’ve learned to watch for the first hummingbird of the season to feel the lifting joy of spring in the place where the sap of the trees and the wisdom of my body are one.
I’ve learned to celebrate frost because it represents the deep nourishment of quiescence.  I’ve discovered that the clouds are an endlessly innovative reflection of my own mind.  And, I’ve found that hours in sweaty work communion with weeds or thorns or manure can heal things we don’t even have words for.
Oh… and did I mention food.  I’ve learned that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that compares to the medicine of food that you’ve grown yourself on live soil with real water, sun and a whole lotta love.
falltime seed roundup
And, dancing in this wise community of about 3,000 people, I’ve taken an even deeper step into bringing my most authentic, present tense truth to my facilitation.  We all live here.  We all know each others stories.  There are no masks.  There is no trying.  There is only an invitation into the teaching of the moment and the truly great medicine of the dance.
I have been forever changed by this place, by the wisdom of the mountain and the old growth forests above the farm, by the indomitable strength and courage of a community that truly stewards its water, seeds, soil and land, and by the experience of life as ceremony – every every day.
It’s a quiet change, a seasoning, a deepening.  It’s not bells and whistles, but a change of great patience and persistence – like the oaks.  It’s a change that has softened my bark – like the madrones.  It’s a change that begins from witness, a knowing in my bones that I am a fierce protectress of the earth.  That protectress finds her roots in planting seeds, tending them, watching them grow, and seeing the children eat the fruits of that harvest.  That protectress tends her roots with daily visits to the secret spot by the creek to pray.   That protectress knows where she’s from.  It’s a change called knowing a Real Place as home.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses.  ❤

What does it mean when people say, “remember who you are?” And, why do we forget?

1002806_894756000154_1600458832_nThe oldest questions are still the truest.

Who are you?

What are you?

Why are you here?

When you “remember who you are”, what are you remembering?

Are you “awake?”

And, if it’s so important to “remember who you are”, why do we forget?

These questions have shaped my life since I can remember.  They have driven me in a fundamental commitment to live a life that matches the truth of my soul.

I “woke up” when I was 5.  I woke up again when I was 11.  Again, when I was 19.  And… again.

I have often forgotten.  Why?

In the last few weeks, through a series of ceremonies, intensely healing dance practices and quiet time with nature, I’ve “remembered who I am” yet again.  Who am I?  I am love, light, pure radiance – just like you.  And, me, personally?   I am a star priestess from a timeless lineage of star priestesses.  I come from the Early Ones from the Great Central Sun.  I carry original codes for planetary healing and balance.  I have incarnated countless times on planet earth, all of these incarnations (both past and future) culminate in the singularity of this lifetime and it’s particular evolutionary potential for all of life on planet earth.  I am an intuitive, a healer, a leader, a teacher of teachers, a dance shamaness, an earth keeper, a keeper of life’s true pattern for abundance and royalty which is only divinely aligned when stewarded in integrity with the balance of All of Life.  None of this is a function of ego.  And, it’s not woowoo.  It’s just true.  It’s a statement of soul essence.  It’s up to me to somehow embody it in the messy complexity of this life.  It’s up to me to “be” this as a function of surrender and showing up.  It’s up to me to walk the lifelong process of developing of a healthy, human ego and identity that matches this soul truth and makes good use of it.

That’s your job, too.

Your job, ultimately, once you remember who you are, is to live a life that matches the image within your soul.

Yet, forgetting is a part of the process.  Forgetting creates the whole journey of remembering as a recapitulating experience that deepens and becomes more mature each time it happens.  Cycles of forgetfulness and remembrance allow us to embody the soul in a truly magical, human, authentic, non-linear way.  If we knew the end of the movie, we wouldn’t be fully present for it.  If we always remembered, we would miss out on the funky, fallible, broken, exquisite depths of being human.  We would miss the dark nights that shape our souls when we fall down.   We would miss the pleasure of bumbling our way out of caves.

And, it’s a great risk to live fully awake.  When you put your true self out there, you risk being attacked for your light.  You risk being fully seen.  You have nowhere to hide.  You risk offering your your deepest love and truth to the world and being rejected or, worse, being wildly successful and so needing to tolerate great attention or power.  You risk needing to “keep it together” when the deeper rhythm of a soul centered life can in no way be determined by society’s version of success.

Risk is inherent to an awake life.  Get used to it. It’s worth it.

I love all the spiritual slogans and Facebook posts I see these days that say, “Remember who you are.”

We – the human species – are indeed remembering.  And this really matters, because, as we remember, we fan the spiraling fire of evolution by bringing our unique soul gifts to the world.  But, as we remember, let’s also allow some space to forget.  That compassion is the seat of a deeper liberation – a liberation into loving it all, a liberation into life on life’s terms.

As you wake up, listen.  Underneath the elevation of your soul’s majesty, you will hear a quieter tug to respond to this life with wisdom, courage and responsibility.  As you wake up, make a space in yourself to forget – and to remember again – more grounded, more real, more human.

I’ll meet you there.

Know Water, Know Life. The Top 10 Things You Can Do To Heal Your Relationship with Water

Know WaterHey folks,
Saturday March 22nd is International World Water Day.

I invite us to WALK this prayer together.  The most powerful prayers are directly linked to action.  They are not merely energetic, they are soulfully engaged.  Water, being the cause of life itself, craves this engagement.  After all, action is the essence of sacred relationship.  So, here’s the

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Engage and Heal Your Relationship with Water:


1.)   Build a simple rainwater catchment system harvesting water using the roof runoff from your home or apartment.  Use it to water plants and gardens.

2.)   Re-use your greywater!  You can re-route showers, bathtubs, wash machines, even kitchen sinks, to water your yards and gardens.

3.)   Grow a garden.   Use the water you harvest from your roof and/or greywater system to grow your own vegetables. 

4.)   Plant trees.  Green things attract rain.

5.)   Stop drinking bottled water.  The process of bottling water takes water from existing healthy watersheds where it serves the natural ecology, people and farmers and redistributes it (plus a lot of new plastic pollutants for purchase to consumers.  It’s cheaper, easier, healthier and more environmentally sane to purchase a water filter and re-use your water bottle.  (FYI, plastic recycling takes seven times the amount of water it takes to produce the original plastic object.)

6.)   Eat locally raised, organic produce, grains, legumes and meats & use your financial power to pay the real price of your food.  This supports small farmers who have good relationships with the water, soil and ecology of your bioregion.

7.)   Stop eating factory-farmed meats.  It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to raise one pound of meat, not to mention the hormones, antibiotics and waste that leaches into ground water and watersheds due to factory-farming practices.  8% of global domestic water usage goes to factory farmed livestock.

8.)   Engage with local, state and federal levels of your government to preserve and conserve mature ecosystems and old growth in your bioregion.  Healthy, mature ecosystems are the foundation of healthy aquifers. 

9.)   Slow it.  Sink it.  Spread it.  Create swales and ponds on your land that keep rainwater where it falls and spread it into the earth where it can replentish your local watertable.  Check out this video on keyline water systems to see what is possible.  This can be done on a very small scale in side yards and parking lots using appropriate filter-feeding plants.

10.)Start or become a part of a wetland restoration or creek daylighting project in your city or neighborhood.



Samantha Sweetwater: founder of Dancing Freedom, permaculturalist, life coach & priestess

More info & inspiration + LIVE EVENTS can be found at UNIFY.ORG.


Ceaseless fascination with the songs of light, the turning of seasons, and the camera's invitation to co-create with the eye of god.

Ceaseless fascination with the songs of light, the turning of seasons, and the camera’s invitation to co-create with the eye of god.  photo:  ss

Hey Friend,

This is an invitation to pause.

Imagine, just for a few minutes, the world you really want to live in – the one Yoko and John showed us, the one where you get to romp in the grass everyday, where the sun warms your skin, where your body is radiantly healthy, where everyone dances regularly, and where our parents  and children and partners and lovers and neighbors are true friends.

Bring in the color.  Tune up the sound.  Make a smell symphony.  Melt into it… just for a minute, let yourself have the world you imagine.

Where are you?  Perhaps it is the home you never fully let yourself dream of, the relationship you thought was impossible, the business they said would fail.  Or, perhaps it is the healing practice they said wasn’t valuable, or the art that nobody listened to, or the the silence you thought you needed to cover in order to be heard…

Go there.  Extend the instant.  Extend the interval.  That is where your real power lies – right there – in the center of your imagination.  That’s god power at work.  Don’t let it die.

What can you imagine into existence?

“BUT…” you say, “I’m not sure I deserve this.  I’m not sure it’s possible.  I won’t be supported.  What if I die?”

Imagine, just for this moment, that the universe loves you, that every single thing that has ever happened to you, is happening to you, or will ever happening to you, is perfectly aligned with your soul’s plan for itself and god’s plan for you.   Just let that in.  And, just for today, take another few steps into LIVING INTO the world you imagine.


Two(+) keys for today:

Give the world the benefit of the doubt. 

‘Notice whether you imagine (project) good intentions or negative intentions onto the actions or others.  Withdraw the judgement and simply imagine that that person or situation is doing it’s very very best to come to a higher order of resolution with challenge or change.  Notice how this is profoundly relieving for you, because then you are no longer carrying the weight of that judgement.  Repeat… notice.  Find a more charged situation.  Do it again.

Imagine new life where you currently perceive dysfunction or death.

We all have those things we look away from because they are unpleasant, or deadened places within our selves or our world.  Often, we don’t know what to do about them, so we ignore them, or simply cope with them.   Examples:  the knee issue you’ve been nursing for two years but “have just gotten used to living with,” the homeless person whose particular energy and presence speaks mysteriously to you, but who you’ve never said “hi” to, the bare rooftops I’m looking at right now, that I imagine everyday as gardens, solar catchers and water movers.  Every single thing you see that tugs at your body, heart and soul for an authentic response is an opportunity in latent form.  These things invite you to apply your imagination to co-create a higher octave of being, of response, of solution or resolution or connection in your own life and in the world.  Where in your life are you ignoring a potent opportunity to turn towards a challenge or a pain with creative openness to grow, to give and to be changed?  Where are you pushing something away because it doesn’t fit your preferences or fantasy image of your life?  Choose one thing or situation.  Imagine it as a part of the world you want to see – with your heart wide open – and see what new responses arise.

Bonus Key:

“Better Than Imagined”

For me, the most potent key (or prayer) is the one where I use my imagination to conjure and coalesce the most beautiful, elegant, lovingly created thing (like Dancing Freedom, for example, or the organic feast I cooked on Saturday night), then I GIVE IT UP TO GOD, trusting that’s the Greater Intelligence of creation is a more brilliant, diverse, genius co-creator than me alone.  This is where true magic happens.  All you need to do is to allow yourself to engage a dialogue, a conversation, with whatever you perceive that larger intelligence and love to be.  Just try it – dance it, talk it, meditate it, use your gratitude power to engage with it.  See what happens.

More on imagination, creativity and liberation next week…

I love you so much,


What to do upon waking

ImageWaking up is sacred business.  In the moments between dreaming and waking, the universe changes.  That is, the universe as you (and you really are a whole universe!) shifts consciousness in a truly basic and radical way.  When we are asleep, we dream the world awake.  When we are awake, we live it.  How you surf the numinous bridge between your dreaming and your waking matters to the way experience meaning, authenticity, connection and fulfillment in your life.  Do you live in and create from the architectures of your soul’s dreaming, or do you live as a lonely wanderer in a world that alienates your essence?  The choice is up to you.  It’s all about making the bridge between your true creative capacity and your daily life.  The moments between sleeping and waking hold powerful keys to becoming the You that you dream you can be.

What do you DO with your dreams?  Literally.  What is the first thing you DO upon waking?  The difference between really “inspired” people and other people is that inspired people DO something with their guidance.  Everyone gets inspiration.  But it takes focus to let that stream of big information flow through you into words and actions, blogs and art pieces, conversations and businesses.  It takes attention and diligence to repeatedly create a living bridge between your dreams and the behaviors and physical forms of your life.   But, it’s pretty much the only game worth playing while living a human life.  That is, if you want to know and feel and experience the crazy awesome pleasure that comes from creating in integrity with who you really ARE. So, you might as well get GOOD at it.

How do you wake yourself?  What thoughts are habitual at that tender moment of bridging this world and the other world of dreamtime?  Do you pause to receive your dreams?  And do you take the time to thank your life and pray your way into the day?

Here’s some tips from my own practice of navigating waking.

What do I do upon waking:

Listen.  Stay as still and as quiet as possible and listen to the tender bridge between my dreams and my waking.  Occasionally, I will write them down.

A yawning big-cat stretch.  Taking a few moments to feel the soft animal of my body.

Here’s what my inner self talk sounded like:

Long listening silence, simply feeling.

“Good morning beauty.  Good morning dreams.  Good morning breath.  (Big breath!)

Thank you for my life.”

Listening to my dreams:

What often comes for me, these days, is something like a directive.  This blog, for example.  This is what came through my dreams to DO, to SHARE, to co-create a more awesome and evolutionarily optimal conversation with my world.  But, sometimes, what comes is visions that aren’t so easily translated.  These are fun.  Other times, what comes is the need to feel into something disturbing, or to let myself thing and feel long and hard about some old unresolved loss.  It is always a healing opportunity.  And, if I am honest with myself (about my honest feelings, pleasant or not) and present with the dream images themselves, the healing bundle always reveals itself.  Dreams can be subconscious or superconscious, lucid or non-lucid.  All of them are valuable.  The more present you become to them, the more lucid and superconscious they often become, and the more powerfully they inform the living of your life.

Remember, even if you feel grumpy or stiff or a bit hung over, this is YOUR day:

All the world: the bird, the dawn, the smallest green thing, is saying to you, “LOVE YOUR LIFE.”  All that life wants from you is that you soften and open to living.

It’s up to you to listen and to STAY AWAKE.

Travelogue… What is GROUNDING? In the numinous space between Ecuador & Guatemala


Written in the numinous space between Ecuador & Guatemala.


Feeling totally in flux today…  really deconstructed.

I am learning to ground in the mystery… which is completely beyond grounding.  It’s  about birthing myself into a human being-ness that is spirit, soul and body all together – integrated.

This time is going to be a wild ride for humanity.  We’ve created quite a crucible for ourselves.  Sometimes I worry about it.  But, what I’ve learned is that it’s my job to love and to be happy.  And that, if I have any influence at all over the future, it is by creating the most awesome, soulful, authentic NOW I possibly can.

I have the ubiquitous feeling that EVERYTHING is changing.  It IS.  In the midst of it all, I’m sometimes not at all sure what I am passionate about.  I’m a really passionate person, but in these times, everything is up for renegotiation.  And, some new kind of stillness is being called for – and it calls me to pause, to be, and to unplug all kinds of stories about what has been meaningful and important and passionate in my life.  Sometimes I can’t tell if this is depression or awakeness…  I’m able to turn towards just about anything and be present, but sometimes I’m not totally sure what is motivating me.  It’s like there is an empty space inside.  Sometimes it is filled with a palpable sense of love, and sometimes it is just empty – totally neutral.
A lot of masters talk about this…  They say, “It’s not what you think it is… This love is beyond objects.”
I think what is going on is really about surrendering attachments and ego programs that make things “important” in a way that isn’t really real.  But/and, being human… sometimes it’s really hard to navigate without those attachments – like I’m a ship that could go anywhere.
It’s good to talk about this…
The question is…  What I am working towards?  WHY am I working.  Am I working to fill myself up because I am essentially empty inside.  Or, am I working as an outcome of the magnetic pull of love towards itself.  Life says – “turn towards life.”   Love says “turn towards love.” “Turn towards life.”
Here’s what I get.  I am stabilizing in love – not love for something, but love itself.  And, as a human being, walking the path will co-generate the stability.  Walking is a way of being.  As Bucky said, “I’m a verb.”  I am found in the finding which happens both in the being and in the doing of a self that is grounded in love.  That’s the nature of being alive.  That’s my opportunity.  That’s how we stay grounded and stay on the path:  we live on it and we love AS it.
I feel shaky right now because I feel vast shifts in my path AND in the world around me.   It’s natural to feel rocked when there’s no object constancy – within or without.  Yet, this is the blossoming of a deeper stability in and as love.  As I ground in this, I feel peace, and I experience the path unfurling naturally.  I respond and it’s OK.  Similarly, when I am really DOING something as an expression of my natural love – I notice that I’m “On track.”  And this, too generates its own form of soul stability -because I am BEing my dharma, behaving AS my true purpose.
I can find grounding BOTH from the angle of being and from the angle of the doing of my purpose, living what give me joy and being joyous in what I’m living.   And… I’m remembering that grounding that has an eternal and perfect quality.  It’s a constant.  If I’m present, I am grounded.
~s.s. with D.L.  9/12
Find out more about practices to GROUND in times of change at DANCING FREEDOM.

Why Dance?

12-beautifully-humanIt helps.  It really helps.

“I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.”  -Friederich Nietzsche

“Are we human?  Are we dancing?”  ~The Killers


Why Dance?

It just makes sense.  When we dance, nothing is hidden.  We feel.  We love.  We connect.  We reflect.  We share joy.  We find our authentic inner impulses.  We see ourselves and others transparently.  We uplevel our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being – all at the same time.

From the very beginning I have danced.  I have listened with my body to the shape and texture of nature and the unseen, to archetypal energies, and to the shadow play of the human psyche.  At the age of 13, I began locking myself into the wrestling room at my High School to find myself and God.  I danced as an act of self-preservation, of creation, of communication and of communion.  I created innumerable dances about spiritual states beyond name or form, about war and peace, and about the play of human relations.

I have danced because it was in me to do so – the most natural and unavoidable expression of my soul.[1]  I have danced because it is a listener’s path: away to follow and a way to lead.   For me, dance is a medicine, an alchemical practice that invites everything as the raw material and opportunity to create more life.  Through dance, I have a direct and personal conversation with with Creator and Creation.  And, I have a medium through which to conveyed this conversation as an offering to the world.   Through dance I co-create sacred community and collaborative leadership.  I transform and transmute the raw material of my emotions into art and self leadership.  With and through dance, I find the way to move forward in my life and to help others do the same.

Despite this amazing list of benefits, I have doubted the dance as a vehicle.  I have doubted its value and legitimacy as a way to “spend my time”, give my service and shape my life.  Why?  Because “the dancer” is not the image we are taught to hold for leadership or power.  Like most of us, I was taught to see the image of power in suits, stats and definable results.  In these terms, dance is “a luxury,” or “a girl’s thing,” or “a waste of time.”  As a career path, it is anything other than the effective, efficient, financially conservative pathway to success that was hoped of me as a promising young person.  In reality, dancing together has been a central practice for generating resonance and collectivized prayer in tribal communities for untold ages.  And, the truth, beauty and goodness it empowers are the very foundation for all that is valuable to a human life.

Thankfully, my soul’s stubborn power was stronger than these cultural stories.  The dance won, and has always been central to my life.  Sharing and spreading the practice of Dancing Freedom is at the heart of my sacred leadership.  It is a practice of prayer and presence that encircles and defines my personal conversation with god and my ministry in community.  Though my leadership mission has many faces other than dance, moving together is the centerless center at the middle of my altar – the Tao manifest as a practice unfolding in time.  My business, Dancing Freedom, supports people in personal transformation, leadership development and community building.  It works.  Dance is the place I, and many others, go to resource truth.

[1] Like many dancers of spirit (Isadora Duncan among them), my dancing emerged independent of any conscious cultural, ancestral or soul-level influences.  I now see it as the outcome of many, many past lives combined with a soul calling to know and embody the soul, the divine and all of life in the most practical, immediate of ways.  And, I do not know if my blood ancestors danced.  But, I do know that my dancing came from a level of listening (to myself and to the collective) quite beyond myself.  Like the Ghost Dance, but on a smaller level, my own path expresses the way in which the dance can heal culture and a people.

Ps.  To dance with Samantha, join her EVERY MONDAY NIGHT at 8pm at Western Sky Studio for Dancing Freedom.  Address: 2525 8th Street, Berkeley.  Or, join one the Dancing Freedom Facilitator Training Program, and bring the dance more deeply into your community or organization. 

Creative Chaos: Soul Crafting, Transforming Trauma & the Burning Man Experience

Creative Chaos:

Soul Crafting, Transforming Trauma & the Burning Man Experience

“One must have chaos within one’s self in order to give birth to a dancing star.”
– Freiderich Neitche

From and early age, children are taught to move forward in life as if everything is “normal.”  As soon as we can participate, we are acculturated to the ordinary.  The value of normalcy is, after all, a core survival strategy for the developing ego and the ordered society.  But, these are no ordinary times in which we live.  These are times of extraordinary chaos, change and newness for our human race. They are non-ordinary times.
Could a wise response to non-ordinary times be for ordinary people to cultivate practices and presence around the non-ordinary?  Could it be that we are now called to be non-ordinary people, or a super-ordinary people?  The dancing star has answers:  the one who can hold chaos within herself knows how to transform trauma.  She knows how to midwife herself and others through the fire of difficulty, and to birth a more radiant, soulful existence.  What allows an individual to hold a fruitful chaos within the self that may give birth to a new star of wisdom in the collective?  And, what kind of a collective gives birth to such a dancing star?
I love these questions passionately.  And, I recognize myself and my life path as an unfolding fractal of the answers.  Almost since birth, I have been preparing for these times.  I was born in 1972, and remember, from as early as three, an acute awareness of global nuclear threat, immanent environmental catastrophe, and the impossibility of endless expansion on a finite planet.  I sensed intuitively that these times are like no other as the “end times” of a present way of being for the human race.   I remember contemplating the possible destruction of the planet, with both terror and fascination.  I knew that I and WE could simply be wiped out – within my lifetime – through our own arrogance, greed and habit.  I grew up with this as the emotional underground of my developing consciousness.  This “trauma” led me into phases of acute depression, as well as long periods of creativity and activism.
Also significant: I came into this life after the birth of truly global consciousness. The first outer space picture of the planet was taken in over ten years before my birth.  The image and its implications were well imbedded in collective consciousness by the time I came around.  I have always imagined myself as a part of a global society and an evolving whole planet.  Thus, my self-identity naturally reflects a co-creative impulse that includes my family, community and culture, as well as the totality of the World Soul and Gaia herself.  My perspective and experience has been shaped by a sense of “membership” in an emerging planetary culture.  These two factors combined: the awareness of immanent chaos and felt sense of the planetary collective, have led me to believe that our choices, our resiliency and our willingness will define the future (or non-future) of our race and our collective spirit.
When I made the decision to join in the Trauma Mentoring program at Wisdom University, I was moving from an inner knowing that has been a core operating principle of my life.  The call to be a trauma mentor is the call to be a responder, a leader, a healer and a wisdom beacon in an increasingly chaotic world.  It is a call midwife the dancing star in the lila of cacophony.  Trauma happens.  It has always been a part of the initiatory path of a human life, but this moment in earth’s history is unparalleled in the potential it holds for mass scale upheavals precipitated by super-weather, epidemics, drought, war, famine, rising seas, terrorism, economic collapse, unemployment, and failed social systems.  Thus, trauma could become, and is becoming, systemic, endemic and unavoidable.  How do we respond?  Are we ready to be “response – able?”
Dancing stars – we must resist the temptation to shy away from trauma.  We have to stop pushing the dirt under the rug.  Rather than hiding from difficulty, or sitting helpless in front of the TV, we must participate.  And, we must learn to stay present with what is.  In all this chaos, we as a race have a great spiritual and evolutionary opportunity to break down and break through calcified habits of the ordinary. Can we approach trauma and bring the skills and mindset of trauma mentoring to bear at this time in such a way as to help precipitate a radical evolutionary leap?  Could a small segment of the population show up as soul-centered “first responders,” and thereby significantly affect the whole?  Could trauma mentoring be a significant line of development within the current spiral of consciousness development?
Let’s imaging that “we” – the entire human population- have now reached the pointed edge of a bottomless drop-off.  There is no choice but to jump.  To the right, there is awareness, brilliance, response-ability and wisdom.  To the left, there is stasis, fear and terror.  Which do we choose?

We are at a  potential point of punctuated equilibrium in our human consciousness journey whereby individuals, communities, cultures and an entire planet can take a new step towards awakening through the initiatory gateways of difficulty.  This is the invitation of trauma mentoring – to choose awareness, and lean to dance as we fall.

How to Birth the Dancing Star?

“It’s the end of the world as we know it.  And, I feel fine.”   -R.E.M.

Where in the world are soul crafters and trauma mentors birthed?  Obviously, they are trained at Wisdom University.  But, with all honor and respect, the existence of this program is not a “new” thing, rather it is pointing to and co-generative with a much larger line of development in emerging wisdom culture: the line of soul crafting, trauma mentoring and soul stewardship.  This line is represented by the voices of Bill Plotkin, Krakaur, James Hillman, David Whyte, and many others who are re-birthing and defining the process of soul centered transformation.  But, it is also a voice emerging from the crevices of individual experience – the experience of my generation (and those younger than myself) who are choosing an essentially creative, generative and life affirming response to all the chaos in the house.  We are choosing a coherent, transformative response-ability in the face of trauma.  On the edges of popular culture and on the cutting edge of the main stream is a rising tide of intelligence that meets the flux of life with spirit, creativity, levity and love.  These individuals are teaching themselves and each other how to hold chaos within themselves and how to mid-wife a new earth.  They create fertile training grounds for themselves: festivals, gatherings, workshops, events and social/political actions, where they get to practice and deepen their mastery.  The people, events and ways of knowing that are the unsung contributors to this tide of soul are the subject of this paper, specifically the training ground that is the Burning Man Experience.  Through this microcosm, I am exploring the holon of the dancing star and the culture(s) that co-generates her.

Willfully Arriving In Chaos

Literally days after finishing our class, I found myself at what is probably the most non-ordinary gathering of the summer season – Burning Man.  Every year, over 40,000 people from every sector of society converge in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada for a weeklong festival over the Labor Day Holiday.  They come from all over the world, from every walk of life, to birth a temporary living city in one of the most arid, inhospitable and starkly beautiful places on the planet:  an ancient dry lake bed surrounded by rugged red and black mountains.  In the space of a few days, an entire city appears, almost as though it has built itself on the white flatness of the once empty playa.  The fine, alkaline dust creates a film on everything, permeating every crack and cranny.  The sky is unceasingly bright.  Days boil.  Nights plunge to near freezing.  There is no water, no pant life, and no break from the wind and sun.  Pitiless 40 to 70mph winds can carry away any unsecured object.  A human without shade and water will quickly succumb to overexposure.  In an environment like this, a neighbor is a valuable thing.  You do not take your fellow humans, your water, your food, your shelter or the elements for granted.  They are the webs of your survival, and you know it.  Those who choose to come, choose to consciously participate in a collective ritual, a vast creative outpouring that simultaneously takes one to the edge of survival.  It is a unique choice that highlights the fragility and majesty of life, and power of choice itself.
The playa begs you to co-create with her exquisite emptiness.  She strips you of all of your daily norms, and dares you to approach her with infinite respect, as an empty canvas whose features can change at any moment.  On still days, colors and images pop against the landscape.   People, wearing goggles and dust masks, appear as ants in the vast openness.  The city rises as they scramble around raising tents, domes, yurts, tipi’s, and every kind of sculpture imaginable.  Within a few days, streets are defined, addresses established, neighbors get to know one another.  Soon, there is an ordered flow of traffic: pedestrians, bikers and art vehicles.  And, all of this functions as an entirely GIFT economy.  There is no exchange of money here, only the exchange of energy.  The level of creative genesis boggles the mind: survival and harmony; porto-potties and sensual beauty; juxtaposition in form and meaning.  The white vastness holds it all – the playa is simultaneously changed and unmoved.  It makes a person feel small and insignificant and like an amazing super-hero at the same time.
In this paradoxical place, multiple energy patterns, ideologies and memes collide, are embraced with a creative spirit, and find synergy.  A convergent, holographic intelligence emerges that supports a collective capacity to hospice an old way of being and to midwife a new phase in human behavior, evolution and society. Numerous soul crafting factors are present in this unique social space that combine to create something entirely new, different and “next level.”  These include, intense elements, the rapidity of growth and decay, the assumption of risk (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual), the weaving of group field, massive and individual ritual and ceremony, altered states combined with personal and group practice, racial, ethnic, spiritual and socio-economic diversity, the collision/inclusion of multiple memes within a single society, and an emphasis on embodiment.  These and other factors inform and actually generate a culture – a holon – that has the capacity to craft the soul and to transform trauma.  People literally meet challenge, change, pain and difficulty differently in this environment than they do in most other environments.  What makes this society different?

The Collective Intentional Field

Burning Man is a Soul Craft crucible.  40,000 people do a crazy, wild, shamanic thing: they willingly and knowingly bring themselves into contact with the very edge of the world to partner with the elements and a massive, uncontrollable expression of creativity and destruction.  They prepare for the worst and expect magic.  All week long, people unleash the totality of their humanity through dance, elaborate rites of passage, and rituals of beauty, while living and relating in one of the harshest environments on the planet. People come with radical intentions of transformation and transmutation, shape shifting, edge playing, creating dreams, re-weaving core stories of self, embodying fantasy, and letting go of habitual patterns.  Most have spent months or weeks preparing.  Many bring intentionally focused art projects, archetypal costuming and performance art or artifacts.  They come alone or with friends and join an entire city whose primary purpose is to hold and reflect the great chaos of the collective human creative spirit and to offer it up into the flames of the mystery.  They bring every aspect of themselves, and all these parts converge.  The collective empathic field begs for participation and non-fixity of consciousness.  Soul level confrontation with the self is immanent.  Thus, “Visionary experience springs from dichotomies that at first seem irrevocable.  There is desire and despair – the desire to commune with the soul, the despair born of soul estrangement.  There is attraction and repulsion – attraction to the rich realms of the dark, repulsion from its monsters and demons… If we sink deep enough into these dichotomies, they shift into paradoxes – not either/or but both/and.  The soul embraces the poles.” (Plotkin, 2003, 218)   Ecstasy is born of despair, recognition out of the deepest feelings of loss.
The archetypal wanderer appears in the dust.  There is a willingness to be lost, to not know, to live and explore at the edge of what is rationally tolerable – to see what will happen.  One becomes a sojourner, and thereby opens to a larger perspective of the possible expressions of one’s life.  “By trusting your unknowing… you become eligible to choose new, larger standards… that come from… the depths of your soul.  The art of being lost is not a matter of merely getting lost, but rather being lost and enthusiastically surrendering to the unlimiting potential of it.”  (Plotkin, 2003, 249)  A place in the heart and the psyche open up no only to tolerate chaos, but to assimilate it as a reflective opportunity for the soul.  The gift is a widening and a deepening of the capacity to dance as a star, and to dance with others, in their cacophony of color and chiaroscuro of light and shadow.

Unity in Diversity:  Holon of the Outer Community

Once the city is built, it hosts one of the largest ongoing parties in the world with everyone in the city as guest, participant and creator:  40,000 dancing stars in birth, death, free-fall and free-for-all.  People, ideas and expressions careen and collide in every possible direction. Within the greater holon of the city, individuals and camps create their participation from every lock or meme of social development.  (Beck and Cowan, 2002)  In the Red meme, “Death Guild” hosts the “Thunder Dome” where people sign up to for gladiator style fighting.  Their mission: “Bringing senseless violence to the playa since 1999: Dome fights | Fire Garden | Mayhem.”  (Theme Camp Archives, 2007)  Huge crowds gather and swarm up and around their steel dome, cheering and jeering as heavy metal music blasts.  Though the bats and bludgeons are foam covered, injuries are frequent.  Primal, red energy is given a sanctioned space for expression and release.  The whole “Death Guild” crew holds space for this as darkly spiritual warriors.  Across the street, literally 100 yards away, in the high Yellow/Turquoise Meme, Entheon Village hosts the Pantheogenesis, – a modern mystery school with seven interconnected temples holding a progression of consciousness towards oneness.  Classes, ceremonies, panel discussions, sound healing and meditation are ongoing.  Each temple space is a different sanctuary, learning and practice environment.  People congregate to learn about and discuss emerging consciousness, to meditate, or simply receive a “frequency blast” from the incredible crystal grids.  People wander in between these two camps in seconds.
There are thousands of such “Theme Camps” with occupations (pre-occupations!?!) as diverse as the human imagination.  Each function as a smaller holon of consciousness within the city.  The “HebeeGeebie Healers” lead yoga, chi kung, relationship counseling, Reiki and other healing workshops (Yellow).  Half a block over, “Barbie Death Camp” showcases an entirely pink exhibit of Barbie Dolls within a miniature chain link enclosure: a parody of “the American Dream.”  (cynical Green Meme).  The “Official Evil Empire of Burning Man” boasts:  “Our Official Goals: To take over Burning Man completely and force people to do what they want! In the meantime, to explore the duality of the Visceral vs. the Metaphysical through Meditation and FIRE!!! LOTS OF FIRE!!!” (Blue Meme meets Green).   In and archetypal expression of the deep Purple Meme, “Magic Forest” proclaims:  “Come romp, play and pose amongst our old growth tree spirits, mystical magical mushroom, green man and lady of the woods. The Giant Puppets will come alive, strolling, romping and playing on the playa. Volunteers welcome. Play the wheel of Karma Game. Get a free florescent, artistically designed, bike identification tag. What gifts are hidden in the mysterious knot-holes of our gifting tree? Our Forest is inhabited by a colony of misfit monkeys. Play their games. Adopt a gorilla gram.”
As a citizen of Black Rock City, you slip stream between memes constantly (all the while held by the random whims of the Playa herself).  You never know where you’ll end up.  In both the social and the nature realms, you have traveled “into the wild” of what is imaginally, emotionally and sometimes physically tolerable.  You have cultivated and co-created this non-ordinary reality by choice.  Because of your choice, you taste your power within the chaos.  This embrace of wild diversity invites an inner fluidity and skillfulness of navigation between various memes, selves, and emerging expressions of chaos in the world.  You are becoming a non-ordinary person – one who can hold chaos within one’s self – a soul centered activator in life.

Strategies of the Soul Centered Wanderer

“Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.”  – Mary Oliver, after 9/11

So, what does an individual’s experience look like – as a single holon within the larger holons of Theme Camps and the City.  For any given individual, a day’s activities range from your basic “Frat” kind of drinking party, to sex-parties, to sex-education parties, to conscious dance and yoga classes, to sacred tea ceremony and traditional Native American sweat lodge, to curling up in a stranger’s bed for a nap, to cooking dinner for 200 people. You might take a magical ride on a glowing “duck” art car, followed by a light body activation workshop, followed by an art viewing walk, followed by a show with “Black Rock City Ballet,” followed by an all night dance party.  You are free to choose and seek the “best” possible experience within the social marketplace of opportunities (Orange).   Or, you might navigate this radical field of choice through pure synchronicity (Purple).  Bathing, foot care and fundamental survival probably figure highly in your awareness (Beige). And, dust storms or intense rain can happen at any time, creating zero visibility or foot deep grey clay mud, reducing everyone to a base state of survival (Beige).
Everyone is in it together.  Anything can happen at any time.  Everything is happening all the time.  How you choose to relate to all this defines the quality of your experience, and you know it.  Just by showing up, you are guaranteed a crash course in the roles that disciplined intention, constancy of practice and high levels of consciousness play in creating a powerful experience (Turquoise Meme, integrating Purple).  Continuously exercising conscious choice while meeting and surrendering to the unknown as a reflection of soul and spirit is a key strategy.  The soul centered wanderer lives with a Meta awareness shifting realities, reflections and expressions (memes), and sees all of these as sacred opportunities.  This in turn generates an ability to embody and relate as a force for unity in diversity, embracing chaos as a generator for awareness, rather than trying to control an uncontrollable environment.  As one internalizes and becomes skilled at the practice of navigation and embrace, one becomes able to experience the whole from a holonic, intuitive and spiritually integral perspective.  In other words, if you (as an individual holon) can hold all the parts simultaneously in your heart and mind (meet the layered holons of your own experiences, other individuals, Theme Camps and the City as a whole), you enter into Turquoise consciousness (holy holons!).

Inner Unity in Diversity:  Aware Ego

Within this Turquoise consciousness, one enters into a new kind of relationship with one’s inner world.  The outer pantheon of expressions and archetypes becomes a reflection of the inner community.  On the playa, outer reflections change with an intensity and frequency unparalleled in any other social environment, thus striping one of normal coping strategies.  Vulnerable selves are forced to participate and controlling selves to relax.  This midwives an “aware ego.” (Stone and Stone, 1989)  Protector controllers, pushers and critics find that their controlling or limiting strategies do not work so well in an environment in which spontaneity and child-like wonder is both a survival skill and a social value.  They need to let go for the person to find playful participation and relaxation in the chaos.  At the same time, these sub selves find their positive strengths in creating safety, comfort, clear communication, influence, grounding and order.
The environment partners with disowned instinctual energies. “Appropriateness” varies according to the moment and endlessly shifting context, unhinging carefully locked boxes of repression.  The inner child, rebel, vixen, warrior, healer, visionary, dreamer, destroyer, devil, animal, show off and clown all come out to play.  The borders between the sacred and the profane, the safe and the unsafe, the normal, sub-normal and  super-normal, are stretched, blurred and re-defined.  All of this creates a powerful reflective space for the cultivation of a harmonic discourse within the inner community.
“Overload” is a symptom that there is not harmony, or at least some conscious interface, between various aspects of the inner community.  Without some conscious discourse, disorientation and crisis often emerge.   Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of grounded service camps where you can go for counsel, reflection, and actual therapy.  More often than not, such an individual in crisis is met with compassion, listening, non-judgment and an invitation to release fear.   Through this mentoring, many arrive at a more accepting mediating consciousness for all aspects of self – a greater sense of inner unity within a broader spectrum of inner diversity.

Aware Ego and the Sub-Personalities of the Dancing Star

Though people come to the playa with all kinds of agendas, from every Meme of consciousness, a sizeable minority comes as dancing stars ready to mentor and midwife other dancing stars.  They are not “birthed” of the playa, but they are honed by it, drawn out, and invited to play.  They are the progeny of a far larger and greater spiritual/creative culture that speaks the language of soul craft.  The come with the intent to co-create a field of awakening.  Their archetypal names include: the Jedi, the Rainbow Warrior, the Priest/Priestess, the Therapist, the Coach, the “first Responder, the Ranger, and the light worker.  These archetypes function as sub personalities within the aware ego of a dancing star.  They define themselves primarily in terms of the response-able roles they play in soul crafting and trauma mentoring.  They are able to respond on a soul level to the needs of individuals and the collective.  Of course, these sub personalities do not arise singularly on the playa.  They are cultivated through the collected life choices of the creative responder.  But, they are deeply called for and well exercised on the playa.  Skillfulness with energies, emotions, self, other and the chaotic world is one of the most valued commodities within the gift economy of the city.  It is a value.  These dancing stars are ready to nurse the latent seed of soul within – the seed that is watered by every day’s wild, raw experience. They know how to empower others by using the skills of the trauma mentor. They are the “wise ones,” already living in high Yellow and Turquoise consciousness, who bring keys for the unlocking and upwards spiraling of the consciousness of the whole.

Dance Steps:  Practicing the Skill Set of the Trauma Mentor

How do they do it?  How do we do it?  The answers are ancient and contemporary, and ever more current – both at Burning Man and in the world.  They include the following tools brought forward by Will and Judith in class:
–    Reduction of fear
–    Non-judgment
–    Curiosity
–    Listening
–    Surrender to and relationship with elements, animals, devas and the entire Circle of Being
–    Altered States combined with practice
–    Creation of ritual, quest and vision space
–    Knowing the difference between pain and suffering
–    Seeing the little story in the context of the Big Picture

Embrace of the non-ordinary is an exquisite dance.  Jumping off an edge, with a large number of people, and learning grace in the free fall, is no simple matter.  I have been thinking about trauma mentoring as a line of development not only for individual mentors, but also within the broader culture.  From this perspective, another set of skills is highlighted.  The list below include skills that mediate and harmonize chaos in social situations – situations like burning man, or war zones, or disaster zones, where the response to chaos and/or trauma is being called for by entire groups.  They include:

–    Active creative response
–    Radical, coherent membership
–    Gratitude, Praise and Feeling Prayer
–    Recognizing that anyone or anything is or can be “the teacher”
–    An aura of hope / positive psychology of and feeling for the future
–    Willing assumption of risk and accepting the immanence of death

What I mean by “active creative response” is the habit of responding to the world in a generative, expressive way, – not getting frozen.  Whether that response-ability comes be through dancing, writing, painting, singing, costuming, creating an event, a theme camp, a meal, a sacred conversation or a private ritual is not important.  It is the spirit of response connected to the energy of beauty that matters.
What I mean by “radical coherent membership” is the habit of inclusion – welcoming all parts in participation and expressions as equal within a diverse social map.  The sense of belonging is a societal expression of trust, a foundational pillar for both individual and collective transformation.  It is a crucial key in crafting a WE.  It gifts an immense strength in diverse togetherness and shared action regardless of ideology, race, age, creed, heritage or class.
Gratitude, praise and feeling payer are all tools for shifting personal and group attention, intention and collective frequency.  They touch our sense of unity with the divine, and bridge our knowing that we are of this unity together.  Opening to all as the Dharma, or the teacher in all, has a similar effect.  It leads us into leading ourselves through love.
Working with an aura of hope, or a positive psychology of the future, acknowledges that it is not really the past that creates the present, but the future that creates the present.  In other words, we live into the intent and image of what we place before us in a projected future.  We tend to travel where we already think we are going.  So, shifting towards a positive image, feeling and knowing of our future is a key to creating a more vibrant, wise and soulful present.  Without a feeling for a positive future, how could anyone ever really want to make shift?  How could it be possible to hold on to shifts that feel wonderful in the present, but are already being quashed by a projected catastrophe in the future?
The last skill I have listed, willing assumption of Risk and accepting the immanence of death, is really a huge category.  But, there is certain elegance to it.  If we can truly accept and embrace that life is ephemeral and death immanent, we can meet any challenge with much greater grace, real-ness and connection.  It is our fear of dying that creates so much dissociation and trauma in the first place.  Simple subsets of this category include: constant practice of lightness, levity and humor in the face of adversity; knowing the bio-mechanics of trauma and embracing the freeze response; the practice of loving what is; and the practice of trust in one’s self and others (working with trust as a practice).  If we can cultivate a willingness to embrace death, we stop glossing over the experience that is actually happen.  We end the cycles of dissociation and denial and move towards our natural, wise responses in challenge filled scenarios.

Bringing It Home/Hard Practice
What ultimately creates phase shift?  When states become traits, and traits become embedded in collective consciousness.  When skills become a way of life, synergizing with emerging conditions. When archetypal, trauma mentoring, sub personalities become regular, harmonic members of the inner realities of every-day people.  It’s all got to integrate.  The consciousness has to “come home.”   Returning to “the ordinary” world after Burning Man is a great case study of re-integrating the non-ordinary into life.  After one has washed the final “magic dust” from cars, clothes and crevices, the “hard practice” begins.  In BM lingo, this period is called Decompression, and can involve a significant sense of loss, lost-ness, disorientation, isolation and even depression.  It can also involve immense elation, creative activity, community involvement, and heightened states of continuous bliss, oneness, unity and connection.
This is where the real practice begins: on the bridge where daily life kicks in, inviting us to forget or to assimilate these ephemeral experiences.  Do we choose to live as dancing stars, or suppress the ability to hold chaos because we would rather be ordinary?   At the end of the day, the training ground that is Burning Man (or any other festival, event, or action) needs to be integrated into the inner self and into living practice, or it is just a states experience. We bring the soul’s knowing into immamanece through action over time.  What makes the Burning Man experience significant is that so many people DO choose, in the majesty of the soul’s knowing, to carry integrated wisdom forward as gifts to the world.   And, that so many people do this together, in co-operative partnership with the land, each other and a vision of freedom that affirms the essential brilliance of spirit.  Thus, the dancing stars – the wild alive soul within, and collective soul – the dancing, vibrant, birthing soul of our culture – continue to birth themselves.  As we spiral upwards through the dance of chaos, we co-create exquisite new possibilities for personal and collective response and imagination.

Post Script:

This paper was originally written in the Summer of ’08 towards a Trauma Mentoring Certificate I’m doing with Wisdom University.  It feels just as relevant and powerful today as ever.

Love, Love! ~ss

Own It! The Moment of Power is Now

Own It!

Guess Whspirit dancingat?

The moment of POWER is NOW.
Is Sam being new-agey again?
No.  Just Practical.

Power is not just a function of control.  It is a function of influence.  Anything that causes shift in any way or holds influence, holds power.  And, influence can only happen from the leverage point provided by the present moment.  Duh….

Influence is not something out there in the future.  It is something that arises out of the energy, clarity and trust we invest in a given moment.  Whatever we think, feel, say or do affects the way in which we impact and shape the unfoldment of reality.  Thus, the future coalesces through the combined influences we exert on the present through our awareness within the (apparent) flow of time.

BOTTOM LINE:  we can not be effective, efficient or particularly wise in any of our actions if we are not focused in the way things really ARE in the present moment.  We can not create a culture of peace if we do not feed the world AS IT IS with our love, understanding, curiosity and presence.  If you understand this, you can become a powerful agent for change and a meaningful creator of the future/now.

I recently created an Authentic Spirituality Class series – a journey through the chakras called LOVE & POWER.  It gave me cause to reflect, yet again, on the causal energetics of the universe.

Do you know what I discovered?

I realized that we have a completely flat conception of power.  Our society has been focused on power as the capacity to exert control over things, people and the environment.

We are now witnessing the Feminine Power movement, which has (thankfully!) differentiated between Masculine Power and Feminine Power.

This, too, is way too simplistic.

Power flows through and is an element of ABSOLUTELY EVERY CREATED THING.  Its qualities are infinite and subtle.

Power can be defined as the capacity to cause or participate in change.  It can be seen as the ability to influence, shape or define.

Each chakra in the human energy field is a different lens of power.  Part of why our civilization is so out of balance is because it has focused on the third chakra as the locus of power.  The third chakra is about getting survival needs met, about controlling the environment and about leveraging skills to get what one wants.  It is the kind of power we have come to call “masculine”, but it is not innately masculine.  It is innately simple and survival driven.  None of this is bad… it’s just too simple as a framework co-generating an evolving civilization.  Think about it…

Take some time to center in your heart.
Ask your heart what it knows about power.
Notice what feeling tones arise.  What capacities for influence, exchange and change arise through the inteligence of the heart?
What wounds, victim stories or fears arise in relationship to heart power – for you?
Do the same for your Second Chakra (pelvic/sex center).
Do the same for your Seventh Chakra (crown/cosmic connection center).


TAKE YOURSELF TO TASK THROUGH EMBODIED PRACTICE.  Join me any Monday for the living body-prayer practice of owning, expanding and loving our power through Dancing Freedom.  Classes are at 7:30 every Monday at Seventh Heaven Yoga Center in Berkeley.

Look deeper into the nature of power and become a more powerful and loving participant in the dance of life.

More soon on Power and the Chakras and on the Huna Code for mastery and co-creation in a quantum universe.  In the meantime – kick ass with grace!

We hold a vast capacity in our hands, our hearts, our vision and our embodied wisdom. All of this together is integral power.

In Love and Respect,