Coming back from Mendocino

20 inner-city youth, 30 and younger
and a bunch of old white guys
trying to cross the chasm of generation, class and color
generally impossible to get all these men in a room together
much less talk about the wounds, bring the rage and the tears.

But we had a master ritualist, storyteller, shamen, and his helpers;
Michael Meade spinning stories, teaching West-African songs
That we sang full throated!-and as the week progressed the harmonies came
We raised the roof on that place!

Each morning also started with poetry-Michael’s, then his prime holder of the big spoon, Louis My-name-is-not-Rodriguez, painting the pictures, and sounds.
Helping set the stage for another day of journeying, going deeper
going into layers and layers of myth, of feeling, of our own deep psyches.

I loved the story, from the Blackfoot tribe,
But he’d only tell it for 10 or 15 minutes each day
And then the men would share what they heard.
“Soul in Exile” was the theme
and we brought all our exiled selves into the camp
dragged back into view, with their chains of helplessness and violation.
Their fires of rage and grief-
of so many violations done to them, to their loved ones-
But also the dense confusion of living in a soul-killing world
Where nature is exiled, where Soul and Spirit are exiled, where tribe is lost.

Michael described the “white fog” as layers of depression and dissociaton stemming from growing up as a boy in a world without fathers, without mentors, without Elders;
Without gods, without a lodge, without rites of initiation, without our creation stories
And leading to small men with small voices and narrowed vision, cogs in the wheels of corporate greed, confused, and content to take their paycheck and shut-up. The domestication of libido. Somehow convincing ourselves that it was all out of our control, nothing we could do, except drink, look at our screens, and try to keep the suicidal demons at bay

Then there was the “Red Fog”, generally brought by the young men of color, expressing the rage of being marginalized by that white system;
coming to this country seeking a better life and then being policed by the previous generation of immigrants from a different land.
Riches stolen, fathers, brothers and sons shot or imprisoned.
Stop and frisk orders in so many counties where black and brown men predominate, made illegal to congregate on corners
So little space to stand, to breathe, to be a man.

Michael and Louis and Zimbabwe trained drummer Dylan
And Noel, who taught us martial arts with his Harris Hawk looking on,
Holding space for the discussion of racism to come into the room
Of the institutional forces that keep us separate, afraid of each other, ignorant and at war.
It raged briefly, but not too long, for these men have been draining off these toxins in this very room for 30 years now,
It dropped, and again we were in the realm of Soul
Where with tear and anger cleared eyes, we recognize that we are truly brothers
-no easy platitudes, but a hard-won achievement.

Azimo ho-way
Azima ho
Azima ho
Azimo ho
Azimo ho

Drumming and dancing, poetry and telling the story
The longing among all of us became so palpable in the room
Longing for contact, for heart connection, for validation
For living in the truth of our big, big souls.
And after all that truth telling, all that baring of our souls
Struggling to find a way, to connect, to go deep, to be purified,
The gifts came
The gifts come
And they find their way back with us, into our community
Into this world so groaning in its birth pangs
Groaning to wake up from its nightmares of separation, of abandonment, of exile.
Bringing visions of community, and new depths of initiation,
Bringing a song,
Bringing a chant
Bringing the old, old story, home

This entry was posted on Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 9:18 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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