Ricardo’s Rock :: La Roca de Ricardo

(Español abajo)

Every year, the beginning of April marks a countdown to an anniversary of being liberated from 48 days in a hospital in South Florida, barely able to take care of myself and fully dependent on the loving support of my family and friends. A nervous system crash left me paralyzed from the feet up, and writhing in pain. I have posted about it in various years, and some years I am quiet. Yet, I always feel it, and reflect deeply upon the journey since 12 year ago. So, I want to start sharing stories on this day of 4/20, to commemorate the struggle with Guillain Barre syndrome and hopefully bring inspiration forward.

“…You used the phrase to be given your life back. As a gift. So it came from somewhere. And if it came from somewhere, it left a hole in order to come to you. By the same token, by the same understanding you got a chance to live again, that came from somewhere and it made a hole. that’s not sin, that’s not pain. But the hole yearns to be spoken to. it yearns to be… maybe we can say fed. If you don’t say paid you say fed. It’s maintenance not punishment. ”

Stephen Jenkinson in Griefwalker

*Ricardo’s Rock*

A hospital stay has a lot of unique circumstances come up, but for some things, a lot of standards. One is the drawing of blood.

At some point of being a patient in Bethesda hospital, I received what most would say was an excessive amount of blood drawn. It was insane, and my father fought for me where I couldn’t. Everyday a cart would come by, and sometimes in the middle of the night to awake a very sick person from regenerative sleep, to prick them and throw life juice into a tube to be spun and studied and maybe misunderstood.

I became friendly with an Italian looking Northeast accented guy for his frequency of visits afforded such familiarity. We got to talking once and he always connected to me in a profound way. Once, he told me a story, docked at my bed. He shared how when he was younger, he was in the war of Vietnam, as a paratrooper. War was war, and people died and one of them was a dear friend of his. In remembering his friend, he kept with him a rock that had had some of this friends blood stained on it. Some time after this, while still in the service, he jumped from a helicopter and had a near fatal accident, landing terribly and becoming unable to walk. He was discharged and returned back to the United States with the diagnosis of never walking again. So, he tells me this, as he is looking down at a scared, helpless, and depressed in every which way, paralyzed young man. I continue listening because I know there was more. He gets home, and his son reminds him to try something; to put all of his faith and love into the rock that he had, into this piece of remembrance. He did just that. He prayed over this, and he believed in something that is beyond the beyond.

Staring at him, I realize what I had previously taken for granted, a back belt on him, and maybe even a certain way he utilized the blood cart to be mobile. Mesmerized at such an account of what seemed to be impossible, he left me, with sure odds of seeing him again soon. The next day, he passes by my room, walks up to my bed, and he drops a black asymmetrical rock in my numb and pain filled lap. Through even the double vision in both eyes, and the excruciating and unrelenting fire and lightning nerve pain that coursed my being, I wept at the meaning of what had just taken place. The rock stayed by my side through the help of those close to me, putting it in my rigidly open hands that then I had no control over. The details in between are a decade’s worth of mental blur, but the feeling remains; something saw me on my death bed. Something turned around for me at that point, and looking back, it seems as if the Earth herself spoke in her own tongue of symbols through this Ricardo, and in rock, in stability, in the weight that my body so desperately needed to continue living. To fill myself with this energy and immense gratitude, was part of the recipe that got me through such dark times.

===

I am aware that not everyone is afforded such luck. I am cognizant that some people are forever in the wheelchair and have complications far worse than mine, so I don’t mean to say that you can wish it all into the hope department… I am respectful of the fact that there is great mystery involved with my recovering, alongside the pieces that continue to unveil themselves to me over the years, of which I will share in time. Yet, maybe a take away for me is that just because you practice prayer or have eyes set on healing, doesn’t mean your healing is based upon your physical condition. I was not cured. I am healed and maybe forever healing even deeper, the disconnect of what brought me there to begin with.

Obviously, I somehow made it out of that situation and today am walking and mobile. Yet, I am left with a pretty constant stream of chronic pain in my body and at times, weakness and jolting nerves. It is a great reminder of my balance and the reality that bodies eventually decay, break down, and die, so what are we going to do with them while we have them? How are my daily decisions an action based in gratitude for having this movement and privilege?

Maybe my story telling will be of some maintenance to whatever hole it is that this healing came from. That the waters of life may flow for me until they do not. And that our collective humanity can feel into the unique work they have come here to do.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

 

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

 

Cada año, el comienzo de abril marca la cuenta regresiva para un aniversario de la liberación de 48 días en un hospital en el sur de la Florida, que apenas puedo cuidarme a mí mismo y depende totalmente del apoyo amoroso de mi familia y amigos. Una colisión del sistema nervioso me dejó paralizado desde los pies hacia arriba y retorciéndose de dolor. Lo he publicado en varios años, y algunos años estoy tranquilo. Sin embargo, siempre lo siento y reflexiono profundamente sobre el viaje desde hace 12 años. Entonces, quiero comenzar a compartir historias en este día del 4/20, para conmemorar la lucha contra el síndrome de Guillain Barre y, con suerte, llevar la inspiración hacia adelante.

“… Usaste la frase para devolverte la vida. Como un regalo. Así que vino de alguna parte. Y si vino de algún lugar, dejó un agujero para venir a ti. De la misma manera, por el mismo entendimiento, tienes la oportunidad de vivir de nuevo, que vino de algún lugar y se hizo un agujero. Eso no es pecado, eso no es dolor. Pero el agujero anhela ser hablado. Anhela ser … tal vez podamos decirlo alimentado. Si no dices pagado, dices alimentado. Es mantenimiento no castigo. ”

– Stephen Jenkinson en Griefwalker

* La roca de Ricardo *

Una estadía en el hospital tiene muchas circunstancias únicas que surgen, pero para algunas cosas, muchos estándares. Uno es el sacar de la sangre.

En algún momento de ser paciente en el hospital de Bethesda, recibí lo que la mayoría diría que era una cantidad excesiva de sangre extraída. Fue una locura, y mi padre luchó por mí donde no pude. Todos los días pasaba un carrito y, a veces, en medio de la noche para despertar a una persona muy enferma del sueño regenerativo, para pincharla y arrojarle jugo de vida a un tubo para hilarla y estudiarla, y tal vez para que no la entendieran.

 Me hice amigo de un hombre de acento del noreste de aspecto italiano por su frecuencia de visitas que brindaba tanta familiaridad. Nos pusimos a hablar una vez y él siempre se conectaba conmigo de una manera profunda. Una vez, me contó una historia, atracado en mi cama. Él compartió cómo cuando era más joven, estaba en la guerra de Vietnam, como paracaidista. La guerra era guerra, y la gente moría y uno de ellos era un querido amigo suyo. Al recordar a su amigo, mantuvo con él una roca que tenía manchada de sangre a algunos de estos amigos. Algún tiempo después de esto, mientras todavía estaba en el servicio, saltó de un helicóptero y tuvo un accidente casi fatal, aterrizó terriblemente y no pudo caminar. Fue dado de alta y regresó a los Estados Unidos con el diagnóstico de no volver a caminar. Entonces, él me dice esto, mientras mira a un joven asustado, indefenso y deprimido en todos los sentidos, paralizado. Sigo escuchando porque sé que había más. Llega a casa, y su hijo le recuerda que intente algo; para poner toda su fe y amor en la roca que tenía, en este recuerdo. Él hizo justamente eso. Él oró por esto, y creyó en algo que está más allá del más allá.

Al mirarlo, me doy cuenta de lo que antes había dado por sentado, un cinturón trasero en él, y tal vez incluso de cierta manera utilizó el carrito de sangre para ser móvil. Hipnotizado por semejante relato de lo que parecía imposible, me dejó, con una probabilidad segura de volver a verlo pronto. Al día siguiente, pasa por mi habitación, camina hacia mi cama y deja caer una roca negra asimétrica en mi regazo adormecido y lleno de dolor. Incluso a través de la doble visión en ambos ojos, y el dolor insoportable e implacable de los nervios y los rayos que recorría mi ser, lloré ante el significado de lo que acababa de suceder. La roca se mantuvo a mi lado a través de la ayuda de los que estaban cerca de mí, colocándola en mis manos rígidamente abiertas sobre las que no tenía control. Los detalles intermedios son el valor de una década de confusión mental, pero el sentimiento permanece; algo me vio en mi lecho de muerte. Algo me dio la vuelta en ese momento, y mirando hacia atrás, parece como si la Tierra misma hablara en su propia lengua de símbolos a través de este Ricardo, y en la roca, en estabilidad, en el peso que mi cuerpo necesitaba tan desesperadamente para seguir viviendo. . Para llenarme con esta energía y gratitud inmensa, puede haber sido una gran parte de la receta que me llevó a través de tiempos tan oscuros.

===

Soy consciente de que no todos tienen la misma suerte. Soy consciente de que algunas personas están siempre en la silla de ruedas y tienen complicaciones mucho peores que las mías, por lo que no quiero decir que pueda desearlo todo en el departamento de esperanza … Respeto el hecho de que haya un gran misterio. Con mi recuperación, junto con las piezas que me siguen revelando a lo largo de los años, de las cuales compartiré a tiempo. Sin embargo, tal vez lo que más me quitan es que solo porque practicas la oración o tienes los ojos puestos en la curación, no significa que tu curación se base en tu condición física. Yo no estaba curado. Estoy curado y quizás para siempre sanando aún más profundamente, la desconexión de lo que me trajo allí para empezar.

Obviamente, de alguna manera salí de esa situación y hoy estoy caminando y moviéndome. Sin embargo, me quedo con una corriente bastante constante de dolor crónico en mi cuerpo y, a veces, debilidad y sacudidas nerviosas. Es un gran recordatorio de mi equilibrio y de la realidad de que los cuerpos eventualmente se descomponen, se descomponen y mueren. ¿Qué vamos a hacer con ellos mientras los tengamos? ¿Cómo son mis decisiones diarias una acción basada en la gratitud por tener este movimiento y privilegio?

Tal vez mi relato cuente con algo de mantenimiento para cualquier agujero del que provenga esta curación. Que las aguas de la vida fluyan por mí hasta que no lo hagan. Y que nuestra humanidad colectiva puede sentir el trabajo único que han venido a hacer aquí.

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Fundraiser for Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco nations of Colombia

In the last leg of four months in Peru, we had the fortune of meeting Mamos of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. They were being hosted in the Sacred Valley via Cultura Viviente as they shared their teachings on how they live in this world and what sort of messages they have to impart to the people they consider “little brother”. To sum up our time in a post on the internet remains very difficult, as I am still processing so much of it all.

Yet, a situation begs me to stop and share this: their entire village, upon returning back home, was burned down from all an out of control fire. I put together a short video explaining this, and Brennen Lüka and Evin Bliss Laurel of Cultura Viviente have put together a go fund me to directly support our beloved friends.
They make the energetic payments to the sacred spaces of the world, checking on the well being of the Earth herself. They are guardians of a wisdom that the modern world can barely begin to understand, but has to in order to get themselves back on track to living in right relation. Please consider sharing this fundraiser or donating yourself and definitely keeping them in your hearts as these weeks and months of reconstruction continue forward.

So much love,

Thank you,

Rafa

Little Brother Meets the Mamos

There are few cultural experiences to relate to in my upbringing that I could possibly point to for reference of what we recently experienced. Kogi and Wiwa brothers Mamo Zenshina and Mamo Awisen Awimaku and Mamo Daniel held circle with us from 7pm until 12:30 pm the next day. 17.5 hours of sitting. We were not going by the schedule or the plan, but by what the nature was timing us on… cooking down a massive pot of several strains of tobacco to create a resinous concentrate, orally applied while chewing coca. This was the center focus the entire time, meanwhile, sharing on the cosmology of tobacco and allowing hours of singing and dancing to celebrate life and make the Earth happy, which was not asked of us, but expected! For if we are just there rigid and stone cold, then nothing opens, and very little work gets done. “Ahora, vamos a bailar, asi…” and Mamo Awimaku would show us a dance of the condor as Mamo Zeshina was playing the condor song with his tambor or maraca. These are the payments to the Earth that have not gone forgotten in Kogi life, payments that they say are part of why everything is wrong in the world. Forgetting the balance of how things actually function, and putting ourselves in the center of all of existence, is a sure fire way to melt the house down.

“Tomamos agua, comemos comida, pero no estamos cuidando el agua, no estamos cuidando la tierra… Estamos aqui para cuidar todo el mundo”

“We drink water, we eat food, but we aren’t taking care of the water, we aren’t taking care of the land… We are here to take care of the whole world”

I felt all kinds of things, especially related to the dedication to the path and upholding of such important teachings. Teachings walking the span of human existence, all based on right relation, mirrored from nature herself. Fasting the entire night until late morning, we chewed coca and listened intently, paying close attention to the translation, and the native tongue of our brothers who quickly checked in with each other before translating the essence into Spanish. “Tobaco is the semen. Without the semen, there is no life.” After sharing their cosmovision with this plant, words that I feel are meant to be transmitted directly from them to the heart of the listener, they asked us to individually speak to our relationship to tobacco. We wove our stories of healing, of waking up to the power and wisdom of this master plant through dieta, and infused the cooking medicine in front of us with the respect it so deeply deserves in the world. We dipped into the topic of the commercialization of tobacco, the massive toxic chemical based plantings still upheld to this day that distort the depth of what tobacco really is: sacred person, medicine, connection to Creator. “In every ceremony space, there is tobacco.” I have for years photographed the black magic insanity of the demonization of tobacco and it’s twisted message across the board, especially after visiting Peru and then living here. This overnight vigil dedicated to the nightshade of so many’s smoky escapes, brought to me even more peace about it’s truth and origin. If plants aren’t free, neither are we.

“No todavía…” Mamo says with a sideways glance, gleefully piercing my wonder with an innocence that is deeply entwined with lived wisdom. An answer to a verbally unasked question of “is it done yet?” becomes a sort of joke for the final hours until our watery decoction becomes its resinous result. I don’t know if any of you have met someone whose presence speaks before their words, whose life is dedicated to the only thing that they know of to be beneficial. I sat, knees up high, and feet in the fire pit away from embers, super close to Mamo, attentively awaiting his instruction to check the reducing water in the giant pot sitting on three rocks.

At one point, i saw the smoke rising up from the teepee, a fire keeping tired relatives warm, and the smoke of the tobacco cook fire meeting this smoke, and weaving together, forming one solid stream to the sky. Looking back, it felt as if the little brother and the older brother were visibly harmonizing, coming into recognition of our shared humanity and the deep need to get to the work!

If you feel called in supporting the work of the Mamo’s traveling to the sacred waters of the world to make payments and teach little brother how to live, please see the work CULTURA VIVIENTE is up to in Peru.

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To You, Thomas

I have sat here for months, starting to type this, starting to get out what I know I need to, from what I feel you have shared with me through presence and attitude alone. The last few days, for some reason, I have felt you ever stronger, just spontaneously arising in my mind, in my space, and in that way, I know it is really you and not just me thinking of you on my own.

This story starts before you passed, as I attended the second funeral of my life for a dear friend’s father. It was a ‘traditional’ funeral, complete with preacher who did his thing to a group of seriously affected and mourning people, all stunned by the sudden death of a man who could have had many years more until old age. I just found this, of which I wrote the day after the experience:

“The reverend reads from a dead book, not a microwave cook book, but not far from one, telling us that our emotions are ‘ a bit off right now’, that life isn’t fair for the reason of death and for a parent to bury their son. That all we have when someone is gone are memories to cherish. Through this, he effectively tried to sever the magic of maintaining the sacred… whatever that may be between people and their kin. Explaining about a reality he didn’t seem to understand, he taught me so much as he preached to those who mostly never asked for it: that I will die and be celebrated and sung over, danced around by friends and family, and all emotions allowed to be fully felt. That it will last as long as it does and not a single preservative chemical will enter my being. No burden and no price tag. The Earth is my coffin and that is all. ”

Fast forward to the end of May 2016, and I wake up from a dream that I must call a friend. I call her, and hear the news, that Thomas Fekete had passed away. It took me some time to process, and I don’t think I cried for a few days, and then it suddenly hit me very hard. I met Thomas back in 2009, and had heard of his skating back before then even, in the South Florida circuits. Yet he was more legend then, as I didn’t know him well, but I got close to him due to a dear friend of mine, Lindsey Mills. Through her, I was permitted to enter into his life in a more profound way. I was visiting him in the hospital, sharing healing songs with all the machines hooked up to him, Jessica, his wife, standing by, feeling it. It was then that David Winston’s “anything that changes your mind is medicine” took full evidence in me… watching his heart rate and breathing normalize after singing. I visited him in his home with nourishing foods and herbs and knew that I didn’t know enough, but still could offer myself in some way.

(Picking back on up on this now, 7/12/18)

This was the last post that I had started to write out, and so it feels right to finish it.

I witnessed so much with Thomas, in the few times I had shared with him. I remember one time, bringing a flute over to his apartment, and thinking it would be a better application of working his healing lungs, by simultaneously activating his breathing and making harmonious sounds. I realize the benefit of music to a musician is obvious, but at the level of energy he had, I remember it hard for him to hold the guitar and do his thing. So, as he played the flute, working his lungs, I played chords in key to that of the flute. Just to simply jam back and forth like that, it was like magic illuminating his being. To his request, I left the flute at his place.

“ I really do love myself. What could make me love more is if I could get other people to feel that way about themselves before they fucking die”

I don’t think there is a higher one than this view. It really speaks volumes about the way we run around in our lives, distracted from drama to drama that we convince ourselves is somehow more important than recognizing our humanity, and from there, becoming more kind and compassionate from knowing we don’t have forever. Thomas surrendered to this truth, and he reminded me by presence alone.

Thomas has me often reflect, especially after he passed, how there is a major difference between being healed and being cured. There is no cure for dying, no cure for losing all the things we will lose in this life. Yet, through his illness that took him, I feel Thomas was gifted a compassionate perspective that allowed anyone to come in contact with him to become immediately self aware of anything they might need to be aware of. In this way, he was healed, to me, of a closed heart, the most prominent sickness I encounter. His love continues on in the stories we share about him and the love the world showed him in his crisis.

“Suddenly, I have this circle of actual brothers and sisters and we are just going through the motions together, in heavy hitting profound ways that mean a lot, mean a lot to me. I could cry over it. The scariest thing now about death, is not feeling these things anymore. Where as before, I didn’t really give a shit, I guess I wasn’t really feeling anything at all anyways. Well, now when my cousin sits down and gives me a foot rub just to be nice, you know I want to cry because she is so sweet, she doesn’t have to, and I’m gonna do that now to somebody… I sound like a kid again, learning things the way they should be learned.”

I love you Thomas, rest in peace my brother

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journal 5/30/17

Grief Release 5/30/17

“Dad was finally agreeing to something that maybe I should’ve offered myself, but we know how those things go, too close for effective measure. So, after hearing about the discomfort and distention in my Papa’s belly (around his heart and stomach), our friend offered him a Thai massage session to which Papa agreed on.
We huddled into the spacious yurt and allowed the room to be set; my brothers and I sat on the couch, one of their partners sitting with us, and we observed the beginning of any regular body work session. Warming up, getting comfortable, and gentle movements.
Only Papa is a bit different. Ever since I was a young kid, I would watch him on the chiropractor’s table getting an adjustment and moving his body in a way that seemed like he was having a sort of epileptic experience, convulsing with his arms outstretched at his sides, palms up, eyes rolling back, and breathing intensely the whole time while letting out deep outbursts of sonic release. After many years of now witnessing people discharging emotional turbulence and stored traumas of the bodies, I know that he has learned a skill that is nearly unteachable. He refers to it as somatic breath work, a practice he learned when I was just a baby. His body undulates like water and he breathes through it in a trance-like state with nothing stimulating the process besides his own volition and attitude.
As our friend starts to work on him, within minutes, Papa moves into this state of deep exchange of breath and movement. He then, out of nowhere, rises up off the floor and breaks out into the most deep and guttural cry that I have ever heard from my own father since I have been able to remember. I had been in a relaxed state prior on the couch, but upon witnessing this break through, I calmly dipped down to the floor to level with him and started to focus more intensely on relaxation. I called upon my plant teachers and my nervous system lets me know when they come, of which all did.

Some of my family members were concerned in these intense minutes of vulnerability. I mean, how often do we see each other in such a delicate place and feel safe in doing so, from either vantage? It seems very rare to me. Yet, working with ceremony and the daily checking in of myself and others through community, it is of no shock to witness a very necessary human experience, one that most of us have learned to stifle to our very detriment.

If grief has a way in, then it definitely needs a way out. We are capable of carrying and holding onto things for such a long time that we forget why the music of our lives has been so harsh and strangely out of tune. It takes a safe space and deep trust to know that we can even express what needs to be expressed, for fear of judgement and being fully seen can totally block such a catharsis to unfold naturally, as it should.

My family member returns back to the room after a few minutes outside to calm himself down. I explained to him quietly but directly that if he wants to help my father, he must only empty himself and pray. I look beyond him and my family has begun instinctively chanting mantra in an effort to assist.

As we all formed a semi circle concave to my father, our hands guided by the Thai massage practitioner started to gravitate towards my papas hands and legs and I landed my gentle hand on his chest. I began to pray in Spanish, quickly rolling into a spontaneous feeling based thought-less connection to All That Is. I am working with tobacco at this point, blowing it on myself and my fathers hands and heart and head, cleaning him up. I then come back to his heart, and I recognize how close it is, and so I connect to my own space and feel him. The grief is heavy and I erupt in tears, I flow like a river, I cannot stop myself for that would be the failure of the entire session! I cry so hard with him and many of us start to at this point, purging the tension through our eyes, grieving for life herself and the hardships that come of Samsaric dancing. The intensity rises between us all,; the drumming up of an inevitable breakthrough on the horizon.

After a minute of intense crying it starts to slow down and I open my eyes and lift my head off the floor to see my father smiling through tear soaked cheeks, bringing me to recognize the clearing of his chest, the blockage unblocked. We all come up to him on as he is on the floor, one by one, and kiss him and tell him our love. We rise up from the grounding ground and hug each other proper, just like anyone would after a vulnerable release.”

Work
– Listen to grief and praise talk by Martin Prechtel
– We are not usually accustomed to one releasing emotions… How do you react to this experience when it happens around you? How can it get better?
– Do you have a regular way of safely releasing what has been accrued?

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On Meditation (1) 

A baseline anxiety seems to exist in many of us. Like a low buzzing sound that isn’t noticed until its finally turned off.

And one may wonder how it was ever even not noticed for so long, for sometimes years, like it was for me.

The essence seems to be in continual releasing of tension, accumulated through various experiences throughout the day and night, eventually becoming 1st nature to be spontaneously relaxed and aware. It’s like the muscle of presence gets so tight and can cause so many issues until it is finally allowed to rest. For me, meditation has played a crucial role, as well the path of reconnecting to plants and nature. Meditation is so often misunderstood and overly conceptualized when it is shockingly simple: imagine allowance, nothing to do but be, nowhere to go but here, nothing to achieve besides breathing and being. This tool allows us to be able to become quiet enough to listen to the subtleties of communication that surround us. Let’s call them synchronistic spaces. The mystery reveals itself slowly but surely, and for some, rather quickly. All is a process. Patience is key. Keep flowing!

For Something

Everything in your life is for something. Nothing is for no reason or chance, ever. The family we have, the relationships we enter into, all are birthed out of something that is beyond language although some have brought it through as karma etc. If we haven’t already begun to look at those closest to us as great teachers of something profound, giving gratitude especially to those that are difficult, then, we can start today. No matter what, thank you mom, thank you dad, I am here because of you and I have work to do.

How Burping Taught Me How To Eat

I have been eating for some time now, you know, for at least 29 years. Food is beautiful. Food is fuel. It nourishes us, it allows us to continue living our lives and hopefully benefiting the others near and far through our virtuous actions.

Food can also be painful. I didn’t know that discomfort wasn’t normal with food until I started to really pay attention to switching around foods. My brother and I came to this saying that, “the pleasures of the mouth aren’t worth the pains of the body.” I suffered digestive issues ranging from stomach ache to severe pain.

I went through many dietary changes, from vegetarian, to vegan and now back to eating a varied diet including the best meats and dairy/egg products that I can sanely afford. I can say, looking back, that the biggest change I made, with the most lasting effect, is controlling the amount of food I consumed in a sitting. This was done through pure intuition, to eat only one plate or bowl of food, or just not to eat until I was ‘full’. For the past few years, I would teeter on the edge of balance in finding out how to gauge this mystery level, but it was difficult to navigate and I would sometimes still land in stomach upset (especially when it was something that I loved to eat!)

Then, a few months ago, I had the sudden inquiry to ask what the simple act of burping really meant. Why do we do this? Is there any meaning to this beyond what WebMd says? Within a few minutes of searching, I found my answer. It was a simple blog post by a student of Dr. Vasant Lad, shared her learning here. It was simple enough.

The basics: There are three kinds of normal* burp. The first, is the clean burp, a burp that will release no taste in the mouth, and this signifies that it is time to eat, the digestive system is ready for you. Mangia, come, vamos. The next burp is the burp while eating, that signifies the stomach is good and you can stop now. It always occurs, even if you have never recognized it before (watch). The third burp occurs when we are considering to eat another meal maybe that a friend prepared for us, or shows a plate of something great and we burp and taste the meal that we had last consumed maybe only an hour or so ago… it means we are still digesting, and to lay off consuming still.

In doing a bit more research for this post, I came across points that I had failed to consider on my own because I don’t usually partake in them, points that would alter the burp scenario. These included drinking a lot during the meal (especially carbonated beverages) and excessive dialogue (maybe distracting the person from the presence for the burp) and too much air intake

So, as of practicing this in real life and not just blog life, I have of course committed to it, for the most part. There are some times where I just go over the burp, but I always know now, what to expect (bloating, stomach ache, etc). For example, at a recent wedding I attended, my partner and I looked at each other and sternly shared that we are not listening to the burp in order to fully love all the wonders of the evening, gastronomically speaking.

Who even cares about burps, ya freak-o? Well, this is a free measure that our intelligent organism presents to us. In the world of capitalistic gains, it is quite something to find the ways that are naturally ours to know and utilize. With diseases of excess being rampant in our surroundings (see diabetes ), we can learn to consume what we actually need and not just what we want. In this way, we can see how we can start to take control of our dietary habits (at least in this way, through quantity, not referring to quality) and hopefully begin to recognize our own power through choice.

Like anything else in the world of healing and finding balance, it can take time. This took me quite a while to stick with, because, flavors. I would say that finding a partner to have this practice take place with makes it fun and interesting and also keeps you accountable to the holy burp of completion. Happy eating my friends!

*Normal Burp

There are also instances where burping can be excessive, and can be caused due to fermented or undigested carbohydrates. Burping can also occur from air being released during exercise, where the digestive organs being massaged have the tendency to release stagnant foods.

I may add, this is all new to me… how does this actually work? Is it the air ratio of the stomach finding some sort of balance and then releasing a reminder? Also, I would love to hear of your experiences in the coming time, or if you already have been working with the burp as such! 🙂

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Yuca flat breads, burp approved 🙂

Albizia, Mimosa, The Tree of Happiness

Common Name: Albizia, Persian Silk Tree, Mimosa
Latin Name: Albizia julibrissin
Parts We Love: Flowers, Bark
Native to: Southwestern and Eastern Asia
Indications: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Grief, Bruising, Amnesia
Contraindications: Pregnancy (moves blood)

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Albizia flowers, green pods, and tripinnate leaves, set against the beautiful Pine.

 Her Story

This beauty was first documented in the 2nd century, in the Shen Non Ben Cao, a collection of oral traditions that included the relationship to 365 different plants. It was utilized for it’s effect on the mood and calming actions. Flash way forward to the mid 1700’s, when Italian naturalist Filippo del Albizzi introduces the tree to Europe for cultivation. Then famed botanist Andre Michaux brought the tree to North Carolina in the late 1700’s, and now, it is everywhere (sounds simple, doesn’t it?)

Y Ahora, Donde Vive?

It has naturalized as far North as New Jersey, and down to the tip of Southern Florida as well as west to Texas. It’s vivacious desire to live can be seen here…”One study showed that 90% of the seeds were viable after five years and, for another species of mimosa, a third of its seeds germinated after 50 years in open storage.” Woah. It is considered a highly invasive ‘alien’ species, and this always has me consider our human ways of being highly invasive and alien… and most people you can’t tincture or make tea of for mood lifts and calmness. I am not one to plant invasives and destroy natural habitats, but while the sun shines… let’s get some flowers.

One Day…

I am driving in a borrowed car and heading towards a client, to help her ease the woes of postpartum depression. I found myself meditating about her life before I met her, and feeling into what plants may come to me. I then look up to the left and catch a stand of trees with bright pink blossoms waving in the wind. “Mimosa!” was my first thought. I had yet to see the tree with the knowing that it was what it was. I pinpointed my location with local landmarks in the town I didn’t know so well, and promised to return to see…

On the way back, I stopped, finding a shady spot under a tall pine tree to park the car. I got out and was engulfed in the scent of what one may think could only come from synthesized perfumes. It is the most incredible scent! With the help of an online plant identification group, I was able to make sure it was Albizia julibrissin (I must get on my botany, i know, I know).

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Mimosa flower and unopened buds. Incredibly beautiful.

A brown paper bag in the car knew to be there for me. I grabbed it and also my shaker and went out and under the branches, close to the trunk. In the distance, I could feel the intensely intrusive sounds of a factory. I decided to employ one of my favorite pastimes, to resonate with the sounds that you can do nothing about. I sang spontaneously to the stand, in deep gratitude to finally be able to convene with them.

Once connected and in, I started to harvest flowers. I saw so much life in and around the blooms. Two different butterflies, silk worms, and ants were coexisting. I could not stop smiling. I sang and sang and sang and felt such gratitude to find this stand of 1000 plus pink blooms.

I have a deep way of wanting to personally know plants before I administer them to others. It is so easy to google a condition and find anything to pass on to someone… yet, how does it really work? In finding out for myself first, testing them on yours truly and others that are dear to me, I can cultivate communication and confidence in befriending such beings. This is the living way, and although books and the internet are so useful, they can never replace the direct transmission from Nature herself.

Update: This tree came to me for the first time, hours before the Pulse shooting in Orlando. In working with the Orlando Grief Care Project, it is unreal how much Albizia has come in from all over the country in the form of flower essences, tinctures, and elixirs. I really feel these plants make themselves available when we are truly in need, and that we are.

Making Medicine

Thomas Easley of the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine advised me to make preparations of the bark and flowers, separately, for how they both affect in different ways. The bark is felt to ‘anchor the spirit’ while the flowers ‘lighten’ it…

I worked with 190 proof grain alcohol for the bark. I cut it up fresh, into pieces and used the ratio of 1:3, bark to alcohol. For the flowers, I tinctured in organic vodka, 1:2, and also made an elixir, using half brandy and half honey, covering the flowers completely.

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Drying out blooms. We have made mead and are awaiting its maturation!

As I glean from the tinctures and elixirs of both bark and flowers, I will write more about my experiences and the experiences of others. For now, check out the writing of other herbalists that I have found useful:

https://www.planetherbs.com/specific-herbs/albizia-the-tree-of-happiness.html

https://southernherbalist.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/mimosa/

http://www.hearthsidehealing.com/mimosa-full-happiness-flowers/

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Bark harvesting… Peeled, chopped, and then fresh or dry tinctured.
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Albizia blooms only seconds before an equal mixture of raw honey and brandy are added, to make an elixir.

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I want to remind ourselves that nothing will ever replace the deep need to do work on ourselves. These plants and these practices are tools along the way to self discovery and can aid us greatly in making the changes we need to in order to fully come into our highest potential. So, of course, take into consideration dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and emotional healing in conjunction with herbal protocols.

R

Resonance

if it makes a sound
it can teach you music
if it has a root
it has a reason
if it has a voice
it has a truth
if it makes skin rise
then its the spirit’s eyes
:listen on in:

I have made it a practice to go with the flow as much as I can remember to. Making it a habit, to replace the complaining and whining with gratitude and acceptance is quite a shift in seeing. It is most evident in situations where the sounds may be so inescapable, that one wants to shut them out or be agitated about them. Yet, there is another option at times.

I would find myself while working in a kitchen with loud fridges housing all of the prepared produce, humming tunes relative to the pitch of the buzz that it put out. It taught me (and I’m still learning all the time) my first intro to harmonizing and feeling my body resonate the sounds.

So, when something is overpoweringly loud and there is no way to not be with it, try embracing it by engaging with your voice. Sing your way through it.

 

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