Almost a year ago, I was navigating deep and intense territories, externally and internally. I can look back and say it was a sort of initiation, but not one that I saw coming. (Not that you ever see those coming!)
It sent me into the dark corners of my psyche - challenging me to see my unconscious beliefs of what it means to be a human being, walking a path here and now, and doing so in relationship with plant teachers that have forever altered my life.
I was struggling (again) to see how the realms that my beloved plants had opened up could possibly fit into my modern life. The realm that so greatly nourished my heart & soul - that of reconnecting to the pulse of life, to the intelligent energy and spirit that moves through everything. That of listening to the wisdom of the land, the wind, the plants, the ancestors, the changing seasons. Everything had wisdom to share.
At the time, I was working with 2 dear plant teachers (bobinsana & ayahuasca). They guided me (along with the very real external challenges of everyday working & living) into yet another round of an ongoing existential crisis.
I made a pilgrimage, which I’d done every year since moving to New Mexico to Gila National Forest. I had my plant guides with me, and hiked many miles with my dog. It took some time to let everything drop away, so I could better hear and feel true SILENCE - away from anyone, any computers, and any semblance of civilization. Just me & my pup on the land, LISTENING.
I’d been tied up in knots “trying to make it all work out” and “doing it right” like I am “supposed to.” “It” being creating a life that had meaning, one that felt in alignment with my truth.
I saw a belief that still lurked in my being very clearly - that I can’t have both. In order to live in this world, I had to give up the connection & the awareness of the greater reality, the world of nature, of plants, of inherent aliveness. That I was being forced to return to being practical, finding a good job, and this other realm was just secondary.
At one of my favorite spots along the Gila River, I dropped in, offered my gratitude to the waters, the land, & the ancestors. And I felt a presence, a masculine being with me. I could feel his empathy & his alignment. He had been on that land a long long time ago. And he whispered, “We want to share through you.”
His words went straight to my heart. My soul knew exactly what he meant. That my path was not mine alone.
In a flash, I saw that these feelings - of being conflicted and separate was my human struggle. That’s it. In truth, the great remembering, the reconnection with ALL THAT IS - living and non-living, seen and unseen - pervaded everywhere. Even in the dark corners of my psyche where I’d forgotten; where I was struggling. I let the “crisis” go in new ways that day. I accepted without a doubt that my path was for something greater, and I simply had to listen, to trust and to continue to open my channel for what wanted to come through.
And it’s on that day that LIVING THE SACRED was born. I had no idea what form it would take, but that this project was a vessel for ancient wisdom of remembering to come through. Of gathering other voices to share and help each other remember. And that was my guiding light- those words whispered to me that day on the river.
I started my journey home from the Gila, and reached out to a mentor & healer of mine, because I wanted to explore and integrate more of this experience into my being. He usually responds within a couple of days, but he never returned my call.
The first person I had thought about I’d love to talk to for this project, was renowned herbalist, author & teacher Stephen Harrod Buhner. I looked him up online, curious if he had an email or anything about being a guest speaker. I quickly learned he was not well. In fact, he was very sick. Within a few quick weeks, I watched on Facebook, as he neared death and eventually crossed over. I was in disbelief, watching the events of the end of his life. His teachings and books touched me so incredibly deeply many years ago when I was starting on this path of learning from the plants.
Then they said that his ashes had been scattered in the Gila National Forest, near the river. Where I HAD JUST BEEN. I had no idea he was that close to me, and that he too loved and walked those incredibly pristine lands so deeply.
Around the same time, a friend called to tell me that my mentor who never called me back had passed away tragically in a car accident. In fact, it was the same day I’d been at the Gila River making my prayer. This was a shock to my entire being. A mentor I’d worked closely with for 4 years, learning from him how to navigate consciousness & shamanic realms with such wisdom and integrity - was gone. Someone I trusted to guide me into territories I could barely sense, but he knew so well. An elder with experience and wisdom that could never be replaced. Grief took it’s journey through me as it does, as I slowly let go of my teacher in his human form. But his presence was and is with me, always nudging me forward with my work with the plants, whom he championed as so “pure.”
So with great gratitude, I dedicate LIVING THE SACRED to not only the many plant teachers who’ve changed my life, but also to these 2 human teachers whose lives ended, and they returned back to the great mystery guiding us from there. My prayer is that whatever form this project continues to take, that their voices and wisdom and the voices and wisdom of many other beings - seen and unseen; human, plant and otherwise - have a place to come through into this world in ways that people can hear, feel and be inspired, guided and supported in truly re-weaving our reality.
I invite you to join me for 3 days of real, inspiring conversations with people deep on the medicine path, each learning to weave the ancient wisdom back into our world. We have 15 healers, visionaries, teachers & change-makers who share their journeys, their insights and what their prayers are for us at this time.
We begin this week! September 20-22, 2023
Register here to be part of the first LIVING THE SACRED: Weaving the Wisdom of Plant Medicines into Our Modern World.
I'm looking forward to sharing with you! And feel free to share with others!
Protectress of Mother Earth, Intuitive, Shamanic Energy Medicine, Sacred Plant Medicine Integration, Soul Adventurer