Monthly Archive for October, 2017

attention liberation, attention reparations

attention is one of our most valuable resources.

in your own life, attention is what determines the quality of your lived experience. if your attention stays on what’s wrong, on your powerlessness and pain, you can become identified with a victimized, power under narrative, and that will grow.

if your attention is instead on gratitude, collective power, experimentation, curiosity and celebration, these things will grow in your life. brené brown and oprah and ava and all the manifestors know this.

to be able to pick your attention up from the main stream of crisis and commercials (and other competitions for your money), and to put your attention where you want and need it, is something i’m starting to think of as attention liberation.

with this administration it’s clearer than ever that there are many forces who benefit from keeping our attention on a reactive string, puppeting us through fairly predictable responses that usually don’t change underlying conditions or power dynamics. we listen to stories that leave us feeling furious and helpless, and we get engaged in our prescribed response (lately it’s usually a hashtagged post about how messed up the story is from every possible angle) – until the next time our attention is directed, to the next scandal or controversy.

but we can train our attention, train ourselves to pick our attention up and place it where we want it, where we need it to be. i do this with meditation, learned from various teachers and through generative somatics.

i meditate by focusing on my breath for 10-30 minutes daily. when i forget to practice, i quickly become reactive. i start to scroll the news obsessively, feeling my powerlessness and hypocrisy more than anything else.

when i meditate daily, when i intentionally liberate my attention, i find i have enough focus to make healthier life choices, feel my agency, and to do work that has a longer, deeper arc of transformation.

it’s not that i ignore the news. i dose myself with current events in the news cycle – i’m still learning to balance and measure how much is useful and when it becomes a distraction or a trap. i accept mainstream news as fairly cyclical, generally overwhelming…and as another way that money moves. there’s a ton of waste information, useless filler. the things we should know about are declawed, pitched for greatest affect, or told to us in a way that makes us scared, vulnerable to the suggestions and sales of others.

and there’s a compulsive and hyperbolic liar in the highest office of this land.

so i scan for what i believe and what i can impact. i take the impactful action as soon as i can – make the donation, spread the word, sign the petition, etc. if there’s not more i can do, i get back to my work, work i deeply believe is my calling.

i don’t want to spend my life reacting to other people’s cycles, their mistakes, lies, or ignorant projections, or the domination cycles of those who measure their humanity in false supremacy. those things will continue. but what we pay attention to grows. so i pay attention to the places we as a species are learning, changing, getting free, experiencing pleasure and joy.

my life feels so different when i liberate my attention that it almost feels like the universe is gifting me attention reparations. instead of being frozen by hopelessness and fear for my species, which is often my reaction to the news, i experience a lot of days where i’m full of awe, laughter, work that induces pride, noticing the small and massive miracles that are part of each day.

it’s taken a long time to train my attention even a bit, and i’m still super beginner level with it. but the results in my daily life are already so powerful. i feel somewhere between productive and prolific on the days i wake up and set my mind on freedom.

i want to see people with a transformational world view be as productive and prolific as possible. it’s a ways off yet, but i imagine it all the time, that we burst the shell of the old world with our vibrant, biodiverse, generative resistance in the form of willful, manifested ideological evolutions.

let us put our attention on a revolution for our species, and grow it until we earn the miracle.

tomorrow is the new moon

what we seed in the dark grows
the darkness is so powerful that whiteness tried to turn the world against it
but the darkness remains
the darkness grows everything you love
and when everything dies
it returns to the delicious dark
the wet and waiting earth
who only operates in miracle
nothing is broken inside the darkness
everything is becoming life
longing for life
reaching up from a molten heart
full of belonging
on the edge of flight
so driven
the darkness knows no separation
memory is dream is a thrill in the flesh

i race towards the poem
that i alone can hear
and in answering the call
i remember i am nothing alone, nothing.

surrendering to the truth
frees me, leaves me whole
i overflow with a thundering joy
that only darkness can hold
.

what do you need? what does our species need? write it down, everything, and show it to the dark, whisper it to the dark. fold it and plant it under your bed. in the dark.

love love love

i believe we are living on the precipice of the next phase of our species. and i’m with such good people, people who cry hard and laugh harder. and do one to move through the other, rolling across the full emotional span in epic waves. we feel what’s gaping and yawning underneath both of those releases, that scale of lovegrief that can’t be captured in any words i know…we let it be in our eyes, at our core.

the more i learn/remember how to feel, the more in love i fall with the particular aliveness that only sparks between us. that met longing felt when the interior world unfolding in me comes to a border and longs to be porous, expansive, vast, one, multitudes. this opening, these moments, this work, this makes a viable future possible.

today i remembered a song i was taught over a decade ago:

“oh i say thank you
oh i say thank you
oh great spirits
in this way
i long to give my life to you
in love and devotion
in love and devotion”
(this was taught to me as a gwitch’in song from haida gwaii)

even now, especially now, with a mask over my mouth and a storm at my back, i am learning what i must realize in myself, what i must defend and protect, what i must cultivate in the face of fear and death and supremacy: love, love, love.

beautiful horrors

i wake to a blushing sky
a burnt orange sky
heavy and too soft, too close
lovely and thick with particles
of trees and houses
ashes
of strangers who loved rolling hills
barrels of grape becoming wine
watching cows graze, waiting on sunsets
building family in a bit of space
who didn’t or couldn’t leave
when the fire arrived, hungry and indiscriminate

we live in an age of beautiful horrors
horrible beauties
whatever – the golden age of global warming
it’s a balmy apocalypse
gorgeous bare days in what should be fall
the leaves turn slowly, confused
storms spiral in waves across the sea
roar around eyes deep black
in the solid swirl of winds that
lift roofs and split walls

i want to surrender to the greater wisdom here
to the great cleansing
to the flames and the salt,
to the water that piles down from the sky
to know that it’s the next change,
what is
and what will be
but how can i swallow this bitter sense
that the hurt lands on those already hurting
but how can i trust this beautiful face
with its charred breath
its calm eyes in the heart of epic death
but how can i trust this chaos
shape it to move with us towards freedom
but how can i take a step forward
without that trust?

this is the way i wake up
don my mask for the day
walk into the end times
to find my beloveds
to go forward into the unknown
again
together

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missing grace: year 2

Thursday, October 5:

my friend Rye Young wrote a lovely, honest post this morning on working towards liberation, even if we won’t see it in our lifetimes. it sparked thoughts in me: lately, I don’t feel like liberation is a place, or some perfect state, some utopia. I feel it, it’s an interior knowing, supported by material conditions we cocreate. so…I see/feel liberation every day (eh most days) just at a small scale. personal. in a group, in a moment, in a movement. breakthroughs. liberation is everywhere, but it’s turned down by the hands of oppression. I’m trying to grow it, to turn it up, every day, inside my own life and others’ lives. we are the fire, we are the wave. ??

Friday, October 6:

yesterday marked two years since grace became ancestor.

i’ve been reflecting on how she redirected conversations when she wasn’t interested in the topic, how she demanded songs, and intellectual rigor.

i’ve considered many times that she wouldn’t have really read or liked the book…but who knows?

i miss how she remembered and asked about people’s lives, about my sisters and nibblings. how sweet and engaging she was with my parents. she was decades beyond us but never too good to hear our small trials and celebrations. i miss her smile when she liked what she could hear.

because of grace i value questions and iteration, and singular moments of transformation as the atomic space of collective transformation.

last night with the full moon i worked to shed any boundaries between myself and detroit, any lingering sense of not belonging. to let the place use my voice and my work to tell her story. detroit is the mecca of Emergent Strategy, among so many other incredible things. thank you grace for being one of the voices that called me home, showed me home.

enough moments of love

when she becomes stone in my arms
i know that she is asleep

when he makes the room dance in his skin
i taste his sweet aliveness

when she appears to be made of smiling wax
i feel how she has left this earth

when he throws wrapped paper at the people
i see that he is a curse walking

when they slowly unbutton their shirt
i blush – the future is flirting with me

when her mouth drops because of this government
i suspect she is a true capitalist

when he says women only ever wanted authority
i wonder if men can know freedom

when they say ‘please call me this please’
i trust that they’ve thought through my questions

when she says to me hello how are you?!!
i am her child again, always

when he calls me i drop the world and answer
i’ve lost enough moments of love

when she whispers to me with her mouth just so
i forget there is time space between us

when i look in the mirror and pause
i see no shadow in my eyes

Vegas and everything else

we are living in impossible times. if it were fiction it would be critiqued as hyperbolic. if it were nightmares we would never sleep.

we are living in times created by our own species. i can’t remember the last time my tears weren’t man-made.

it feels like everything is broken. we must, each of us, fix our attention on the nearest wound, conjure within us the smallest parts of ourselves that are still whole, and be healers. heal with words and prayer and energy, heal with money, clean water, time and action.

there’s enough destruction. there’s enough nothingness swallowing the living world. don’t add to it. there’s enough.

our visions are ropes through the devastation. look further ahead, like our ancestors did, look further. extend, hold on, pull, evolve.

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image by Rachel Plattus

i don’t want to (hurricanes)

i don’t want to see
the complex crises of war and trauma
converge around my neck
pulling my mouth to the dirt
a weight that pinches and bruises my skin
and the dirt is thick with blood and maggots
i don’t look down to see them writhing
i collapse with my head impossibly up

i don’t want to hear
that the grandmothers are dying parched
that the grandfathers are dying in the gap between prayer and action
that the hungry people sit in the dark
my country sends them armed soldiers to keep the peace, what we mean to say is die in peace
at the very least die quietly, without a fight

i don’t know what to say
i stand in the row of witches
whispering wild growth and sovereignty prayers
remembering upright trees and time to dance
hexing greed, scarcity and colonizer thinking
directing light to their faces – they are fact
and sometimes we watch each other die
that is the heartbreak of our species

when i don’t know who to fight
i watch Mervyn, Hiram, Rosa, Adela, Lilliam
Elizabeth, Bonafide, Aimee and so many more
waiting to hear about life and death, connecting the stars of this tired constellation, saying do not blame the ocean,
blame the men who refuse to see us
as human, as citizen, as heroic, as forever

i know this: i trust the people
who refuse every day to disappear
who share the cup, who share the bite
who wade through floodwater with bullhorns
hold hands of the dying and lift up the children, refuse to eat their neighbors’ hearts when left in the trap, bury each other whole, live to tell the horror stories, who watch the roofs fly off their houses and learn they are stronger than nails, who give it all to the babies, know the edge of their own hope, stretch themselves to cover an island, create systems of hearing each other with no lights on, hand us books that are memoir and say please know me, please tell everyone, please see, in me, in us, the miracle

we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us
we are not dead, do not forsake us

.

actions to take:

from Rosa –
I can no longer wait to get to Pueto Rico. The lack of reporters who are Puerto Rican is problematic. So I am going to pull a small team together who can record, document and photograph..to do this I will need funds. I hesitate to ask, and ask that you only donate if it does not take away from your ability to donate to the people of Puerto Rico. If you can, believe me when I say anything is helpful and welcome. You can paypal me at clementerosa@gmail.com and VENMO me as well at @clementerosa

from Hiram –
https://www.gofundme.com/solidaridad-victimas-huracan-maria

from Bonafide –
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from Adela –

Request for Support/Donations: I have been one of the coordinators for a project in Puerto Rico called CEPA. CEPA will be a cooperatively run, ecologically-light, wellness retreat and education center located (as of current plans) on the periphery of San Juan.

The founder, Melissa La Sirena Rosario, who is on the island got in contact with me yesterday and today, asking if I could help put Wellness Medicine Kits together to donate to the island. Here is the ask:

CEPA’s mission is to foster healing and resilience in PR in times of crisis. We work with activists, mothers, brujxs and educators, and are asking for 50-75 wellness medicine kits from our healing justice family to distribute for dealing with stress, overwhelm, pain and general trauma and tips for managing common ailments (diabetes and asthma) post Maria.

What to include:
-Heal-all salve;
-Muscular pain ointment;
-Tinctures for overwhelm, grief, stress and depression (either glycerine or alcohol based, labeled)
-Tips for managaing diabetes;
-Breathing exercises or activities for managing asthma distress (in Spanish);
-Games to play with children to process this event (or strategies for supporting children experiencing trauma);
-Durable bags or small backpacks for transport.
-A personal note of support, love and allyship.

Optional:
-Self-heating pads/stickers for back and muscles;
-Advil or similar;
-Arnica ointment;
-Aromatherapy (lavender and more)

If you are able to help with any part of these kits, please let me know. If you aren’t able to support by donating something for the kits, but can donate to the shipping costs, please donate through Paypal at adela@adelenieves.com. Please choose the friends and family option, so we are not charged a fee.

For any questions or needs for clarity, please email me at adela@adelenieves.com and copy Melissa at melissa.rosario@gmail.com. She is slowly starting to receive emails.

If anyone is traveling to Puerto Rico soon and is able/willing to take some of the kits, please connect.

And of course, please share this with those you think would be able to help.

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