Updated: Nov 4, 2020
I've been writing this update for several weeks, and whenever I come back to it, something has changed. It is an interesting reflection to revisit this piece of writing about moving, following a path, and for things to be changing and for so much to all of a sudden be at a standstill at once. While there are updates here about where I am and what I'm doing in this time of the Corona Crisis, this was not the intention when I started writing... This sharing is about my life movements, an update on my red threads of my water advocacy work, community life, dreams and integrating this aspect of my spiritual work with my waking life, and my omnipresent question of home.
A year ago when I moved all of my things back to my mother's basement from my storage space in California, I thought I was moving "home".
Something was calling me East. I had a profound insight after experiencing the death of a friend that made me realize that I must choose life. That I must choose gratitude. That I belong to this life and to this planet.
I thought I was going back to New York because I belonged there. Which I believe to be true on many levels...
Yet, every three months, I am somewhere else... and something inside of me feels guilty for not staying put. And I have made myself wrong for not settling down, for not choosing the place I commit to.
While belonging comes with intentional relationship with place or people over time, I have been on the move.
The thing is, every place is and many people are worthy of choosing.
Not long after arriving to the place I grew up exactly a year ago, I claimed, as I have many times, "I AM HOME! THIS place is definitely worthy. It is where I was raised after all... I know people who definitely love me here, and I feel a deep connection to the land and waters of this place."
Yet, I packed my bags AGAIN not knowing if I would be away for a month or three. Turns out, I was being pulled more East that I originally anticipated.
And it has been almost a year that I've been in Europe, creating a life beyond what I ever imagined and deepening into the "thread" I follow as a water protector.
I participated in the second year of the Healing Biotope Student Program where a group of 40 global activist and community builders continued to deepen in questions around system change, free love, and building trust amongst humans and how to protect and be in relationship with our most precious resources, like water.
But what I did most was build trust within myself.
My intention was to use these three months in this intensive group time as an initiation, as a rite of passage into my adulthood. I didn't know what that would look like, but it unfolded in beautiful, difficult, heart wrenching, and empowering ways.
Upon leaving Tamera in November, I made a prayer and gave a sign to myself and to the universe that I was ready to take on the work I am supposed to do in this lifetime.
When I arrived to London, I had an intense creative energy and knowing to offer the Work That Reconnects for activists in the UK and to offer coaching for people in transitional moments. I found myself busy with work that I love to do.
I didn't think I would stay in London, but it was home for the time being and I created daily practices, rituals, and generated motivation to make it work. I was building relationships and trust with people in my network working as a virtual assistant.
Then, I felt the call to leave. So I did... I knew that I didn't want to be in a city, and my friend offered me her little humble home in Tarifa, Spain. This was a moment where I felt in alignment. Even though it didn't logistically or rationally fit into my plans.
I knew that I wanted to return to Tamera in May for the guest season, where I will work in the kitchen and on my projects, deepen in the connections I have there, and rest in knowing what I'll be doing for the next 6 months (if I can finally manage to let myself settle for that long - this is the intention!)
So until then, go to a beach side town where I know no one to be by myself and work with clients? Why not?!
Upon arriving to Tarifa, Spain, I offered a prayer to the ocean. I dug through a little bit of sand and offered tobacco and a song to the ocean and this land. I asked to receive information about my next step. What is next in my bigger picture?
I left my hand print here as a sign of my temporary stay, knowing that the wind would blow my art and prayers away, and eventually, I would move on from this place.
As Sharon Blackie says,
"You can learn to belong anywhere... if you choose to. It is an act of creation, and like all acts of creation, it is also an act of love, and an enormous leap of faith."
A leap of faith in myself. In my resilience. In my wholeness. In a vision that is a thread that I can barely see in the fog I create in myself at times. But when the mist clears and I look around, I can see that I made and continue to decide to belong to myself and to this life. That there is a thread that I follow. That I can trust myself to make exactly the right choices even if they are difficult or especially when they seem irrational.
A few weeks into my time in Tarifa, two significant things have happened. I have been invited to participate as an Assistant Project Coordinator by my friend, Ethan HT, for an ambitious water pilgrimage through France that will take place in September, at the side of India's "Water Man" Rajendra Singh, in cooperation with the Defend the Sacred Alliance and Tamera. I've always felt I had something to do with Ethan in our mutual commitment as Water Protectors and our time together as students in Tamera has built my trust and confidence in him as a partner in this endeavor.
We walk in France because it is the first place in the world to privatize public water systems. It also happens to be where the World Water Council is headquartered, which claims to have the best interests of people and water in mind, but we know that it is run by ex-ceo's of the largest water companies in the world. We also want water as a central topic of the climate change debate, as it is a crucial resource to protect and have a deeper understanding and care of.
We will travel together to France, eventually, since when we will be able to travel is still unclear, and meet the land, the waters, and the people who have been involved with water issues there as an initial step in planning for this pilgrimage. At this moment, we are deliberating the timing of the walk and if it is even possible to plan such a thing given the current travel restrictions.
The week Ethan, the lead organizer of this walk, was in the process of deciding whether or not to actually take this on, I received many dreams about it. He also asked for guidance from his ancestors, setting up alters and asking for communication from them.
I was also praying by the ocean shore on a daily basis, letting the water know where I was at, which dreams came, and asking for more information. The dreams spoke as if the pilgrimage was already real. I felt Ethan's ancestors, whom he requested communication from about the walk, were visiting me directly in my dreams.
"I am with the student group from Tamera. We are dancing and asking for forgiveness of our ancestors. I am taking pictures and recording videos of our ceremony but when I approach the alter, I begin to cry and an elder tells me it is time to be quiet now. To put all the things away. I know this means I have to start walking. I go to put on my hiking boots but a zipper is broken. I also call a friend to ask how to arrive by foot to Switzerland, what river do I need to follow. Then I start to pack. My bag is full already but I've forgotten my alter, and I have the feeling I've done it all backwards."
"I'm rallying the group to pack so we can begin walking. I join Ethan and an elder man at the front. The elder, wearing a blue hat with grey stripes, hands Ethan his own hat - of the same color. I ask if he is ready and he replies, 'Not yet... but soon.'"
"I am in a support vehicle for the pilgrimage as a passenger and a juvenile hawk flies in the window of the drivers side and perches on the rear-view mirror. It looks directly at me, and spreads its wings. The driver attempts to catch it and I tell him to let it be, I can handle it. I look the hawk back in it's eyes and I say, without speaking, thank you for the message... Thank you for showing me how to spread my wings, that even if I feel young and uncertain about taking off, that I can do this. I open the window on my side, and it flies away."
The next afternoon as I walked to the ocean, the first thing I saw was a small hawk.
"Synchronicities are expressions of our profound entanglement in the web of unitary reality" - Sharon Blackie
This also happened to be the morning I was deliberating on leaving Tarifa to return to Portugal because of the virus scare. This is the second significant change: that I have decided to leave Tarifa to be near friends & loved ones in Portugal during this very uncertain time with the Coronavirus.
When I arrived to the waters, I shared this information. I felt at peace with the decision. I also felt an overwhelming freshness... as if the planet could finally breath. Through tears, I thought how ironic it was that there is a global panic pandemic from a respiratory virus, as the atmosphere has this momentary clearing of so many pollutants from manufacturing and travel.
That night, I dreamed that I was in Lisbon. "I'm wandering around desolate streets... Many of the buildings are empty, abandoned, or in rubble. I'm climbing over fences and going through alley ways when I finally arrive to the meeting place. I approach the fence slowly to peer in, and I see an elder woman. I look at her, and try to get her to look at me without speaking. As she slowly turns her head and makes eye contact with me, I realize I am dreaming. Since she saw me, I feel compelled to attend the meeting.
I join her on the bench where there are three children she looks after, and they are looking at me with hungry eyes when I notice I have a hamburger in my hand.
I take one more small bite, and do not hesitate to give them the rest to share. I feel protective of the woman, of the children... and that I have their respect somehow. We depend on each other."
The day after I arrived in the Alentejo, in a rural area an hour or so from Lisbon, in real life, I find myself surrounded by children, elders, parents during lunch time and the cooks are making vegetarian burgers. We joke about how to say "hamburgers"in my American dialect...
While it feels like I have been constantly on the move, I also find an impressive slowness and stillness in the days where I am mostly by myself, working away on client projects, writing my book... In my friend's apartment, in a hostel somewhere, on the road. Moments where I let myself sink into what it is to just be.
I like to imagine a lot of people are just BEING right now in the midst of the virus scare and self-isolation... I have felt really content with not being so much online, to simplify, to be quiet in what feels like a too crowded digital space. Maybe others will find that same humble silence when they are finally alone with themselves and at last, realize they are actually connected to everything. One lesson from the Corona virus, for sure, is that we are more intimately connected than we think by what is invisible.
And now I find myself in the middle of a full on community life, busy with cooking, dishes, chatting over tea, making love, and finding the discipline to "sneak away" to work on projects and be on calls.
To cook well, sleep well, work well, read well, think well... and love well. And this is a learning... how to just be well (or maybe to be A well ;) and belong, anywhere.