Standing with love in times of suffering, and the meaning of activism.

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As I pray today for Standing Rock, I remember that love is a verb.

I bless and bow to the SR community for teaching the world that prayer IS action. Those of us who work shamanically KNOW drumming is prayer, that life is a prayer, and that all prayer must begin with the bow to the worlds entire, holding all sacred, even those who are suffering and enact their evil, as members of the one tribe only. We cannot hate and obliterate hate. We cannot abuse and eradicate abuse. We can die for our causes, but never kill for them.

I feel like I have been in a fever. Maybe it could be called a spiritual flu. Just about everyone I know is feeling stretched and strained, and many people are anxious and terrified. I understand that. I have been feeling like I have been put on the rack, and have suffered as the world has been pulling me apart. Ordinary reality dismemberment. 

I am hearing the pain and the anger from those who walk the shamanic path and those who don't. And I am very grateful to be back in sync with what I know to be true and what I live for. What I serve. I cannot speak for anyone else, but as a human, I fall sometimes (especially of late), and am ALWAYS thanking Bear because, finally, he always helps me stand again, with feet well grounded in the earth and her relations. I have to accept these falls as teachings, and reminders to stand back up into the truth. I can only hope that as I age, I will continue to learn to get up with more ease and with the knowledge that I was born to serve, which means I must sometimes suffer. Yes, suffer. I know the cultural meme says that suffering is optional, and pain is obligatory, but my spirits have taught me that sometimes suffering is what helps round my sharpest edges.

As the world events ramp up to such a heinous pitch, as the suffering in the world becomes more and more exposed, as intentional harm becomes more naked, it becomes more essential to hold to the center of this truth. Far easier to say, we are all a part of the web when you look at an oak tree raining leaves of gold or as we watch a ruby sunset. Much easier to feel the ecstasy of our work in the privacy of our studios than in the daily and moment-to-moment attendance to all our obligations, in the madness we feel suffocating us in this ordinary reality. Much harder to hold when you look into the eyes of another and see hatred. But, finally, this is what I and so many others have been training for during the last 25 years, I think.

No matter what, I WILL NOT hate. And that is something I learned from the Asia Moon Bear project I originated so many years ago. When tortured bears loved us humans, the bear workers, and actually received and responded to us with affection, as they actually shared their love with us, a species that had only caused them such intense suffering, I knew the bears as true teachers just as I see teachers at SR. Just as the spirits have been teachers for me and SO MANY OTHERS for so very long. Just as trees and dogs are teachers. Our culture is not a shamanic one, and sometimes the path feels lonely, but in truth, this is only when we forget who we are really standing with.

We are all being called to a superb and exacting refinement, and to be very attentive to the changes we wish to see. I am past my anxiety finally (at least for now, and I will remember to be very kind to myself if or when it returns), and bless Bear who whispered in my ear all last night (he never tires of helping me, and that is the biggest blessing). He reminded me who I am, and who we all are meant to become. It is, as we all know, very difficult to actively choose to love when there is so much intentional suffering being enacted.

Unity in love is all there is, and anything that shakes our hearts, moves us out of love, has to be understood as a means of separation, as a way to distract us from the miracle and sanctity of the sacred in life. And separation does not exist in the one tribe only. We are now living through terrible times on our planet and we must hold to what we know to be true.

This is extremely serious work as the world affairs are shaking us to the core. This is NOT sentimental love, and there is no room for passivity. Where do we really stand as shamanic and human activists? Do we want to carry a feather or a gun when we stand up to injustice and terror? What do we want to see change? How can we contribute to that change? All questions that my spirits think are worthy of consideration.