Community alchemy and building a home

california-quailNow that I am “home” in Damanhur after a 33 day journey, I reflect on the viaggio of the past month, beginning with bringing Damanhur School of Meditation teachings to Tamera in Portugal and concluding with a Burning Man Symposium held like an egg in a nest at Esalen in Big Sur, California. It’s so heartening to see those of us who carry and move within group identities connecting in with each other deeply and dissolving boundaries in these collaborative endeavors.

I have noticed that Damanhur facilitates transformation within people in a certain direction, and Tamera does so too on a different and unique trajectory. Holding the Damanhur Path to Spiritual Freedom course in Tamera brought the participants into a movement that ended up in a different place than either of those, a beautiful synergy of the gifts from each source, sparking joy, authenticity and liberation.

tameraThe same thing happened during the Burning Man Symposium at Esalen I feel. The unique alchemy of each container poured together to create softly exploding fireworks of pure magic that mixed the sound of the Pacific ocean waves crashing into the night with the smell of sulfur in the sesalenteam of the baths and the taste of miso soup and marinated kale, together with the roar of power tools and high caliber laughter, swigs of tequila, pink hair and building up something colorful and creative just to set it on fire immediately. Somehow it worked.

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Healing of love and the dream of a new world

Con voi! My most recent journey in Portugal has been very rich with events and connections.

Evora

After landing in the Lisbon airport, I immediately took a bus to Evora and after changing into my temple dance costume in a refined hotel bathroom, I found myself standing on the Temple of Diana and doing a Sacred Dance performance. It felt very powerful to claim the honor of catalyzing millennial sacred space there. The temple is usually off-limits to anyone, and it felt transgressive on a human level yet very welcome on the divine level to step up and awaken it.

temple dance - 1I sensed the deep layers of history, the primal and elemental energies still breathing underneath the projections and oppression of religion over the centuries. A sense of reclaiming, for the feminine and the goddess. I danced a prayer for the temple and opening to intimacy and union through the public art performances that followed: blind hugs - 2blindfolded hugging and eye contact with strangers. Locals, travelers from northern Europe and Chinese tour groups stopped to observe, and some were brave enough to come in and participate. A feeling of love and magic all around.

The next day Paula S. – the Portuguese art professor who had organized the temple dance and performance piece, who came to Damanhur for the first Ecovillage Design Education course we held in 2011 and is now the organizer for the Path to Spiritual Freedom (new Damanhur School of Meditation path) in Portugal – took me around to meet different people and places in the spiritual and alternative world of Evora. She explained to me that there is a tight network of people who bring light to this city, although it takes determination to keep going because they can still feel the repressive resonance of the inquisition days. Despite this, I sensed the lightness in the hearts of the people in this area of Alentejo.

Then, I went to Tamera and participated in two events, Global Love School, along with Betsy and Eddie, and the World Council.


Global Love School

fire and waterthis and the following photos from Tamera by Ian Mackenzie

The intention of Global Love School is to explore the theme of love within communitarian, spiritual and political perspectives. There were a hundred participants or so, diverse individuals involved in community, communications, activism, healing of the body, soul and earth. Continue reading

love. eternal boundless fire.

heartIt’s Valentine’s Day. Yay love. Here’s a link to an article on Love and partnership on the path of awakening drawing from the experience and wisdom of a community elder.

As for me. Well, as much as I love love, feeling in love and falling in love, I admit I don’t understand so much about traditional relationships, committed partnership or marriage.

Surveying what has come forth from the five levels of Past Lives Research I have done with support from Way of the Oracle vision … Let’s see. I’ve had past incarnations devoted to a Tibetan monastery, exotic plant biology research in Africa, shamanic healing in Peru, nomadic Alaskan tribes and hunting in a trance, fishing in the Mediterranean and deep sea diving. In none of these lives did I have a spouse, life partner or children. Except for that time as a Neapolitan fisherman when I saved a girl from drowning and then adopted her.

erosI feel like it’s precisely this extensive background of out-of-the-box approaches to life, devotion and relationship that have helped me to embrace the ideal of Unconditional Love. This is the only kind of love worth choosing anymore. This is all I do.

True love is eternal Love and it persists and flows beyond the fluxing conditions of time, place, emotions and sexual storylines. Continue reading

Gifts of love and eternity

A thought on holiday gifts from the Apprentice Befana

Wdream catchere are on the threshold of Nativity and other winter festivities – a time of the year when different customs for gift giving are expressed, as it has become a universal tradition. It’s really fascinating, the culture around gifts, the act of giving and receiving, giving of oneself, expressing generosity, creating a circuit of emotion and energy through the gift.

There’s also the risk that from a sense of obligation to demonstrate love through gifts, we fall into habits of consumerism, accumulating unused objects, uselessly spending money, seeking affordable prices and in doing so, supporting inhumane labor conditions and an unsustainable consumption of resources.

I would really like to see us strengthening a Damanhurian culture of gifting, valuing the deeper exchange that the gift represents. Gifting an experience together, an artistic or culinary creation, things made by hand, using materials from our lands or ones that are reused or recycled. Maybe even gifting something that I have in my possession, which is even more precious because it is permeated by my personal frequency and has a story behind it that I can tell. If the gift is something that is purchased, it would be a Damanhurian object (we could even commission our artists to make a personal gift!), or if it isn’t, it’s anyhow local or from a fair trade and organic source, or it’s something that will be valued and used for a long time. We could also transmit these values to our children, gifting them with what will last in time, attention and spending time together, beyond the desired objects of the moment.

giveHere are some things that I found stimulating for applying a different logic in thinking of gifts:

The Five Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman that defines five main modalities of expressing and receiving love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and devotion, and touch/intimacy. He believes that each of us has a primary and secondary modality that opens us to love. It’s pretty common to express love through the modality that I like to receive, instead of the one that is primary for the other person. It’s true that at times, a gift is more fulfilling to the person gifting it than the person receiving it!

Jennifer Harbury, a human rights lawyer who was married to her late husband Everardo, an indigenous Mayan resistance leader from Guatemala, tells that in some Mayan tribes, the tradition for weddings is not to exchange rings but to exchange spoons between husband and wife. The spoon is usually made by hand from wood, with a colored band that codifies specific achievements and spoonevents in the person’s life and in the life of the tribe. It makes sense: what would you do with a gold and diamond ring in the Guatemalan jungle, even if there were the economy to acquire it? Though you use your spoon everyday, so it’s infinitely more precious.

Another anecdote about utensils and marriage: when my cousin was married, she and her husband received many gifts from my grandparents and family, like a beautiful ceramic tea set, jade jewelry, silk scarves, and then she received a set of wooden chopsticks. She was surprised by this simple, inexpensive gift among the more extravagant ones. My grandparents explained that chopsticks are a traditional Chinese wedding gift, because in Chinese, the word for chopsticks (kuai-zi) if divided into the two components, means “quickly” (kuai), “give birth” (zi), so more than the physical worth, it was a play on words with a linguistic-symbolic value. (Let’s forget about the fact that “zi” means a having a baby boy, not a girl.) So, perhaps chopsticks would be a fitting holiday gift for those who are desiring to have a child.

Taking the time to think about a gift, it’s an opportunity to offer a piece of ourselves to others, to get to know each other more and deepen our relationships.

 

Un pensiero sui regali dall’Apprendista Befana… Continue reading

breathe in.

It’s time to inhale.

So… I admit. I’m exhausted. Not like in a totally heavy or empty sort of way. More like drifting into stillness at the tail end of a so-many-months long exhale of uninterrupted movement, play, service, love.
Creation.fire Fire, offerings, performances, camera lenses, gazes, in the temples and under the starry night sky open fields. So much dance. Dancing in every way. On every occasion. Birth, death. Equinox. Two steps forward, three steps back… breathing deep and flying right over the obstacles and the letting go.
Magnetizing the tappi.
Italian driving adventures. Velocity, autostrada. Torino. Ivrea. Milano Malpensa after midnight.
Going to new places, ancient ones too, coming home. Healing, dreaming, building. Making, art. Orienting, trees. Harvesting.
Catalyzing.
Cleansing. Alchemy. Ritual magic. From Solstice and back again, from one full moon to the next. Every week, repeat.
Translating, everything.
Writing, in stellar and human languages. So many voices and stories insisting on coming through the filter of my body, mind. voice.
Connecting the dots… communicating, with everyone, the Dutch TV personality wandering around our kitchen and interrogating me about my love life and future children, all the hundreds of people who ask me the same questions about how long I’ve been here and how I did I end up here in the first place and what do I do and what is my ‘typical’ day like and and where on earth am I from anyway? …
Escaping. Sun-bathing.
And now … it’s the darkness of new moon and time to breathe in again. Refill and filter through. In solitude, in the shadow of the mountains, in the starlight always nourishing me.

stars