As many of you know, I'm launching a series of online programs around the idea that self-mastery creates a path to personal and collective decolonization.
I am fascinated by the notion of daily practice. I want to cultivate and encourage daily habits that support creative, productive, adventurous, and subversive work. Work that changes the worker, and work that changes the world.
I'm in deep with this stuff, producing content with a fervor I've never experienced in myself, and seeing that reflected in the huge love and solid professional response of my students and peers.
Alrighty then. Let's do this "cultural emergence" thing. Have you heard that term? Looby MacNamara taught it to me.
I've been talking about chrysalis and transformation and metamorphosis, and that connects directly to what a bunch of other thinkers/writers/teachers in the permaculture-sustainability-ecofeminism community are doing/writing/building.
Something is happening to us. We ARE emerging. But more than that, our wings are unfolding and, as individuals shining our lights on each other, together we are beginning to fly.
Today I met another thinker, Elisabeth Howland, who is also writing about emotional permaculture, designing the inner landscape, deepening our connection with nature, as a radical act.
I could continue naming names, shining lights....there are 40 of us putting on the world's first all-women online permaculture design course.
And there are almost a hundred brilliant students enrolled in my Decolonize Yourself course.
And so on.
What am I trying to say?
Thank you for being here! Thank you for trying, for tearing yourself open, for struggling through the fear and the dirt and the clay and the paint. Thank you for making art, telling stories, dancing and fucking up!
Maybe the world is gonna end, who knows?
Maybe we're all gonna die (we are.)
But this little subculture we're building, this interconnected community of flawed and fragile humans who are still trying to open it up, be vulnerable, and learn how to love each other? We're awesome. And I'm grateful.
Sometimes it seems like everybody has some version of Post-Traumatic Stress.
If you’re at all aware of the world outside of yourself, if you live in modern society, if you spend any time on social media, chances are you’ve got trauma lodged up all in you.
For many years of my life, I thought I had depression. I would spend days at a time crying, eating, sleeping and hating myself for having no control over the process. I sabotaged relationships and hated my family and the world for what had been done to me. I tried different kinds of therapy but held a general disdain for it. I never tried pharmaceuticals, but I dabbled in many forms of self medication.
And then a few years ago, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is a disorder that comes about from constant exposure to a long term trauma that often involves repeated abuse and/or abandonment throughout childhood often from a caregiver.
The type of PTSD that is usually discussed occurs after a more specific event and results in different symptoms. Due to the long term trauma Complex PTSD ends up affecting a person’s basic identity. One ends up seeing themselves in a constant negative light.
I realized that I wasn’t suffering because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, I was creating the chemical imbalance through denial, negative thought patterns, and self-abuse (weed, binge-eating, bad boys).When I finally identified the cause, deeply rooted in a failure to properly grieve several traumatic losses, I was able to begin a healing process. A big part of that process was about learning how to grieve. My grief wasn’t associated with the death of a loved one.
It was associated with the loss of other things:
These things, compounded by my years spent as an environmental activist and the direct trauma that comes from witnessing firsthand the devastation of the planet (and the brutalization of the people trying to stop that devastation) had sent me into a downward spiral of grief, and I had never taken the time to really deal with it.
And so, since I had just started grad school when these realizations occurred, I focused most of my MFA on using art, music and movement to overcome trauma associated with loss. I learned a lot of amazing stuff! I’m doing a ton of writing and teaching on these topics now, but this article is just a teaser.