Op-Ed
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Op-Ed

I Hung Up Too Soon

Holy shit the messages I got today were even more clear than my rambling this morning. Okay first let me orient your mind…

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

I just got back from a feast that is customary after the Vision Quest. I got to see the women I left in the woods. I was honestly up all night thinking about them but still not even recognizing that was what caused my insomnia. My brain wanted to rationalize that I’d just become adjusted to this new circadian rhythm, and that I’d have to ease myself out of it. But actually, that proverbial phone I quoted Alan Watts referring to- was left off the hook. I walked away from it with God still on the other end like, “Damn, this bitch will not listen”.

It started when my mom and I were headed back out to pick up my car she’d so graciously had towed while I was questing. Before we left, my grandma had made some comment about me ‘laying off the coffee’ and it made me feel like Fuller from Home Alone (the one that wets the bed). I got defensive and passive aggressively pissed, and started talking to my mom in a shitty way about it in the car. “Fine, I just won’t drink her coffee” “This is probably because of grandpa getting stingy with his coffee”, and so on. To be clear, its not because I wet the bed… its because I shake from years of psychological abuse so she attributes it to my caffeine intake (which she actually isn’t wrong about and maybe I am just trying to cover up an addiction with a story). I got so worked up I was trying to figure out how I’d move out (I know, dramatic).

My mom is truly an emotional projector so I can usually apologize by the end of a conversation, and almost always while wondering why I got so snappy in the first place. The problem is, I think my mom knows that or even worse she unconsciously does it. She never gets upset with me for the way I speak to her even though it’s usually pretty sharp. But I also don’t think it’s me talking when I go off like that. I have a sneaky suspicion that she has this same level of resentment, but she keeps it behind closed doors. This is why I think she actually has that power and doesn’t realize it. She suppresses her feelings so much and it becomes manifested in someone else. This was my first epiphany. Not that this behavior is unique to her, but that I could step outside and see where she was actually powerful and not a victim.

Photo by Callum Skelton on Unsplash

Another moment of epiphany was when one of the guys was talking about some pretty taboo stuff that normally people don’t talk about in front of other people unless they want someone to get offended. Now personally, deep down, I obviously really like that kind of conversation, but with my tribe… I didn’t want anyone to get too emotional. It was about the general narrative of current global politics, and how they relate to a propaganda narrative. He did have me really wondering if I’d actually had covid or if I was just convinced that I had. Or if perhaps there was a microchip involved in this injection that could just be… turned on. Not that he said any of that but my mind extrapolated further from his general points instead of exploring and entertaining his assertions. Now being able to play with those sort of ideas, but not allowing them to cause you to fall into full crisis mode, is the trick. We have to be able to entertain the idea without fully committing to them being the objective truth. This is another case of consciously interacting with the world by being conscious in our intentions as much as humanly possible.

Why do I know all this? Well, boys and girls, the gut is the parasites we feed. That’s kinda the big wake up call I had today. The fact that I was just so brutal to all systems in my body means I killed all but the strong cells and strains. I honestly didn’t make that connection until I had a hit of someone’s rolly at the feast. That’s when my world got rocked again. Now this was definitely God saying. “Fine I’ll just fucking text it”. But I got the message loud and clear this time. Only it wasn’t very comfortable.

The message that was revealed to me was that I have now unlocked a cheat code that people have been describing as things such as: ice baths, telling that inner bitch ‘no’, even heat shock proteins. Torture makes the cells grow stronger. All of these practices condition every cell in the body. Its the real reason our diets are so important. We are what we eat because we are feeding the bacteria in our intestines, and those little guys run our brains. It’s only the presentation that makes it sound crazy, but this is a known fact. Some research has been done on it, I just don’t care to pretend to be the scientist to find that for you. I am inclined to believe its true because my biology professor (who I affectionately wrote about here) told me about some research on schizophrenia and the gut bacteria. Theres a good starting place for all the skeptics. He’s just an entity I believe… which is standard fact checking.

This is why it isn’t effective to just take a bunch of antibiotics and kill all your gut flora. Not even the relatively good bacteria stand a chance of surviving unless you completely change your diet after. The second you cleanse you go right back to feeding the shitty ones. Or at least I did, until I noticed I was doing that. I had candy and cookies and coffee, because I just couldn’t stop indulging. I had really healthy food too, but suddenly my grandma’s concern about my coffee intake became a piece of wisdom. I just did a hard reset on my body and I shouldn’t go right back into the same old routine of habits.

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/AnatomyInsider

I already mentioned in my last post that the Chief had reframed how we were to think about everyone when they ate and drank. We were to remember they were eating and drinking for us. As weird as it sounds, that absolutely worked. I was overjoyed to smell food that was cooked by the fire keepers and elders to feast on while we sat in the woods. I was grateful they were eating. I thanked my sisters for staying out a day longer to show me it could be done. Just like we thank soldiers for their service to the country for protecting and defending. This is why the Ukraine story is tugging at everyone’s heart strings. My prayers go out to all the people suffering in this conflict. You can have whatever opinion about it you like, but beneath the emotional response there is a great human tragedy, and no real opposing sides. So I am not picking one because of propaganda on either side. But I can see how that’s a great tactic. The mainstream news of any sort determines the framing of our human tribe for us. We trust them to tell us the story we should deliver. Just like my tribe trusts the Chief to pass on the wisdom of the elders.

I also became intimately connected with nature. I watched the sun as it moved across the sky from East to West. I knew that the trees started as silhouettes before sunrise and then would turn into a golden radiance, before the needles on the Longleaf Pines finally looked green. I watched spider webs patiently wait for prey and wrote a poem about it. My thoughts were no longer my own, they were pensive wonderment. I was still trying to be creative when I had next to no energy. After reading through some of the notes that seemed like normal thoughts, it seems like I was going absolutely insane but in this really beautiful way. I laid on my back not able to move except to hold up my notebook over my face and write. I wanted to remember the important things, and I’m so glad I didn’t try to make judgement of what those things were in the moment. I documented as much as I could. Pages of notes from the spirit realm.

The Chief is teaching us how to build a strong tribe. Just like the microbiome in my belly. He has taught us to reframe the way we thought when we were starving and to recognize we were in this together as a group. He thanked us for our sacrifice and told us we were making the tribe stronger. Today when I feasted with those people, it felt like community. We did things for each other without being asked twice. We cleaned together, after we feasted, after we sang, after we embraced, after we told each other how incredible we were. This common goal is how strong communities are built. We want to preserve the land and grow our tribe and clear out our sacred grounds to build more and better. Chief called it a university; I believe it now. I can see it now. Later, when I got back in the car by myself to drive home I was able to analyze all the different interactions I’d had with each person. I realized I was remarkably good at having a third person perspective. Even more so that usual.

Me and the women that went on this Vision Quest and the young guys that did theirs too, we’ve proven our understanding of pain. We’ve proven we will take it for the team. We will push through suffering for our brothers and sisters. So we feast together and we love each other and not in a fake or forced way. In a deep way, where I don’t even have to say it because I know they are working toward the same goal as me. We are building together. Just like my journaling group is building some sort of thought-realm creature. Just like Campfire Karaoke became a welcome Sunday reprieve from the utter madness of current events. We can be stronger for the rest of the world. We pray harder for all the hurting. We suffer with all those in pain because we have a tribe that will console us and care for us. I have many I am a part of. This is how I know.

I like to call it a “Self Hurt Group”, but please understand I am only joking. We struggle together. We purge together. We release together. We are clearing the land together. We stay up through the night if some of us are suffering. It is really a beautiful group and we are working on a telepathic connection so that we can build a sanctuary. The Chief says this starts at the fire during the Inipi Sweat Lodge, we can all relate to the very real fact that some doors are really fucking intense and that is something we know how to measure in conversation, even though we all literally sat in the dark for the experience. “A Door” refers to moments when the sweat lodge door is closed and the Chief pours water on scalding hot rocks to create steam. The blankets encapsulate a frame made of sticks, intricately tied together so that they all support each other to create conditions similar to being inside the womb, or a cocoon. As he said but I will emphasize… we all know its fucking hot when its fucking hot. So we talk about which ones are really bad and we know what that means. “That second door was REALLY bad though”. Its a reference point. Pain as a reference point.

Photo by Rishabh Dharmani on Unsplash

I realized in all of my conversations like the situation with my mom and this conversation with my friend, that emotions are the thing you have to dance around and they really do matter. I can’t just tell my mom how she should be for me to act a certain way (which I try to do all the fucking time). I have to be the one to change, and that means I have to work on a conscious frame shift. Same with this guy on his conspiracy theory. There has to be a way to help people realize you can hold two truths at once. A Schrodinger’s equation of circumstances. The moment you have the answer its a little too real. Kind of like the moment you get something to eat after starving in the woods, you know nothing will ever taste so good until you go do the shit again. Unless you keep that connection and build a group around that. Whatever that connection is, make it something that ultimately results in everyone being stronger. When we consciously decide to sacrifice for one another, and bear part of the load together, we build trust. From that we can learn some truths and every time we show up for each other, we prove each other right.

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