Speak Now or Forever…

The weight of this sad time we must obey

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

The oldest hath borne most, we that are young

Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

~ King Lear Scene 5, Act 3


Oh, my love. In the midst of despair I only heard “Don’t say anything to anyone. I cannot tell anyone who you are or why you are here. You must keep you mouth shut, not even share your prayers with anyone. When you give your prints in a sweat, hold your tongue. Do not say what you are praying for or who you are to be working with. Say nothing. Hold everything inside.”

Behind those words were deeply held fears passed down to you by those who ‘taught these things’. There was a time, not as long ago as many may think, that holding everything inside is what kept individuals alive and communities intact; when the threat of the ‘savage’ accessing the powers that be and to Be as they were meant to meant death for those who spoke allowed, sang and danced with the rhythm of the heart of all that is.

Those who taught you these things were taught by others who tried desperately to erase your families from their own identities, histories, stories and, for some, existence.

However, we face something very similar now and to not speak truths of things; truths of things of spirit, the spirit of nature and nature of spirit, and our relationship with all those things. To hold our tongue still and heart closed will continue the process of losing identity, history, story, and, yes, for some, existence.

For two years, I’ve not known what to say when the Ancestors and Others who walk with me have shouted, “SPEAK!” with an occasional, more gentle, “Speak, child. Speak.”  I’ve asked again and again, “What would you have me say?” not in such a gentle way. Now I know.

Now I will hold neither my tongue nor my heart. There is no turning back. When They ask me to go find those disappeared at the hands of others and being disappeared because their sight and their voices, too, are being blinded and shuttered, I will. I will find them to bring them home; some to their families and some to their own hearts, their own nature. I will speak so their truths may be heard.

I will be quiet no more and ask you, my kind sir, do the same for we must do this together. No one of us can do this alone. We were never meant to.

In Telling the Holiness, I wrote :

In the Apache tradition, storytelling is to ‘tell the holiness’.  The myths that speak to the holy are “performed only by medicine men and women for the purposes of enlightenment and instruction.”

We may have finally come to the time where many  realize that storytelling isn’t only for medicine-people to tell; the truths of all things holy come from each of us, as much as we draw breath our own stories give us life.

In the time before we were not separate from ourselves and the places we stood upon and looked up into, we were a people so connected to the earth that the earth took our pain in the same manner it gave us life.  Absorbed it like a rare rain in the desert and held onto it like it was holding onto their dear lives. At one point, back in our time, we were each those people.  And, now they are mere remnants of our fabric; tossed and hidden away when not murdered from existence, removed from the collective conscious except when it appears to serve our romantic nature or reliance on greed.

I listen to those struggling to maintain communities in a good way fight to keep parking lots from plowing over medicines. My heart breaks when I’ve brought a 40 year old man back to his tribe but the 15 year old sitting next to him is desperate to escape “because I can’t be me here. I’m not safe. I’m not ready to kill myself, though. Yet.”

And in the places where we have shoved those people who represent the past that we have collectively deemed unworthy of our attention, we die along with them. As they bleed the interest in life, the earth withholds it–for them and for us. There’s no need to feed & give life if life is no longer lived in the manner it was made to support.  And this is repeated around the globe, again and again, even as we struggle to manipulate natural and created systems to feed our futures.  This cycle will be repeated as if a contagion until we vanish.

Like those before us who were starved of connection to their sacred places & spaces, we disconnect even further from each other.  Some run in any number of ways to escape, some escape to feel free yet yearn to come home.  Those who have walked before and those now.

I have felt the lost.   I have held their hearts in my hand and I have stood in the spaces where the ancients realized all that is was no longer; that relationship with the ground, that relationship with each other, the ties that bind us as a people, that relationship between spaces below and above; the very representations of all that is home.

To walk onto home and feel the defeat between the highs and to hear the kindness of strangers turn to meanness to kin who aren’t enough of any measure to be accepted by family or community, reveals that same lostness, but not of the Ancestors but in the hearts of those beating now. “How can I be me if I can’t be seen?” “All this talk about spirits, why am I called crazy for seeing these things?” “I can’t tell anyone the trees speak to me.” “I could just die.”

Oh, love. Please stay. I hear you. I’m coming. I feel you. I’m coming.




A truth about suicide

Until you have danced intimately with death in the way those of us who have faced suicide head on, you cannot fathom the thought processes, feelings, and utter lack of desperation that it entails, particularly as an adult.

Depression and suicidality are not demons.   They are a way of life for many.  When we decide to end this whole breathing thing, we’re following up on a plan that we’ve had in place for a while.  And, no, we’re not going to tell you about it.

It’s been just over a year since I last tasted metal.  It was a day I was done.  Just fucking done.  I’ve been there before.  I first tried to kill myself when I was very young.  I tried more than once as a child.  Then, I was desperate. Desperate to get away, to leave what I knew just wasn’t right.  To escape physical pain, to find some peace without fear, to be in a place where I was wanted or at least a place where it was clear I wasn’t.  To not be afraid of the person I wasn’t supposed to be afraid of.  To not feel abandoned by those who weren’t supposed to do that.

There was none of that desperation a year and a half ago.  There was exhaustion, the kind that unless you know it, you can’t possibly understand it.  The kind where you’re just. done.  And, I told no one.  I told my favorite tree and rock.  They would have gracefully absorbed what I bled out–blood, body, blessed being and held them as long as necessary. But I didn’t share with a single human.

I told no one because when I’ve told in the past, I was punished for it, excoriated and then ignored.

I told no one because there isn’t anyone who could hear me or see me.  There are those who see me as avatar and can’t understand the human-ness that actually is.  There are those who don’t see me as avatar but can’t see me at all.  They want to see me fit into their image of who and how I should be.  And, well, there’s the belief I shouldn’t be in the state of wanting to die–actually not just wanting to die as if waiting for it but willing to complete the act that makes it happen.

I told no one because the need to respond to inappropriate responses sucks as much life out as does a Luger round.  I told no one because ‘be here now’ really means be here as I want to see you and/or me.

I told no one because we denigrate the ‘cry for attention’ as if the desire for attention & connection is ‘just’ a ‘thing’, a mere thing without meaning or necessity. As a egoic tantrum, selfish fluff requiring responsibility–be it action or fucking inaction from us. We give little credence every day to what meaningful attention to others actually means but we’ll seek mindfulness of & for ourselves.

I told no one because as much as we want our lives to be like others, we really don’t.  We can’t get there, even when we try to emulate bits.  Whether that person is a neighbor, celebrity, or guru.  And as much as we like to think we can understand most things, we truly can’t begin to grasp other things.  There’s no one that can understand the toll it takes to move through the universe in this fashion except those who live within that came before. And we talk to each other all the time.

I told no one because if you won’t hear or listen me on a great day, you won’t on a shitawful one.  I told no one because false attachments are easier than real relationships and, in the end, have no real meaning.  I told no one because I wasn’t afraid.  I wasn’t being beset by demons or darkness.  I was fully in me.  In the shits.  Thinking that I was just.done.

I’ve a very interesting relationship with death.  It neither frightens nor interests me.  It just is part of living, as inevitable as drawing breath until that moment you don’t. There isn’t an attachment or anticipation related to any particular outcome.  I walk with and speak to those who no longer breathe every day.  I know there is nothing final about death.

I’m not quite sure why I chose not to pull the trigger.  I didn’t. I slept.  I woke up with the Ruger right next to me.  Kinda grinned. Put her away and started the day by deciding to make myself homeless.  That’s how some of us do this living thing–we think about dying.  We don’t need healing because there’s nothing fucking wrong with us.  We don’t live with demons or in the dark. It’s just part of us. A part you can’t understand.  It’s always there and sometimes some days were just.fucking.done. Some of us have the glorious capacity to take that knowing–at every level–and see into another’s heart and bring them to tomorrow.

I’ve danced this thing with death before.  I’ll do it again, I’m sure.  And, when someone makes their way to me and says “I want to die”, I can say, “I know.  Let’s just get you to tomorrow.”

You can do the same thing.  You can accept responsibility for another. You can knock on a neighbor’s door and say, “Hi.  I’ve lived next to you a long time but I don’t know you.  I’d like to do that.”  You can volunteer for suicide hotlines or participate in NAMI.  You can broaden your church’s reach from ministering to outreach.  You can give the homeless guy on the corner some cash without judging what he might spend it on.  You can mentor a child.  You can read to others.  You can hold a dying person’s hand.  You can listen–truly listen–with an open heart and not an expectation of how another should appear to be to you.   Don’t sit on your ass and send peace or love.  Act it.  Engage openly, honestly.  Connect, communicate, relate.  It may save your life and theirs.