This weekend, I'll be participating in the annual Children's Health Defense conference in Savannah, Georgia. The conference's focus is on advocating for medical and health freedom, spreading awareness about environmental toxins showing up in everyday life, and finding creative solutions to transforming our food system. I will be proudly representing WantToKnow.info, the news organization I work for that educates the public about the deeper politics shaping society. The work I do is challenging, and totally pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Yet somehow, I know that I'm right where I need to be.
My recent session with a renowned Vedic astrologist Dennis Harness confirmed this. He noticed a strong placement of Saturn in Aquarius in my chart, which rules the 11th house (the 12 houses in astrology represent different aspects of life). The 11th house reveals our relationship to the collective and larger social structures. As the last planet visible to the naked eye, Saturn represents humanity's boundaries between what is and what could be. In my short life so far, much of my focus has always been rooted in concern for others and the world. Yet I've also been just as passionate about finding solutions, solving problems, and reimagining better systems for all of us to participate in.
Tasked with disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline back when I was an educator, my focus quickly expanded beyond just helping youth make better decisions and process their emotions in healthy ways. Focusing on the individual did very little to address the social, economic, and political conditions giving rise to youth violence. I became fascinated and obsessed with understanding what was going on from a systems level, and how to create change from a more informed stance of the complex realities we swim in.
Yet the deeper I went, I realized that the world of social justice advocacy within the school system was just the tip of the iceberg. Injustices within the US military-intelligence complex are leading to the deaths of millions globally, no matter which president is in office. The world of science, medicine, and technology are being heavily manipulated in order to sell products that discard public good and prioritize profit, private gain, and control of the masses. Corporations and captured government agencies are directly responsible for the eroding quality of life that is now creating unprecedented levels of chronic illness and disease. How can we rise up together when our society is so sick and burdened with stress?
With minimal public awareness about these issues that transcend partisan politics, our mainstream media landscape will continue to distract and polarize people into us vs. them, blue vs. red camps. Opportunities to think deeper about the world and to build bridges across differences are lost.
Lake Shakopee | Onamia, Minnesota | October 21
At critical junctures, outer trouble and the inner need to grow conspire to set each of us on a path of awakening and initiation. ― Michael Meade, The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul
Mythicist and storyteller Michael Meade says that there are always two stories going on in the world. One is the story of the ongoing drama of the world, and the other is the individual drama of human life. These two stories are connected. The more connected they are, the more we understand the world.
My coming-of-age process continues to ripen as I move through my late 20s. In my own life, I'm undergoing massive life changes. I'm reinventing my relationships with my family in positive and constructive ways, despite the traumas and abuses. I moved to a whole new state, leaving much of my former self behind, to see what I'm made of. Now, more than ever, I'm embracing my new work at WantToKnow.info, engaging in issues that are deeply challenging and controversial to talk about.
There’s a song that wants to sing itself through us. We just got to be available. Maybe the song that is to be sung through us is the most beautiful requiem for an irreplaceable planet or maybe it’s a song of joyous rebirth as we create a new culture that doesn’t destroy its world. But in any case, there’s absolutely no excuse for our making our passionate love for our world dependent on what we think of its degree of health, whether we think it’s going to go on forever. Those are just thoughts anyway. But this moment you’re alive, so you can dial up the magic of that at any time. ― Joanna Macy
I am crossing my own threshold of change as society faces a massive threshold. The waves of social unrest in all its forms are a great indicator of this massive collective threshold, from geopolitical chaos to unprecedented levels of street crime and drug addiction. By stepping into what wants to emerge in my individual life, I'm filling my own cup first in order to better show up with whatever is coming.
While I'm embracing my new life to a significant degree, there is grief within me that continues to deepen over what has been lost and sacrificed. Breaking free from my past has been a deeply emotional process. And on a societal level, there is much to grieve about, some of it unspeakable, as we are forced to face what's next after so much turmoil. I'm learning to allow this grief to expand my capacity to hold all that life has to offer. It's not just about our ability to think well about our changing times. As the ancient Tibetan prophecy states, insight can make us too cool, too distant. So we also need the heat of compassion and our openness to the world's pain to help transform human suffering.
The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, 'The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.' – Joseph Campbell
A rebel with a cause, I'm learning to trust the creative voice within me, as a means of developing a rich inner life and also to be a more effective change agent in the world. One of my favorite sayings is "Create what you wish existed." From an early age, I have heard many people intuit that I will live a creative, pioneering life. In some ways, I've always felt isolated and alone because of my tendency to resist the status quo and what is familiar. I was abused and ridiculed in my family for being different. I feel things on deep levels that many people around me don't understand. And I certainly have financially struggled most of my life due to only choosing work that nourishes me spiritually and socially.
But don't be satisfied with stories,
how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage.
We have opened you.
Start walking toward Shams.
Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you've grown.
Now, I'm beginning to surround myself with people who are creative outliers themselves, like the beautiful @mada who has taught me so much and inspired me in this magical year that I've known him. A life of creativity comes at a cost. Yet a creative life is an authentic life, and it mirrors the incredible potential of what the world could be.
The only choice once your world has been torn apart is to find your genius and live with that. ‘Normal’ is out of the question. The healing for anyone going through great tragedy is finding your natural spirit and your genius that was waiting to be found. That can now become the cohering principle in your life. ― Michael Meade
"Paintbrush Warrior", Artwork by Mark Henson
My recent astrology session greatly emphasized the need for creative expression as a means of being successful in my work. What do I want to paint right now, at this stage in my life? I'll keep paying close attention to what is calling me. Disarming the inner critic and slowing things down will be important here.
Roberto Assagioli was an Italian psychiatrist in the world of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. He broke away from strictly Freudian teachings and was the first modern psychotherapist who developed Psychosynthesis, a movement that honored the spiritual and creative aspects of the self. To Assagioli, creative expression is a primary and inherent human quality around which different parts can be brought into synthesis.
The creative connection is born when the emotional body, thinking body and sensing body interact with each other. Movement, visualization, active imagination, role playing, music and smells allow for a deeper expression of an individual’s experience. Assagioli believed that by expressing ourselves creatively, we enact that which we want to bring forth, that which is alive in us. This gives impulse to the growth process.
I've had the absolute gift of experiencing Fall time in the Midwest, with all the dramatic colors, beautiful leaves, and pristine lakes. What a wild and beautiful reminder that life is always in flux, making space for what's next. And now that this is my new home state, I get to dance in these dynamic conditions. What a blessing!
Hope you enjoy the video, Hive community!