Guess the condition.Read More
1. Practice quality listening. Nod at appropriate times, and remember you’ll miss them when they’re dead.
2. Use inclusive thoughts and language. Think “we” when referring all of our different religious beliefs, dogmas, races, classes, abilities, politics. Avoid the “us/them” schism. When your wonderful Republican churchgoing family starts showing off their guns, be like, “Wow, isn’t it amazing that we’re one, big family?” Or, “What a fascinating study of traditional Southern values!” Or, “Go, biodiversity!” Or, “How great that they love me—a radical feminist commie on the far-left fringe?” [Can substitute said labels with “person.” How great that they love me—a person! etc.]
3. Be a scientist. Witness the chaos rather than succumbing to it. Become a curious and interested observer. Bring a notepad if it helps. “Wow, check out that meltdown vortex. How about I not get sucked into it!”
4. When you’re feeling stressed out, reach for a glass of water or a breath of fresh air. Humans love air and water.
5. Whether you're traveling or not, learn a new, local plant. It’ll help you connect to your surroundings. Take a picture and tag Ancestral Acupuncture, if you want. hashtag sanity
6. Bring an herbal ally with you for grounding and immunity. You can bring a tincture of St. Johns Wort or a bag of yarrow leaves, or whatever. Wear it like a talisman around your neck or in your pocket, or drink to wear it on the inside. Your plant ally has your back.
7. Accessorize for psychic and physiological protection. When I'm feeling depleted, I like to wear an amethyst necklace my aunt Opal made, and a scarf around my neck because the back of the neck is another psychically-sensitive area. (That's why old Chinese people always wear scarves--to protect against colds and flus.) I also sometimes wear a red, woven belt wrapped tight around my waist. Lots of traditional cultures still use this as a means of protection. Any piece of fabric will do.
8. Say something funny. Humor harmonizes.
9. Hang out with the kids. No one’s saner.
10. Go for a walk in nature. Trees will always be there to tell you, “Calm the eff down.”
Be the grown-up you want to see in the world.
Don’t beat yourself up when you fail miserably. We’re talking about family, after all.
Hot New Tips for 2016:
The family that watches Bob Ross together stays together. Gather 'round, and witness him gracefully spin mistakes into beauty. Generalize those "happy little clouds" to the air around you.
If all else fails, bond over your shared hatred of Comcast!Read More
To know deeply who we are helps us stand with each other.
Apathy makes us an accessory to murder. Inaction makes racism our legacy. If we are tired of hearing about injustices against black lives, we almost surely benefit from institutionalized oppression. We who have the luxury of ignoring this struggle are those who are now called to engage, to speak up, to avoid being complicit in systematic murder through silence.Read More
"Lucid dreaming" is a way of life. (By the way, we're dreaming.) It's fun to plumb the depths, and to have big plans and questions on the horizon. That way, we won't end up wondering what to do with our next limited window of endless possibility. (And we won't default to flying, having sex with hapless dream figures, or trying to convince people that we're dreaming.) We can do so much more. Remembering this re-establishes the wild dreamways of our ancestors. It doesn't require huge effort, just awareness of an intergenerational group endeavor. When more of us inquire about the old/timeless dreamways, or use dreaming as cultural excavation, we're making these established pathways easier for each other to access and navigate.Read More
Scientific observation has confirmed the interdependence of all life. Everything, it turns out, is joined at the hip. But for some reason, our scientific practices do not acknowledge interdependence. The act of observation changes that which is being observed, from the medium-sized science of clinical trials to the infinitesimal realm of quantum oddities. How can we not affect stuff? How can stuff not affect us?
Yet when we design experiments, we reinforce our first major delusion: that we are separate from the universe, and that the universe itself is made up of other, separate things, which can be studied in isolation to further isolate more things. Enter René Descartes, who taught us that the world is made of discrete parts. If science is the observation of phenomena over time, then the only agreed-upon result that any enduring observation yields is that things are temporary. We can even say that they do not exist at all, at least not in any solid way. I'm not talking Nihilism here. I'm talking endlessly-bursting-forth-in-every-moment life. I'm talking about the exhilaration of groundlessness with no parachute.
Phenomena exist in the way that constellations exist, patterns generated into contexts by shared hallucinations, repeated. Imagine far-flung stars hundreds of millions of light-years apart, made of an arrangement of interactions we have named "light," which is literally ancient history. What we are seeing has often already exploded, and transformed into its next phase of being. Yet we construct a relationship we can hold onto, grasping for a 2-dimensional Orion in an infinite expanse of space that is often "too chaotic to be noticed or named."  As Vi Hart says, "I wonder if a proton plus an electron making a hydrogen atom […] is any more real than these stars making Orion. I mean, is it an atom, or does it just look like an atom?"Read More
Nightmares are a trip. Sometimes they can unwind bouts of complexity in one massive discharge of fright. Sometimes they play unexamined or suppressed energies on repeat, i.e., recurring nightmares. Sometimes they help us digest trauma over many years. Nightmares are very clever in that they demand our attention, if even for a moment. Ultimately, they demonstrate and serve our wholeness.
Working directly with nightmares can be extremely difficult for people who have experienced torture, war, abuse, and any other major trauma. Support is essential, whether through guided dreamwork or through an experienced counselor. I recommend working with someone who deals with dreams, simply because PTSD has a strong correlation with nightmares.
Here are some tips I've compiled to help us transform nightmares and recurring dreams.Read More
At one time, I would have eagerly attended any ceremony, with a nose-to-the-glass desire to become whatever I witnessed before me. Now I attend strong in myself, as a guest, thankful for those who are able to have continuity with their homelands and ancestors. It is beautiful.
I am a person of many European clans, a fluid embodiment of bygone tribal eras. What do we do when we are a beautiful, confusing patchwork quilt of cultural expressions? When we are not born on ancient inherited land that stores millennia of ancestral memories? What would a ceremony even look like today?
Moving beyond the terminology of "tolerance," our world is slowly opening to the celebration of How Things Are. We exist as, with, and because of an incredible diversity of life. This fluidity includes gender, of course. All of us have ancestors that transcend masculine-feminine gender duality. Let's just take a moment to think about and acknowledge that. Our very own ancestors, born to be who they are. Maybe today we'd call them genderqueer (or any number of emerging terms to address the specific identity-needs of humans), but they certainly had their own terms. In many cultures, such people were, and are, woven into tribal fabric as another valued strand. Our two-spirited predecessors whose very embodiment signals the big, beautiful truth of simultaneity, held important cultural posts.Read More
"Everything shines by perishing."—preacher, Albany, GA
From the commencement address for Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College:
My wish for all of us is that we live a life that is already healed. That we recognize our terminal diagnosis without literally receiving one. That we see ourselves in the ocean so that our deeply-natural self-centeredness assumes value. There is nothing to lose, except the things that took up too much space anyway. Until death gives us his fond wave of equanimity and the only true cure, we share this body. This astounding feat of biology, this writhing mass of meat and miracle. This is who we are, absolutely replete and undeniably whole, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.Read More