I am free and getting ever freer.

Say it with me now! I am free and getting ever freer.

This is why I chose to spend Independence Day weekend in solo retreat outdoors. My little dog and I flee fireworks and practice freedom: a ritual for some years running now.

I call it Reversal Medicine—it's Independence, but not the one they refer to. One of soul. Not nation-states.

I arrived at a dispersed campsite tucked into ridges, wedged between mountains, hugged by a curving road, and featuring a cranny of a creek around 11am Friday morning. And I claimed it all for me.

Looking for the flattest areas and the greatest likelihood of shade throughout the day, I first parked my truck, then set up my tent site. As it just so happens, their configuration might have looked like a visual challenge to anyone contemplating driving down the campsite's driveway to inquire if I'd be open to sharing my campsite...

No one did ask if they could co-locate at this spot, which had two fire pits. Many drove by, some slowly, but nobody attempted to make contact with me. I understand this intuitively. On public lands, so long as you're abiding the rules, it makes sense that you don't answer to noone but your God. So I find direct interaction is rare.

I deepened my freedom a little more—breaking no laws, merely norms. As I noted, many vehicles drove by in both directions. Some occupants surely miffed, some glad, at the lone woman and fox-like little dog taking up so much space amidst this outrageous spaciousness of sky and earth.

Very often the persons would crane their neck to observe my campsite as they came around the bend. At first, I engaged in waving and grinning at them. Then, I rested more. I sat and stared, or I didn't, face slack with non-ado. In loose garments when hot, soaking up the recreation in solitude, growing saturated with release and pleasure. I let myself be seen without reaction—without servicing the seenness. Modeling a freedom beyond societal norms—and, perhaps, beyond somebody's limited imagination.

The solitude is part of the radical assertion, or statement, that my embodied-existence was making. How many passersby in those cars packed full with family or buddies could imagine a multi-day trip... fully alone with themselves (and with the wild world)? How many desire that for themselves, secretly?

Self portrait (part 1)
Self portrait (part 2)

Freedom is not just about being at choice. It is about going beyond the normative. Those who go beyond stretch the limits of our imaginations. Imagination is crucial for free persons. If you’re simply reacting to the world from habitual pathways in your body and brain, you are not at choice. To choose something because your spirit or your conscience guides you to, is to empower your spirit or conscience with authority to govern your life. And that is radical! To be intrinsically governed by principles and purpose is a very different thing than having, or needing, extrinsic governance structures.

Given current issues afflicting our unraveling times, you might find this reminder handy: No government can take away your human rights. They can purport to, and they can render themselves illegitimate and irrelevant in doing so, but they can neither make your rights nor remove them. Governments in their power can oppress your rights or they can respect your rights. However, you possess your rights in your body. Assert your rights whenever needed, and also sometimes, just because.

Going beyond... it's not just a powerful sanskrit chant about the process of enlightenment. It's also what the freaks do, the transgressives, the monkey wrenchers and culture jammers. The ones who demand better, who require more of themselves and their societies. The ones allied against a hostile societal order (even if it is their culture of origin) as well as those whose existence is simply beyond the bounds of what the society accepts—such as indigenous and original peoples, queer people, people of color. These people's very acts of creative existence disrupt the status quo in part by expanding the imagination and asserting the possible. The ones who go beyond are the ones who help free us.

Ironically, to go beyond society's strictures might not look like going to the wild fringes, but actually going to the heart of everything. Into the center of the universe: into a deep, intuitive relationship with what it means to be human and to be in service to all other relations in their irreducible dimensionality. We forget that what this society relegates as "beyond" understanding (the wilds / madness / fringe) might be closer to real knowing than any of their favored mythologies.

There is nothing more transgressive to a society than a person or a community whose power cannot be usurped and concentrated into its own societal power, whether by cooperation or coercion. Nothing is more damning to a civilization than the mass realization that the structures-that-be no longer actually serve people. Nothing is more condemning than a person who is independent and sovereign of mind enough to claim the emperor has no clothes... to proclaim, Your myth, your phallic domineering over us is but a fallacy and fantasy.

To live a full life is to go beyond what others define for you, and into your own truth odyssey.

So, friends, continue to practice freeing yourself. Continue to practice honing yourself on the blade of what is true. Continue developing your capacities and competencies to tend for yourself and one another. Redeem your power from the scattering winds of worrying mind by bringing your power back down into your body. Devote your attention to the wisdom arising in your body like an fresh spring. Move from that place... and see what happens.

The creek pictured here was delightfully flowing when I arrived. Not two days later, it had dried up, revealing the hard-to-perceive fragility of a place like this. These spaces need us, and we need them.

Yet what they need from us is that we be in a certain way with them... if we are to really attune to their gifts, and thus begin to be able to reciprocate them as human beings.

This beautiful paradox at the center of the universe: how being more free actually means becoming more constrained by one's real relationships and responsibilities in this lifetime.

It can be physically draining to be so out and managing all one's own needs. With the right equipment and the kindness of gentle afternoon thunderstorms, one indeed manages. Yet it is spiritually rejuvenating. To be with oneself at length allows many layers of attachment to unfurl. They call it unwinding for a reason.

My real reason for coming out was because I am well aware that I need it. I hve noticed that sometimes I require larger swaths of time to more powerfully unwind my mind, liberating my best thinking and my most open heart. The mind adapts to its environment—in my case, that environment is the constantly buzzing city, noisy by nature. So, I escort my mind out here, for it to be reconditioned by air, sun, earth, trees, insects, animals, and their interactions. Here, my fellow beings in their irreducible Being give me a window and a mirror to look through. I love them and con-form (become more like) them by loving + elevating the part of me wildly wise, healing, self-organizing, intelligent.

I focused on practicing medicine woman ways, inner & outer, here. I was blessed to have recently received a book gifted by my mother (shoutout to Paige!) called Medicine Women, Curanderas, and Women Doctors from 1989. One important facet of the book is its keeping of interview contents authentic and uninterpreted. I was deeply moved and taught by the interviews with indigenous Native American women healers/holy women Annie Kahn/Flower that Speaks in a Pollen Way (Pueblo), Tu Moonwalker (Apache) and Dhyani Ywahoo (Cherokee). I honor and appreciate their guidance and will seek more of their work.

I practiced inventing rituals when moved to do so, like dancing a gratitude prayer toward the sun as it set, or shuffling a spiral shape into the soil of my campsite in prayer, or chanting phrases that affirmed my awakening spirit. (Prayer is not quite the right word for the experience... it's more like holistic attunement, deep unity with my surroundings and within myself, in which I become an open vessel or "hollow bone" for spirit.)

In these ways, I both chose and was guided to more authentic ways of being, to more truth-testifying embodied actions. My soul softened and my environment rejoiced. To become more true is one way, perhaps the way, to be in right relationship with all parts of the universe.

OUT going

I want to bring you OUT—out of your ordinary environment, out of your ordinary mind.

Out of your comfort zone where you must choose between facing your truth or facing its shadow. OUT is a medicine so sacred, and one that Colorado presents in abundance (no surprise this is a land where many seekers gather). OUT is a medicine of the great reminder: immerse in and witness how Living functions, and begin to recognize and recover your livingness.

It is a privilege to be able to get out and get into a more highly ordered realm—by which I mean, a functioning ecosystem. Few alive today can access such a gift directly—though we all benefit indirectly from functioning ecosystems sustaining life on this planet everywhere. Consider the privilege it is to have such a direct, sensual, soul-soaring reminder of what it means to Live.

And it is also a choice. Choices matter. By choosing this for my "independence day" weekend, I didn't choose a whole gamut of other options. This is selection aka evolutionary medicine—knowing your medicine, and turning towards that. Choices matter. Who you choose to be matters so much. What you choose to condition yourself with matters tremendously.

If "everything is training," a regular Fractal Praxis adage, then your choice of environment matters because it conditions you. Consider your conditioning when you choose to stay city-bound. Who do you become when you are immersed in the signals of only human acts and their mechanical, corporate and technological appendages?

And conversely, who do you become when you encounter, remember, and return to the bigger context of Living upon which all real life depends? Who do you become when pursuing right relationship with all parts of life, inner and outer, is your goal?

The more you identify with and as nature, the more natural you will become. The more intimate you become with life-as-a-pattern, with life-as-a-process, the more you will love it and belong to it. The more you will give of yourself to defend its creative expression everywhere you find it—outside of you, and, also in you: your wild parts will be loved and celebrated.

As though in dialogue with my devotional practices, a massive double rainbow erupted on my last day at this site, prettily and pointedly framing my campsite and the Sheeprock peak to the southeast.

The next night, at a different site, a pack of coyotes howled and hollered their lusty madness for hours and hours. I also met with many surfaced quartz stones that asked to be brought along with me to stir delight, wonder, and prayer of the people in the city. I felt blessed and receiving for the sacred duty of giving my best to my medicine self.

And how could it be otherwise? If I were truly practicing communion with the more-than-human world, I would receive such signals from the more-than-human world as meaningful. Naturally. As the Santiago Theory of Cognition implies, All beings participate in meaning making.

So, let's.

Let's go OUT

Please, consider coming OUT with me. I offer custom-designed private and small group retreats in addition to the signature offering happening this September. If you are guided to go deep with your soul, or liberate a more true version of yourself that's bursting to be born, consider how going OUT could serve you.

🌟I am providing only one OUTdoors group retreat space in 2022.🌟 It shall occur on the full moon in September, out in the Great Sand Dunes—at night. Information is available by request only; interested participants will be personally vetted due to the spiritually intensive nature of this intentional space. With only 8 seats, it will fill up, so don't delay inquiring.

My Ask this week

Would you go outdoors more this week?

And would you post about how that goes, linking to this blog/newsletter (and sending to me?)

My Gift this week

For those of you who follow my Celtic Wheel of the Year community ritual offerings, I want to inform you that yes, they are happening!

Throughout the rest of 2022, I will be partnering with visionary and creative spaceholders—like maybe YOU!—to design illuminating and enjoyable ceremonies that evoke the flavor of each traditional holiday. Mark your calendars (or check this one) for these dates:

  • Lughnasadh (Lammas) - July 31 / Aug 1 (precise date TBA)
  • Fall Equinox (Mabon) - Sept 22
  • Samhain - Oct 30
  • Winter Solstice (Yule) - Dec 21

I am seeking collaborators for these events! Please email me with the subject line "Celtic rituals" if you can step up to help organize, create, and enjoy these events!

If you're on the mailing list and reading this now—you're in the right place to receive future details on the events as they emerge. So simply stay tuned. 📻

In closing, may you free yourself and also each other, in the mirror of freedom found in Living systems.