INTRODUCTION - Trigger Warning - Real-Life Violence February 2, 2021 On February 2nd, 1989 @ 2am I turned myself in to the police station. I was 85 lbs, 5’9“, and had blood poisoning from an injury in my hand which ran a flaming red line almost to my heart. I was 16.5 years old. I had been wanting to die since I was 10. i had been a runaway since i was 14. In the middle of that freezing winter night in Haverhill, MA after visiting a last couple of desperate attempts at a place to be safe and continue dwelling in my miserable bottomless pit - I surrendered to that I just. couldn’t. anymore… I hadn’t eaten for days, I had tried to sleep and woken up to the guy who supplied the drug house that I had been dealing from & smoking cocaine in nearly non-stop for months, trying to push himself up into me. I screamed & thrashed like a wild cat, broke from his grip, grabbed a few of my pathetic, worthless belongings and ran from him as he then tried to burn my face with a cigarette, but I wouldn’t stop screaming. He let me go. I ran away. It had been a big day already. It was the first time I had tried to sleep for what felt like ages. I was scared of sleeping. It wasn’t the first time that I had woken up this way. He wasn’t the first man who had violated me in my sleep. I tried to sleep after I cried. I hadn’t cried for years, after deciding to only be mad rather than sad about the things that people do to children- had done to me. I cried because I heard “Let It Be”, by the Beatles and felt the presence of the divine as feminine for the first time. I felt some faint glimmer of something like hope.. or love.. something broke through the base pipe shell of my being. I was only ashes inside, or so it felt before that moment… But no, a last ember was sparked, something still lived, something still wanted to live.. I guess it was why I was still alive after wanting and trying to kill myself for so long, in so many ways. I had been in great danger out there and so many horrid things had happened. I was trying to forget who I was. Yet, here I was -violence, traumas, losses and fears later.. awakening… Wanting to live? None of my family or foster parents would come and get me from the police station. No one wanted me. I had burned all of my bridges. Home was a terrible place for me then anyways, it was why I was out there, and my foster homes were not any better. Stories for days, there too… I stayed in a cold cell of the police station overnight, sans belt, shoes, and socks - huddled in a ball in the corner of the metal platform in the otherwise bare concrete room. In the morning my social worker came and got me and brought me to a lockdown juvie rehab. Those kids were scared as hell to see someone their age looking as deathly as I did. The counselors there used me as a scare tactic. I felt it. They were smugly displaying me and telling a bit of my story to prove their stories of the dangers of drugs. That was my introduction to the place. Then I went to bed for days as I was so deathly ill and hadn’t eaten or slept for so long. I slept deep except for needle pricks in my arms from the nurses and I dreamed intensely. The dream that I remember the most is sleeping next to a dead girl who looked just like me. I reached out and scratched her face, she bled but didn’t stir.. This is when I knew that she was dead. We were sleeping on trash bags full of old clothes. Soda bottles, like the ones that we used to make base pipes with began to fall from the ceiling of this dark and dank cellar that we were in. They hurt, they scared me, I felt like I was being pummeled. I began to crawl over the bursting and slippery trash bags full of clothes towards a faint light that I saw at one far end of the basement. I reached a crooked and splintery stairway, with light at the top. I wasn’t sure that I could make it, but I knew that I had to try. I crawled up that crooked staircase, struggling to get out of that basement and into the light.. I awoke as I was crawling, grabbing, grasping the next step with my fingers… They brought me to my first meeting at the kids rehab the morning after this dream. It was a public meeting where grown-ups came too, and it was 1989 so the adults were smoking indoors. That was hard. I didn’t think about much the whole meeting, didn’t hear much but the screaming inside for cigarettes. I came back to the present as people were getting up and moving their chairs. Everyone gathered into a circle, I awkwardly followed the physical cues of people inviting me to move my chair and create a circle with them. People reached out to take my hands. This was all very strange. I wondered where I was and what the hell was going on… I let my hands be held and stepped back to make space in this wide circle of humans holding each other — grown-ups holding hands in a circle!? I had never seen or experienced such a thing. I felt a baffling intrigue. People spoke words of thanks and love and congratulations. People here cared about each other in a way that I had never seen. Someone recited what I came to learn as the Serenity Prayer, someone else said the Lord's Prayer. I was brought up catholic so I guessed then that this made sense (now it doesn’t). Nonetheless, my awe of perceivably grown humans holding each other in care and intention to get well held me rapt. Suddenly I saw a vision of different colored lights coming from each being, connecting each being to one another and from the circle up to the sky in a teepee/ prism shape. A great rainbow teepee prism appeared and I felt like I had been struck by lightning. I had a flash memory of how my great great native grandmother was struck by lightning. I thought I might fall down.. Something had just quick rearranged all of the furniture inside of me. I have come to feel like this was a great Shakthi-pat from the divine itself. I was slapped awake- into realizing why I was still alive.. I was alive for this - people holding and helping each other, people reclaiming life after great suffering and loss, after being hopelessly lost in the great mystery. We were a rainbow people returning and it is my job to do the work to heal and learn from my experiences, to awaken and to help and hold others in circles of healing and connection. Ever since then, this has been my inner & outer work. I spent some years swept up in the glamour of fashion, club kid life, and Hollywood. Sometimes that seems like it was a distraction from my ‘purpose’, but overall I can see that this was always my nature - to be a storyteller, to try on many faces and names and ways of being, to wear many costumes and to investigate the fullness of being in this skin suit. I want to know all that I am and all that I can be. I want to know all that it is to be human. I want to live life to its fullest and celebrate the fullness of life. I want to help others to do the same.. Investigating these aspects of life began to give me back my voice. I had been silenced for so long - as my mother and her mother & father and their parents, as many generations of wounded and indigenous people had been… I have lived many lifetimes in this life. I have lived with and as many different kinds of people. I am a multi-dimensional being, I always have been mercurial. And, I see and have experienced the pain of being “other”, of trying to fit in, to be like I was “supposed to be” - as a female, as a “white” person, as a professional, as a mother, etc.. etc.. I have never fit in to the stereotype or related to any of these roles. I think that the silencing and the “supposed to be’s” are continuing to make for very sick cultures. I am trying to duspel he supposed to be's and encourage authenticity and full expression of being. We are vibratory beeings. We cannot keep the vibrations of our experiences locked within us without becoming sick from the stagnancy. Energy must be in motion to perpetuate itself. Emotions must be expressed. I was born with a big mouth and a strong voice. I was born with a huge compassionate heart and a passionate desire to celebrate life. These things being beat down in me caused much sickness. The sicknesses, pain and suffering taught me resilience and HOW BADLY I want and need to express, serve, and help anyone else who has ever felt stuck or silenced like I was, like my lineages have been. It is time for all of the people to rise up and be seen and heard. These archaic systems of oppression are crumbling and we all have a part in the dismantling and rebuilding that is happening... that must happen now. My indigenous lineages were taught to be ashamed of who they were and to deny it, my Irish lineages too - so much shame, alcoholism, and abuse. Silence and poverty is my inheritance. So is, from somewhere, this big voice, this courageous heart, this burning rebellious spirit of fire. I am here to renew again and again for myself and my lineages in both directions. For the whole of my human family I claim my power to sing, to speak my truth, to be a voice for the voiceless. My mother was silenced after being raped, she silenced me after being molested, I left home only to get myself raped again and again until I was nearly dead. I have been burned out on a pyre and returned a great flame of love and passion for life. I will not be silenced. I pray that I might be a vessel for the divine to help others reclaim their bodies, their minds, their voices from the panging pains of misogyny, white male dominance and colonialism over our lands, thoughts, and actions. I am supported at this time, as we all are, by great movements of so many activists and healers. I am humbled at this time by awakening to the unjust privilege that I have had in being pale-skinned. I am grateful for having the public services that helped me to get on the path to getting well. Thank you to the unappreciated social worker, the mandative reporting counselor, the dreaded rehab, all the teachers and healers who have given life to my life. I am here and alive to give back. I have not and will not stop learning. I am here to listen, to serve, to give my life energy to the cause of dispelling what separates us and to find what connects us, to encourage and give permission to sing, dance and PLAY with all that consciousness wants to express through us. May it be for the greatest good for all beings! I look forward to the day when we can gather again in physical circles of healing and celebration. For now, I hold movement & breath classes online and spend time writing my stories in hopes that they will help others with the inspiration and the permission that may’ve been robbed from them at some point too. Each breath is a blessing from divine, great mystery, source, creator. Each breath is the gift that says, YES TO YOU! Yes, to your life, yes to spirit living through you and expressing itself uniquely within this human family of spirit. I am honored to breathe with you, I am grateful to be able to share breath with you, the same great breath that we share with all the trees and all of the breathing beings from all time and space… And, thank you for the breath that you protect in these uncertain times of pandemic. We learn from and in this spaciousness. We will come to gather again with more joy and honoring than ever about how truly blessed we are to share breath. Aloha.