It is With Good Reason That Some Call Hopi-land in Arizona,
the Tibet of the West
Secluded in the Painted Desert of the Southwest, the Hopi are a private, but kind, indigenous Nation that have preserved one of the most ancient cultures in North America. They are essentially an oral tradition people which means that they have other ways of keeping their history than written words that includes dances, songs, and storytelling. They even have a word, ‘Navoti’, which refers to the information that can only be exchanged through the spoken word, it has to do with the silent space between words, the feelings and gestures that can not be transmitted in the written form. This why I am usually hesitant to write about my experiences with the Hopi (along with a history of cultural appropriation and misunderstanding from anthropologists and spiritual seekers from the ‘New-Age’). So rather than attempt to write about the Hopi culture, which I am not qualified to do, I am compelled to share a story from my 20 years of experience and friendships on the Hopi Mesas.
“Hope” is a video representation of Hopi Prophecy Rock
Tribal culture is often more focused on the community than individuals, and any wisdom that individuals posses is generally considered the collective wisdom of the tribe. This can be a sensitive issue when elders speak out beyond the village, or draw attention to themselves, but there are times when it is necessary. Famed Hopi artist, mythical archaeologist, and poet, Michael Kaboti once explained to me, “Sometimes, in order to keep a tradition alive, you have to break the tradition. For that reason we have clowns as the accepted tradition-breakers.”
Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophecies said would come. Even animals and birds are warning us with strange changes in their behavior such as the beaching of whales. Why do animals act like they know about the earth’s problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the Great Purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed.
– Grandfather Thomas Banyacya, speaking before the United Nations in 1992.
The elder who changed my life is not a clown, but he has always been a trickster in my life. With the exception of Thomas Banyacya, who was the first elder to share Hopi Prophecies with the world, he may be the most well-known Hopi elder to outsiders. His name is Martin Gashweseoma (left), and he is known as the Keeper of the Sacred Fire Clan Tablets. I first met him at an international gathering of indigenous elders called Belonging to Mother Earth in the late 90′s.
Many of the attendees had really hoped that Martin would come to the gathering but he had declined. On the second morning of the week-long event there was a sunrise pipe-ceremony held on the beach. During the ceremony, we were visited by dolphins who swam in a circle just a few feet from the shore during the whole ceremony. I instantly felt they were visiting us and aware of what we were doing though logic would say that it was a coincidence. Still there were no dolphins anywhere else along the beach but right in front of us.
Later that evening we received word at the gathering that Martin had called in and had changed his mind and decided to come after all. His reason? He said that dolphins had visited him in his dream and told him he needed to go to the gathering… Arrangements were made and he arrived the next evening.
I was at the gathering hosting youth activities and workshops all week with my company, Living Folklore. We had been invited because of our history working at schools and reservations using art, circus performers, stilt walkers, and clowns. Every tribe around the world has some sort of clown character, so mimicry, puppets, and playful games are a great way to entertain audiences from different cultural backgrounds that don’t all speak the same language. On the evening of Martins arrival, one of our performers was invited to a birthday celebration that a bunch of elders would be attending. Martin stole the show when he asked her, Giggly Sprout the Clown, to marry him. It was beautiful to see the power of laughter as a universal form of relating between all of these elders, many of whom spoke different languages.
During the next day Martin and his translator, Emory, shared many stories and prophecies to a small gathering of people. It was a profound experience and a great responsibility to hear this wisdom, but it was many months after the gathering that Martin began to work his magic on me. I had a recurring dream for weeks and in it was Martin laughing at me. Sometimes I could hear him laughing but I couldn’t see his face, other times he was looking directly into my eyes and laughing. At first I assumed it was just a strange dream and then I began to wonder what it might symbolize.
Martin Explains the First and Second Prophecy Rock
I went through a lengthy series of initiations that involved clowns and masked characters on various Hopi villages before I was told where Martin lived. After a while I visited him and was greeted at the door of his home with the same laugh that I had heard in my dreams. I asked him if he remembered me and he said that he always remembers his dreams… From this moment I actually began to believe that it might be possible for people to travel in their dreams and visit others. I have continued to study and work with dreams ever since.
Once, while showing me the Second Prophecy Rock, Martin spoke of the “technology that came from our DNA”. At the time I was not a fan of technology, I saw it as the source of so much destruction on our planet. I asked him, “You mean that computers, cell-phones, and internet can help humanity heal the planet?” He responded, “If only those with bad hearts use this technology, we will have big problems. We need people with good hearts to use this technology to benefit Mother Earth.” It is true that the technology we have came from our imaginations, our dreams, our DNA. Computers are nothing more than circuit boards made from crushed rocks and plastic from decaying fossils. Tools aren’t inherently good or bad, it is the intention with which they are used.
On a subsequent visit with Martin he told me that he had just returned from Japan. I teased him saying, “That isn’t very traditional for a Hopi elder to fly on an airplane.” He responded that indeed it was his tradition because they asked him to share the prophecies and that is his job. So I asked him what he told people in Japan and he responded, “I told them to leave before the tsunami comes.” This was over a year before the tsunami that crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant happened.
On the evening before the tsunami in Japan I saw Martin in my dream again. He kept appearing in different dreams saying the same thing. This time he wasn’t laughing. He said again and again, “It is time for these things that we have spoken of, it is time to wake up.” The following day Japan was hit with a devastating tsunami. Many will call this coincidence, or claim that it is a made up story. I do not believe that I have any special powers, I believe we all have the power to pay attention to our dreams. I believe we have much to learn if we do so. I believe that the earth wants us to wake up, I believe traditional elders have much wisdom for us should we choose to open our minds, our hearts, and listen. What do you believe?
What if there was an organic clothing line that fed meals to the needy while supporting the local economy?
Look no further! Fed By Threads flourished from a simple idea to start an apparel line for a dance studio into a blossoming social entrepreneurship project that is feeding 1000′s of meals to hungry Americans. Founded by Alok Appadurai and Jade Beall Fed by Threads is an exemplary model of conscious business with a focus on art and community. Locally-sourced organic cotton and production, a healthy message, body-positive appeal and 12 meals delivered with the purchase of each garment is enough to make anyone reconsider the predominant business model.
Alok formerly ran clean energy companies focusing on waste-to-energy and has been keenly interested in social entrepreneurship projects like Tom’s Shoes which eventually became the inspiration for Fed By Threads. While hosting weekly African Drum and Dance Workshops with Jade, the two are well-rooted in the importance of community, celebration, and culture. It’s no surprise that this business would sprout up in Tucson, a city filled with diverse cultural influences in the mystical Sonoran Desert.
Jade is best known for her photography. Having appeared on Good Morning America for her Beautiful Body Project and book, The Bodies of Mothers, she understands the need for body-positive clothing as well as community-positive business. Her work focuses on supporting women to see their authentic beauty, without airbrushing or other tools to hide behind.
By supporting small producers of clothing from around the country, they are keeping jobs in the local economy and supporting sustainable agriculture. This “farm to garment” approach is mindful of the toxic effects of traditional textiles, and refuses to outsource labor to third world sweat-shops. By adding the socially responsible practice of donating a percentage of each sale to feed those in need, they are revisiting the power of commerce for social responsibility. When business owners think critically and creatively about the life-cycle of their products, they are able to assert radical changes in the market.
Supporting businesses like this, and telling your friends about this kind of model can challenge larger retailers to up their game. What if Walmart, or Target adopted a similar model? Capitalism has been under fire for it’s contribution to environmental degradation, and economic disparity. Does it need to be this way? Fed by Threads says, “no, there is a better way!”
They are now offering a service to other organizations and businesses who may want to get in on the action. By offering custom printed t-shirts, anyone can support sustainable garment production and help to feed people in need. Being able to include this in the description of your product is a great selling point especially if you are trying to target people who are committed to making a positive difference in the world.
This is only one particular business model, there are many out there. If you know of others that you love, please share below. Let’s elevate this conversation about socially-conscious businesses that promote and support sustainable practices so that the larger companies take note. There are many creative solutions to our current problems, all it takes is a conscious decision to do things differently. It’s time to feed the body, mind, and spirit with a little inspiration and a lot of love.
Each of us participates in limiting or liberating those around us
Recognizing this is key to expanding possibilities individually and globally.
The thing about the Collective Field is that we rarely consider it, or even know that it is there. It is the collective emotional, psychic energy that builds in the unconscious, just beneath the surface of our awareness and bursts into consciousness spontaneously as if it came out of nowhere. An awareness of this internal process can empower you to manifest your highest potential.
The Multiple Discovery concept describes the phenomena throughout history of individuals around the world working independently and without knowledge of each other making the same discovery at practically the same moment. For many years people thought it was impossible for a runner to break the 4-minute-mile. As soon as Roger Bannister did it, he gave dozens of other athletes ‘permission’ to do the same within the same year. What is apparent is that there is a collective field of thought/belief that dictates, to some degree, what is possible and these limits are continuously being expanded.
The term most often used is “emergent”, it describes the place where unconscious properties are birthed into the conscious realm. It is a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties. When we apply this concept to human social systems, we begin to recognize the importance of thinking collectively, as well as individually. This can be difficult in a world that emphasizes the power of the individual.
Vladimir Vernadsky used the term “Noosphere” to describe the sphere of human thought as a distinct realm that shapes the physical world and thus the life-forms that inhabit it. In Vernadsky‘s theory of how the Earth developes, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere.
With these ideas swirling through ones head in contrast to the immense global problems we are facing, it is apparent that a “mind-shift” is in order. We have the ability to bring about transformation and expand our notion of what is possible, but this will only happen when we begin to think collectively and with a balanced perspective.
We all know what it is like to walk into a room full of tension and anxiety, as pressure builds we can feel the potential for violence to break out. Likewise, we know what it feels like to walk into a room that is filled with safety and love. These vibrations, these emotions can not be seen, yet they are very contagious and contribute greatly to what is created within a given space. When people consciously focus their mindful energy together, simultaneously, towards increasing the vibration for positive outcomes globally, we can alter outcomes.
An analogy I love is about a bucket of crabs. Each time one reaches the top and almost escapes, the others pull it right back down into the bucket. We do this to each other when we let jealousy, competition, and pride rule us rather than wishing to lift up those around us. It takes self awareness to think collectively so that we can separate our own personal insecurities from our desire to see prosperity, success, healing for everyone. Clearly we have the potential to push each other down or lift each other up. What we do for or to others will always eventually come back to us, this is the beginning of understanding the collective field.
The noosphere is global, we are all in the same “room” and each of us effects the collective field.
The vibrations of fear and violence are powerful and mostly unconscious. The antidote is a conscious, mindful strengthening of the collective field with love, trust, and gratitude. This is not ethereal or mystical, it is a practical response to the situation we find ourselves in right now on the planet. Some say that humanity is doomed to self-destruct, but people also once said humans could not break the 4-minute-mile. Possibilities are endless, the wave of consciousness and transformation is contagious.
How we can move beyond our greatest challenges by taking a moment to reconnect and remember who we are?
Several years ago I was working on the screenplay of a large film project. During that time, I moved with my family to a small property in the rainforest to incubate the story and script. The project had raised a large chunk of development funding and galvanized an all-star team of story board artists, animators and visual effects specialists who were poised to suck up the story into their pre-production machine and take it to the next level. But in order to do this we needed a story and script (my job). The project was behind schedule when I was brought in, and for me as a writer, the stakes were about as high as they get. My family and I rented a quiet little spot in the hills of northern New South Wales, Australia with the romantic notion of building a creative buffer from the daily pressures of the project in order to write in ‘peace’, but along with the near-deafening sound of cicadas pulsing from the rainforest, the project deadlines began mounting on a daily basis finding their way through my peace buffer into my mind and my writing.
After several months, as we approached a seemingly insurmountable production deadline, I found myself teetering dangerously on the edge of total creative breakdown. I was hardly ever sleeping, I was absent from my life and I was beginning to feel trapped in this little cabin like Jack Nicholson in the Shining. I had come into the project feeling inspired and on fire, committed to making a huge difference in the story and the world, but as we came to the eleventh hour of a critical draft I found myself completely locked up. The climax scene was yet to be written and I couldn’t find my way through. I wrote for days, looking for a stroke of genius, but each pass I made on the scene seemed to arrive at a dead end. Finally in the very early hours of my deadline day, out of utter frustration and exhaustion, I pushed myself back from my desk and walked outside.
My bare feet hit the grass and the pre-dawn dew sent a shiver through my body. I took a breath and stopped, surrendering every ounce of effort. In truth, there was nothing left in me to give, so it was an easy decision. I didn’t know what I would do next, but I also knew that what I had been doing wasn’t working; so there was no point in pressing on further. For a moment, I just completely let go and I stood there breathing, taking in the quiet pre-morning sounds of nature around me… feeling what it is like to be completely empty.
I’m not sure how much time passed (maybe a couple minutes, maybe a couple days – just kidding!) but eventually something started to shift. I felt the grass around my feet growing warm and with it came a an opening in my mind and body. I took another breath and the feeling started to grow into an energy that I could literally feel rising up through my body, releasing tension, giving way to a sense of calm. Another couple breaths, I am feeling quite good just standing there doing nothing… and suddenly, out of nowhere, the entire scene I had been working on (unsuccessfully) seemed to land in my mind in a completed form. Lines of dialogue began emerging and subtle twists of character that I had never even remotely conceived of began to crystalize and percolate into form. I stood there watching the scene unfold for as long as I could take it before bolting back into the house and scribbling it down into my journal. Twenty minutes later the scene, which I had literally been working on for weeks, was written in perfectly-drafted form, ready to send. And I, in the process had learned an incredibly powerful lesson about the gift of surrender. Stepping back when we reach a point in any journey where the road appears blocked, and the wall too high to permit our passage.
Bharat Mitra and Amir Paiss share their experience of what becomes possible when we stop to connect and remember who we are
During the 2014 UPLIFT festival, one of the most powerful elements for many participants (and speakers) were the panel discussions in which several individuals of different backgrounds and areas of expertise were brought together to discuss key themes, issues and planetary challenges in a way that would otherwise rarely happen. One of the most popular sessions was one titled ‘Peaceful Co-existence’, which featured a handful of our planet’s greatest ‘pilgrims’ of peace – Each person on the panel came with profound experience of overcoming deep personal and/or cultural challenges to walk a path in life that had transcended their apparent circumstance to create an offering or gift of great service for the planet.
Among them, were ORGANIC INDIA and UPLIFT founder, Bharat Mitra. Israeli musician Amir Paiss, Lakota Cultural Specialist Loretta Afraid-of-Bear Cook, former Jain monk and long-time peace activist Satish Kumar and Choose Love founder Scarlett Lewis. At the climax of the session, a question was posed that has application not only to many cultures and systems of our planet at this time, but also to each of us as individuals, walking our own path of purpose and discovery in life.
The question: What do we do when we’ve reached our limit and we see no way forward? When the path in front of us seems impossible. When we know that doing more or better of what we have already done is not going to get us where we need to go. When we reach that endpoint where everything we know does not add up to the solution we want… what do we do then? Amir Paiss and Bharat Mitra were the first two to answer the question. Their responses (shared in the below video) powerfully articulated my own experience with writing, and describe in a personal and global sense a place we must each come on our own path of true connection and expression in whatever form in life. Watch the video below for their responses.
What do I do first? I stop. It doesn’t mean I stop the movement that I am in, but I stop the mode in which I am operating. I’m stopping, and I am remembering who I am. – Amir Paiss
The only significant change happens when are acting from being connected. When we are available for consciousness itself to be present and to inform our action. Just from being present, the direct experience of every single one of us is of interconnectedness and Oneness. And from Oneness, our actions are in tune and in harmony. It’s not a decision that we need, it’s not an agenda that we need to carry, it is the most effortless expression of who we are. – Bharat Mitra
The power of social networks now allows good ideas to have self promotion built-in!
The profit-driven model of mainstream media has delivered the lowest common denominator of human potential. With a focus on fear, violence, division, and sound-bites that never delve into the deeper roots of issues, the news media exploits the symptoms of global issues without ever addressing the underlying cause. Meanwhile the masses are lured into watching these programs while advertisers remind audiences about their inadequacies and encourage them to buy things they don’t need. Real communities don’t work this way, and neither do the social networks that mirror natural human interactions. While gossip continues to play a role in social circles, the stories that stick most in peoples heads are always the ones that bring hope, inspire, and lift the community up. Peer to Peer Diplomacy lays a foundation for a process of undermining the exploitation of the fear, violence, and division propagated by the mainstream media thus allowing the peace, love, and mutual respect stories to go viral.
Imagine these 2 scenarios:
1. Give ignorant people weapons and feed them with fear, or
2. Put communications technologies in the hands of intelligent/compassionate people and feed them with inspiration.
It isn’t hard to imagine the different outcomes between the two! Option number one is very lucrative for certain industries including the military industrial complex, prison industry, mainstream media. Option number two works on a different kind of currency, social equity, that includes lucrative opportunities but is not solely driven by a desire for money. Creative inspiration and the desire for community enrichment are non-monetary forms of currency that provide incentive for innovation even when funds may be lacking. There is a growing movement of people who know and understand this concept. As this evolves, so will the opportunities for the financial success of compassionate action, social innovation, and creative problem-solving.
“Follow the money” is a great way to understand what motivates policy, wherever the greatest incentive is for profit, is usually where things go in our current system. In a recent article entitled, The Biggest Moneymaker Of All Time: Cancer, And Why The Profiteers Don’t Want A Cure, the author reminds us what happens when the financial incentives of not finding a cure outweigh the financial incentives for a cure. The same logic applies to war, and so many practices that are destroying communities, and the environment. What if large amounts of people allowed higher ideals to motivate them by embracing the concept of social equity as an incentivizing force? We are seeing this concept slowly take hold around the world aided by technology and fuelled through social networks.
In Post-Capitalism: Rise of the Collaborative Commons, the author starts out by stating that “the revolution will not be centralized”. This article lays out the foundation for a very hopeful vision of the future inspired by the work of economist, Jeremy Rifkin. Rifkin writes and speaks about the third industrial revolution in which there will be a reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life. Though this is a revelation when applied to modern systems and technology, this wisdom is inherent in the traditional values of indigenous communities where cooperation is central to village life. Charles Eisenstein is another pioneer in the realm of gift-economies, bringing the concept of community and sacred back into our understanding of commerce.
So how does all of this express itself when it comes to creating peace? Ronny Edry and Michael Tamir are applying this wisdom through multiple initiatives at The Peace Factory. If we are entering the Third Industrial Revolution, then the Peace Industry is likely a good place to buy stock! Where good ideas lack an advertising budget, they make up for it in people networks. Sharing inspiration makes you more friends and increases your social equity, plus it’s a whole lot of fun. Engaging your friends in a discussion about new concepts, hopeful solutions, and dreaming of a better world is central to the emerging paradigm. So what are you waiting for? Give it a like, give it a share, start an inspired conversation in the comments below and you will be adding fuel the fire that is transforming our planet into a more sustainable, healthy place to live for all of us.
Ronny Edry on the power of viral images to promote Peace
An urgent message from representatives of the original people of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Having people visit here, like these elders – they don’t do this sort of trip for nothing. They get their directions straight from the Mother.
– Jarmbi, Githabul/Ngarakwal tribe
In late 2014, representatives of the original people of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta came down from their sacred mountain in Columbia to deliver an urgent message and sacred invitation to Humanity on behalf of Mother Earth. The following shares a glimpse into the origin of their mission and the vital essence of their journey to bring us back into alignment with Life Originating Principles.
Just 42km from Columbia’s Caribbean coastline and rising up to 5,700m above sea level (nearly 19,000 feet), La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated coastal mountain range with rich volcanic soil and a diverse ecosystem. To the four indigenous tribes who live there, La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the beating heart of the world.
When the Spanish first arrived in Colombia in the 16th century, they found an advanced civilization practicing sustainable farming and producing extraordinary gold and pottery work. When these people were driven into the mountain by conquistadors in the 16th century, they chose to stay there in isolation in order to protect their culture and maintain the ecological and spiritual equilibrium of the mountain.
Living by a deeply ecological philosophy (which they call the ‘Law of Origin’) that guides their relationship to nature, animals and the movements of the planets and stars, the original people of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have continued to live much in the way they have always lived from the very beginning. Through daily meditations, sacred ritual and spiritual discipline, they maintain a deep connection to Mother Earth and a commitment to preserving and restoring her vitality in the region and the world.
Known to many as Guardians of the Earth, the four tribes of the region believe that La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a barometer for the rest of the planet… If rivers run dry or animal species disappear in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, so too will rivers run dry and animals disappear in the rest of the world. In recent decades, the encroachment of modern civilization – including land development, deforestation, mining, drug crop cultivation and civil war (to name a few) – has called the people to come back into the World with an urgent message.
Mamo Miguel Arroyo and leader of the Iku Nation Ñankwa Chaparro
Late in 2014, Elders of Munvwameke and Numaka, Nabusimake sent representatives (including spiritual leader or ‘Mamo’ Miguel Arroyo – Iku and leader of the Iku Nation, Ñankwa Chaparro) to join with elders and wisdom keepers of other tribes and lands to initiate a ‘Unification Process for the awareness in collective consciousness of Life Originating Principles’. They came with the focus of activating healing in key sacred sites and to call forth humanity to realize that it is time to reclaim our connection to the Original Constitution of Mother Earth. The Earth is calling for our help and it is time for us all to answer.
Many of us are working for human rights and the rights of nature within legal frameworks locally and nationally. Yet even before any of these legal frameworks were created, Mother Earth was birthed with her rights to her natural constitution… Just like when the human being is born we are born with rites… So the mission statement would be to return the original rites of mother earth back to her natural constitution. Understanding too that we are part of this natural constitution of Mother Earth.
– Nelson Caraballo, in function of the Mother as well as the Spiritual Authority of Munvwameke.
Joined by representatives from the Otomi and Mexica in Central America and Diné from North America, the Mamos journeyed to sacred sites in Durango, Colorado in the US; Mt. Fuji, Japan; and Uluru, Australia. There were two fundamental aims: to bring healing and activation to these key energetic centers of the planet and to raise human consciousness toward the need for unification; calling forth humanity to join them in a deep personal commitment to heal and restore Mother Earth.
Uncle Bob Randall
The whole aim of both our cultures is to let the world see that they too belong to the same family and to start caring for the land, for the environment, for the waterways, the mountains, trees and every other living thing on the land as their brothers and sisters and other family members… That’s the way our people teach us when we are growing up. You are not owners of anything. Mother Earth owns you and you look after her just the same way that you would look after your mother here.
– Uncle Bob Randall, Yankunytjatjara Elder and a traditional caretaker of Uluru
During their time in Uluru, the group (including representatives of the original peoples of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in conjunction with representatives of the Otomi and Mexica from Central America and Diné from North America) together wrote a formal invocation to humanity which has been titled The Declaration to Restore Mother Earth.
From Uluru, the group journeyed to the easterly most point of Australia in Byron Bay, where they were greeted by members of local and regional indigenous tribes and welcomed to UPLIFT 2014. On Sunday the 14th of December, the festival participants and webcast audience around the world paused in profound silence, joining hands in a great circle as The Declaration to Restore Mother Earth was read aloud. Each person was invited to listen deeply to their own unique calling and to recognize the critical role we each play in bringing about the healing and restoration of our planet.
Joining hands during The Declaration to Restore Mother Earth at UPLIFT
As a first step, the representatives of the people of the Earth of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta invite us to join them in signing the Declaration to Restore Mother Earth. As a second vital step, we must each be willing to examine our own relationship to Mother Earth and discover the simple yet profound steps we can each take to contribute to the healing and vitality of our planet on a daily basis.
If you knew that that your thoughts and actions, energy and intentions played a critical role in the vitality of our planet, what simple action could you take today to honor your relationship and the sacred rites of Mother Earth?