Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rusty, Lusty and Responsible (More Slipp'n In)

Nene the rare Hawaiian goose.
(In her non-mythic form)

"A melody's calling those lyrics," Nene was rocking on her hinged feet. The ruffly, jazzy mood of a rock made The Woman laugh out loud. It was a deep and mellow near-bass sound.

"You need a melody to go with those lyrics," the man grinned. "We all start out lusty. You think?" The man had set his shovel against the wobbly wire fence and was running one hand through his mostly gray beard.

"When I was nineteen I rolled my car, with two friends in it. Scared the crap out of me. Changed my life!"

"Are your friends, still friends?" The Woman asked without asking the obvious bit of the hinged question.

"They are. One of them was just visiting us. The other still lives back East, but we still ... keep in touch. Surviving something like that can bond people. Leastwise it did for me. I was lucky." The man was nodding now. Reminiscences creating that two directional flow of time, Nene appeared to him as a blurr. The man blinked and adjusted his glasses.

"What is it?" The Woman asked when she recognized the aha of connecting moments.

"I thought I saw something beside you. A big bird?" He shrugged when The Woman asked, "What color bird?"

"I'm not sure. Must be the heat," he suggested, changing the subject to the more mundane and safe. The unusual heat wave was definitely affecting the region. "They say to expect 100 degrees tomorrow. That's why I'm out here today, and won't be tomorrow."

"Good plan," The Woman capped the small jar smiling at the Mullein blossoms. "Thank you for the kind words about missing us when we leave. We aren't very good at good-byes, but being a mirror for Earth, people like me have to get used to processing good-byes."

"Hmm, never thought about it that way." The man was sincerely puzzled by the comment.

"We're responsible for the definitions we tow with us. And if we get old and rusty, but still remain lusty for life moving on is often the option that we must take. Movement keeps our hinges operating. You know what I mean?"

The flow of conversation had lost him. His shovel now in hand and his foot primed to turn another row making room for fall plants. Nene poked her long neck and beck between the wire fence and nudged at a berry still dangling. The warm temperatures suite the creamy feathered goose and berries were her favorite dessert. The Woman felt a tinge of sadness about the dangling conversation. But the yama bells remained silent. That was something.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lusty best (more Slipp'n In)

She didn't expect the sentiment from the man bent over the shovel. But what surprised them both, Nene was unfettered, was the history in lyrics recited over yellow blossoms.

We got together at our lusty best
No more Wisconsin
Good bye Smuggler's nest
Hawaii called us
Her words, her ways
Salted us, seasoned us

We got together at our lusty best
Lahaina moon light
Upcountry dancing
All the rest
Them Valley Isle memories
Forever will caress

Love won't be tethered
Though egos scold
Reigned in like
Captives of
Pirates too crusty, too old
Love won't be controlled

Now. Time did rust us
And friends mistrusted
So lucky that
We stored sweet
Maui moments
Deep within our chests

Now time did rust us
And some mistrusted
So lucky that
We stored sweet
Maui moments
Deep ... within ... our chests

Lusty Best (c) Yvonne Mokihana Calizar, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

More Slippin' In ... "The apron"

"We cross borders without regard, ignorant or arrogant of the protocol native to the transitional spaces that take us from this place to that place. Traditions remembered and practiced would maintain and pass along the right things to do, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. Have we all become wanderers with passports un-stamped with the memory of teachings from the Ancestors and Nature? There are rituals to remember and common magic to induce respect and reverence for the beings and places that share this planet." -"Introduction" from the original medicine of The Safety Pin Cafe 

When she was gathering the plants for medicine, they calmed her. There was a stretch of here to there, not much, but just enough to hinge her to the otherness. She always started by asking permission to gather, and took no more than half of what was available. And gave thanks when she was done.

On these days The Woman wore the green apron stitched especially for The Safety Pin Cafe activity; she'd been initiated long ago on one of those days only ducks love. Now a careful reader and one with memory for other stories would question that. Didn't her story take her to other places? Oh, yes, her story did take her to other places. It is the apron stitched with the likeness of a faceless woman that has passed from hand to hand, woman to woman. The Woman, in this story, had been handed the apron.

The New Moon was close, soon the dark night sky, and the extreme low tides would be here. Fresh slates a long smooth sandy chalkboard would present itself. But now, it was a gathering moon.

"What are Mullein flower's medicine?" Nene did not know the Mullein, but was familiar with the phrase, "invasive species" -- weeds.  A name many humans consider the Common Mullein, or Verbascum. The Woman considered herself a novice to plant medicine, the common medicine, people's medicine; weed medicine. What she learned she gleaned with the YouTube Herbalist and practiced.

"I'm gathering the flowers to make an oil for earache. I get earaches often," She answered. The smell of squeezed onion juice and olive oil wafted from both ears. The current remedy for the congestion was like living with a good saute. In six weeks she'd have something else to try if the aches came again.

"These beauties are only here every one year, and only for a few weeks if we're lucky. I missed them completely last year; I was still early in my learning curve." She loved that she was still able to learn new things. Nene followed the little woman as she walked slowly to the stands of tall furry leafed weeds that grew on the prairie front. At the last of the gathering spot, The Woman stopped to chat to a man bent over his shovel through the wire fence.

"What're you up to today?" The man asked.

"Gathering mullein flowers for earaches."

The man muttered a muted reply. The Woman kept picking just a couple more bright yellow blossoms.

"We're going to miss you folks," he said. "We're all going to miss you."

Oh this was not the conversation The Woman was prepared for. But then, this was the place, and this was one of the humans who had made a place of affection and safety for many seasons. Nene knew the man could not see her, she was invisible to everyone except The Woman. The yama bells on her tail feathers remained silent. There was no threat here. The Woman poked the last of her gatherings into the silky smooth wetness of the olive oil, and relaxed before she said ...

The start of this story is here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Slipping in, continued

The goose was well-connected in the ways between extinction and the prevailings. Nene came to know the deepest of instincts. She heard the soul's softest voice and learned echolacution; she could bounce the softest voice against itself. For company. Soothing the biggest and the tiny beings fearful of that commonest dread: "No one will remember, no one will miss me when I die" the large rare Hawaiian goose found her calling.

When the Woman first met Nene she, the Woman, was masked against an untrustable world. A large rare goose with hinged feet and tail caused a circuit to splinter.

"Your hinges made it all slip," the Woman sputtered. Tears big and sloppy joined the flow from her nose.

"The bells?" Nene was curious to know why her mountain bells had no effect.

"Oh, Yama bells and I go  back a long, long before-fear ago. Yes, I knew I could love you. But still, it was the hinges that told me you'd been broken. I could trust you."

Slipping in

"I miss the myth."
"Where did it go?"
"Somewhere other than where I am."
"Slip through a crack, ride a current. See that star, watch those clouds. So much to do when and if you are allowing the one dimensional human form to be in charge. With so little time, really, a human lifetime is a blink. Why do you get stuck to the one and the only mode?"
"Let's blame capitalism."

Nene was used to the spells the Woman too often stepped into when the smells and the opinions swamped her boat. It was such a small boat of a body and the work of Hinging was just beginning to take hold. Nene was patient, and remembered the times just before her own extinction when every smell and opinion weighed heavy.

To be a goose, a mythic goose, was a privileged state of being. Being a hinge goose was extra special and for that Nene could not have been more grateful. She was part of a grand and flowing story that was endless and it was practical; she was a Virgo goose with lots of Taurus as a bonus.

As you might guess this story is a slip into myth because the one dimensional-ness of humanity was beginning to cinch the joy out of the Woman. It's one of those illusions --the cinch belt, that needs a good slapping around, and a nice hot bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal with lots of butter and maple syrup to set things right again. The great thing about The Safety Pin Cafe is that I have the key to the back door, and the folks here? They are always so glad to see a new medicine story in the making. Some faceless or masked being is forever showing up in line with a duck, or raven, or goose.

Never know exactly where the story will go but it makes no never mind. Myth has a very wide pair of hips. For birthing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Follow the bread crumbs

I've been spreading myself around again, and without a trail to follow, you'd never know I am writing over here. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ua le'ale'a no

Trans. (English) Wow, what a rain.
The kaona (Hawaiian) The conversation and interaction was amazing (joyous, delightful, lively)!

I sit to write.
The sound of the rain pounds.
Heavy beat.
The curved metal roof shelters.
I am dry.
My ears, heart this rain.

Because we live outside and so close to 'aina (the land and all her elemental company) we know on a morning like this once you step out you going get wet! Grab your hoodie or the big umbrella. Forty to fifty steps, depended upon whose stepping, will be required to get from the Quonset (here) to the sleeping place (there), and half as many steps to get to the stove and oven under the eaves of the hale 'au'au (wash house). The Sun has yet to rise so unless there are lights turned on small lakes will be in the pathways; we learn to sidestep them, a flashlight helps.

Ua le'ale'a no was the message Malia Nobrega-Olivera sent out to all the HuiAimalama FB folks who participated in Monday's online lecture about becoming Mauliauhonua.

The message reinforced the expanding sense (that's Jupiter paired up with that Libra Full Moon) that was spread out (another Jupiter characteristic) using contemporary tools (the Internet, interactive software). The two hour online lecture and interactive question and answer and discussion that took place was truly a pounding beat of rain (nourishment). 52 participants from the Hawaiian Islands, 1 participant from Texas, 1 participant from Aotearoa and 1 participant from Washington creating that ua le'ale'a no. 

I woke from a dream this morning. In it I was part of two groups. At different times in my waking life I have been in these kinds of groups. The first group a 12-Step meeting just getting organized, I had to leave when someone showed up with heavily fragranced product. I told the leader "I have chemical sensitivities, I have to go."  The second group was a corporate setting. A company was being bought out, I recognized the signs and sought out the man in HR who would give me the scoops/the process for transition. We knew each other well. He was a brown-skinned man dressed in an Aloha shirt. There were forms to fill out, he did that for me and said, "You mind going to two other places?" I trusted him. In the next part of the dream I was in an aircraft loud and tinny sounding. Two other women were seated in front. No one wore seat belts. I buckled up, crossed my legs (there was plenty of leg-room!) When we landed I asked, "Do you know where we are? What country this is?" The women were vacant. I could not understand the language on the street signs. The final scene in the dream was a view of the itinerary for the transitional team's take-over. It was the size of the RVs that caught my attention. All of them were big. These are places I have been. Places where I have been, and done what I did.

As I ferret the thoughts and words to compose this post, the rain has changed; the drops no less heavy there are pauses between the pelts. I'm hoping for a break in the ua action long enough to stand outside to make a pot of oatmeal for breakfast. We have a road trip planned in a couple hours and a good breakfast will be a good thing. New sounds add to the pelts of ua: birdsong. I heard them in the darkened morning sky as I walked to the outhouse. Robins. Now, I hear Sparrow welcoming the light of the Sun.

The 'Aimalama group grounds me to a root connection that supports and empowers me and Pete to apply what we are learning in our lives as aware and awakened folks (mauli). The online lecture was chocked full of intelligence and inquiry; discussion and perspectives similiar and unique. The conversation was a private event for those of us using traditional practices to adapt to current climate (of all kinds) change. The content for the lecture included 5 components. (Before I share the details of these components I will ask for permission.) But, the final component was this from Kalei Nuuhiwa:
Become Mauliauhonua - "Be the App"The final component is to work towards becoming the expert in your neighborhood or community. Tell us what you can do to start building your foundational database of your location.
After I have communicated with Kalei and her gang, I hope to come back here to keep building on the foundation of sharing the long tale here at The Safety Pin Cafe. Keep your kilo genes turned on.

kilo. Stargazer, reader of omens, seer, astrologer; kind of looking glass (obs.) to watch closely, spy, examine. - Hawaiian Dictionary, Pukui & Elbert

Monday, April 10, 2017

Today and Tonight Full Moon in Libra

A full moon, the moon and sun are on a line, with Earth in between. It’s as though Earth is the fulcrum of a seesaw, and the moon and sun are sitting on either end of the seesaw. So as the sun sets in the west, the full moon rises. When the sun is below our feet at midnight, the full moon is highest in the sky. When the sun rises again at dawn, the full moon is setting. - Earth and Sky
Yesterday the Sun was out and with it Wind blew too. Cherry and Plum blossoms are a riot of fragile petals. I drove myself out to the sunny grounds of The Tilth where I knew fields of wildly yellow-faced Dandelions would await me. I was harvesting for Dandelion Vinegar. Before leaving the woods Salmon Berry's fuchsia stops me in my tracks, waves at me. I notice, pay attention to where I am now.
Later this afternoon (10 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 7 PM Hawaii Time) as Mahina the Moon fattens into her full and glorious light Hui 'Aimalama will gather on Facebook (a closed group; but, "this event will be archived temporarily on our Hui ʻAimalama site for about a week or two. This is our first lecture, please allow for mistakes and snags as we are learning as we go along. But we are looking forward to reaching out to you all and hopefully that some of you will reach back too. Letʻs all enjoy the experience and help to elevate one another's learning. Ok? Ok!") for a first time online 1 hour lecture. It's a learn as we go venue says Co-founder Kalei Nu'uhiwa. 
"Aloha kākou e nā kilo o ka honua ola. Welina. The ʻAimalama team has been meeting to see how we can provide information on the Kaulana Mahina and ʻAimalama methodology to a broader community and have decided on providing the first FB Hui ʻAimalama lecture. It will be for 1 hour with interactive question and answer throughout. 
We will be discussing the process of becoming Mauliauhoua. No laila, He aha ia mea, he mauliauhonua?"
Astrologically the Full Moon is in the sign of Libra. A bit of the week's forecast includes this, from Satori
"So Monday there’s the full moon in Libra. You’re a person. Your needs are as valid as the needs of others. Those needs are not more important, but they’re AS important. Balance. Has who you are gotten lost in service to the relationship? It’s time to assert your own needs. Doing so without tumult is a delicate thing to manage. It’s tough. It’s necessary...(read the whole)

Over the long haul life here, or there, has been a constant theme: Can I live on the Islands of my birth and maintain a relationship with my haole (foreign) husband and not be engulfed with the reality of American culture? Is my root connect to being Hawaiian strong and flexible enough to keep growing and learning? The answers are tough, like Satori suggests in her take on this week's heavenly aspects. The last two posts describe the current answers for me. The Salmon Berry's fuchsia faces remind me I am where they live, where I live as well. The wonderful thing about opening to the many versions of loving the contradition and the conflicts as well as asserting my own needs (over time) is the unexpected solution. Here, via the internet, I have a date with a group of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders committed to learning by counting on the moon (Mahina). "We will be discussing the process of becoming Mauliauhonua." I'm guessing this means becoming grounded to this place, this Earth, this honua.

The context will be a contemporary space for learning ancestral practices. From the comfort of my Quonset Hut in the middle of the woods in the middle of a Salish Sea, I join in. On a Libra (relationship-focused!) Pete and I raise our hands ... the haole man and me and say, "Present!" But first, I'll need to take a nap, and get up for the meet-up at 10 PM which is past my usual moemoe time. Small price to pay:)

With this Libra Full Moon how do you find the balance? 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Every Step Forward Matters: Part II

Sorry for the very long pause between Part I and II. It's the way of life sometimes.

3. I got ANOTHER bladder infection.

I have a history with bladder infections. For years I have nursed myself with herbal remedies, homeopathic pellets off the shelf or sought collaboration with the experts -- naturopaths. The remedies have worked short term, or a few months, or until the next time my sweetheart and I make love.  This time the calendar turned from 2016 to 2017 I was in a lot of pain, was feverish alternating with chills. I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner who squeezed me for an appointment; she did a pelvic exam and conducted or sent out for a hand-full of tests. All of these tests were negative, showing no indication of infection. But still the pain continued.

I turned to the Ancestors and asked for help. They said, "Susun Weed." With Scorpio Spider senses on high I began researching. Susun Weed is a long-practiced herbalist and healer who teaches The Wise Woman Tradition. With the Ancestors' message I reserved two of Weed's books from our local library. It would be a week before the books arrived. Fortunately, one of Weed's first promises as a healer is to be accessible; and she's kept her promise. She describes herself as "The YouTube Herbalist" on the dozens of video presentations available online. I googled. I listened. I prepared. When her books arrived I began reading. From the first page of her newest book DOWN THERE Sexual and Reproductive Health The Wise Woman Way, Weed writes:
"This book speaks from the Wise Woman in me to the Wise Woman in you. (Wo/man inclues man, as you can see.) It is based on the belief that we are capable of observing our own body, heart, and mind, responding to the messages we receive, and caring for ourselves in a context of loving support and assistance. The Wise Woman Way nourishes health."

This tradition resonates strongly with me. I believe it. Weed asks at the bottom of that first page "Do you hear her singing? Do you feel her? Take her hand. Come." I did. The book DOWN THERE is an encyclopedia of information relating to sexual and reproductive health, laid out in layers of research and approaches with steps that begin Step O: "Do nothing." and ends with Step 6: "Break and Enter." I've found the help and guidance I needed and not the answers I expected. Therein lies the problem with my circular thinking: it kept bringing me back to exactly the same beginning.

So for the past several weeks we have taken those steps forward. On the Spiral Path it is the 13th Step that is the unexpected one. The one that turns a circle into an open-ended next. I put Susun Weeds poem about that 13th Step into the latest of my medicine stories (freshly ended, but the way! But don't spoil it for yourself if you have not read the bits before. Go here to start.).

The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is a spiral.
A spiral is a cycle as It moves through time.
A spiral is movement around and beyond a circle, always returning to itself,
But never at exactly the same place. Spirals never repeat themselves.
The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is the spiral.
The spiral is the bubbling cauldron.
The spiral is the curl of the wave.
The spiral is the lift of the wind.
The spiral is the whirlpool of water.
The spiral is the umbilical cord.
The spiral is the great serpent.
The spiral is the path of the earth.
The spiral is the twist of the helix.
The spiral is the spin of our galaxy. The spiral is the soft guts.
The spiral is the labyrinth.
The spiral is the womb-moon-tide mobius pull.
The spiral is your individual life.
The spiral is the passage between worlds: birth passing into death passing into birth.
The path of enlightenment is the spiral dance of bliss.
The symbol of the Wise Woman Tradition is a spiral.
Twelve is the number of established order.
One step beyond is thirteen, the wild card, the indivisible prime, the number of change.
Walk a spiral, you will inevitably come to the unique next step, the unknown, the thirteenth step, the opportunity for change, the window of transformation.
The thirteenth step creates the spiral. - THE WISE WOMAN TRADITION IS A SPIRAL by Susun S Weed

4. I enrolled and began studying 'Olelo Hawaii the Hawaiian Language via Niuolahiki Distance Learning  (in January). 

The self-directed course challenges me at every possible level and in all the best and the messiest of ways. Because the world of bits and bites, and codes made common for us barely cyber-literate I am able to pay a modest fee ($30.00 per module) to navigate the metaphoric and literal eight seas of the Hawaiian Island chain. Though these lessons can be done completely online without a text, I did purchase a text designed to compliment the coursework. From the first pages of Na Kai 'Ewalu.

"To the Student The title of this text book, Na Kai 'Ewalu (I do not have the Hawaiian keyboard built-into my computer, so will not be able to accurate punctuate the vowels.) refers to the eight seas that join the Hawaiian islands together like a lei. So important in their function of creating a whole from seperate pieces of land, Hawaii's seas are unfortunately often overlooked. Until recently, these eight seas provided the only means of communication between our islands and they are expected to take on more traffic in the future.
Any successful trip across our islands requires seriousness and a positive respect for their true nature. Never to be taken lightly, a trip through the eight seas of Hawaii is something very enjoyable, always offering a beautiful view of our islands."
My pace of learning to navigate these eight seas is slow, deliberate, and often distracted by the reality of my very haole (foreign) mundane life. My son asked me the other day while we chatted on the phone, "Don't you have any classmates?" "No," I answered. Although there are others online while I am, we paddle our virtual surfboards alone...mostly. My mother sits across from the keyboard, or sometimes I bring her framed photograph to be at my elbow so we both look at a lesson together. In spirit Ma keeps me rooted to the context she has always given me. I wish my history had been different, but that's like a time-traveler expecting to retrace history without tampering with the present; it can't be done. So instead I use the mythic writing I do to explore that territory crisscrossing time.

This step forward influences me perhaps more than any of the others, perhaps just as much as all the others. I see how being fed the context of 'olelo (Hawaiian language) oxygenates my brain and that affects my thinking. Bound with the new language of the Wise Woman Tradition nourishment takes on a full and unexpected multiplicity of forms. It doesn't balance me, nor does it fix me let me assure you of that! I am as whacky and curious as I ever have been, probably more.

Which leads me to the end of this long tale of two parts. I look forward to new menus of Artful exploration here at The Safety Pin Cafe with spring very truly setting herself into the Salish Sea where Pete and I do live. I do wish you a good and creative new season in whatever condition of health/wholeness/heartiness you find yourself. Every step does matter.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Each Step Forward Matters: Part I

This has been the harshest of winters yet, but something has reset within me; my decision to stop blogging is over. I've been buoyed and rebooted. The artificial reset of the clock (from Daylight Savings Time to Pacific Time) might have something to do with it and the Virgo Full Moon with all her planetary aspects is likely influential. Or, since the Moon has cycled through her phases since I started this post, this New Moon in Aries gives me further clues. Signs. I'm a Scorpio, ask any Scorpio, we look for signs to check if we're on the right track.

Here are the First Two of Four Signs that showed up to rekindle my passion, and re-open The Safety Pin Cafe.

1. A big metal something showed up in my town. What is that metal something?

It's a safety pin.  A safety pin in this town four years after a medicine story called The Safety Pin Cafe wrote me through another tough Pacific Northwest winter. Symbols and characters fed me a version of life where mythic and ordinary beings laced the wild and civilized natures into remedies and common magic. The story of The Safety Pin Cafe begins with this line: "It was a day a duck could love."

Self-exiled as we have been from Hawaii my birthplace and occupied stolen nationthis Pacific Northwest Indigenous Land has been re-tooling us with its own brand of Tough Love and mythic wisdom. The rains in all its elemental manifestations do wear into any illusions about being in control of outcomes; the damp forces us to make a place within for the warm fires of Spirit.
The physical place where I shop for groceries to make comforting meals; the sidewalks that lead from library to post office where we keep in touch and reach out; the community that raises their voices and faces to me as a familiar being; this space has offered connection like the underground network of roots in the Salish woods of Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, Salal. Weaving the everyday with stirrings in my imagination, I figure the Muses of Creativity were having an `aha, a gathering, and they want to be sure I didn't miss my personal invitation. Muses have long-term purpose and perfection is not primary; expression is no laila, therefore I keep writing. The huge pin on First Street in front of City Hall Langley? I took as a personal (if not collective) sign. I held on to it and let out a long blissful ahhhh, 'A 'o ia, that's it! I had a connection.

2. This blog post, "One Step Forward" by Aurora Levins Morales was written in November, 2016, but I did not find the writing until March, a week ago. The post begins with this paragraph:

"For those who don’t know, right after the election, someone proposed wearing safety pins to indicate that we are allies to anyone being attacked in the post-election upsurge of hate crimes, and while many embraced it, many also criticized it as superficial, and debate over this tactic continues to rage.  There are several things that this very heated argument ignores.  Many People of Color rightly critique the possibility that white liberals will wear a pin as a form of self-soothing, feeling brave for taking a largely symbolic action, without actually doing the necessary work of building ally muscle.  But it seems many assume that these are the only people who would consider wearing a safety pin as a statement of intent, that anyone wearing one is doing nothing else.  It’s an assumption based in fury and frustration, and utterly understandable but inaccurate.  Seasoned and dedicated allies also have reasons to wear them..."
The irony and the synchronicity of this post is Aurora Levins Morales and I had begun emailing in the fall of 2016; prior to these communications I had no conscious awareness of her. It was a young woman, and intern at the South Whidbey Tilth who asked me, "Do you know this person, she writes medicine stories, too?" That was all it took for me to pick up the scent of another Woman of Color, living with Environmental Illness, a writer, storyteller, historian who had just finished a six-year project to design and create A Vehicle for Change.

Our communication began when I emailed an invitation to house and host Aurora on the South Whidbey Tilth Sustainable Campus. With the support of the Tilth Council, Pete and I were excited to support and meet this woman of courage and far-reaching positive impact. She was driving across the US in her newly built 32' Cadillac of a toxic-free home on wheels. By the end of the year, 2016, we would hold space for the woman and her home.

Driving a 32' rig across the North American continent is difficult for anyone; driving a 32' rig for a person with multiple physical disabilities was legion. Around the time that the post "One Step Forward" appeared on Aurora's website, I received an email saying she was sorry to say she was having health problems, would need to receive special treatment immediately, and would have to postpone the long drive from Southern California (where she was in November) to Whidbey Island.

No laila, so, instead of meeting us face-to-face Aurora Levins Morales has inspired Pete and me as we read her books through the harshest winter yet. Remedios infused us early in winter with the poetry and medicine of banana peel and ginger; we applied the medicine of both plants literally and then a new medicine story forces itself out my orifices nourishing my soul as yet another damp cold winter tests my resolve. We had read Medicine Stories during the fall, and those stories furnished a guidebook for our activism, pointing to the holes in our personal and joint histories as a Woman of Color and Recovering Catholics born from opposite sides of the Earth. Kindling included prose and personal experience with Environmental Illness that served us as fuel; as Aurora described our story through the telling of hers.

Levins Morales challenged me as I read:

"So my question about the symbolic action of wearing safety pins is how can we deepen its significance and turn it into a doorway through which people can grow?  Are there more impactful actions we can attach to it?  Can we create safety pin trainings on how to actually intervene in a hate crime?  How can we teach people about both the power and flimsiness of sanctuaries and safe houses, the history of successful and unsuccessful efforts of allies to support and get the backs of the most targeted—everything from the Underground Railroad to Danes wearing yellow stars to the Central America sanctuary movement.  The thing is, we all start from the places our histories have brought us to, and we all have the opportunity, always, to grow, connect, be bigger in our solidarity, clarity and capacity to make change.  Every step forward matters, and this moment of upheaval is a great time to encourage everyone around us, wherever they are on the spectrum, to take the next one, and then the one after that."
There are steps we can take to deepen the symbolic action of the safety pin here. The Safety Pin Cafe was born years ahead of the movement to wear the pin as a symbol of solidarity but the Cafe's story is inseparable from the movement's intent. I am re-inspired to use our experiences as exiles, immigrants to this Salish Island, to come up with a renewed and ready attitude of old people weathered by place and honed by experiences. We know what it feels like to be homeless and invisible; and know the transformation that happens when we/you/he/she are/is supported. Aurora Levins Morales' questions are another set of markers. First, I keep blogging, and writing medicine stories sharing what I know. Then ...

The thing about change is there must be a balance and agreement between the body, mind and spirit for flow to move into the spiral. As a writer of mythic tales it is this agreement that opens the vein, causing creativity to flow. It is that venue of recording the myth that by-passes the loud and critical censor. But still the act of writing is daring, a risky business.  The story Banana Skin and Ginger is taking me from the harshest winter into spring as a plot and familiar characters stretch an old story into something new; a new story not without growing pains. My physical body pointed to old grudges held too long. The next sign showed up as pain.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Equinox, Ka Piko o Wakea: Good Time to Re-open The Safety Pin Cafe

We were at the Muliwai yesterday at noon, at our favorite beach where fresh and salt water, sea birds and many two-legged ones like Pete and me love to be. It has been a harsh winter a time of darkness and a time of deeply reconsidering the gift of life and how to appreciate being where we are. The Safety Pin Cafe opens after reconsidering putting an end to this blog that began as story medicine. Instead I see it was a winter hiatus, refreshed am I with faith in Spring re-aligned as the sun and moon equalize.  The Spring Equinox or Ka Piko o Wakea in the Hawaiian culture is today, March 20, 2017, a good time to acknowledge our connectivity, do ceremony to ask for help from the 'aumakua, the family gods and the Elementals. Kalei Nuuhiwi wrote this on the Hui 'Aimalama FB page yesterday evening:

"... Today is the first day of about 4 or 5 days when observation of the sun's entry into the Kūwā, the in-between, occurs. In Hawaiʻi, it is a time when both Kanaloa and Kane rule over the sky equally along the apex of Wākeaʻs space. Sometimes the term Kāneloa is applied to this event.
Itʻs Spring equinox back home in Hawaiʻi and Fall equinox here in NZ. I guess itʻll be both sets of pule to cover both seasons.
Fun fact, if u leave an egg out till it's room temperature you can actually make the egg stand upright. If u understand heiau, u know y this is a big deal.
Anyway Gangeh....I wish u all a manaful day of realignments, access to mana and building a balanced heiau during the strong earthly polarity of this time."
Mahalo nui e Kalei. I feel blessed to be connected via this spider's web called the Internet. Another reason to keep The Safety Pin Cafe open!
In the short video above we look closely at the pohaku li'ili'i the small rocks and the limu 'ulahea the faded red seaweed. That's Pete talking about this water, keia wai.

I recorded and posted the chant "Pule Hou'ulu'ulu" or "Na 'Aumakua" on FB while I stood just inside our vardo front door. Holding my little camera as I faced East over the threshold of our tiny home welcoming the rising sun, I called to my 'aumakua my family gods, my ancestors from all directions.

The words and translation are here:

Na 'Aumakua

Na ‘Aumakua or Pule Ho'uluulu
*Adapted from Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo

Na ‘Aumakua mai ka la hiki a ka la kau!
Mai ka ho’oku’i a ka halawai
Na ‘Aumakua ia Kahinakua, ia Kahina’alo
Ia ka’a ‘akau i ka lani
‘O kiha i ka lani
‘Owe i ka lani
Nunulu i ka lani
Kaholo i ka lani
Eia na pulapula a ‘oukou ‘o ka 'ohana Calizar ( insert your family name) 
E malama ‘oukou ia makou
E ulu i ka lani
E ulu i ka honua
*E ulu i ka pae’aina o Hawai’i a me ke'ia moku o Salish
E ho mai i ka ‘ike
E ho mai i ka ikaika
E ho mai i ke akamai
E ho mai i ka maopopo pono
E ho mai i ka ‘ike papalua
E ho mai i ka mana.
‘Amama ua noa.
Ancestors from the rising to the setting sun
From the zenith to the horizon
Ancestors who stand at our back and front
You who stand at our right hand
A breathing in the heavens
An utterance in the heavens
A clear, ringing voice in the heavens
A voice reverberating in the heavens
Here are your descendants, the (name of your family)

Safeguard us
That we may flourish in the heavens
That we may flourish on earth
That we may flourish in the Hawaiian islands and in this Salish island
Grant us knowledge
Grant us strength
Grant us intelligence
Grant us understanding
Grant us insight
Grant us power
The prayer is lifted, it is free.