21 December 2013

2nd Annual Clean Energy and Agro-ecological Fair on the Household-scale in Valdivia

This year we celebrated the Solstice educating the passing public in Paseo Libertad in Valdivia about sustainable and clean energy practices on the household-scale. We even cooked lunch for all the groups participating in the fair on our rocket stove, making tomato sauce from scratch and boiling pasta for over 20 people with the amount of wood usually used as kindling in traditional woodstoves. There were workshops on various techniques of composting, ram pumps, geodesic domes, seed banks, and bicycle machines as well as presentations on solar energy and documentaries on the sustainable living movement. A film from Spain called "La Voz del Viento: Semillas en Transicion" was very well done and show-cases several sustainable projects between France and the coast of Granada. At our stand under the EcoChile banner we displayed the many api-cosmetic products we produce with wax from our beehives and medicinal herbs from our forest and did demonstrations of the Bio-Lite cookstove which uses a mini thermo-electric generator with a usb-port that can charge small electronic devices like cell phones while you are camping and preparing your meals. It is a technology that we would like to adapt for our home woodstove to produce low-volt energy to our house system. We also showcased photos and comics of the human-scale technologies we practice and experiment with in Los Brujos, explaining the concept of a dry-compost toilet to many curious and enthusiastic visitors. 
We spoke with so many people we lost count, and we were exhausted after three days and happy to return home to tranquil life in our forest where many summer chores awaited us; the 2nd ram pump needing to be run to water the gardens, the mobile chicken coop in need of rotation, mud walls to finish coating and others to begin. This was our second fair and we were more involved in the organization of the event, the official poster sporting my perma-comics illustrations. Hopefully we will hold another fair next year with even more participation and presence from the growing number of groups experimenting and promoting sustainable living practices.

04 December 2013

Re-Thinking Pescatarianism

I'm a political vegetarian in that I am not against the eating of animals, I am against the large-scale factory production of animals for meat. It is a cruel and vicious industry of which I intend to boycott. I am also not in favor of a diet over-saturated in resource inefficiencies that large-scale meat production requires and that large-scale agriculture also employs resulting in such things as soil and water contamination, and excessive transportation and packaging. But culturally, growing up in a Chinese-American family and now living near the southern Chilean coast, I have always avoided applying my strict scruples for land-produced foodstuffs to that which is produced below the murky waters of the seas and their tributaries. I have been pescatarian for years, able to watch the entire BBC series “The Blue Planet” including its shocking documentary on the disappearing abundance of the oceans, completely agree with their reports, and still not change my diet pattern, unable to relinquish my lasting addiction to the flesh of an animal-based protein. How can I explain my hypocrisy?

These past several years of my growing consciousness on the extent of our global resource consumption have been coupled with some of the most labor-intensive activity of my life, building our house and other structures, digging garden beds, and maintaining infrastructure, turning a patch at the edge of a forest into a home. I have craved bloody steak at times and like a vampire in desperation have sought out the best sources available to satisfy the need. An artesan-caught sawfish or a bucket of muscles from the coast have been viewed as God-sends with noticeable effects in my blood; I feel that protein need satisfied in ways that my normally very nutritious and protein-filled vegetarian diet covers, but the experience of animal protein is of a different energy. To be fair, most all of our seafood splurges involve festive gatherings, visits, and celebrations. In traditional Chinese culture, the consuming of fish in particular bestows abundance. But these are all excuses to the point: my blatant lack of self-criticism a selfish denial because of a deliciously physical attachment for roasted fish and seafood. Well, no more.

A sad scene from Little Ann Lion's adventures (Creative Commons Copyright, C.M.Bushar)
It is common knowledge that the seas' abundance is rapidly depleting from over-fishing and in poor combination the dwindling species absorb increased waste-water contamination, from industries like mining, paper production and large-scale agro-business, and from urban area run-off. The seas and her tributaries are contaminated and the heavy metals carried in the sediment are embedded in the flesh of the remaining fish and of especially the filtering shellfish in her waters. We are slowly poisoned by ingesting these creatures and lately I have felt the bloating pains of this contamination, other friends developing panicking allergies or liver damage sickness. What sign am I waiting for next? I have studied this, observed it living in a fishing village for two years, experienced the phenomenon firsthand. If I must have fish and seafood, I will have to grow it myself in clean water just as we dedicate care to growing our fruits, vegetables, and herbs, to the raising of happy chickens, ducks, and honeybees.

Aquaculture is a traditional practice in many Asian countries that I have always wanted to experiment with, but have shied from doing simply because there was some other, no doubt land-based, priority. More information on a variety of aquaculture systems is now available, even articles appearing in “Mary Jane Farm” magazine, which strengthen my impulses to seek out cold-water fish species to live in our garden rainwater pond. If I am to remain a pescatarian, I want to do so consciously and respectfully to my body and to the environment, no longer discriminating between land-based and water-based life-forms, but all held to the same critical standards for health, in favor of life-giving methods. It is my personal boycott, part of my continuing transformation, not bound in suffering, but looking forward to a backyard-raised fish celebration in my future.

04 November 2013

Being Part of an Eco-Village Network

When we began this journey nearly seven years ago we did not set out to form an eco-village, nor did we have any conscious concept of what an eco-village even was. Over the years of our experimenting and sharing, creating and growing we began to have an awareness of the concepts of permaculture or sustainability or organic and to meet others on similar journeys. It has been a process of observation and of changing consciousness for me.

Three years ago we went to our first Eco-Chile gathering, PermaSur at El Manzano Eco-School, and recognizing ourselves reflected in the other groups present, joined the eco-village network in Chile. Since then I have visited several different eco-villages in the network and in every one I have found resonance, understanding, friendships that feel like extended family. Travel is sometimes difficult when you awaken your ecological consciousness because you are used to composting most of your waste or have a deep, near religious appreciation for water conservation or really enjoy eating what's in season and produced locally, but visiting eco-villages, their pace and rhythms, their creative shapes and ideas, their building materials, their garden patterns, has always felt like home away from home to me. Just the conversation topics alone fill me with harmony to know others who share my passion for a peaceful, abundant, life-giving transition from our current global consumerism travails, who have or are actively changing their lives to live in an alternate consciousness from the modern, competitive paradigm. We recognize one another, see our reflections manifesting in fractal patterns where all over the world people are awakening, changing directions, putting their hands, hearts, and minds to the good work of fulfilling dreams instead of bank accounts, building sanctuaries instead of debts.

But we ourselves are in transition, in stages of transformation born of the modern, dominant consciousness and we bear its scars, its traumas, its immature emotional patterns, its struggles of ego. We are not perfect, we are on a journey, we are learning by doing. Even the courage to begin is remarkable. The courage to stare-down your own ego, shed pride, and give yourself over to collaboration, letting go of internal fears, experiencing truer freedoms beyond that which you had previously accepted as the outlying boundaries, that is the courage necessary to continue, to transform.

Eco-villages are forming everywhere and since 2012 we have seen exponential growth in the number of groups forming, sharing, learning, creating. If you want to get to know more about eco-villages, try volunteering at one during the summer months of the growing and building season, or attend a workshop class hosted by an eco-village. Read the monthly newsletters from the Eco-Chile network at www.permacultura.cl (in Spanish) where participating eco-villages send in photos and blogs of their activities throughout the year. Dreams awakening take on many forms.

19 October 2013

Homeage to Women Who Run with the Wolves

Searching for intuition, our feminine roots, guided by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, we look in, we look deep, stirring up memory, feeling our experiences resonate as she story-tells and weaves together the bits we forgot or left behind or never really understood. This classic book, Women Who Run with theWolves (WWRwtW), has wandered unread in my collection since some women's studies class which cited a chapter or two, but I finally set out to read it now cover to cover, including all the little text notes, the bibliography, acknowledgements. I am soaking up this book. Its lessons, its tangents and wisdom all part of a perfectly timed unfolding in my consciousness, keys I am unlocking in a precise order, opening me to the deep knowledge I am presently seeking, returning me to ritual, to sacred knowing and to the universal flow of feminine energy as we develop psychically and call forth our awakenings to self.

WWRwtW is a text of cosmic harmony with the other books I have also devoured this year cover to cover showered with revelation: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, The Artist's Way, Spiritual Liberation... All answering the questions of life with creativity, imagination, art, and love; profound self-love and connection to the whole of oneself. This is the path which calls me to run, free-spirited and wild, breaking with the domestic limitations of our cultures and prejudices. And I am not alone, but well-accompanied, as if the very act of seeking attracts others sharing resonance, forming bonds which transcend distance, our howls heard rumbling from other dimensions as we search, hunt, coordinate our whereabouts, give reference, gain perspective, and continue. Free women, free men, free humans seeking to recall our great work we came to accomplish, opening ourselves to initiation in the most archetypal of initiation settings: a forest just beyond the power-lines and highways. We have dwelled in this cosmic space for seven years now come February, a sacred cycle by many traditions deserving of honor, attention, reflection, and acknowledgement. With gratitude in my heart I highly recommend a serious, slow read of WWRwtW in the order which Clarissa presents the information because she is una bruja unfolding a spell and her lessons build potency chapter after chapter, enticing us to remember and even better to act.

29 September 2013


Long have we dreamed of brewing our own beer. We have dabbled with fermentation over the years with hard apple and honey ciders, even concocted a delicious honey mead with the guidance of a visiting brew-master friend who introduced me to Charlie Papazian's The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd edition, 2003), but brewing and bottling a real beer has been a dream left on the to-do list year after year. Some dreams simply need longer to ferment, awaiting the right combination and that's when we met a new friend, a young brew-master with brew equipment and a passion for sharing his art. We purchased a few 20-liter beer kit recipes with malted grains and pre-measured packets of hops and yeast from http://www.mundocervecero.cl and he guided us through the steps: sanitizing equipment, mashing and sparging the grains, boiling the wort, pitching the yeast.

Our first beer brewed at home was an India Pale Ale so intoxicatingly delicious that we went into a frenzy rotating homebrews through fermentors, collecting bottles from friends and from restaurants, happy to be practicing the ancient art of brewing and having wonderful new elixirs to share. We brewed Oatmeal Stout and Dry Stout, California Common Ale and Scottish Ale, Belgium Trippel Ale and Pale Ale. The flow of the process improved with every try as we tasted sugars exploding in our mash while feeding the woodstove fire, learning temperature ranges by feel, and getting comfortable with the basic sanitary precautions necessary to cultivate yeast, not bacteria. But the satisfaction weeks and months later when at friendly gatherings we are able to indulge ourselves and our guests with a variety of flavored homebrew: priceless. The mark of a sweet dream in progress is a toast to health between glasses and ours all the sweeter for the friendships that have guided our learning and the ability to confidently raise a homebrew to cheer.

And now having learned the basics of the international beer standard, my creative imagination wanders toward new directions. While I enjoy very much the combination produced by mixing malted barley, hops, yeast, sugar, and water, a part of me is curious as to the wonders untasted of malting different grains or vegetables in combination with different herbs or fruits, especially focusing on local varieties available in season growing in our forest home. A true homebrew should carry the accent of the land it is brewed in so I wander the forest taking in the scent of meli leaves and maqui fruits, ponder how much sugar I can draw from malted avellanas or piñones, what fragrance murta berries might impart, what bitterness and health properties can be found in adding artemisa or sage. Brewing as ancient art, as medicinal concoction, as a celebratory beverage, I think of my own ancestors protesting Prohibition, not wanting to lose all the unique brews that were outlawed and then forgotten within a generation. I am heartened to see homebrewing gaining popularity and especially the varieties that are resulting. A toast to our brewing dreams! Salud!

29 August 2013

Beeswax Products from Los Brujos

Winter is a time of inside activities, preferably by the warmth of a fire, and like all energy practices, we enjoy maximizing the use of that heat for multiple functions. This year the girls attended a series of workshops on transforming beeswax and honey into specialty products, meaning our woodstove became a center of melting down beeswax to filter out residues and impregnating oils with herbal properties. The workshops were conducted by CET in Yumbel, an organization dedicated to teaching artisan skills and practices, especially among the Chilean rural community with techniques that are easy to replicate using common materials. For example, a simple technique for filtering wax uses hot water, a burlap sack, and a hinged pair of wooden paddles. The wax and residues are placed in the sack, set to soak in the hot water to reach melting temperature upon which we squeeze the hot wax out with the wooden paddles, allowing the wax to settle in the water, the impurities left behind in the sack. Once cooled, the wax naturally forms a disc on the water's surface, ready for use in recipes.

Christine returned especially enthused, making quick work of filling the house with many staked containers of various products: lip balm, massage oil, salves, body lotions, and honey infusions in which our honey is impregnated with vitamins from fruit peels or with the beneficial properties of different herbal leaves. All of our products are natural and most of the ingredients come right from our forest, where we are learning the properties of different native plants and how to concentrate their potency in sunflower oil or honey. Importantly the beeswax we use in our products is virgin wax that our bees actually produce, not just melting down the standard wax typically recycled in the stamped combs used to start frames, which is commonly known to be filled with contaminants, including the antibiotics and chemicals that large scale beekeepers regularly douse their hives with or the standard practice of mixing petroleum with the wax to increase the amount of wax available. So our beeswax and our products concentrate on healthy healing, not quantity. Of course all of this production has kept me very busy drawing up labels for each new recipe with mini-illustrations of calendula flowers, matico and radal leaves, images of lavender and rosemary and of course the bees themselves as we expand our Los Brujos line of products. We are seeking permission to have a stand at the Saturday farmer's market in Valdivia and hope to soon begin selling and sharing our products so others can also enjoy the pleasure of natural beeswax and honey infused with healing properties. In the meantime, the shelves fill with our experiments, our friends giving us positive feedback as we find more ways to produce our own healing from the forest which surrounds us.

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29 July 2013

The Small-Scale Farming Revolution

Do not confuse the fact that we live an isolated and insulated life on a forested mountain with our being out of touch. We may not always be on-line, but when we do log-in we find more and more connections between groups and individuals on similar journeys and adventures, trying out technologies on a human-scale, experimenting life with less consumerism and more sustainable practices. Two interesting documentaries caught my attention this winter, both focused on small-scale, sustainable farming practices.

The first, produced by the BBC, called “A Farm for the Future” showcases traditional farming practices in rural England and how various farms have transformed their concept of farming to either reduce or eliminate their dependence on petroleum, both in its use to run heavy machinery and as a component of industrial fertilizers and pesticides. The practices showcased are simple, easy to replicate measures that require the courage to try them and the patience to allow an impacted environment achieve natural balance, such as forest gardening methods and the encouragement of diverse species, even and especially in open grazing fields. Peter Whitefield's book How to Make a Forest Garden (1996) is an excellent supplement to the film, giving greater detail on species selection and design for optimal use of sun and water resources. “A Farm for the Future” is a short film which presents clear questions and offers solutions as to how we plan to continue feeding ourselves as petroleum resources dwindle in the coming years. The documentary is emphatic in the fact that it does not matter when petroleum actually becomes unavailable, but that we have a responsibility to begin exploring smaller-scale options and the sooner we begin, the greater yields we will be able to produce in the future.

Looking around our forest holding with our small pockets of garden space dotted between rejuvenating native woods wherever the sun shines best, I was heartened that our efforts, though mocked by some of our traditional farming neighbors, may actually reflect a future concept of farming that works with wilderness instead of against it. I very much identified with the documentary's narrator, exploring her own family farm's potential in adapting more wilderness and diverse species vegetation in order to reduce their dependence on petroleum, converting the concept of farming to one more associated with gardening and the tending such practice requires.

The second documentary which has also lit a fire in my revolutionary heart is “Urban Roots,” produced by Tree Media. The film showcases the urban and small-scale farming movement taking place in the abandoned and razed post-urban plots of the former city of Detroit. Moving dialog, captivating perspectives, “Urban Roots” ties spiritual healing, especially for African-Americans re-connecting positively with an agricultural past, and the importance of being connected to the growing of the food we consume, ingest, and share with our families. Most importantly, the documentary captures the power of inspired individuals and groups to realize their own dreams, build sanctuaries out of the chaos of a collapsed city space.

As our petroleum resources dwindle, as economic practices based on petroleum also decline, such as the car manufacturing industry which supported the city of Detroit in its boom of the past century, it will be the work of motivated individuals and groups that will pioneer a sustainable future in which there is a great variety of abundant foods to eat that nourish our bodies and the lands from which we harvest. More and more garden plots are already returning to urban landscapes as we realize the empowering therapy of growing plants, as we discover the enormous waste of landscaped parks that produce no fruits, vegetables or medicinal herbs. Reach for your part in the small-scale farm and garden revolution: watch these documentaries and become inspired!

29 June 2013

To Kiss or Shake Hands

This is a rant for all the women who like to keep their hair short and enjoy their pants with deep and useful pockets. Women who haven't the time or sense for make-up and jewelry, who'd rather avoid shopping unless it involves scavenging parts and tools for some constructive invention or spending time in some workshop seeing how things are put together or taken apart and imagine how they might be reassembled for some other use. Why are these interests and habits and personalities associated almost exclusively as “masculine,” “manly” behaviors in our western modern society? How does the presence of certain genitalia help one hold a hammer, or a saw, or a measuring tape? How does gender relate to one's ability to think spatially or mechanically, to design and have a desire to build, to create, to tinker? I am not trying to be a man when I put on my work pants with the hammer sling and reinforced knees. I am being a woman who happens to work in construction, who finds that clothing designed for men is more durable and has better pockets. I am being practical keeping my hair short in my line of work, not wanting anything dangling into a saw blade or distractions that might catch on my work gloves, make gripping tools harder to reach. I do not understand how I am made to be less of a woman simply because you perceive of me as more like a man. These judgments and exclusions hurt both genders and insult our shared humanity, preventing us form being a whole and well-rounded species.

When I was growing up my mom bought me a beach towel with the following mantra printed in big letters: Whatever a boy can do, a girl can do better. A one-sided stab, a tongue-in-cheek jab, but a phrase that bolstered my inner tomboy and still comes to mind every time I am faced with machista sneers or skeptic looks questioning whether we girls actually build our house or had a manly carpenter hired. As I have grown, moving about the world, I have surrounded myself with talented and creative humans, self-identified boys and girls who all know how to chop firewood and cook fine meals, or who can perceive the subtle tones of color, of melody, and express inner visions without a shred of confusion as to who they are. Because in the end we are all artistic creations, each unique as snowflakes, searching for ways to express ourselves fully and completely, begrudgingly having to tolerate at times the judgments of a diseased society obsessed with checking boxes with only one of two options.

In a culture like Chile, your gender identification is a split-second judgment upon meeting a new person: women receive a kiss on the cheek, men a firm hand shake. To kiss or shake hands and I see the anxiety on this new person's face if he is a man because kissing another man's cheek is a custom only among gay men or very close family, and no one wants to insult a woman shaking her hand when you could be getting a kiss. I haven't got the normal cultural markers; no earrings, short hair, practical clothing very unisex. At first I tried to use direct action: taking the firm hand shake presented and pulling the bewildered man in for a quick cheek kiss, declaring my femininity, insisting on my gender recognition. In many cases, realizing the error mid-reach for the hand shake, things were laughed off and accepted. But recently as we meet more people in our rural community, with gender bias more pronounced ironically even though most women in the countryside are as tough as men and work just as hard, I have been receiving deadly flashed of shocked eye contact, cold reactions, and even threats. My insistent kiss when the hand shake was clearly the judgment not only calls out their error publicly, it embarrassingly makes a fool of the man to his face, and everything is further complicated by the continued perception that I am a man, or a boy as my lack of bulk and facial hair indicate, thereby creating even more confusion that I am a gay boy being cheeky. And a cheeky gay tween in the Chilean countryside is not in safe territory. Norah Vincent's excellent book Self-Made Man helped me understand the subtle gender codes I was breaking and confirmed the danger I was sensing as real. I can not change the societal norms of gender bias overnight and certainly have no intention of dressing myself up in conforming, codified “gender appropriate” disguises, so in the mean time I have decided to just take the hand shake with warm eye contact, hoping humor fuels recognition of the silliness of these rituals, and if upon leaving we have an understanding, he may or may not receive a kiss depending on how I feel about it.

In the end, to kiss or shake hands is all about confused norms of gender perception, calling attention to the ridiculous aspects of dividing ourselves over gender rules and judgments. We are all a little of both genders and a little of neither as well, but in my opinion everyone is deserving of wonderfully designed pockets in comfortable clothing regardless of their hair length.

29 May 2013

Teaching the Next Generation About Death

How should we teach the next generation about death and dying? Ultimately it is a question about life and living. When my sister-in-law Lisa passed away on April 27th after a 2 and a half year battle with stage four breast cancer, we found the wisdom of Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (1993) invaluable. In the last weeks at least 3 copies of the book were circulating through the house It is a modern text very influential in the hospice care movement, written specifically for the western, non-Buddhist audience. Lisa had taught us in life that art and its expression are healing and essential, converting half of the house's first floor into an artists' studio stocked with materials and spaces to create in multiple mediums. She passed away surrounded by her art and the images her loved ones had created for her. One of the last books she was reading was The Artist'sWay: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron (1992), and her copy which I inherited is still decorated with the multi-colored note tabs she had used to mark influential quotes and passages. This book is amazingly healing and spiritually transformative. Between these two texts I found the courage to learn a new culture of death and to celebrate its expression through art.

The image accompanied here is called “Transition” and I created it while accompanying Lisa on the day she passed away, seated in a corner of her art room, trying to capture our family's feelings on the death and dying process, specifically for the younger audience of the next generation. Between the inversed images of death and birth there is a potential space of light that had my paper I was drawing on been larger, would cycle around both images in a symbol of infinity representing the transformative birth into self-realized illumination, heaven, or the realm of the Buddahs as it is called in different cultural faiths. It is an image that came up the previous night while openly conversing about our sadness with our young nieces, all gathered around Lisa as she slept, transitioning from this world. In this moment our family was like that of the tigers saying good-bye, sending our dear Lisa on a journey between dreams leaving her body, but we reminded ourselves that in another dimension, in another world, we were also present in a state of excited anticipation, ready to receive a new life through birth either into a new life or into a state of illuminated heaven. We are present in all the realms simultaneously and we can focus our awareness of our true, multiple dimensional nature through meditation or contemplative prayer. In the higher realms we are not separated. In this world, in the experience of the death and dying process, we use art to console our grief, to express our emotions, to dissipate fear, and to fill ourselves with the love of life and living.

We covered our hands in sidewalk chalk coloring mandalas, in sticky glue and paints putting texture on canvas, in garden soil planting seedlings, in flour baking sweet cakes and breads. We danced, spinning in hoops and dressed up in costumes to celebrate birthdays, decorating the walls with colors and images. How else could we teach the next generation about death, about life? How else could we transform the experience of loss through art and expression into an experience of love? Through art and meditation, through open expression, we allow ourselves to be whole, not just our grief and loss, but our entire cosmic being, transformatively present and able to embrace our transitions.

20 April 2013

Reconciling Jesus

Yesterday in my morning meditation practice I envisioned Jesus before me as a representation of the embodiment of Truth, a spiritual meditation as cited in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche as guru yoga practice: merging with the wisdom mind of the master. Previously in my meditation practice I had always tried envisioning more universal or outwardly Buddhist masters in keeping with a Buddhist practice, but after many fuzzy or less concentrated attempts I decided to dig deeper in my personal history for an image of a spiritual master. Having been raised Catholic and Buddhist, some aspects of these distinct faiths have reinforced each other universally since my childhood while most details I have instinctively compartmentalized into separate and admittedly unequal camps.

As I have grown into adulthood, coming out of my sexual, social, and political closets, my relationship with the Catholic Church and Jesus has been one of alienation, one of the great tragedies that reinforced dogma has and continues to inflict on alternative thinkers, especially the gay community. I will always remember that I came out to my parents on a Saturday night because the following Sunday was the first time in my life that no knock came on my bedroom door to call me to Mass. Though at the time I recall a sense of profound relief and often re-tell this tale of my history as a turning point marked with humor and laughter, I also must admit that deep inside, that separation from the Church severed aspects of my own spirituality and essentially ended by relationship with Jesus, the Catholic saints, and Christian spiritual counsel for many years. Although it sounds ironic or contradictory, envisioning Christian imagery in my Buddhist meditation practice not only makes harmonious sense, but brings a wholeness to my spiritual journey, a perfect reconciliation of past pain into loving directions. Letting go of political jargon in my spiritual development feels like releasing an enormous, material block that I had subconsciously and consciously built around my heart as a defensive wall, as an enforced concept of exclusion.

When I relaxed my mind in meditation and invoked the image of Jesus, he immediately appeared bright, clear and beaming from the clouded chatter of my thoughts and I held the image unwaveringly, something that generally has been difficult when I invoke images of masters from other faiths. Deep inside me, my relationship with Jesus has had the longest influence on my life and his image arrived almost effortlessly. Despite all my socio-political positions in life, I have always insisted that Jesus loves me, that Jesus as a spiritual master and teacher spoke truth in his journey, a truth that I still contend has been and continues to be manipulated by people in positions of power. Calling upon Jesus in my meditation, he arrived bearing a lamb of God in his arms and told me that this lamb is me. He then lovingly placed the lamb of God into my arms. I felt the warmth and weight of this delicate creature and embraced the lamb to my chest, holding in essence myself as whole, my spirituality as whole with peace and loving kindness.

I encourage all people to reach for their spiritual essence with the courage to let go of the social and political layers that may disguise the true, universal nature of our diverse faiths. Looking beyond and within we each find our unique paths to Truth, strengthen our spiritual development, and help end suffering in the world one revelation at a time.