Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sexism’

From a former web page project…Called ‘Awaken From  the Dream’ [of conditioned personality]

Hi!   I’m April Rose….A human being.

First I will dispense with the requisite self-promotion, and try to make this presentation  as painless as possible. A  partial description of my life, a kind of biography-lite if you will, entitled ‘A Rose in Bloom’ was published in a soft cover anthology entitled
“Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex and Gender Diversity”  published in 2003 by Jossey-Bass and edited by  Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox.

But there’s much more to this story than that 5000 word synopsis of a ‘boy trapped in a little girl’s body.’  On these pages, drenched with the blood, sweat and tears of perhaps the first self-proclaimed, full time Trans philosopher, writing  without the benefit of respectability conferred by a long list of meaningful initials-although my therapist/friend/muse Ms. Lotta Hope says I would have a PHD in Transsexualism if such a thing existed-you  will find the  lessons lived, and the wisdom gained from a life spent in the shadow of a culture terminally infected with the virus of dualistic thinking.

Sometimes I’m surprised I’m still alive. I was born into the repressive sexist culture of the 1950’s. The now infamous Stonewall Rebellion-which marked the emergence of the gay liberation movement-was more than a decade away. Effeminate men and butch women lived in closets of carefully constructed lies designed to protect them from the savage, often violent reaction of extreme homophobia. Transexuals were unknown to the general population. People who strayed too far into the forbidden zone of cross gendered dress or behavior were condemned as mentally ill.  Even today as we enter the second decade of the 21 rst century, the condition of being transgendered is defined by the diagnostic bible of the psychiatric establisment, the DSM [Diagnostic and Statiscal Manual],  as a mental illness. And the assertion is not without merit. In the broadest social context condition, transgenderism is so viral that it frequently causes  mental instability in the conventionally gendered, resulting in a wide range of violent behaviors directed at the slightest hint of transgendered behavior.

In the language of the medical model, I am a post operative male to female transexual, although  my use of the term transexual  refers specifically to the fact that my physical being has changed from mostly male to mostly female.  I did not hear the words TWO SPIRIT  until I was in my mid-forties, yet on a deeper level of awareness, as my being emerged from the subconscious soup of infancy, I sensed a profound, yet undefinable contradiction about myself. I could see two halves of my self like a deep fissure in heavy crystal, but I could not touch them. In the confusion, I was compelled to keep a safe distance from this  misplaced body and I began to drift, hovering outside of myself, as an observer,,, as the other.  By the age of ten, I was convinced that some horrible cosmic mistake had occurred.

Eventually, I found the visual evidence of this incomprehensible contradiction the first time I looked in the mirror, around age seven, and did not recognize the person looking back. A persistent sense of me/not me confronted my awareness every time I went to the looking glass.  As this sense of psychic rupture emerged and persisted, I experienced an acute sense of panic that remained with me for many years.  During this most crucial period of personality formation and integration, in the grip of profound trauma,  my young self floundered on the edge of spiritual disintegration.

Like  pebbles dropped into clear calm waters of my being,  the resultant  waves of confusion and pain would eventually touch all the shores of my being for many decades to come.  I became lost in a chaotic realm where  personality development wasn’t an option-but mere psychic survival was a challenge. The implications of this developmental glitch on my mental stability were, and continue to be  far-reaching.  This sense of depersonalization that engulfed me eventually pushed me to the brink of an abyss of psychic dissolution.

As disturbing as this realization was to me on a personal level,  the societal implications were equally daunting.  By the age of fourteen,  I had internalized so much shame that I wanted to die.  There was no one like me in the world.  I wasn’t a round peg in a square hole, I wasn’t a peg at all. But how could this be? What was this sense of self that was I was so defective that I would rather die than reveal my horrible truth to anyone-especially the people who held my young fate in their hands, my parents. This dark matter of complete abandonment remains with me to this day,  though disempowered by my intention to make friends with it as a useful component of my consciousness. But I am getting ahead of myself.

In a supreme effort to escape my miserable fate, I failed at every manner of risk taking behavior, including drinking and driving, taking almost any drug that passed before me, putting the barrel of my .357 Magnum in my mouth, hitching thousands of miles, taking rides from anyone, stumbling through the night, on the dark streets of human misery. Along the way, I lost four decades of friends, family,  human experience and a male disguise that I had grown to love.

As I reached my late twenties, I felt myself dying spiritually. My sense of victimization was so great that I fell into deep depression and despair. My life force had dwindled to a thin thread of hope. In my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I had become an embarrassment to my family. So they donated a car, a 1967 Chevy Impala station wagon, and waved happily as I departed for San Francisco. Ten miles out, I stopped to shave, apply make up put on a dress and buy beer.  Lookout San Fran. Here come da Tranny.

I was going to the Bay City, with just enough money for gas, to find an infamous transexual therapist, Laura Cummings, whom I’d met there in 1971. But Laura was charging $125.00 an hour, and had no time for us lowly non-chromosomal transsexuals. And from that point, it was all down hill. I drove around San Francisco looking for a $35.00 room. Rube that I was, I found myself lost in the Mission District looking for a safe place to hide-much like a bleeding mackeral seeking respite in a shark tank.

The first night there, upon the manager’s request, I parked my car in the back lot of the building. In the morning, everything of value that I’d brought with me for a “new start” had been stolen. Twenty five years of pictures, clothes, make up…every material thing I owned. Gone. The second night the manager, who apparently thought I was gay, tried to seduce me.

Here was my bottom, my life was a personal pit of suffering that I thought I should end for everyone’s sake. No more would I be persecuted by a cruel world. My moment had arrived. Wait till THEY found out what I had done. They would be sorry. Finally all of my suffering had provided me with a temporary identity of sorts- not my first choice for an identity-but better than none .  At last, the role I was destined to play. I’ll PLAY THE VICTIM..

Fortunately life, or spirit, does yield to the expectations of drunk transexual girls. I remember the day that I stopped being a victim with startling clarity. I was at the end of a 29 year old rope that was fraying badly at both ends and the in middle. Standing on the Golden Gate Bridge without hope, full of despair and vodka, I yearned only for the courage to jump to my death.

Then as I stood transfixed by the mental image of my body floating down from the bridge to the bay, a most curious shift of perception infused my consciousness. A voice in my head, a loving voice spoke to me and said, “You have still have choices.  Make a different one. The end is the beginning.” In a moment a subtle shift had occurred. The end is the beginning? I was so confused by this metaphysical moment that I wandered off the bridge in a daze. I have since come to view this life saving incident as an encounter with shamanic power- a mysterious power beyond my grasp, that  demonstrated a principle so profound that I have studied it since and made it the foundation of my being.  I call it “The Dream Principle.”

From that moment on the bridge to this one,  I have dedicated my life to the liberation of all sentient beings, especially my fellow transgendered humans. The blessings of the transgendered life is that we come to know suffering from the two polar perspectives: Yin and Yang. This awareness of the transcendent nature of suffering expands our potential for compassion beginning with ourselves–for we must first offer to ourselves that which we intend for others before we begin to appreciate our lives for the courage, strength and integrity that we embody as unique human beings.

And so, I offer you, brave reader, this, my Two Spirits Medicine.

Namaste

Read Full Post »

My “official” trans-gendered transition began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The year of 1995 found me relocating,  perhaps fleeing is a more honest appraisal, from Florida to Albuquerque, N.M. in an effort to escape the oppressive effects of the bible belt mentality.   There  is also some intangible weirdness that develops when one begins gender transition right in front of the people who knew us in our  disguises . Somewhere in that strange murky, grey space I lost much of my past.    Suddenly the people I had hoped might at least join me in my struggle to be myself had all disappeared.    Their absence  left a large hole in my heart .
I  lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years in the mid-eighties and had fallen in love with the land and it’s quirky denizens.   The more I thought about it, the more it called to me.   It whispered of star filled nights and safe haven.   I inexplicably knew that I was being drawn to this enchanted land the way a moth is drawn to the light.    As I contemplated this latest dogleg on my spiritual path,  I began to look forward to returning to such a unique and culturally diverse place.   My destiny awaited me in that beautiful desert and knew that I must go.
As careers go, prior to 1994 I had been employed more times than I could recall.   I lost count at one hundred fifty.   I had done quite a few things that I’m sure I repressed due to trauma of doing men’s work and pretending to like it.  There’s just so much a  transexual can take before a  meltdown.   I mean, my god I had dirt under my nails for years! Can you imagine?    Oh it was HORRID!
The year 1995 was a chaotic time of sorting packing, saying goodbye and watching my breasts intently for the first sign of expansion.   By 1996 I had settled in Albuquerque and faced the daunting prospect of finding work as a transperson.   The first thing I noticed was the lengths people went  to hide their emotional reaction while trying to figure out how to  dismiss me.   The second thing I noticed was how many people dismissed me.

Between nineteen-ninety six and nineteen-ninety nine, I was most often employed as a caregiver in the field of developmental disabilities..I enjoyed the many challenges it had to offer and  resigned  myself to making seven dollars an hour in service to those less fortunate.   Eventually I became aware of an opportunity to work with troubled, at risk youth.   I grew excited at the prospect of  interacting at this emotional level. Who is better equipped to deal with this adolescent angst than a wordly transexual with a firm grasp and control of her own anger, I reasoned.
As I began my preparation for what I hoped would be  a fruitful interview, I allowed myself to feel really positive for the first time in a long time.   I had good reason to feel confident,.   I had prepared a portfolio of all job interiew prerequisites; a verifiable work history in a related field, excellent references, related training courses etc.   I even passed a drug screen, something I had passionately eschewed for my entire life adult life.  Such was the sacrifice I was prepared to make.  Things were looking up.   Maybe this new life wasn’t going to be as tough as I thought.   So  on the appointed day of my interview, I put on my best face.    With more courage and optimism than I thought one transexual could possibly muster, I marched forth to face the two supervisors who held my immediate future in their hands..
We sat in a typical conference room on typically hard plastic chairs across a typically plastic conference table.   I was confident, enthusiastic…ready!    I can do this, I thought.   I eagerly anticipated their challenging array questions that I would handle so deftly.    Perfunctory introductions out of the way, the female half of the interviewing team, Ms. Smith,  seemed to hesitate for a moment. She  gave the impression of  a wary explorer, cautiously creeping up to the edge of an abyss to risk a glance into the eternal darkness of the  a bottomless pit.. She cleared her throat nervously and asked me the one question that I could not have prepared to answer
“ Ummm….this is uh….well please   understand  that we don’t mean to be indelicate about this but we were wondering …uh just exactly what is between your legs..?”
“ I beg your pardon?”  What she actually had said was ‘Where are you in your transition‘. But the difference is negligible. With one casual, blatantly  sexist question, I had been stripped naked and reduced to a sex object.
“ The thing is uh, Mary Jo, who you may recall having supervised in another company,….well anyway, she said that one day while you were monitoring her she saw your testicles when you crossed your legs.”
Huh?   The Titanic had just made the acquaintance of the iceberg and the iceberg held the upper hand.   I was stunned.   First by the implication that I would spread my legs far enough for anyone to see the last wretched remnants of my disappearing  masculinity.   The next realization was that the interview had begun with an accusation made by a client who had a documented history  of pathological lying.   This was almost too much to bear and we were still on the first question.   Hours ticked by with each second.: the silence was deafening.
Somehow I managed to pick my lower jaw up  from the table and with sufficient incredulity said ” I can’t believe you are asking me this!  Could you please tell me what this has to do with anything?  I mean, I don’t recall in reading the formal job description that genital verification was mandatory.   I would at least worn fresh panties.”
Mrs. Smith squirmed ever so slightly  and tentatively proceeded to explain the finer points of the company policy.”   Well….uh you see it’s mainly to protect us from lawsuits. we have a policy that guarantees our clients and their guardians an appropriate match  regarding gender….you know boy to boy and girl to girl.” A look of smug self satisfaction settled slowly  over her face.  She looked like a housecat who had just cornered a mouse for supper.  Except in this case the mouse was not prepared to capitulate.
“This is really quite amazing.  How do decide who’s male and who’s female?,”  I asked in a huff. “Is it company policy to check the genitals of everyone who applies?    Or do you just wait untill a client needs a reason  to persecute someone ?   If there are only two categories of humans then I must fit into  one or the other. And if I don’t fit into those two categories maybe we need to create a third one for the rest of us“.
I was on a roll.   Anger from my transexual heart felt fine as it gained momentum.    I forged ahead with evangelical zeal.  I had their attention and I was determined to exploited it to the fullest. I shifted my focus to Mr. Jones, the male half of the interviewing team. I had met Mr. Jones, an Afro-American, previously during orientation where he was responsible for  teaching us the code  of ethics  associated with client rights.   As it turned out the disabled have more constitutionally protected rights than transexuals.
I poured out my rage.“I must say  that I am very disturbed  by the realization that I represent the only minority whose character can be questioned on the basis of our genitalia.   Surely you must know that transgendered  people are the only minority in this country who are not protected  from discrimination by federal law.   Beyond that,  your company’s mission statement, so noble in language that seems to promote the rights of all people obviously falls short of protecting the transgendered.”
I felt the pride of eloquence rising in my bosom.   I was saying things that I had previously only thought to myself.. For a brief exhilarating moment I felt empowered as a transperson.    A ponderous silence fell over the room. The tension was palpable. In my heart and soul I held closely to the hope that I had touched these two people with my need for validation. and gainful employment.   The looks on their faces, corporate masks temporarily forgotten, told me that they had indeed understood my plight..
Mrs. Smith cleared  her throat and glanced at me furtively, “Well … I do sympathize with your predicament Rose,   When I worked for the company back in Oklahoma, the company agreed to  provide  gay foster parents for a gay client. But this…..I, I just don’t know .”
So gay people good, trans people bad?    I didn’t really know what to make of her declaration. I had started out with a wealth of optimism. Suddenly my confidence  had turned to confusion.. Success, once so eminent, had taken wing only to be replaced by the  notion that I would somehow be better off gay.   Still I clung tenaciously  to the my last morsel of hope while the evil wind of despair rustled in the distance.
“So where do we go from here,”  I asked tentatively.
“Don’t worry, Rose, we’ll find a place for you,” Mrs. Smith assured me
And so, testicles not withstanding, I was hired as a ‘probationer”    But only after I made  repeated calls in an effort to torture them into giving me a chance to prove myself.    Then I panicked Failure was familiar territory for me.    Success was trickier.    Success require the application of character.   I knew that I had passed the preliminaries but the gauntlet  of  fire lay directly ahead.
All this pressure to gain employment was mere folly compared to the reality of trying to interact positively with these future masters of mayhem. Many of them had one foot in the group home and the other in youth detention. Ah yes, it was indeed a challenge befitting my unique collection of talents. After all, who is better acquainted with anger than a transexual?
Fate is a cruel dictator.  My effort to find suitable employment was the epitome of  the psychic masturbation–a one act play with a disappointing conclusion.    One day before the end of my probationary period I was summoned to my superior’s office and terminated.   Apparently, the main reason was the fact that I was a transexual.
The company’s official reason for terminating me was never stated though it quickly became apparent.  As  they were not legally required to employ me as a  transexual, I was imminently expendable. I was a liability from the outset.   A few complaints from the paying customers, the parents, clients or both, was more than enough justification for my dismissal.   Blatant discrimination  and sexism aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense irony of it all .
Eventually,  it occurred to me that I had always been pretty good with a mop, a dust rag and a stick of dynamite.   Based on these revelations, I started my own cleaning business. The whole idea was a nudge from the cosmos, as it allowed me to create the ideal work environment for my personality.   Short hours, good money, as many breaks as I desire and best of all I have the final say so in EVERYTHING!  As a bonus,  I love my boss.   In conclusion, I will speak a truth  painfully learned .   There isn’t a silver lining to every cloud.   But sometimes if you keep your head up and eyes open wide, you just find your own personal rainbow..

Read Full Post »

 

Greetings to all human beings and their ancestors and to all sentient beings who honor their connection to Mother Earth. My name is Rosie and I am a Two-Spirits healer. I come to you now with an open heart and a passionate desire to share the vision and wisdom of two spirit medicine. The medicine of my tribe is powerful because it symbolizes balance and harmony. But more than that, the power of my medicine provides the context for the re-unification of the duality of opposites. In simpler terms, mine is the medicine of non-duality.

These words fulfill my responsibility to share my spiritual journey with the receptive hearts and minds of those who need to hear them. For readers unfamiliar with the subject, I offer a brief description of two-spirited consciousness, followed by a short history of that tradition. In the end, I will weave them together in a cosmic mandala for your meditation.

The expression “Two Spirits” refers to the manifestation of masculine and feminine energy in one individual. It is a relatively new way of describing a tradition that has existed in indigenous cultures around the world prior to the development of western civilization. In order to understand this tradition, this different way of viewing gender, we must first be clear on the distinction between sex and gender. A popular saying describes the difference as follows: Sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears. In other words, gender is not about sexual preference, rather it is the expression of our unique sexuality.

The expression of two-spirits in one individual is, more accurately, one’s spiritual expression of two polar aspects known as yin and yang. The ancient symbolism of yin and yang, together referred to as the Tao, symbolizes the fundamental principle by which the Great Spirit animates and informs every thing that exists on this material plane. At its most elementary level, yin and yang describe a balanced energetic relationship where yin is the passive principal and yang is the active principal. Because yin defines yang, and yang defines yin, these opposing principles hold equal value in an idealized state of balance. Relativity, interdependence and harmony provide form. From this original concept of the duality of opposites springs all other artificial concepts of division.

I was born into the body of a male baby in 1951. By the age of five, I became aware of a subtle disturbance in my energy field. Within five years of this realization my young personality floundered in the turbulent waters of a gender identity process gone horribly awry. A feeling of non-ordinary reality, accompanied by a growing sense of detachment, infused my daily existence. I became depressed and withdrawn.

Over a period of years revelation came to me in dreams, where my spirit showed me the reason for my discomfort. Each night as I lay in bed, I closed my eyes to find my spirit inhabiting the physical form of a happy little girl. I didn’t know, or care at all how this transformation occurred. I was happy for a brief moment of peace. As natural as a falcon taking wing, I accepted this dreaming aspect of my personality as an integral part of my being

Eventually, I found creative ways to stay home alone and express my other-gendered nature with the help of my mother’s wardrobe. But these occasional interludes created another dichotomy: my joyful affinity for feminine expression would cause me great pain upon discovery. Though I knew little of the ways of the world that lay beyond the safe confines of the post World War II, working class, cookie cutter neighborhood of my youth, I did intuit one of society’s essential, unspoken principals with profound clarity: good little boys did not live for stolen moments of cross-dressed glory.

In the American middle class of the1950’s, the world was divided into two kinds of gendered people: men and women. Any hint of cross-gendered behavior invited violence and humiliation. L found proof in the daily newspapers of America and felt the violent undercurrents of misogyny. The realization that I could be the target of such hatred frightened me at the deepest level of my awareness.

From the very beginning of my conscious awareness I was caught in a moral dilemma of immense proportion. In the place of healthy childhood development, my ravaged young personality resembled a rudderless ship being sucked into a maelstrom of sexual energies that I could feel but not articulate. I intuited that some cosmic mix-up had occurred between my mind and body, yet I had no words to describe the sense of disassociation that I experienced on a daily basis.

Beginning in early adolescence and throughout the most crucial period of personality development, neurosis and self-loathing poisoned my spirit at every step on the path to adulthood. Contradictions that would not yield to logic confronted me at every turn, on every level of my being. I had “awakened” in this present incarnation with extreme dissonance of mind and body that I dare not reveal on penalty of death. While my spirit whispered an awareness of my two spirited nature in one ear, the societal voiceof sexist bigotry screamed shame and fear into the other ear. Imprisoned by fate in this physical form that I could not accept or change, I suffered in isolation for many years.

My sense of abandonment became a prison-fort where I became angry, suspicious, and withdrawn. Despite a natural tendency as a child was to seek relief through the wisdom of my parents, I knew intuitively that they weren’t emotionally stable enough to deal with these feelings that I could not describe. Even more injurious to my tender young ego was my conviction that to speak my truth would expose my young spirit to the violence of a world locked in delusion.

By the age 15, a huge gaping chasm developed between the carefully constructed, socially acceptable male image that I exhibited and the overpowering impulse of my secret feminine self. I was paralyzed by an irreconcilable contradiction. Caught between the maxim that “Jesus loved me, because the Bible told me so” and the knowledge that if anyone discovered my deep, dark secret I would be burned at the stake, I teetered on the brink of madness with little hope for resolution.

I trusted absolutely no one including parents and friends, aunts and uncles, teachers or preachers. Artifice contaminated all of my relationships save the one I had with myself. A deep sense of dread prevented me from even thinking about communicating this delicate issue to anyone. As a result of my universal mistrust-cum- paranoia, I found myself utterly alone, holding onto suicidal ideation as an antidote to the pain.

A few months after I graduated from high school, my life fell apart. The flimsy masculine image I had employed as a disguise began to deteriorate. Without a high school audience to appreciate my impersonation of a young man, I was an actress without a part. Severely depressed, I retreated into my own world–a sheltered, sacred world of intense intellectual exploration into the mechanism of human consciousness…

In 1969, scant information was available on the subject of transgenderism, the psychological model of people with a non-conforming gender identity. Psychiatry, from the male dominant perspective, continued to treat gender identity as a sort of minor psychosis. For hundreds of years, institutionalization was the treatment of choice for people who were not comfortable in their assigned gender. I struggled to maintain my male disguise while searching for a right path to understanding.

Despite my baptism as a good Lutheran boy, and a lifetime of half-hearted supplication, my prayers went unanswered. This dubious god of the pious masses had abandoned me. Two spirited people were not mentioned in the Bible, or any other religious text. Logically then, I abandoned the notion of this cruel God, whose biblical omission continues to cause untold suffering and needless death. By the time I had reached my early twenties, as an antidote to the spiritual toxicity of right-wing fundamentalist religion, I embarked on a life long study of the ancient belief systems of indigenous peoples.

I began my education with Native American tribes who perceived the energetic relationship of humans to their environment in a profound way that, as a result of genocide, may be lost to us forever. From the documentation of explorers and anthropologists, I found that indigenous cultures around the world valued the manifestations of the spirit so infinite in its diversity. The Great Spirit’s creative authority was not questioned in matters of divine expression. The Native Americans accepted all expressions of the Great Spirit as containing a wisdom nature that provided essential balance in every aspect of their environment.

One-hundred fifty years before I was born, the dreams of my youth would have been a sign from the Great Spirit that I was meant to be a two-spirited medicine person in Native American culture. An apocryphal story of one North American tribe points to this sort of implicit acceptance of the will of the Great Spirit regarding gender: According to oral history, a young boy or girl who showed the slightest indication of cross gendered behavior was placed in a grass hut with one male toy and one female toy. The hut was then set on fire. If the child’s gendered choice was ‘opposite’ their natal sex, the Great Spirit had spoken in affirmation of the child’s dual gender/nature thereby placing them in high esteem in the tribal society.

Each tribe had a name for these special people: The Lakota referred to them as Winkte [would-be woman]. The Navaho called them “nadleeh“[one who changes time and again]. In the Crow tribe, they were named “bade”, and the Zuni called them “ilhamana”. Though the names of the Two-Spirit people varied greatly from tribe to tribe,   the trans-national similarities of their two-spirit traditions were remarkable considering the territorial nature of tribal life.

Native Americans in general recognized the two-spirit folk as divinely imbued with a special insight regarding human nature. Based on this gift of the spirit, tribes conferred much honor on them in terms of their position and responsibility to the tribe. The spiritual gifts of their dual nature promoted them to positions of reverence in the role of hunters, story tellers, shamans, warriors, medicine persons, informal marriage counselors, and leaders of naming ceremonies.

Male born two-spirits were considered especially valuable in the sense that they performed the duties of a woman with the strength of a man. Many woman born two-spirits were fierce warriors, respected by their fellow male warriors for their high level of skill in horse riding and counting coup. Indigenous society did not judge, chastise, ridicule or kill the two spirited person as did white society. They celebrated the gifts of diversity.

This indigenous appreciation for the necessity of balance through the interplay of yin and yang came to a sad end with the genocide of the North American Indian. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and zealous Jesuit missionaries, the two spirited tradition of the North American Indians was destroyed by the violence of enforced acculturation.  History now provides us with a tragic account of the many sordid ways that Spanish Conquistadors, driven by a belief system that married white supremacy with  pseudo-pious religious imperialism, began a murderous, systematic war of cultural attrition against the “brown skinned” cultures of the North American continent.

When the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca landed in Florida in the year 1530 and discovered the Timicuan Indians who lived there, notations in his diary indicated that he had witnessed “soft Native American males dressing and working as women’.    The Timicuan were a small elegant, artistic tribe located in northern Florida. Far from the violence of the northern and western tribes, they had little reason for weapons and no shame about these soft males whom de Vaca referred to as berdache– from the Persian “bardaj,” a derogatory term whose origins refer to a passive homosexual partner, usually a “pretty” or feminine young boy. A famous lithograph reveals de Vaca’s murderous sentiments toward these “sodomites.” The proud conquistador celebrates while two-spirited people are thrown into a pit, mauled by wild dogs and suffer a slow painful death

Beginning in the 1880’s, as proper American society moved across the Great Plains and into the mountains and deserts of the west, people encountered more of these “odd savages” and became determined to recreate Indian society in the image of Euro-American culture. Native Americans were taken away from their homes, their villages, their tribes, and families and acculturated into white society en masse. Dressed and shorn in fashion of white culture, they were often imprisoned where they were beaten like animals for the slightest indication that they might not wholeheartedly embrace the ways of their captors.

The intentional destruction of Native American culture and the subsequent violent imposition of European Neo-Victorian values signaled the beginning of the end of   the two-spirit tradition on the North American continent. By the early 1900’s, their proud tradition was little more than a footnote in a rare historical text.      Ironically, while religion succeeded in destroying the two-spirited tradition in indigenous North America, the essence of two spirited wisdom persists despite its detractors. I am living proof of this assertion. From my earliest memories, I have known myself as a human being with a male spirit alongside an equally prominent feminine spirit. Long before I had heard of the term two spirits, I experienced it as a psychological context of my existence.

As I delved further into the anthropology of pagan/indigenous spiritual belief, I began to draw strength from the images of proud two-spirited people–celebrated for their diversity, wisdom, bravery, courage, and spiritual power in indigenous tribes across the globe. I found numerous examples, both mythological and historical, of people with androgynous character. In these colorful pan-cultural narratives, I read of both men and women who were transformed into members of the opposite sex, either permanently or temporarily, for the sake of punishment or education. From their legacy, I found liberation from the applied stigma of an intolerant, judgmental society

This new perspective empowered me with the knowledge of my inherent spiritual strength, but with validation came responsibility. No longer was it possible to play the victim. I made the conscious decision to recreate my self image based on a model of the two spirited elders who had gone before me. My warrior’s spirit, suppressed for so many years by internalized shame and bigotry, found inspiration in the knowledge that people   like me were validated in ancient history. I embraced this new manifestation of the spirit and resolved to let it guide me in my search for enlightenment

Buddhists call it maya; the Toltec call it the Dream. The Dream of the planet is the collective conditioning that creates duality where none actually exists. Maya is the conditioning that justifies war and poverty, abuse and oppression, judgment and punishment, right and wrong, and murder for the sake of ideology. Regardless of the name, the process that no humans can avoid in varying degrees is the non-critical internalization of information as directed by the intention of the Dream world we inhabit. As I assimilated this unified theory of consciousness, my life began to make sense.   In his book of profound wisdom, “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the point succinctly,

“Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream we will call society’s dream or the dream of the planet dreams which together create a dream of family, a dream of community a dream of city, a dream of country and finally a dream of the whole humanity The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its government, schools, social events and holidays.”

At the crux of the process is our agreement to the terms of our survival. With the capacity to dream from the moment of birth, our attention is contingent upon our need to survive. Thus, when you are lying in your crib at the age of two, cold and hungry,   without the benefit of personal boundaries, you will agree to any ordered condition of your specific environment in order to live.

At the moment a parent or guardian, who orders or allows the conditions of our little world, enters our sacred space and infects it with negative energy, we internalize those conditions. The absorbent yin nature of infantile consciousness provides the ideal context for the establishment of layered patterns of dysfunction. This patterning describes the process of random input that determines personality. As this initial layer becomes fixed in time, self awareness is built on an endless loop of a conditioned patterning and reactive emotion.

With no discrimination possible upon our entrance into the Dream, our attention is hooked by the intention of a world committed to sustaining this conditioning. This process of indoctrination begins to shape our young personality. All of our values, institutions, familial obligations, and sense of self are creations of the collective dream state. By our agreement to this persistent imposition of conditions, we project a reality in which we become our own judge, jury and executioner. Our words become the weapons of the indiscriminate process by which we spread the toxin of judgment and endless suffering.

Our investment in this illusion of consciousness perpetuates our sense of isolation and separation from the whole. This process, from a psycho/societal view, referred to as identity politics, is the antithesis of a cohesive peaceful society. Identity politics divides and subdivides human beings into an infinite number of categories based on superficial characteristics. This elevation of ego by insidious, subliminal propaganda causes great suffering by creating a false hierarchy of values that celebrates neurosis, negates our humanity and establishes a context for oppression.

Invigorated by this new, liberating model of conscious development, I began to review my personal involvement in the Dream to gain a more rational perspective on my two-spirited condition. In a life changing epiphany, ancient wisdom pierced my heart like a lightning bolt –illuminating the darkness of a life lived in the shadows. The raging river of caustic rhetorical hate and judgment, that had infected my consciousness for so long, was transformed into a harmless trickle that merged with the Tao of knowing.

Like so many indigenous two spirited folks before me, I had entered the world with a Dream of my own. I am one of the few–chosen by the Great Spirit to manifest this noble Two Spirits tradition in a society predicated on lethal sexism. The simple act of being born with equal parts masculine and feminine renders me a social pariah. In a world so heavily invested in the duality, I represent a threat to the power structure– doomed to a life lived in the shadow of mainstream society, or any society at all.

Throughout many years of suffering, I wandered blindly in the darkness of my own illusion. I have survived the perilous conflict between the world Dream and my own   personal dream by deconstructing my sexist conditioning through the lens of my essential humanity. Through the warrior’s act of intention, I have recreated my “self” based on the gift of Two-Spirited medicine that guides me on this personal journey of transcendence. Personality, based on illusory thought–produced by a shared corrupt ego state–burdens me no more. The Dream of the world has lost its steely grip. My spirit shall not yield to the deception.

My life as a two spirited person today is full and rich because I honor myself in my Two Spirits tradition. No longer am I afflicted by the illusion of the duality. Within me, yin and yang are one, undivided–undifferentiated. I am neither this nor that. I represent the unification of the first binary–the primary subdivision that occurs at the moment of birth at the whim of a stranger in white. I reject this arbitrary distinction based on a cursory inspection of my genitalia. I am a human being and that is enough. Endless subdivisions of identification only enhance my separation from other humans.

All sentient beings enter this material plane with the essence of their luminous character momentarily intact. Our consciousness is tabula rasa–a blank slate upon which is written the disparate elements of our future personality. Within minutes of our birth, we are assigned a gender based on our genitalia. At the precise moment of this declaration, the infant is set on one of two very different paths whose parameters determine flux and flow of its life. By the time we reach first year’s end, we are baptized by delusion. The Dream clouds our vision, separating us from the source of our essential brilliance. And we forget.

We forget that before we internalized the identity that causes us to feel the immense pain of separation and isolation we were united as light beings in an energetic dimension of non-duality. We forget because human consciousness produces a false ego-based concept of gendered duality that is perpetually reinforced through violence and other forms of coercion. Before we know what or who we are, sexism becomes the engine of social control. By the dominance/submission agreement into which men and women enter, this dream of sexism creates and perpetuates the suicidal imbalance of power and ensures our future disharmony.

While the dream of sexism continues to inflict pain much of man’s violence toward women cannot be understood in a rational sense. Perhaps this murder by misogyny is man’s way of killing the feminine within himself in an effort to reinforce his self image of manhood. Regardless of the motive, the prevalence of misogyny is the best evidence of our nihilistic tendencies. While the Dream of sexism is too powerful to confront directly, its negative consequences are too destructive to ignore. Until we as a global society are willing to confront this shadow side of our collective unconsciousness, we wobble on the brink of self destruction

. We live in a very potent, extremely perilous time. With the passing of each decade the world, precariously out of balance on the fulcrum of time, slides inexorably into the darkness. With the aid of industrialization and technology, we are losing our humanness under the immense burden of our artificially inflated egos. What we refer to as culture is a euphemism intended to disguise the totality of our conditioned violence   that includes man’s violence against man, against women and against Gaia. We are ‘civilized’ animals who have forgotten what is sacred.

The mysterious, awesome spirit of life that animates and gives meaning to everything ironically empowers the mechanism of its own demise. Unbalanced, unbridled ego imbues the individual with the necessary rationale to commit the senseless destruction of life for the sake of ideology. These are discomforting truths, yet we have no choice but to confront them while we still have our collective human will. As conscious beings, we must take responsibility for our behavior, or perish in our apathy. No longer is it practical to externalize authority. No god will save us-none but the one we find within ourselves.

As spiritual warriors, we must use all of our intention to pierce the veil of illusion that defines our lives, reinforces our sense of separateness, and perpetuates our suffering. For as long as we are dominated by egocentric politics, a fatal imbalance of yin and yang threatens us with extinction. A return to balance requires a commitment to a fearless, non-judgmental exploration of the self from earliest memory. Most of the agreements that we have made since our first moments of life must be broken. Our numerous defense mechanisms, all of our deepest darkest fears, all grasping, and all of our attachments must be reviewed in the context of the Dream. Only when these subconscious negative obstructions melt away will we find the light within ourselves.

If we are serious about becoming a spiritual warrior for the benefit of ourselves and the collective, we must first focus on the healing nature of unconditional self-love.    This can only happen when we break with the subconscious, self limiting agreements of our past. Believe that you deserve love, and with time the many layers of accumulated toxic patterns lose their negative power to dominate us. Your commitment to begin your own healing with the power of love is the most important agreement one can make, for logic dictates that one can not give away something one does not possess. Begin now. Make a vow to love everything about yourself everyday. Demonstrate self-love in every moment with every act.

Personal freedom requires a firm commitment to renounce the oppressive conditioning that leads us into the darkness of despair. I ask that you join me now and everyday as I renew the vows that produce beneficial karma. For the benefit of all sentient beings; I invite you to join me in a vow of non-violence in our words and deeds. I vow to practice compassion toward myself that I may then extend it to others, I pledge to be ever mindful of the rotten fruits of desire, and I will do whatever I must to transcend the illusion of personal identity. Towards that end, I vow to polish the mirrored lens of my spirit that I might reflect the sun’s perfect light that shines within you.

Namaste: The Divine Light in Me Honors the Divine Light within You.

.

.

.

.

.

.

  1. .

Read Full Post »

Greetings, friends and lovers everywhere. Rosie, Love Detour’s resident transexual Goddess of Love and Romance is in the house and ready to expound on the delicacies of transgendered dating.

In the first article on transgenderism I referred to gender as a continuum. On the polar ends of this continuum are trans people who “pass”. Passing is a condition in which the transgendered person blends successfully with one of the two stereotypical genders. Towards the center of the continuum, or bar graph, are people who exhibit androgyny, or characteristics of both genders. This discussion focuses on the first group, for it is trans-passing that can cause confusion in the intimacy of dating.

Those of you who read my first installment on Transgender Dating learned some basic facts about the condition of transgenderism. I ended the first chapter with a promise to help you distinguish the guys from the girls. I mislead you and beg your forgiveness. I was only trying to protect you from the horrible ugly truth, which I must now acknowledge:

There is no way to tell the girls from the guys.

And perhaps even more disturbing to some of you is the very real possibility that you may be rubbing up against a transgender person in your daily activities, figuratively speaking, of course. Yes, dear reader, we walk among you–be not afraid. We mean you earthlings no harm.

To be honest with ourselves, first we must answer some uncomfortable questions about our personal feelings regarding gender. Before you reach the couch, with the drinks and the music and mood lighting, you absolutely must know how you feel about gender.

Gender is about how you as an individual express your sexuality. The power of gender is its inherent diversity. On a huge canvas, we paint our sexuality with our gender. Some of us use only black and white and some of us use all the colors of the rainbow. Bigotry and prejudice aside, gender is cosmic play.

In a technical sense, everyone is a cross dresser. Women liberated by their role as factory workers in the Second World War, began wearing pants and never looked back. Kilts are the rule for Scottish men. There simply are no global standards for gendered behavior, and this truth renders the whole subject a matter of complete relativity.

The truth about this whole discussion is that it is about you and your attitudes towards sex and gender. In this wonderfully diverse world, there is some one, or two depending on your proclivities, for everyone. Some religions that mistakenly judge trans-folk as immoral frown on members dating transgender people. Some men even murder transgender people out of fear of being accused of being homosexual, despite the reality that transgendered people are not necessarily gay. Because gender has nothing to do with sexual preference, trans-folk may be hetero-, homo-, or bisexual.

.It is unlikely in the extreme that your date will tell you at the outset that they are trans. And that information may be the very thing you need to know before embarking on a relationship. Asking a non-transgendered person, if they are a trans is worse, socially speaking, than asking an overweight woman if she is pregnant. Both questions immediately establish an uncomfortable distance between you and your date–a distance that may be irreparable.

Perhaps the only thing worse than that scenario is finding out after physical intimacy that your partner was a member of the same sex as you at some point in their past. We cannot give our potential dates a questionnaire that inquires as to the nature of their former genitalia.

“Do you have or have you ever had genitalia of the opposite sex?” will not score points regardless of the answer. This dilemma can only be resolved by serious soul-searching regarding your deepest darkest fears regarding sexuality. An open minded, open-hearted, educated approach to gender is, of course, the best policy.

Thus, we have slogged bravely thru the quagmire of sex and gender. If you are more confused now than before you read my article on transgender dating, then all is well for out of confusion comes clarity. For more education on this subject, websites abound. Here are three great sites to get you started:

http://www.jamisongreen.com/jgassoc_006.htm http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender.asp

http://www.ifge.org

And of course, I am available to answer all of your transgender queries, regarding dating or lifestyle issues. Don’t be shy. Remember, Gender is Play. Gender is fun. Gender is human.

Rosie, The Transgender Love Goddess

.

Read Full Post »

 As a  ‘mature”  transexual,  I can honestly claim the dubious honor of having seen the best and worst of both sexes.  I’m fifty-nine now, a late bloomer to be sure.  But despite what I proudly regard as a qualified sort of worldliness about myself, there was nothing… and I do mean NOTHING that could have prepared me for the myriad social, psychological and practical adjustments that awaited me as I began my transition at the age of forty-four.

            The early days of my transition provided me with some of the most intense emotional experiences I’ve ever had.  Anyone foolish or brave enough to want a more personal understanding of the meaning of “ an intense emotional experience” should go to the nearest Wal-Mart at the busiest time of day and take their clothes off preferably in the vicinity of the customer service booth. Then as you stand there in your naked glory and enjoy your fifteen seconds of infamy, you will know precisely how I felt the first time that I went there in a dress. But as revealing a personal revelation as that experience was, it paled in comparison to a lesson in sexism that was bestowed upon me in summer of 1999.

            It was the last day of June and the searing New Mexico sun promised to push the mercury up past one hundred degrees. Unemployed as I frequently was, I sought the anonymity of the local theatre for a mid-day matinee. It was a remake of the classic the “ Out of Towners”.  Having consumed every last morsel of contraband candy I had smuggled into the theatre, I sat in dread of the approaching end of the movie. The murderous heat of a dry sauna waited patiently for my exit from the cool confines of the theatre. Amidst the dying chuckles of the audience as they filtered out toward the exits, I reluctantly gathered my purse, tugged at the hem of my sundress and donning the prerequisite sunglasses, fell in line.

            As I made my way into the main hall of the theatre, I felt the rush of the crowd as they turned right and made for the main exit.  Slightly claustrophobic, I turned left and opted for a longer, more relaxed pace through the side lot to my car in front. I heaved on the theatre door and immediately regretted my decision to leave the bliss of conditioned air.  As I walked down three stairs and turned left, the suffocating midday heat sucked the breath out of me and pummeled my consciousness into submission.  For a few steps I could manage no more than a  zombie shuffle.

            My reverie was suddenly cut very short as my attention was abruptly snapped back to reality by a sensation so bizarre that found nothing in my memory banks to use for comparison. Evil fell upon me suddenly and without warning as a thief in the night.  As I shuffled along the sidewalk on my way to my car, unseen and unbidden, a hand deftly lifted the very bottom rear hem of the aforementioned sundress and rather gently and gracefully stroked the most posterior aspect of my gluteus maximus, with one errant yet talented finger venturing ever so slightly toward the panty covered crevasse of it’s inner sanctum.

            Time slowed down to a crawl as it often does during moments of great import. Call it brain lock. My rationality now in a state of disarray, thoughts raced through my head in a jumble. In the microseconds following this encounter,  as I searched my psyche for some way to comprehend.  There came then a sort of crazy, mad convergence as I shuffled to a stop, groping desperately for understanding. “ Oh, it’s probably someone I know” then just as quickly the realization that that would not make the thing more palatable.

 In the next second, a mysterious presence glided by like a specter, lingering only long enough to whisper in my ear “ you are so gorgeous”.   There, in that weird dream state, I remained motionless…suspended as I watched this audacious, swarthy, thirtyish man…with excellent taste in posteriors, walk briskly down the sidewalk.  Sexism had come calling.

            Senses returning with the assistance of adrenaline, now beginning to surge, I tried to formulate some sort of response. As I stood there in shock, one of my many alter egos, the one who’s needy as a motherless kitten and wanton as a depraved transexual, spoke up and in true southern belle fashion said “ Why thank you kind sir, you say the nicest things ”.      But in the very next second, my fantasy was shattered as the brazen stranger paused, now some fifty feet ahead, and turned to leer at his victim one more time.   That did it!    I was finally snapped back into some sort of functional state of being and overcome by a brief but powerful sense of self-righteous anger.  For one shining moment I was imbued with the special sort of uplifting, justifiable, empowering rage that only a transexual really knows.

            As this impudent stranger quickened his pace down the sidewalk, he turned left and headed for the anonymity of the main parking lot.   Just before disappearing behind the front wall of the theatre, he turned towards me once more and leered, a perverted grin plastered on his face.  His  demeanor screamed “Gotcha!”.

            I felt violated…used and abused, defiled and deflowered…like some cheap sex object.   Sadly, I also had gained insight into how it felt to be a woman in a male dominated society.   I realized with grave conviction the immenseness of my vulnerability.    This worm in a man’s disguise could have done practically anything he wanted to me and I was impotent.    It came as a startling realization to realize how very far this transition had brought me.

            Finally, my sense of justified anger returned with renewed vigor.  An evil plan of retribution began to formulate in my now vindictive psyche. He was still close enough to me that I could exploit his haughty overconfidence, and I could use the element of surprise to teach this ogre a lesson.    I would simply remove my high heels and chase him down on foot. His smugness would cause him to run at half speed.   I would tackle him in the parking lot. Then as he lay there in shock, the rictus of fear frozen on his lips, I would create an indelible impression­–an impression guaranteed to remain lodged in his sex-offender brain for the rest of his short, pitiful life.  In the video tape player of my imagination, to the grunting  animal sounds of the crowd that had gathered around us in the parking lot to cheer me on, I took my revenge. And lawdamighty was it sweet!

            I paused a moment to savor my victory the way I always do during my fantasies where I get to kick ass.  Then standing over this sad stunned lecher, I placed my foot on his throat, pulled up my dress, pulled down my panties and smiling just as sweetly as possible, revealed the one thing about me that he could never anticipated–the THING that would ruin his day.  As he stared openmouthed at my hated member and the object of his undoing,   I would kneel down beside him and end his days of perversion by delivering a deathblow to his septum, sadly sighing as its splintered shaft entered his brain.  Now that’s what I call pure transexual rage.

            Then, without warning, I snapped out of my sun-baked reverie and realized that I was standing in a daze on a sidewalk outside the theatre. Not knowing if the incident had attracted any attention, I kept my eyes to the ground and tried to appear as nonchalant as possible for a transexual who had just been groped for the first time.  I confess to being more than a little wary, each step quickening as I angled toward the safety of my Blazer

            I had no sooner reached it and entered my key into the lock when I was distracted by the sound of an approaching bicycle. I chanced a furtive glance in the direction of the sound and was aghast to see my friendly local pervert smile and wave as he rode casually by me. Still rooted to the spot, slack jawed, I continued to watch as he rode to the far end of the parking lot. He then dismounted and stood they’re grinning at me for what seemed like an eternity

            Once more my anger rose and I threw myself into my car with every intention of serving justice upon his person, “ Ha! This idiot is on a bike and I am driving a SUV.  What is he, suicidal?”

Then came an epiphany andI realized in a moment of maternal satori that I had misjudged the entire episode.  He was obviously a lonely, dysfunctional wretch of a man who needed love or at least reassurance. Of course that was it!  How could I have been so blind?   As we stared at each other from opposite ends of the blacktop, I began to feel a strange mixture nurturance and curiosity.

            My mood turned conciliatory. After all, his grope was a gentle one and I never really felt threatened. In reality he could have done much worse…like steal my purse or some jewelry. And he definitely wasn’t ugly. I’ll bet he just needs someone to talk to. In fact I’ll bet if I just go over there and tell him that I’m not upset with him, he will be so relieved just to know someone cares

             My motivation to heal gaining strength, I smiled at him as I started the car.   In a split second his self-confident grin began to fade and was replaced by a look of genuine perplexity. Holding his gaze, I backed the car out the parking space and slowly aimed the car in his direction. Halfway across the parking lot I was close enough to see his look of perplexity slowly fade, replaced with a grimace of fearful anticipation. I forced myself to smile to put him at ease, but I must have appeared crazed and demonic as he mounted his bike in a frenzy. Anxious to meet and console my mysterious admire, I accelerated toward him.

            He must have been trying to dislodge his testicles from their recent ascent back to their former place of safety as he threw one more pained grimace in my direction and began peddling furiously away from his psycho gropee. We bounced in unison over a couple of parking bumpers and plowed through a small gravel lot, barely missing a couple of mailboxes.

We hit the pavement of the main thoroughfare as he pedaled furiously, casting frantic fearful looks over his shoulder. I briefly considered grabbing pencil and paper to scratch out a calming phrase I could flash at him, opting instead to pull alongside him and reassure him in person. In an instant we were side by side, hurtling down the four lane highway. The poor man looked as if he would have rather been swimming with piranha.

 I leaned out of my window at forty miles an hour and screamed at the top of my lungs “ Stop, let’s talk” I screamed. “I just wanna help!”

 Unfortunately in the act of leaning out of the window I subtly edged out of my lane and into his. A mere four feet remained between us. A look of horror was frozen on his face as he realized that he had bitten of more than he would ever want to chew.      I edged even closer in an effort to be heard and screamed “Hey c’mon, let’s go somewhere and talk. I can help”.

Staring crazy and pedaling wildly, he’d misunderstood the benevolence of my message. “ YOU go to hell too, you Tranny freak, I’m already there!”

And then whether by cruel fate or simple misadventure, having screamed these final parting words,  he drifted too far to the left, crossed the centerline of the four lanes, and was himself groped by an eighty ton Mack truck. I didn’t stop to investigate. There was simply no way to explain what had just transpired to the authorities. No one would believe that cosmic justice works for the weary  Some things are better left to the imagination.

            I still go to that same theatre on occasion. Inevitably, I find myself sauntering slowly through the same familiar exit, pausing just for a moment on the sidewalk outside the theater, waiting…watching. After all, he did say I was gorgeous, didn’t he?

Read Full Post »

My “official” transition began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida. 1995 found me relocating, perhaps fleeing is a more honest appraisal, from Florida to Albuquerque, N.M. in an effort to escape the oppressive effects of the bible belt mentality.    There is also some intangible weirdness that develops when one begins gender transition right in front of the people who only knew us in our disguises.    Somewhere in that strange murky, grey space I lost much of my past.   Sadly, the people I had hoped might at least join me in my struggle to be myself had all disappeared.   Their absence left a large hole in my heart .

I had lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years in the mid eighties and had fallen in love with the land and it’s quirky denizens.    The more I thought about it, the more it called to me.    It whispered of star filled nights and safe haven.   I inexplicably knew that I was being drawn to this enchanted land the way a moth is drawn to the light.    As I contemplated this latest dogleg on my spiritual path, I began to look forward to returning to such a unique and culturally diverse place.   My destiny awaited me in that beautiful desert and knew that I must go.

As careers go prior to 1994 I had been employed more times than I could recall. I lost count at one hundred fifty. I had done quite a few things that I’m sure I repressed due to trauma of having to do men’s work and pretending to like it.    There’s just so much a transexual can take before a hissyfit meltdown.   I mean, my god I had dirt under my nails for years! Can you imagine? Oh it was HORRID!

The year 1995 was a chaotic time of sorting packing, saying goodbye and watching my breasts intently for the first sign of expansion.   By 1996 I had settled in Albuquerque and faced the daunting prospect of finding work as a transperson.    The first thing I noticed was the lengths people went to hide their emotional reaction while they were trying to figure out how to dismiss me.    The second thing I noticed was how many people dismissed me.

Between nineteen-ninety six and nineteen-ninety nine, I was most often employed as a caregiver in the field of developmental disabilities.     I enjoyed the many challenges it had to offer and resigned myself to making seven dollars an hour in service to those less fortunate.    Eventually I became aware of an opportunity to work with troubled, at risk youth.    I grew excited at the prospect of working with angry .teens.    I understood anger intimately.    Who is better to deal with this than the ‘angry transexual‘ I reasoned.

As I began my preparation for what I hoped would be a fruitful interview, I allowed myself to feel really positive for the first time in a long time.   I had good reason to feel confident,. I had prepared a portfolio of all job interiew prerequisites: a verifiable work .history in a related field, excellent references, related training courses etc.   I even passed a drug screen- something I had passionately eschewed for my entire life adult life.    Such was the sacrifice I was prepared to make.. Yup, things were looking up.    Maybe this new life wasn’t going to be as tough as I thought.    So on the appointed day of my interview, I put on my best face and with more courage and optimism than I thought one transexual could possibly muster, I sallied forth to face the two supervisory types who held my immediate future in their hands..

We sat in a typical conference room on typically hard plastic chairs across a typically plastic conference table.   I was confident, enthusiastic…ready!    I can do this.  I thought.   I eagerly anticipated their challenging array questions that I would handle so deftly. Perfunctory introductions out of the way, the female half of the interviewing team, Ms. Smith, seemed to hesitate for a moment.    She gave the impression of a wary explorer, cautiously creeping up to the edge of an abyss to risk a glance into the eternal darkness of the a bottomless pit.     She cleared her throat nervously and asked me the one question that I could not have prepared to answer

“ Ummm….this is uh….well please understand that we don’t mean to be indelicate about this but we were wondering …uh just exactly what is between your legs..?”

“ I beg your pardon?”    What she really said was ‘Where are you in your transition?‘ The difference is negligible.   With one casual, blatantly sexist question, I had been stripped naked and reduced to a sex object.

Mrs Smith drove the knife a little deeper,   “ The thing is uh, Mary Jo, who you may recall having supervised in another company,….well anyway she said that one day while you were monitoring her she saw your testicles when you crossed your legs.”

Huh?    The Titanic had just made the acquaintance of the iceberg and the iceberg held the upper hand.  I was stunned.    First by the implication that I would spread my legs far enough for anyone to see the last wretched remnants of my disappearing masculinity, and second by the realization  that the interview had begun with an accusation made by a client who had a documented history of pathological lying.    This was almost too much to bear and we were still on the first question.     Hours ticked by with each second….the silence was deafening.

Somehow I managed to pick my lower jaw up from the table and with sufficient incredulity said ” I can’t believe you are asking me this!   Could you please tell me what this has to do with anything?      I mean I don’t recall in reading the formal job description that genital verification was mandatory.   I would st least worn fresh panties.”

Mrs. Smith squirmed ever so slightly and tentatively proceeded to explain the finer points of the company policy.    ” Well….uh you see it’s mainly to protect us from lawsuits. we have a policy thatr guarantees our clients and their guardians an appropriate match regarding gender….you know boy to boy and girl to girl.” A look of smug self satisfaction settled slowly over her face.    She looked like a housecat who had just cornered a mouse for supper.    Except in this case the mouse was not prepared to capitulate.

“This is really quite amazing,” I screeched.   ” How do you decide who’s male and who’s female?    Is it company policy to check the genitals of everyone who applies? Or do you just wait till a client needs a reason to persecute someone like me?    If there are only two categories of humans then I must fit into one or the other. And if I don’t fit into those two categories maybe we need to create a third one for the rest of us.”   

I was on a roll and my anger felt fine as it rose from my transexual heart.    I forged ahead with evangelical zeal.    I had their attention and I was determined to exploited it to the fullest. I shifted my focus to Mr. Jones, the male half of the interviewing team.    I had met Mr. Jones, an Afro-American, previously during orientation where he was responsible for teaching us the code of ethics associated with client rights.     As it turned out the disabled have more constitutionally protected rights than transexuals.

“I must say that I am very disturbed by the realization that I represent the only minority whose character can be questioned on the basis of our genitalia.   Surely you must know that transgendered people are the only minority in this country who are not protected from discrimination by federal law.     Beyond that your company’s mission statement, so noble in language that seems to promote the rights of all people obviously falls short of protecting the transgendered.”

I felt the pride of eloquence rising in my bosom. I was saying things that I had previously only thought to myself.. For a brief exhilarating moment I felt empowered as as a transperson.     A ponderous silence fell over the room. and the tension was palpable.    In my heart and soul I held closely to the hope that I had touched these two people and impressed them with my need for validation. and gainful employment.    The looks on their faces, corporate masks temporarily forgotten, told me that they had indeed understood my plight..

Mrs. Smith cleared her throat and glanced at me furtively, “Well … I do sympathize with your predicament Rose,  when I worked for the company back in Oklahoma, the company agreed to to provide gay foster parents for a gay client. But this…..I, I just don’t know .”

Whoa!  Hoooold on thar a minute.   So gay people good, trans people bad?    I didn’t really know what to make of her declaration.    I had started out with a wealth of optimism.     Suddenly my confidence had turned to confusion.    Success, once so imminent, had taken wing, only to be replaced by the practical notion that I would somehow be better off gay.   Still I clung tenaciously to the my last morsel of hope while the evil wind of despair rustled in the distance.

“So where do we go from here”, I asked tentatively.

“Don’t worry, Rose, we’ll find a place for you.”

And so, testicles not withstanding, I was hired as a ‘probationer”    But only after I made repeated calls in an effort to torture them into giving me a chance to prove myself. Then I panicked.    Failure was familiar territory for me.    Success was trickier.    Success require the application of character. I knew that I had passed the preliminaries but the gauntlet of fire lay directly ahead.

All this pressure to gain employment was mere folly compared to the reality of trying to interact positively with these future masters of mayhem.    Many of them had one foot in the group home and the other in youth detention. Ah yes, it was indeed a challenge befitting my unique collection of talents.    After all, who is better acquainted with anger than a transexual.

Alas, fate is a cruel dictator if it is anything and as it turns out this was the epitome of the psychic masturbation .   A one act play with a disappointing denouement.    One day before the end of my probationary period I was summoned to my superior’s office and terminated. Apparently the main reason was the fact that I was a transexual.

The company’s reason for terminating me was never stated.   It quickly became apparent to me that I was expected to understand that since they were not legally required to employ me as a tranitioning transexual I was imminently expendable.    I was a liability from the outset and a few complaints from the paying customers, the parents, clients or both, was more than enough justification for my dismissal.   Blatant discrimination and sexism aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense irony of it all, but then irony my middle name.

And in the words of a master of irony, Groucho Marks

 ”I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.”

I think…no wait, is that right?

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

 

 

Two Spirits

By

April Rose Schneider

Greetings to all human beings and their ancestors and to all sentient beings who honor their connection to Mother Earth.     My name is Rosie and I am a Two-Spirits healer.   I come to you now with an open heart and a passionate desire to share the vision and wisdom of two spirit medicine.   The medicine of my tribe is powerful because it symbolizes balance and harmony.    But more than that, the power of my medicine provides the context for the re-unification of the duality of opposites. In simpler terms, mine is the medicine of non-duality.    These words fulfill my responsibility to share my spiritual journey with the receptive hearts and minds of those who need to hear them.   For readers unfamiliar with the subject, I offer a brief description of two-spirited consciousness, followed by a short history of that tradition.  In the end, I will weave them together in a cosmic mandala for your meditation.

The expression “Two Spirits” refers to the manifestation of masculine and feminine energy in one individual.    It is a relatively new way of describing a tradition that has existed in indigenous cultures around the world prior to the development of western civilization.  In order to understand this tradition, this different way of viewing gender, we must first be clear on the distinction between sex and gender.     A popular saying describes the difference as follows: Sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears.   In other words, gender is not about sexual preference, rather it is the expression of our unique sexuality.

The expression of two-spirits in one individual is, more accurately, one’s spiritual expression of two polar aspects known as yin and yang.    The ancient symbolism of yin and yang, together referred to as the Tao, symbolizes the fundamental principle by which the Great Spirit animates and informs every thing that exists on this material plane.      At its most elementary level, yin and yang describe a balanced energetic relationship where yin is the passive principal and yang is the active principal.   Because yin defines yang, and yang defines yin, these opposing principles hold equal value in an idealized state of balance.    Relativity, interdependence and harmony provide form. From this original concept of the duality of opposites springs all other artificial concepts of division.

BRIDGING YIN YANG

I was born into the body of a male baby in 1951.      By the age of five, I became aware of a subtle disturbance in my energy field.     Within five years of this realization my young personality floundered in the turbulent waters of a gender identity process gone horribly awry.     A feeling of non-ordinary reality, accompanied by a growing sense of detachment, infused my daily existence.    I became depressed and withdrawn.

Over a period of years revelation came to me in dreams, where my spirit showed me the reason for my discomfort.   Each night as I lay in bed, I closed my eyes to find my spirit inhabiting the physical form of a happy little girl.  I didn’t know, or care at all how this transformation occurred. I was happy for a brief moment of peace.   As natural as a falcon taking wing, I accepted this dreaming aspect of my personality as an integral part of my being

Eventually, I found creative ways to stay home alone and express my other-gendered nature with the help of my mother’s wardrobe.   But these occasional interludes created another dichotomy: my joyful affinity for feminine expression would cause me great pain upon discovery.   Though I knew little of the ways of the world that lay beyond the safe confines of the post World War II, working class, cookie cutter neighborhood of my youth, I did intuit one of society’s essential, unspoken principals with profound clarity: good little boys did not live for stolen moments of cross-dressed glory.

In the American middle class of the1950’s, the world was divided into two kinds of gendered people: men and women. Any hint of cross-gendered behavior invited violence and humiliation. L found proof in the daily newspapers of America and felt the violent undercurrents of misogynism.    The realization that I could be the target of such hatred frightened me at the deepest level of my awareness.   From the very beginning of my conscious awareness I was caught in a moral dilemma of immense proportion.     In the place of healthy childhood development, my ravaged young personality resembled a rudderless ship being sucked into a maelstrom of sexual energies that I could feel but not articulate.     I intuited that some cosmic mix-up had occurred between my mind and body, yet I had no words to describe the sense of disassociation that I experienced on a daily basis.

Beginning in early adolescence and throughout the most crucial period of personality development, neurosis and self-loathing poisoned my spirit at every step on the path to adulthood. Contradictions that would not yield to logic confronted me at every turn, on every level of my being.  I had “awakened” in this present incarnation with extreme dissonance of mind and body that I dare not reveal on penalty of death.   While my spirit whispered an awareness of my two spirited nature in one ear, the societal voice of sexist bigotry screamed shame and fear into the other ear.  Imprisoned by fate in this physical form that I could not accept or change, I suffered in isolation for many years.

My sense of abandonment became a prison/fort where I became angry, suspicious, and withdrawn.  Despite a natural tendency as a child was to seek reliefthrough the wisdom of my parents, I knew intuitively that they weren’t emotionally stable enough to deal with these feelings that I could not describe.     Even more injurious to my tender young ego was my conviction that to speak my truth would expose my young spirit to the violence of a world locked in delusion.

By the age 15, a huge gaping chasm developed between the carefully constructed, socially acceptable male image that I exhibited and the overpowering impulse of my secret feminine self.   I was paralyzed by an irreconcilable contradiction.  Caught between the maxim that “Jesus loved me, because the Bible told me so” and the knowledge that if anyone discovered my deep, dark secret I would be burned at the stake, I teetered on the brink of madness with little hope for resolution.

I trusted absolutely no one including parents and friends, aunts and uncles, teachers or preachers.    Artifice contaminated all of my relationships save the one I had with myself.    A deep sense of dread prevented me from even thinking about communicating this delicate issue to anyone.     As a result of my universal mistrust-cum- paranoia, I found myself utterly alone, holding onto suicidal ideation as an antidote to the pain.

A few months after I graduated from high school, my life fell apart.    The flimsy masculine image I had employed as a disguise began to deteriorate. Without a high school audience to appreciate my impersonation of a young man, I was an actress without a part.  Severely depressed, I retreated into my own world–a sheltered, sacred world of intense intellectual exploration into the mechanism of human consciousness…

In 1969, scant information was available on the subject of transgenderism, the psychological model of people with a non-conforming gender identity.   Psychiatry, from the male dominant perspective, continued to treat gender identity as a sort of minor psychosis.  For hundreds of years, institutionalization was the treatment of choice for people who were not comfortable in their assigned gender.  I struggled to maintain my male disguise while searching for a right path to understanding.

Despite my baptism as a good Lutheran boy, and a lifetime of half-hearted supplication, my prayers went unanswered. This dubious god of the pious masses had abandoned me. Two spirited people were not mentioned in the Bible, or any other religious text.  Logically then, I abandoned the notion of this cruel God, whose biblical omission continues to cause untold suffering and needless death.     By the time I had reached my early twenties, as an antidote to the spiritual toxicity of right-wing fundamentalist religion, I embarked on a life long study of the ancient belief systems of indigenous peoples.

 

THE OLD BECOMES THE NEW

I began my education with Native American tribes who perceived the energetic relationship of humans to their environment in a profound way that, as a result of genocide, may be lost to us forever. From the documentation of explorers and anthropologists, I found that indigenous cultures around the world valued the manifestations of the spirit so infinite in its diversity.  The Great Spirit’s creative authority was not questioned in matters of divine expression.  The Native Americans accepted all expressions of the Great Spirit as containing a wisdom nature that provided essential balance in every aspect of their environment.

One-hundred fifty years before I was born, the dreams of my youth would have been a sign from the Great Spirit that I was meant to be a two-spirited medicine person in Native American culture.   An apocryphal story of one North American tribe points to this sort of implicit acceptance of the will of the Great Spirit regarding gender:  According to oral history, a young boy or girl who showed the slightest indication of cross gendered behavior was placed in a grass hut with one male toy and one female toy. The hut was then set on fire. If the child’s gendered choice was ‘opposite’ their natal sex, the Great Spirit had spoken in affirmation of the child’s dual gender/nature thereby placing them in high esteem in the tribal society.

Each tribe had a name for these special people: The Lakota referred to them as Winkte [would-be woman].   The Navaho called them “nadleeh“[one who changes time and again].    In the Crow tribe, they were named “bade”, and the Zuni called them “ilhamana”.     Though the names of the Two-Spirit people varied greatly from tribe to tribe,   the trans-national similarities of their two-spirit traditions were remarkable considering the territorial nature of tribal life.\

Native Americans in general recognized the two-spirit folk as divinely imbued with a special insight regarding human nature.    Based on this gift of the spirit, tribes conferred much honor on them in terms of their position and responsibility to the tribe.    The spiritual gifts of their dual nature promoted them to positions of reverence in the role of hunters, story tellers, shamans, warriors, medicine persons, informal marriage counselors, and leaders of naming ceremonies.

Male born two-spirits were considered especially valuable in the sense that they performed the duties of a woman with the strength of a man.    Many woman born two-spirits were fierce warriors, respected by their fellow male warriors for their high level of skill in horse riding and counting coup.   Indigenous society did not judge, chastise, ridicule or kill the two spirited person as did white society.   They celebrated the gifts of diversity.

This indigenous appreciation for the necessity of balance through the interplay of yin and yang came to a sad end with the genocide of the North American Indian. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and zealous Jesuit missionaries, the two spirited tradition of the North American Indians was destroyed by the violence of enforced acculturation.

History now provides us with a tragic account of the many sordid ways that Spanish Conquistadors, driven by a belief  system that married  white supremacy with pseudo-pious religious imperialism, began a murderous, systematic war of cultural attrition against the “brown skinned” cultures of the North American continent.When the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca landed in Florida in the year 1530 and discovered the Timicuan Indians who lived there, notations in his diary indicated that he had witnessed “soft Native American males dressing and working as women’.

The Timicuan were a small elegant, artistic tribe located in northern Florida.  Far from the violence of the northern and western tribes, they had little reason for weapons and no shame about these soft males whom de Vaca referred to as berdache– from the Persian “bardaj,” a derogatory term   The proud conquistador celebrates while two-spirited people are thrown into a pit, mauled by wild dogs and suffer a slow painful death.   Beginning in the 1880’s, as proper American society moved across the Great Plains and into the mountains and deserts of the west, people encountered more of these “odd savages” and became determined to recreate Indian society in the image of Euro-American culture. Native Americans were taken away from their homes, their villages, their tribes, and families and acculturated into white society en masse.  Dressed and shorn in fashion of white culture, they were often imprisoned where they were beaten like animals for the slightest indication that they might not wholeheartedly embrace the ways of their captors.

The intentional destruction of Native American culture and the subsequent violent imposition of European Neo-Victorian values signaled the beginning of the end ofthe two-spirit tradition on the North American continent.    By the early 1900’s, their proud tradition was little more than a footnote in a rare historical text.Ironically, while religion succeeded in destroying the two-spirited tradition in indigenous North America, the essence of two spirited wisdom persists despite its detractors.   I am living proof.   From my earliest memories, I have known myself as a human being with a male spirit alongside an equally prominent feminine spirit. Long before I had heard of the term two spirits, I experienced it as a psychological context of my existence.

AWAKENING FROM THE DREAM OF THE WORLD

As I delved further into the anthropology of pagan/indigenous spiritual belief, I began to draw strength from the images of proud two-spirited people–celebrated for their diversity, wisdom, bravery, courage, and spiritual power in indigenous tribes across the globe.   I found numerous examples, both mythological and historical, of people with androgynous character. In these colorful pan-cultural narratives, I read of both men and women who were transformed into members of the opposite sex, either permanently or temporarily, for the sake of punishment or education.  From their legacy, I found liberation from the applied stigma of an intolerant, judgmental society

This new perspective empowered me with the knowledge of my inherent spiritual strength, but with validation came responsibility.   No longer was it possible to play the victim. I made the conscious decision to recreate my self image based on a model of the the two spirited elders who had gone before me.   My warrior’s spirit, suppressed for so many years by internalized shame and bigotry, found inspiration in the knowledge that peoplelike me were validated in ancient history.    I embraced this new manifestation of the spirit and resolved to let it guide me in my search for enlightenment  Buddhists call it maya; the Toltec call it the Dream of the Planet. The Dream of the planet is the collective conditioning that creates duality where none actually exists. Maya is the conditioning that justifies war and poverty, abuse and oppression, judgment and punishment, right and wrong, and murder for the sake of ideology.   Regardless of the name, the process that no humans can avoid is the non-critical internalization of information as directed by the intention of the Dream world we enter.   As I assimilated this unified theory of consciousness, my life began to make sense.

 

In his book of profound wisdom, “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the point succinctly,“Humans are dreaming all the time.   Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream we will call society’s dream or the dream of the planet dreams which together create a dream of family, a dream of community a dream of city, a dream of country and finally a dream of the whole humanity The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its government, schools, social events and holidays.” At the crux of the process is our agreement to the terms of our survival. With the capacity to dream from the moment of birth, our attention is contingent upon our need to survive.

Thus, when you are lying in your crib at the age of two, cold and hungry, without the benefit of personal boundaries, you will agree to any ordered condition of your specific environment in order to continue living.  At the moment a parent or guardian, who orders or allows the conditions of our little world, enters our sacred space and infects it with negative energy, we internalize those conditions. The absorbent yin nature of infantile consciousness provides the ideal context for the establishment of layered patterns of dysfunction.    This patterning describes the process of random input that determines personality. As this initial layer becomes fixed in time, self awareness is built on an endless loop of a conditioned patterning and reactive emotion.

With no discrimination possible upon our entrance into the Dream, our attention is hooked by the intention of a world committed to sustaining this conditioning.   This process of indoctrination begins to shape our young personality.   All of our values, institutions, familial obligations, and sense of self are creations of the collective dream state.  By our agreement to this persistent imposition of conditions, we project a reality in which we become our own judge, jury and executioner. Our words become the weapons of the indiscriminate process by which we spread the toxin of judgment and endless suffering.

Our investment in this illusion of consciousness perpetuates our sense of isolation and separation from the whole.  This process, from a psycho/societal view, referred to as identity politics, is the antithesis of a cohesive peaceful society.   Identity politics divides and subdivides human beings into an infinite number of categories based on superficial characteristics.   This elevation of ego by insidious, subliminal propaganda causes great suffering by creating a false hierarchy of values that celebrates neurosis, negates our humanity and establishes a context for oppression.

Invigorated by this new, liberating model of conscious development, I began to review my personal involvement in the Dream to gain a more rational perspective on my two-spirited condition. In a life changing epiphany, ancient wisdom pierced my heart like a lightning bolt –illuminating the darkness of a life lived in the shadows.   The raging river of caustic rhetorical hate and judgment, that had infected my consciousness for so long, was transformed into a harmless trickle that merged with the Tao of knowing.

FINDING THE REAL ME

Like so many indigenous two spirited folks before me, I had entered the world with a Dream of my own.   I am one of the fortunate ones–chosen by the Great Spirit to manifest this noble Two Spirits tradition in a society that manifested lethal sexism.    The simple act of being born with equal parts masculine and feminine renders me a social pariah. In a world so heavily invested in the duality, I represent a threat to the power structure– doomed to a life lived in the shadow of mainstream society, or any society at all.

Throughout many years of suffering, I wandered blindly in the darkness of my own illusion.   I have survived the perilous conflict between the world Dream and my own  personal dream by deconstructing my sexist conditioning through the lens of my essential humanity.    Through the warrior’s act of intention, I have recreated my “self” based on the gift of Two-Spirited medicine that guides me on this personal journey of transcendence.    Personality, based on illusory thought–produced by a shared corrupt ego state–burdens me no more. The Dream of the world has lost its steely grip. My spirit shall not yield to the deception.

My life as a two spirited person today is full and rich because I honor myself in my Two Spirits tradition.    No longer am I afflicted by the illusion of the duality.    Within me, yin and yang are one, undivided–undifferentiated. I am neither this nor that. I represent the unification of the first binary–the primary subdivision that occurs at the moment of birth at the whim of a stranger in white. I reject this arbitrary distinction based on a cursory inspection of my genitalia. I am a human being and that is enough.  Endless subdivisions of identification only enhance my separation from other humans.

All sentient beings enter this material plane with the essence of their luminous character momentarily intact. Our consciousness is tabula rasa–a blank slate upon which is written the disparate elements of our future personality. Within minutes of our birth, we are assigned a gender based on our genitalia.   At the precise moment of this declaration, the infant is set on one of two very different paths whose parameters determine flux and flow of its life.    By the time we reach first year’s end, we are baptized by delusion.    The Dream clouds our vision, separating us from the source of our essential brilliance. And we forget.

We forget that before we internalized the identity that causes us to feel the immense pain of separation and isolation we were united as light beings in an energetic dimension of non-duality. We forget because human consciousness produces a false ego-based concept of gendered duality that is perpetually reinforced through violence and other forms of coercion.  Before we know what or who we are, sexism becomes the engine of social control. By the dominance/submission agreement into which men and women enter, this dream of sexism creates and perpetuates the suicidal imbalance of power and ensures our future disharmony.

While the dream of sexism continues to inflict pain much of man’s violence toward women cannot be understood in a rational sense.  Perhaps this murder by misogyny is man’s way of killing the feminine within himself in an effort to reinforce his self image of manhood.   Regardless of the motive, the prevalence of misogyny is the best evidence of our nihilistic tendencies.   While the Dream of sexism is too powerful to confront directly, its negative consequences are too destructive to ignore.  Until we as a global society are willing to confront this shadow side of our collective unconsciousness, we wobble on the brink of self destruction

We live in a very potent, extremely perilous time.  With the passing of each decade the world, precariously out of balance on the fulcrum of time, slides inexorably into the darkness. With the aid of industrialization and technology, we are losing our humanness under the immense burden of our artificially inflated egos.   What we refer to as culture is a euphemism intended to disguise the totality of our conditioned violence  that includes man’s violence against man, against women and against Gaia.  We are ‘civilized’ animals who have forgotten what is sacred.

The mysterious, awesome spirit of life, that animates and gives meaning to everything, ironically empowers the mechanism of its own demise.    Unbalanced, unbridled ego imbues the individual with the necessary rationale to commit the senseless destruction of life for the sake of ideology.    These are discomforting truths, yet we have no choice but to confront them while we still have our collective human will.    As conscious beings, we must take responsibility for our behavior, or perish in our apathy.    No longer is it practical to externalize authority.  No god will save us-none but the one we find within us.

A WARRIOR’S STANCE

A spiritual warrior must use all of their intention to pierce the veil of illusion that defines our lives, reinforces our sense of separateness, and perpetuates our suffering.  For as long as we are dominated by egocentric politics, a fatal imbalance of yin and yang threatens us with extinction.    A return to balance requires a commitment to a fearless, non-judgmental exploration of the self from earliest memory.    Most of the agreements that we have made since our first moments of life must be broken.    Our numerous defense mechanisms, all of our deepest darkest fears, all grasping, and all of our attachments must be reviewed in the context of the Dream.     Only when these subconscious negative obstructions melt away will we find the light within ourselves.

If we are serious about becoming a spiritual warrior for the benefit of ourselves and the collective, we must first focus on the healing nature of unconditional self-love.     This can only happen when we break with the subconscious, self limiting agreements of our past.  Believe that you deserve love, and with time the many layers of accumulated toxic patterns lose their evil power. Your commitment to begin your own healing with the power of love is the most important agreement one can make, for logic dictates that one can not give away something one does not possess. Begin now. Make a vow to love everything about yourself everyday.    Demonstrate self-love in every moment with every act.

Personal freedom requires a firm commitment to renounce the oppressive conditioning that leads us into the darkness of despair . I ask that you join me now and everyday as I renew the vows that produce beneficial karma.      For the benefit of all sentient beings; I take a vow of non-violence in my words and deeds. I vow to practice compassion toward myself that I may then extend it to others, I pledge to be ever mindful of the rotten fruits of desire, and I will do whatever I must to transcend the illusion of personal identity. Towards that end, I vow to polish the mirrored lens of my spirit that I might reflect the sun’s perfect light that shines in you.

The Divine Light in Me Honors the Divine Light within You.

NAMASTE

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »