Seeking your support
For Life’s “little” storms…
(HAPPY SOLSTICE BEAUTIFUL ONE)
“Hi dear Shira. Thank you for all of your prayers and for checking in. Everything was mostly destroyed and the only place that was safe was inside the walls where you slept. The walls of the kitchen fell down, the roof has mostly come off. But, I have to tell you something. It is like a little miracle and a testament to your love. Not a single one of the dreamcatchers you made fell down or were destroyed.”
A few weeks ago the eye of Hurricane Agatha set its sights on Mazunte, the little Pueblo magico that I call home half of the year on Oaxaca’s coast. Hurricanes are not common here like the Gulf Coast.
No one in the villages along the coast died. However, lives were destroyed. My beautiful Lorraine, the woman I have written about and who has become family to me in the last many years, lost her home and her work in a matter of a storm. She is local like the majority of those whose homes were devastated.
My heart has been breaking for my community. My soul is woven into that land. I love the people of Mexico. The loving pride in their simple homes with dirt floors swept daily that have held generations of grandchildren. The hearth fire stove that is lit every morning for fresh corn tortillas and whatever day’s catch the young men bring home from the waters that have fed them for hundreds of years.
Mazunte is a Pueblo Magico. It is recognized by the government as a “magical” spot, because Mexico, and most of Latin America, still believe in and recognize magic. Mazunte is therefore protected from overt, big name corporate greed. But like anywhere beautiful, when the corruption of western dominance touches a community such as this, the rules are often overlooked as money changes hands. Tourism becomes the way of life and everything is geared toward “US”. The community that was once in step with their natural ways of life become completely dependent on “US” and their ancestral livelihood slowly dies. It is the way it is. Their lives mostly depend upon outside money coming in. (When I reference “US” I mean the global north)
When a natural disaster hits a place like this, many of those from the outside with all of their do- gooding money up and leave because it’s no longer “pretty”. Their escape from reality followed them and so they run. Not all of them, but most of them. They are mad at the Earth. How could this have happened to “them”? They made sure that their money was guaranteed to protect them. At least they can fly away when the going gets tough. But what happens when the waters rise everywhere and the winds change on a dime and begin tearing down the life that guaranteed safety from such things? What happens when we can’t run from the disaster to something more pretty and shiny and we have to face the storms that rip through our lives?
In all fairness, when a small community is so burdened and without food supplies, water and shelter, having fewer mouths to feed is best for the short term.
All the while the people of these places get to work rebuilding as they laugh and cry and keep making tortillas on makeshift stone hearth fires. Even though they have been partially seduced away from their way of life, the dirt floors upon which they lay their heads at night whisper stories about regeneration and generations that have met Mother Nature and, regardless of the “devastation”, have always risen again with more strength, praise and respect of the one true force of power. They remember their ancestors have rituals for grief and dances for the dead. They ride the waves with wild cries and they rise.
And- they need help.
Mazunte is one of the most naturally powerful parts of the Earth I have ever set my feet upon. It, like any beautiful spot, has become overwhelmed by seekers from all over the world. Many come with good intentions to share healing gifts and lay prayers into the waves and clap for the sun when it sets over Punta Cometa. And many do not. They come here with their big money and big ideas to help “these people” and gobble up the land without even asking if that is what the land or the people want.
What I wish for Mazunte is that this storm thinned out those people who just wanted the shiny and pretty thing, without the wisdom this land keeps deep in its watery underbelly. That those who choose to return and rebuild with their money will do so in the ways of reciprocity with the spirits, plants, animals and people of this sacred place.
There is a dragon that lives in the crook of the bay that kisses Punta Cometa. She coils herself into the curve of Mermejita and peers at the people through Ventanilla. I have been shredded on these beaches, stripped bare and cleaned by a gleaming invisible tooth. I have been rocked back to wholeness by the hands of the waves that take the shapes of the shamanas and curanderas who have bathed their bodies in ritual along these shores. The stone people here absorb my tobacco prayer and receive my body as it is smoothed by the same elements that have shaped their faces.
Two years ago as I was in prayer on Mermejita, a place many shamans won’t set foot because of the visuals they get hit with of sacrifice and ritual, and in the Latin cultures black magic is a thing. I heard these voices coming from what is left of the jungle below the cliffs. I could see yellow eyes and balls of light. And a message:
“They won’t be able to continue building. The spirits won’t allow it to go further. You don’t have to worry.”
I saw flooding.
This is when I met the woman on the cliffs. Long black hair, drum in hand and a prayer that pierces the waves. She tends the dragon. She sings to the dragon. She helps the people maintain right-relationship with the dragon. For the dragon holds the bounty and the beast in its belly and will give the people either one depending on the song being sung.
It was last year when I met her again. I had taken a significant offering down to place inside of the land. It was the first full moon of the year and I went to Punta Cometa with tobacco, copal and a large Wild Turkey wing given to me after I held a woman in Port Townsend through a psychedelic healing journey. The Wild Turkey is a symbol of thanksgiving and reciprocity.
As I buried the wing up against the cliffs, placed my tobacco and lit my copal, I saw her on the cliffs behind me. My body began to buzz and I sat in prayer to listen. Then she told me a story about why I was called so deeply to be a part of this place in a way that almost haunts me. I looked at her and saw my own face and she told me she was me. I have been standing upon those cliffs singing to the dragon everyday inside another timeline where I walked these lands in prayer. It was then shown to me how and why I am drawn to all of the places I have roamed and healed and helped with my willing presence to be stripped bare by whatever called my soul. Why ritual and prayer pours from my bones so naturally in some places. I am a concentric lifeline that never dies and only spirals through time. I am the living centerpiece in a great circle of dead things feeding life to remember itself back into a love story of continuance. I hear this song ringing in me. I answer and this is what I receive.
But this story isn’t really about me and the magic of my life. It is about a profound relationship with a place I love and what I saw when this hurricane had it’s eye dead center on Mazunte. And the help this sacred place needs.
I didn’t say anything about this of course to those who just lost their homes. But those who live there know. They know that this was a cleaning by the Dragon’s sharp tooth and wild flutter of her wings.
I am not one to automatically turn Pollyanna and say “everything happens for a reason”. When someone is grieving and has just suffered loss and ruin, the last thing they need is a spiritual platitude. In fact, it’s rather insulting and shows how much healing and integration of their raw humanity the person speaking has to do, and that a kind “fuck you” is appropriate in that moment.
Yet, in my world, from what I have witnessed time and time again- everything happens for a reason.
Mazunte needed a resurrection. The spirits of the land were putting a stop to the inundation of super fast paced colonization. The ecosystem, one of the most biodiverse places in all of Mexico, is declining fast. Turtle and whale populations have declined in just 5 years. The reef where I used to see tons of fish has begun to die. Water is still abundant and becoming an issue. Water is being taken from the villages in the hills to water the at capacity amount of people partying at the beach.
I include myself in this. I am a seeker of this place. However, I don’t go to places to sit on a beach and escape into a pink drink handed to me by a cute umbrella boy named Juan. Not that there is anything wrong with relaxation, planting one’s ass on a beach, pink drinks or flirting with Juan, it’s the motive and audacity behind it all.
It’s a mess and it needs(ed) a clean up and I am committed to being a part of the effort from wherever I am. It’s my sacred work upon this Earth to bring loving awareness and education about right relationship simply by walking it. But is this the place anymore to continue to do it? Is this the end between Mazunte and me? I do not want to be another burden upon a place that has lavished me in unconditional healing and beauty.
Unconditional love holds a juxtaposition that is based on perception, or really a chosen state of illusion. One would say that a storm that destroys is a curse of Mother Nature. I would say it’s unconditional love. The wisdom of Nature, of the wild and mysterious genius in all things, at its core, is only interested in right-relationship with all of life- not just human life. When that is established, then all of life begins to thrive in balance- which includes humans. Yet our ideas of death, and the reasons Nature’s responses to life being out of balance are deemed disasters, are based on a narrative told by a societal lexicon meant to keep fear, control and colonialism at the forefront of the story.
Under natural law the things that can almost destroy us, the things we fear the most, are often being generated by a force of love to help us. These initiations can almost kill us and break the heart open wide. If the hurricane spares our human lives, it is best to listen or there will be a next time. These storms arrive in many ways at our door. Some love to look like a beautiful rainbow that you want to follow, but it’s a storm in disguise seeing if you will let yourself get off track by the shiny thing and then bam! The colors fade fast and you realize you were seduced by an illusion of beauty rather than the beauty that can really mirror your soul. The storms I could see coming but ignored are often the ones that ripped my life apart the most.
When I drop deep into myself I hear a “yes come back” from that land. I hear the dreams in those dream catchers that are still “standing” and singing to me. My journey there will look a little different than I had thought it would. My journey in general is looking a little different. It is beginning to look more beautiful than anything I could have dreamt alone. The visions I have carried in the background about my life, love and “work” in the world have limited me. I needed a few storms this last year to hit my life and clean up the debris of old stories clogging my sight. The eye of my heart is much clearer now. I am deeply grateful for being tossed around a bit.
For a decade I have seen a little center. A little home that is owned by a Mexican woman that I share when I am there. A space to receive people and teach them, with those who know these lands like the back of their hand, about prayer and how to be with a place. How to truly rest and restore and receive medicine. How to integrate and stand up straight inside the crucible of humanity. I see a space for you to come and be with me as we, in a good way, make footsteps in the sand that we know will be washed away by the sea. Like our lives one day if we are lucky. Our death will be that easy. Can be that easy.
I have a community down there of local people, mostly women, who sing and dance and make medicine and sell vegetables from their gardens and still clean the evil spirits from your body with an egg. And these local women were thriving and serving their community in healing before the hurricane. They are still there with that dream because it wasn’t something created for “US”, it is what they do inherently, and despite the wreckage at their feet they keep dancing.
I fully believe that they, that we, will rebuild with more awareness and beauty than before. I believe that there is an opportunity here for more thriving. And I know the people in Oaxaca feel the same. I have sat and sung by their side and have heard the laments of what was happening to their Pueblo Magico. As hard as this will be to get through there will only be healing on the others side.
I have sent money down. Because that is what helps right now. There are so many things in the world to help everywhere, first and foremost ourselves. All the while knowing that nothing needs saving.
So my ask for support, if you can spare, is anything that you feel called to donate. I don’t know how it will come back to you, but it will. Are you the benefactor of a little center where you can remember the ways of dragons and the deep cry of your soul? I don’t know. Either way it’s a vision I know am here to help birth.
Lorraine will be the recipient of the money and she will distribute it evenly to the community as she cleans up the home we shared and sings with the women and helps those who are still in shock and despair. She is a healer and a deeply honest and good woman.
If you want to send money to Mexico you can simply PayPal me at:
Jamie@wellbellyhealing.com (FRIENDS AND FAMILY). I will wire transfer to Lorraine via transfer wise. I can send you a confirmation of money sent if you choose.
There are also a lot of Go Fund Me campaigns but I don’t know exactly who is behind them like I know Lorraine and the women singers whose homes were taken by the storm.
How you can support me in birthing this dream is by becoming a paid subscriber and supporting my work- in reciprocity. Especially if you get a glimmer of something from my words each month. If you are worried about automatic payments then you can send me money via PayPal like some of you have. Deep bow. It goes a long way in my life.
There is so much to say and my words never seem like they are clear enough or enough enough. But alas…
THANK YOU FOR YOU. FOR READING. FOR RECEIVING THIS. IT FEELS TENDER. I HAVE BEEN GRIEVING AND DREAMING.
BEFORE YOU GO~ Here are two poems, one I wrote recently about the lands I love. The other about the woman on the cliff. Enjoy, share and weave your dream- catchers.
~When I let go of figuring out the words
that may or may not be understood,
drop into gratitude
and bring language to what I love,
it matters only what the Seagull thinks of me
as I try to name the comfort of its cry
~One of the first sounds I heard
at the beginning of my life
~I immediately knew I was by water
That water, being next to, submerged in,
almost destroyed by
would be what saved my life.
~I go to the water
bathe my sorrow
watch the ripples and marvel
at how in an hour a whole new scene
has washed ashore.
~A whole new life is possible
in a matter of a storm.
~But today I am no longer choosing
to be tossed about
to know Love
~Instead the gentle lapping
of a calm crystal blue salt sea
at my tired feet
as I drench my body in the Sun’s heat
is what I am claiming now.
~Seagull to Pelican
Blue Heron to White Crane
it’s Her many faces of water
kissing all corners of Mother Earth
that have taught me how to walk
again and again.… and again.
~And how my tears always replenish
the incorruptible Well
below the Ocean’s floor
~That teaches me to dive deep
and how to drink from a resource
that will forever continue living
~For the children of the Stars.
Where there is a seaside cliff
there is a woman standing
Watching and praying
crying and drumming
Commanding wind and tide
~Face carved by sunrise blaze
Nest of moon beam upon her head
For the Eagle’s watchful cry
The Dragon’s blazing prayer
From across the waves
Across the waves
~Holding vigil at the portal
Spinning and weaving
Wailing and singing
for the holy souls
shedding the crucible of little lies
Unwinding shaking limbs from ledge
That once held protection from wind
~The most tender wing a mosaic
of Earth and Heaven
When unfurled by death and longing
withstands every torrent of Storm
~Real transformation flies
inside the veil between Sea and Sky
No fear of the drowning deep
and fire of firmament
when guided by cliff song
~Hymns of resurrection
in her whispering and chanting
praising and raising the good name
Until all Her children fly
the Ocean’s trail of tears