a visionary's report: practicing our bests while we still can!
Biked about 70 miles round trip--especially thru one larger community of fellow human beings-- with the intention to send the best of what i am currently manifesting and channelling (not to mention long immersed in exploring) into the heavily colonial-bombarded fellow human beings called indigenous folks (the actual nation kept confidential for privacy purposes). Wore some spontaneous (and not so spontaneous) regali-uh and the seeming fruition of a vision regarding what might be "the best" way to especially art my intent: a neon-red question-mark on my face! Experiences included very untypical natural and critter behavior all the way to exhilerating joy shared with a few key persons --outside of the usual matrixes of imposed reality.
A previous vibe-exploration
The Dear People
Back to this ride
Old spirits challenging me?
Sunny and warm and other signs
A fruit stand
Overall, i think this "crucial artz" interaction was 'successful'. How do i judge this? Via the ways of the weather, via enthusiastic honking, and via not only friendly vibes and waves, but especially one young lady's cheerful shout of which you may read of later on.
First and foremost on this day's journey was nature and her closest peoples. Tho an acquaintance told me there was a hard rain ten minutes after i left my camp, i personally experienced none, nor even much wind. For me, pedalling on my bike at a normal pace, it was a nice, cool morning, perfect for my intuitive inclination to take a form of "direct action" towards folks i find myself especially interested in touching.
A few miles down the road i happened to look up in the sky and see a flock of large birds getting ready to obviously land on the nearby lake. Yet just as they seemed to see me, they all began, one after another, to "back-pedal" in mid-air. And then i watched them, and they certainly watched me, as we moved by each other. Them, a flock of PELICANS!!!! (i'd only seen ONE on my entire ride of 20 days north, and was greatly surprised at that sighting more than a hundred miles south) So wow!!
The next thing i remember noting was a large storm-like cloud just this side of the horizon, in the east. It resembled a gigantic frog. Having worn the moniker of frog quite a few times, i kept looking at the shape to see what it was doing and what it might do. i could clearly make out the shape of a frog reclining and seeming to smoke, and then leaning over from its perch and seeming to notice me (and my neon red question mark). And that's the last i saw of it before the local trees shielded me from seeing it any more --in that form, anyway.
A previous vibe-exploration
I'd done an initial ride, before this longer one, of about 20 miles (round trip) to just a few miles across the border of this ndn semi-sovereign nation a few days prior to this ride. As a kind of touching to "feel out" the vibes in the context of having been somewhat hyped-up against by a local yocal i kind of know and am visiting. Tho he had underlined the danger of staying overnite on their land (telling me he would expect a phone call from the hospital if i dared to what i had at first planned to do: camp somewhere and try to share my arte), he felt it was safe enough in the daytime. But with vibes like that coming from him, i definitely would be on my guard.
Even tho i know that in all border-areas around groups being especially attacked (be they ndn or Black or etc) there is a lot of hype and racist projecting and such, i knew that there could also be a germ of truth in there as well. And given that most settlers are heavily imbibed with such a fear orientation, it would likely also be the case, i reasoned, that the ndn fellow human beings would be forced to respond in a similar kind of way...expectations of cynicism towards all whitemen.
The Dear People
Anyway, on this preliminary-type ride i experienced multiple magick'l energies with nature's closest folk, especially. Like on the way towards there when a fawn stopped and listened to my words of joy and love--i.e. "Oh what a lovely GREAT spiRiT YOU are!" (as its sibling and ma fled).
Further on, i sighted an adult (?) or teenage (?) doe walking with another fawn out in a field and pretty close to a large island of trees. When she sighted me, however, she didn't run towards that place (which would seem reasonable), but at such an angle that i figured would cross just in front of me. Maybe she sought to run with me, as other deer have done from time to time? Curiously, she left the fawn in the dust, so to speak, and here's what happened:
The fawn tried its hardest to stay up with this doe, but was hard-pressed by the roughage of the soil. When finally gaining the road (whereupon another doe had bounded out of some small woods and crossed with the first doe), came up to the road and then slowed as if to listen to its mother ("Don't cross roads without looking first!!"), and then finally bounded across somewhat awkwardly (perhaps assuming it would be shot anytime?), and then, obviously exhausted, almost feebly bounded to where it stood, i saw as i passed by, with the other doe, whom stared me down and seemed to say to me, "Shoot me, if you must kill us." While in the distance, the teenaged (?) doe was still running and had gained much distance.
Or how about the large-ish shrew-like mouse that ran with me for several yards a mile or so onto the Rez? Running out into the road as it saw me, and running alongside me!!
Or the image that came to me of a circle of gigantic cloud people seemingly waiting for me and another cloud to join them (kind of like a dream i have from time to time where after this life i am to return to a cirlce of spirits whom have sent me out to figure things out better for the whole); with the other cloud feeling like it was acting as an aider or go-between, helping me to see that i had time to still join them (from my place directly below, if i could make it); this all while the road moved in just the right direction (missing the darkest storm-looking places). Still, i had made up my mind to only go a few miles in, so despite feeling a pulling to go into the space that the circle of clouds seemed to be holding, i turned back.
Back to this ride
About 4 miles into the Rez, having passed my earlier position, i felt like stopping (forgot why) and just as i did, rite at THAT SPOT, i saw a Red-tailed Hawk spring out from somewhere near the ground and begin flying, within rows of the outermost trees between me and it. It didn't try to fly into the open, but seemed to be using the trees as some kind of defense. Who knows? Anyway, upon returning (on my way back 'home'), i came across a solitary feather from that kind of bird, in the area i had seen that one (tho it had originally flown across the street from me).
Old spirits challenging me?
The next thing i especially came upon was for only a relatively small time. A horde of buzzing flies descended upon me and began seeming to challenge me and my intent. i thought sure they would accompany me for the rest of the ride, but would find out that such flies were not in hordes and acted like other places in this part of the state i was in.
This horde began reminding me of what my Hollywoodified thinking has programmed me with (even tho i've done a pritty fair job of thinking beyond it these daze) : that these flies might well be angry warrior ancestors of the local people wanting to "fuck with me" a little more before they'd "let" me come into their territory in any deep way. Just as i thought this, one in particular knocked into my face! But that only happened once. Most just buzzed around me in an angry-seeming way.
As for my expectation that rez dogs might attack me, i had a special defense strategy all ready for them. Tho few even barked, one or two did, and made a show of coming out after me on the road. When they did this, i immediately began encouraging them on. "YEAH, you need exercise!! COME ON!! Good Dog!!" And of course, with a stranger ordering them to do something, they instinctively halted. Heh heh. A little reverse psych! Better than any club or pepper spray (which i didn't want to bring anyway)!
i did find myself having to confront some of my internalized racism (as well as racism being actively put into me in my location near an indigenous border), yes. Like asking myself why i didn't just stop and try to hang out for awhile in various spaces on Indian Land (outside of the one time i stopped for any lengthy period of time at a place i was looking for a friend at). Or why i didn't go into any obviously public-oriented buildings and make my presence more known. Now (weeks after the initial write-up of this), i realize that i was unconsciously avoiding things i have learned in my life to be careful about. For one, to be more respectful of a people's home territory by not imagining that i can just waltz in and hang out and seriously 'hope' to find depth connection. And for two, realizing that public buildings and the like are bastions not for sane-seeking, but repositories for b.i.a.-type mind-sets. So it was gOod how i proceeded, that first time in a semi-large town of indigenous folks.
So, racism? In my case, i claim it is likely in some form (coming with my alienation from these fellow people), tho i happen to think, of the Charles H. King variety;(1) that is, as we begin to see exactly how racism manifests in ourselves and the cult-ure we've been conditioned into, we, seeking to respond with the best of our awareness (aka responsibility) do so. For me, a solo-ized person walking yet another dangerous path, similar in some ways to these fellow people, with the intent to share my successes and my solidarity with all angles of informal humanity. Or something like that!
Input, of course, always invited!
Thus, my action as a continued, even daily, processing --thru and via many prior interactions (more than 20 now, x-country) and more and more becoming to radically beautiful powers in places where my's (yours and my) gifts feel like showing themselves and even blooming. With the result of moving thru and beyond fear of the Unknown and into evolutionary status and surprising potential. And, the bottom line, not being arted by dominating alienation.
i'm getting ahead of myself tho. Heh eh-heh.
Anyway, as i found myself sometimes recoiling from the way some of my fellow people look--a recoiling of not being used to being around such different-looking folks-- i then found myself seeing many of my previous ndn friends and gOod acquaintances in those faces! And such beauty in their eyes and the story of their faces! yet my learned reluctance and self-restriction made itself clear to me, first and foremost.
There in an Unknown, singly stepping into a semi-soveriegn community, my first impulse is/was to protect myself restrictively, and only, in time, and in meeting up with others, would i let my armor slip down a little bit more. Notably, even tho i've long advocated for engaging in strategies of "protection via enrichment". Then again, i *was* enriching myself by even attempting to go into this Unknown so radically. So maybe...anyway, perhaps to save for a conversation someplace else?
Obviously, the attempt to jiu-jitsu received information, both on small scale topics as well as the larger scale topic of how i want to try living my life (freely) even more than i have been. And perhaps share what i have learned with others who can at least basically grasp--and have frames of references for grasping-- what i have long been going into more and more. That is, jiu-jitsuing prevailing fears as i move thru them. And, if it is my time to pass on from this life then it must be time to pass on. But so far, even in the most harried of situations (counting from actions since about 1993), i've found quite amazing openings for my brand of arting, which i shall now refer to as "the crucial artz". (2)
This said, i see my insight as dovetailing with traditional indigenous ways of seeing and being in the world. And, in fact, having much to learn from my older brothers and sisters (and yes i am willing to risk saying that without being indigenous to this side of Mom Earth by blood, as far as i know).
And learning i did have. Even in their silence, indigenous people teach! Knowing it or not, their spirit sings them in ways they have often (i think) taken for granted. It's like a woman i met during another action (in a Washington Rez) seems to believe (i had gotten to know her quite close over a few months). Perhaps after growing up watching too much propaganda, er, TV. And because her culture wasn't represented at all, not seeing that greatness celebrated *at all* and making similar assumptions that other human beings make (i.e. as pointed out in a crucial text entitle "Media Control") in similar circumstances. Things like her family seemingly being so close in a joyful way to each other, and, not being represented at all, assuming that such was of little value.(3)
Sunny and warm and other signs
What with the semi-heavy "suit" coat i wore (of a heavy material), even with no shirt, i was pretty hot. And it was almost like "a mobile sweat" this time except that i didn't have any of the variety of masks i've worn on many of my previous crucial artz actions. Sweaty, but not THAT sweaty.
See the accompanying picture(s) for how i designed myself, color and arte-wise.
If you can't read most of them, here they are:
One pinned in plain, easy-to-see sight:
"Don't believe anything i say. Think it thru instead!" (this was read aloud, to my happiness, by a fiesty young lady at the place i stopped at furthest away from my starting place.)
Another, located below a bunch of pictures i'd pinned together on my torso:
"Great human spirit liberation" on one side, and the other: "beyond same old again".
And on my upper arm (facing away from the road), on a circle of paper: "NOT MARTIAL ARTS, CRUCIAL ARTZ!" This had a pink dot in its center which read: "human spirit liberation".
The main sign, a quote i got out of a book by Barbara Hand Clow entitled "Catastrophobia", read:
(small print):"We are" (then large print, sparkly and hand-colored) "POISED TO TAKE THE BRAVE JOURNEY BACK TO OUR PREVIOUS BRILLIANCE".
i also wore a few purely natural adornments. One was a peice of curled birchbark i'd found somewhere. Wrapped naturally inside it was the part of a dreadock i'd cut off awhile back. i did pin a curled up photo of a wolf i made good acquaintance with some years ago, tho. The birchbark felt especially interesting to me because i felt in wearing it that i was responding to peices of such i'd found systematically on the side of the road for a few hundred miles of my longdistance ride up this way a few weeks prior. Just in case someone was seeking to communicate via that means..i wanted to "say" that i "understood".(4)
Going into the rez i recall seeing several styles of travel. There were the clear windows, one with a packed carfull of shirtless youths with a woman driving; there were lots more dark windows. There were solo drivers, one woman leaning over sideways as she passed. For each, tho i would grow tired of this after awhile, i would give 'em my "Weeblos Peace Salute", heh. A little creative way to show my spirit a little better, i felt.
A few miles before getting into the main town i was heading for there was the man standing out, alone, on a drive-way-like place, who wore a purple shirt. We eyed each other silently as i passed him. It was deep, and i look forward to perhaps some day knowing him better.
Kent Nerburn's book "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" impressed upon me the angle of taking care not to push, or at least rationalizing my own inputting differently. While still wanting to SOMEHOW share my giftery and possibly even more (i.e. my personal experiences with creative, confrontational nonviolent openings) i tried to be sensitive to this sentiment. But likely, the pushing the people in Nerburn's book described was mostly about formal pushing, as done by religious and scientific missionaries, as well as by the more usual colonial tools.
Next of note were a group of youth swimming off a dock in a small lake. Some must've intuitively "heard" me, for they turned their heads just at the rite time as i passed in my distance, and waved. As my vibe-o-energies touched them on their backs from afar!
Then the college receptionist in a ghostly-dark space at the entrance to the local college in the bigger of the two towns i visited. i was looking for my good acquaintance from AIM's 'The Longest Walk' ('08) and enquired about the place he was supposed to be working at, at behest of Dennis Banks. She had no idea, tho suggested i go to the next town, another 5 miles beyond. i hadn't planned to ride that far, but it would only be another 10 miles...
Got to the place faster than i expected, but didn't find anyone who knew my borderline friend, at least they didn't say.. On the pretense of wanting to give the place a pile of pritty deep books, which i ended up not being able to *find*(!??), only to discover later that they were "hidden" deeper in my packs than i had figured...argggggg...i kind of got my foot in the door. Or at least, was successful at drawing a small crowd of folks patronizing the place, as they asked about what i was doing.
After all, my bike was all decorated with art and flamboyancy, and of course i still had my question-mark attached to my face and all!
Success here means that i was then able to share a bunch of my art, have some converstation, enjoy some humor, and generally get a taste of the great spirit i love so much about hanging out informally with indigenous folks. It was a standing affair, but their spirit reached across the usual boundaries (between we euro-peons); at least that's what i felt.
i told 'em that i wanted to give all of the art (one packet amongst several was all i showed 'em) to their place, or at least leave it for them to peruse and come back for it another time. i think they were surprised to hear that, and perhaps somewhat even taken aback. What might be up my sleeve? (And what experiences previously had they had from crazy white folks coming into their territory like i?)
One 30-ish guy hung out the longest with me, questioning me, and once even warning me about wearing my hat back the way i wore it. i figure he was giving me the benefit of the doubt that i was simply another fool-ass, naive white "boy"-type...advising me that i *should* turn my hat brim back up to the front so not to be viewed as a threat by gangland folks around there.
The thing of it was, tho, that i *wanted/want* to interact with them folks! Because my arte message is largely FOR THEM! To this younger man i responded too basically, wishing i had told him of my long thought-through intentions--and diverse experiences--with such. Tho i did tell him that i risk my life all the time, such as by biking on roads!
Maybe i could have been more coherent, or maybe how i was was just right, who knows? All i know is that the younger dude accepted my flyers (including my last (?) TrudellJohn/art'd flyer) and said, in a curiously cammo'd way, that he would certainly be looking up the links on these. Yee-haa! He also agreed to take the peice i had made especially to give to gangland youth (which had a depth spirit driving a kewl-car and asking "How deep is your art?"), which i wanted to give to the place itself.
As for the others? i feel i made a kind of first-step bridge to them. A kind of first-step where when i share with them, others may come out of the woodwork, so to speak. Who knows? All i know is that i must escape the confines of showing art via the usual colonial channels!
There was one particular feisty young lady (in her 20s?) that i think i mentioned above who was particularly inspiring to me. She was quite provocative, and even commented on an original peice that i've been wantintg to get rid of for awhile now. This peice depicts the raging spirit anger, in sun-form, of youth whose humanity is denied by both colonial norms and, it seems, by how traditional indigenous forms are becoming not merely guidelines (as Taiaiake Alfred has demystified in his book Wasase), but a new kind of dogma.
Anyway, this young lady commented that she would like to tatoo THAT art on her left buttcheek!!! Whoa-woW! Yowzah! And tho she didn't follow thru with taking it when i offered it to her, i thought, hmmm, maybe *i* should have it tatooed there; then, if i'm ever set up for prison rape, it would be one wild-ass (heh) statement to those trying to hurt me. Yeah, i like that.
Curiously, none of these folks openly agreed to take nor took any of my arte when i wanted to leave it or even some with them or even give it or some to them. They seemed caught up in other thoughts. Perhaps thining, if they responded in the affirmative, that i'd spring some kind of bullshit? Or perhaps it was something else? Non-materialism? ...?
Whatever, i left with all of my arte, and no goodbyes. i saw one guy i had particularly found an easy-going vibe with, out in the distance, standing alone, and i felt, holding that space to watch me from the corner of eyes...but i could be completely projecting. Okay. But thanks for being so easy-going all o' y'all!
Riding back into the bigger town, i came upon many more folks. Many youth were organized around some kind of project of painting some roadside wooden fences (i'd seen only a few on the way in, but now many more were there). And friendly and eager motorists (all Native) were waving at me and honking. One young lady, from the other side of a suddenly quite busy road, yelled out to me after showing me the "thumb's up" sign, saying:
a fruit stand
At a tiny fruit stand where a seemingly whole family (?) of guys (kids on up) sat, i passed, and then was called back. We spoke a bit and i pitched my interest to show my art somewhere there, along with wanting to show them a bit of it. They wouldn't "bite" tho. Maybe they just assumed things in very negative ways? Or maybe if i'd sat down with them and hung out awhile they would have opened up more?
So i figure it was my anxiety, held just under the surface ("thanks" both to my fellow white men who'd been hyping me up previous to this interaction as well as my own *usual* uneven keel), which they picked up on. Hm?
(well, i'm stopping writing this for now as my 'puter battery is low and i want to get this onto disk)
1) Charles H. King (author of the small press book "Fire In My Bones") led a forum on racism in 1984 to which i attended on a scholarship from an autonomous Black newspaper out of Michigan entitled "Information Magazine", for which i was doing artwork for at the time. King stressed one idea that stuck in my mind: that ALL are racists, it's what we do with our imperfection that proves our responsibility or irresponsibility.
2) the crucial artz/s are all about practicing, honing, and deploying (heh) our creative intelligences into the increasingly deadening suiciety all around. It is a creative, confrontational method or way of doing things which finally escapes "Us vs Them" and focuses primarily on ways of radical's radically bridging with the martially-stuck--realizing the over-arching value-- and seeding classic nonviolence attributes of friendship over the longterm, as well as re-villageing values and decolonization awareness. Read more about the crucial arts at: www.angelfire.com/psy/crucialarts/
3) i refer the reader here to Noam Chomsky's especially important speech and published book/online article "Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda" where he talks of folks watching TV and just assuming that they're stupid or uninformed since no one's mentioning their particular feelings and such.
4) All of this "irrational" if your programming keeps your imaginations contained in that way. Or perhaps "poetic" if that's the best you can drum up. In my view? It's about openings. Every time i've biked out solo into the Unknown, I get quickly in touch with my intuitive and feeling side, and "open up" to such things as serious spiritual input.
For more reports of this nature see:
note: email may not, sadly, work, so don't be surprised.
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion