We Control the Narrative

Flow and Creativity

 

The month of September has been one of fluctuating energies. There have been peaks, valleys, and dips. Some have been dramatic. But all seem to be culminating. In other words, the energies I am experiencing have been moving toward this point for a long time now and, finally, I am able to understand their purpose and sense their meaning.

I know I am being vague and esoteric. If you know me, you understand that I receive information through clairsentience, the knowing comes through how I feel and by the messages I interpret through my body. Not many people have understood this about me and many have simply chalked it up to me being ‘a bit strange.’ But this gift has served me well. It has alerted me to cancer that doctors did not detect. It has guided me toward certain people who have proven to be extremely important mentors in my life. It has cautioned me to leave certain places before violent events have occurred. It has helped me to communicate directly with children in comas and individuals who are considered ‘non-verbal.’ There is an intelligence in emotion that most overlook because we have been conditioned to value the mind over the heart. For me, the mind may have knowledge, but the heart possesses wisdom. Relying on this wisdom connects me to Spirit and grounds me to my humanity simultaneously. I share this because it is through feeling that I now understand a certain circumstance in my life. It is wisdom that drives this understanding: we control the narrative.

Many times, we hear the words, “we control our lives, our destiny,” but rarely do I think that we take this seriously. Oftentimes, we fall prey to a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness where we create a narrative of being victims or victimized. Here, I must say, and not discount, the horrors of being a victim or victimized, particularly young children who are vulnerable and dependent upon others for care.  The majority of us have experienced some sort of major trauma and, these traumas, are often perpetrated by the adults in our lives. When I speak of controlling the narrative, within this context, I am describing the construction of victimhood as identity. This identity is one to which many cling. For, in victimhood, life is happening to us. Others are the enemy and, therefore, if we take on the identity of victim we are never to blame for our decisions or reactions. We are simply defending ourselves against others who are out to hurt us, get us. Then, it becomes natural to push away any critical self-reflection that may lead to the epiphany that we, indeed, have co-constructed these circumstances with others. We cannot place the mantle of victimhood upon us when we realize we have taken a conscious part in the creation of the reality we are living.

Without going into detail for the purpose of being considerate and respectful of others whom I deeply care for I will say that I have been an observer and participant in a long-term tug-of-war between certain individuals. Through my own biased lens of being who I am in relation to the individuals to whom I am referring, I have watched as one person has acted from an identity of victimhood. Years ago, I was perplexed by this person’s actions (I will use “they” as a pronoun here to refer to a specific individual for anonymity purposes). They made decisions out of fear and spite that were fueled by such hatred that I felt nauseous to be in their presence. The feeling in my body after any interaction with this person was an immediate repulsion that would vibrate in my solar plexus. I knew, on many levels, that this person was not only suffering, but was living in such fear that any attempt at love would be one of distortion. In other words, this person’s love – when given – would be fractured and conditional. It would be given only to gain something in return – power, bondage, or possession.

Because of specific circumstances, this is a person that has had to be in my life continuously. This is not a person who I would ever choose to communicate or interact with on any level. However, because this person is tied to other people whom I love, I have made many efforts to coexist (though at a distance) in order to maintain specific, important relationships.

I have learned a great deal about myself through this person. Perhaps this is why they are in my life. I have witnessed this person carefully construct a narrative of victimhood that extends to and has influenced a specific person who is dear to me. This narrative involves an US versus THEM mentality where there can be only one “winner.” To win infers that another must lose. However simplistic this may sound in binary terms, the implications reach far and wide. For the person who I love it means they must choose who is the winner and who is the loser. Through a paradigm of victimhood, there is no other option. For to see the situation in gray tones, rather than in black and white, would mean to be reflective and see the ways each person has contributed to a challenging and difficult reality.

The purpose in this writing is not to call anyone out or to be reactive. Rather, I am taking a moment to reflect upon all those who are impacted by the current choices being made. I am trying to take a bird’s eye view as a mother, a wife, a friend, and a spiritual seeker. I can see how a narrative weaved for years has taken hold of a dear soul and has placed them in an un-winnable situation. This person’s current choices, undoubtedly, will have ramifications far into the future that they cannot conceive of or understand. Yet, in this situation that has brewed for so many years, it is clear to me that certain energies are no longer sustainable. The energy of victimhood and all its manifestations are not supportable for me or for my nuclear family.

I have had to learn the difficult lesson of cutting cords and letting go energetically, even though a part of me is always hopeful and wants to say, “Let’s try one more time.”

But it is time to let go and allow individuals to come to their own conclusions. For years I have invested love, energy, time, and resources into a relationship that has never been mutually beneficial or reciprocated. I have felt deep sadness, for I know that much of this person’s inability to give of themselves is because of another person’s direct influence and constructed narrative. Yet, my body, my spirit, and heart tell me that the best thing I can do is send love – unconditional love – and to set this person free. It’s probably the best gift I can give at this moment knowing full well that if this person freely comes back to me, I will love them with open arms.

Always with love,

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Resonating with the Land

 

The last few days have been full of awareness for me. As I type, I am conscious of the Sangre de Cristo mountains around me, the fragrant smells of the earth after a brief southwestern rain, and the hint of buzzing in my head as my body attempts to acclimate to the Taos altitude which is almost at 7,000 feet.

I have always loved and have been drawn to the Southwest. It is a landscape that I resonate with. It is a landscape that, when I am in other parts of the country, I meditate upon. It calms me down, grounds me.

A few months ago, I returned to the Southwest for the first time in eight years. Almost immediately I felt my chakra system align, particularly my root chakra. It was easier to think clearly and to feel my mind/heart/body connection. I didn’t have to work at grounding myself, like the way I have to living in the Midwest or when I visit other parts of the country or world. It was as if there was a weight anchoring me deeply into the earth. This weight was like a mother’s warm hand on my back rather than a heavy, uncomfortable pressure pushing me down.

I feel the same soft, steady warmness inside of my body stepping off the plane into New Mexico. It is a combination of the desert mountains and dryness of air, but it’s also much more. It is the Land (capital ‘L’) who is the personification of an intense motherly energy – sharp and stern – as well as deeply nurturing. The desert Land is not comforting to everyone. She recognizes those who will always be visitors from those who carry her essence in their hearts. She can be harsh and, at first glance, desolate and uninviting. But for those who take the time to meet and get to know her, She is penetrating beauty gifting our eyes with immense heights and incredible depths. She is the profound canyon and the most treacherously magnificent peak. She is vastness and darkness. She is blinding light and heat. She gifts those who deeply appreciate Her by presenting us with glorious skies, brilliant stars, and Her body – which is the sienna, cinnamon-colored land on which we stand, build upon, and explore.

For me, the desert reflects my ideal inner landscape. In my core, when I am most at peace, there is an expansiveness that is not unlike the desert’s vastness. It goes beyond my consciousness and into the land of dreams. It is a liminal space between my perception and the unconscious. It is both uncomfortable in its limitlessness and completely freeing.

I am constantly trying to find the perfect equilibrium in this liminal space. Like a dial on an AM/FM radio, I have to carefully place all my attention on tuning it just enough to hear what is coming through. ‘Tuning in’ is another way to describe the conscious act of finding the frequency to which I want to resonate. The Southwest and the desert, in general, is a physical outward manifestation of a frequency that completely jives with my spiritual make up and composition. It is a representation of the inner spirit-scape I seek.

This awareness of the Land I am currently immersing myself in is a reminder to me that WHO I AM at the soul level needs vastness, quietness, and space to achieve inner equilibrium. This harmony is more easily accessible when an external representation of what I want to strive for and manifest within is right before my eyes. The test will be if I can achieve this grounded, peaceful feeling that I am experiencing so strongly now when I go back home. The test is knowing, in my heart, that this spirit-scape already exists within. I don’t need to travel thousands of miles to find it.

With love,

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11:11

11-11

By: Cristina Santamaría Graff

 

I measure this moment by breath and blood,

the pause between inhale and exhale

the diastolic heartbeat.

 

My vitals pulse, squeeze, relax.

A guard dog, senses acute

my hacking up.

 

A door opens,

consciousness pricking,

momentum guides me through.

 

Who are you?

What are you?

Why are you?

 

Beings of light,

colors of the spectrum –

a new identification.

 

Energy is the language,

Love the vibration,

Empathy the understanding.

 

No more guessing.

I carry a thousand stars on my back,

their histories, my library.

 

I am the dream.

No more illusions,

I leave the door open.

 

Interview with Many Rivers, Dr. Lorri J. Santamaría, Ph.D.

Many Rivers_Photograph

Mini bio: 

Dr. Lorri Johnson Santamaria has her doctoral degree in Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology from the University of Arizona. She is a seasoned and accomplished academic in the fields of multicultural/multilingual education, social justice and equity in education, and educational leadership. She has worked as a university professor in Cal State San Marcos in Southern California and currently still works as a Professor of Educational Leadership in New Zealand. She has authored and edited several books in educational leadership and developed the theoretical framework, Applied Critical Leadership.

In the past year, Lorri’s life has taken an interesting and dynamic turn. Part of this story today is to capture Lorri’s unique, challenging, and rewarding journey with cancer.

We start today’s conversation, asking Lorri to share how her recent journey has shaped her views of spirituality, wholeness, and heart-centered approaches to healing. Then we ask her to extend the conversation to how what she has learned from her personal journey can be applied to transforming education and educational spaces. 

Links and Resources:

Many Rivers II Wellness  – This is a link to Lorri’s business website.

Newsletter 1: MRIIW Newsletter Spring2017

Academic Profile including publications.

Applied Critical Leadership_book