“Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live” ~ Bob Marley
I recently saw an advertisement for a t-shirt that had the slogan “Woke!” on the front. While I chuckled at the statement itself, it was the expression of the gentleman wearing the shirt that really struck me. Let’s just say the look on his face was incongruent with the vibe of the word. My initial thought was “Woke to what?!?” He looked angry and quite unaccommodating to any would-be new relations. Surely an awakened consciousness should result in some form of relational openness, if not outright bliss, right? Isn’t that the goal? Maybe the contradiction was the hook being used by the marketers to catch the eye of those who saw it. A cognitive dissonance kind of thing. As silly as it seemed at the time, it got me thinking. What is the goal of an awakened heart and mind? What’s so important about being ‘woke’? If I’m ‘woke’, so what? Further, would the answer for me be the same for anyone else?
Now, I wouldn’t have thought this would trouble me all that much, but it kind of did. Here I am, a seasoned mesa carrier, PMT practitioner, and Sanctioned Teacher, and I’m apparently still asking the “So what?” question. Seriously? I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or surprised, or both. I had been so busy ‘doing’ my work that I had lost contact with the motive, a disconnect of which I should have been more wary.
So, I intentionally wrestled with this moderately unnerving little quandary. As a complicating factor, I was simultaneously preparing to lead another PMT Five-part Apprenticeship Series 3-day intensive. I felt as though I was grappling with challenges that stood in juxtaposition to each other. I was soul-searching as I prepared to provide a soul-offering. This was not a struggle I had anticipated. The world today is rife with righteous causes, wounds needing healing and relationships needing mending. Anyone who has any measure of ‘wokeness’ can clearly see this. Surely, it shouldn’t be so hard to answer the question of why I do this work, to find the purpose. To transform, to heal, to mend and to liberate had always been my stock answers. Yet, in the moment, it felt as if I had lost my sense of connection to these goals. It was not for lack of conviction. I still deeply recognized and regularly anguished at the state of our natural world. I thought I was ‘all in’ as evidenced by the tattoos of PMT mesas and k’intus I now wear. I was, in some sense, having a crisis of conscience, or rather, of consciousness as the case turned out to be.
As the backdrop to my cerebral dilemma, I was a man living a rather ordinary life in a way that is all too common these days – busy. As I’m sure you know all too well, contemporary life in America can be frenetic. If we’re not careful, our fullness of life can leave very little space for quests of the soul. While there’s a powerful lesson just in realizing that, I honestly was not considering it at the time. Being married and the father of two teenagers (the eldest of which is preparing to enter his first year of college in the Fall) my priorities were obvious, at least I thought. Beyond this, I occupy my days as the clinical director of two large mental health centers while working in the evenings as a psychotherapist in private practice and serving as a PMT shamanic healer and teacher. All in all, I thought my motives were clear, albeit diverse. I thought I was ‘woke’, but it didn’t feel like it. Given, it’s not always easy to walk with awareness of a raised consciousness when you’re exhausted, but still, I thought I was awake at least. Nevertheless, I poured what time I did have into preparing to teach Part IV: The Hummingbird’s Ascent (Living the Mystery). The timing was serendipitous to be sure.
The content of this workshop is oriented toward the practical application of the knowledge gained during the previous three intensives. I’ve been through this material numerous times before, but it never upended me the way it did now. This time round, it became for me an epiphanic experience of seismic proportions, representing a truly transformational shift in my perspective from knowing to being. I ‘woke-up’ to a new way of answering the “So what?” question. I heard a clarion call to LIVE by Being beyond the Knowing.
The Pachakuti Mesa is a means of taking an active, dynamic, intentional role in the creation of reality itself. We are called to be co-creators with the Great Originating Mystery. Through the Mesa, a living mirror of the cosmos, we are given the opportunity to participate in the universe as it energetically unfolds. Those who are ‘woke’ to this transformational potential can extend and direct the foundational forces of our existence to heal our collective wounds and to make whole the relationships that determine our course. We are called to step into the flow of Kamasqa as it clears, cleanses, and remakes us. The living gateway of power that we birth in the first three parts of our apprenticeship journey calls us forward into being as an active agent of creativity by re-membering ourselves as vital participants in the cosmic creative impulse that is on-going and never ending. I AM a living aspect of the Great Mystery. Being is beyond mission, beyond purpose, beyond motivation. That’s a big “So what!”
About the Author
An awestruck husband to an amazing woman, and grateful father to two phenomenal teenagers, David is a soccer player and coach, wilderness guide, counselor, teacher, and non-profit administrator. He has devoted himself to the walk and talk of living a scared path. He completed the PMT 5-part apprenticeship under the guidance of Cynthia Greer, and more recently completed don Oscar Miro-Quesada’s Magic, Medicine, and Mysticism course. David holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Emory University where he specialized in medieval spirituality, and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Prescott College. While at Prescott, he developed an original integrative therapeutic model called “Gaian Soul Therapy” that synthesizes ecology, theology, and psychology as a means of healing self, community, and the natural world through right relationship. He is a licensed professional counselor with certifications in clinical supervision and trauma. David works full-time as the director of a community mental health center near Atlanta and part-time as the owner and operator of the newly formed Burning Bear Healing Arts, LLC, offering psychotherapy, supervision, spiritual direction, and shamanic ceremonial healing. He lives and works in Decatur, Georgia, not far from his hometown of Stone Mountain.