The Gospel of the Mamas and The Trees

This afternoon turned out to be super deep for me. Impromptu medicine woman ceremony. Sheesh. We were going over the workshop options with the youth, in this Open Space style that the leaders are employing. I recognized Open Space Technology and, since I am the only English-as-a-first-language speaker here, and English is the main language used with the students from 9 countries here, I offered to give an explanation of OST, just so the students would know that there was some intention in the lack of pre-scheduling. (I know about Open Space because we just used that form entirely for the West Coast Permaculture gathering in Bolinas in July. Thanks to Benjamin for bringing me and for expertly facilitating the weekend.) After the students went off to check out and choose their afternoon workshop, several of us staff found that we were not actually needed because the students had all grouped into a couple of the same offerings.

I had offered to help Svenya with her workshop, Upcycling Places. The whole retreat theme really is upcycling . .. .beyond recycling and into repurposing previously used items. Svenya, who is a spiritual journey leader and teacher, didn’t know that her name sounds like a germanization for the Spanish word for ‘dream.’ Goose bumps. (Buenas Suenas, sweet dreams). I had the honor of telling her this.

Svenya and I stayed present at the fire circle as the students asked questions and figured out where they wanted to be, and then, lacking any students, we went to do some Upcycling of place. The concept is to raise the energy, to move around the area, identify the darker or harder or lower energy spots on the land, and bring good energy there. As the leader, she said she’ll follow me, and I should stop where I feel a place where I want to do something, where a place needs some good energy. We walked about 10 yards and I stopped at a transformer/electricity house there on the elementary school grounds where our retreat is being held in Wiesenburg. I saw a sweet tree about 4 yards/4 meters further, and I felt that the tree there was holding down the good energy for the area,neutralizing the EMFs, and might like some gratitude songs and presence.

Svenya instructed me to sit by the tree, on the ground, connect to the roots, and listen to what comes through. I sat a few minutes and reported back that the tree would like Recognition for what it’s doing, Reflection of its good work through my love and good energy, and a gratitude offering, such as some tobacco or a song. Svenya, though, said, ‘We are going to have a council now, and you are going to tell me what is up for you right now.’  OOh. So I let her know I was in a moment of great shift in my life and that, out of fear, I was having some intensel feelings a few days ago and at the same time, was seeing much possibility for taking my musical path further out into the world. We meditated with the tree some more, and Svenya then said I should walk out into the forest, keeping the connection with this tree strong, and that I would find something for me. I set out for about 35 minutes, constantly mantra-ing, ‘Keep the connection with the tree, Find something there for me.’

I walked lightly, totally off-path, into the little east german forest across the street from the elementary school. The forest floor was soft and spongy with leaves, and the ground greenery had recently lost its flowers, I could see. The summer rain we got in Cali came also here to Berlin area this year, also out-of-the-ordinary.

I just kept moving, repeating, Keep the connection with the tree, Find something there for me. I first found little shells of tree flower/pods. One was delicate, and broke in my hand as I grasped it. The other was spiney and harder, and survived intact the transport around the forest and eventually back to the tree by the electricity house. But the bigger gift was a stick shaped like a nice ‘L’ which  had an eye in the crook of the letter, and stood for love, as I saw only when I set the L down to gift it at the base of a tree in the forest.It’s ok, I thought. I can give the love away, because it will always come back to me. After walking around for awhile, I realized I was not ready to lay the love down to tackle such profoundly useless questions for myself (thank you Hafiz), and so I turned back around, winding back about 10 yards to find my L for Love, and took it with me.

I met back up with Svenya by the balancing energy tree, and we shared what we each found in the forest. She gave me a tny feather. My wings.( Me and feathers, . . .) And as I told her about my L and she reflected what she saw to me, I felt a powerful joy and sadness wash over me, tears falling, seeing how I had closed my heart to so much love coming to me, and that I had been hard like the electricity house, and that the tree held the key for me — Subtle, delicate energy, grounded, rooted, constant.

And get this: Svenya’s Upcycling piece is, that the electricity moving through all the buildings on the school grounds from that power hut there also had the subtle, soft energy of that tree streaming through the wires along with it. Ahh! What deep beauty. What fabulous, artful, visionary use of relationship and intention. And so the tree wasn’t only raising the energy of that small corner, but it was emanating goodness and groundedness throughout the entire campus. So be it!


We closed by standing with a spontaneous, I think, song with movement from Svenya.  I om’ed along in lovely harmonic pitches, and we moved our way clockwise around the tree.  That’s some serious Good Spell, The Gospel of the Mamas and the Trees.

After a tea, we went to have dinner. The evening was brightly topped off by a visit to the large intentional community nearby in Belzig. Zegg has been around for 15 years.  It’s the place I talk story about, where Tobias told me there are, or once were, Human Salad workshops. This entails a group blindfolded, greased up, and having some serious group naked loving, no penetration allowed. Wow. Affection and loving for all, no matter looks or social pecking order. Anyways, Harry took me there to Zegg to play some songs at the pub to promote my concert tomorrow night. We had a super fun time with a few friends and folks just hanging out drinking German beers. (I had dark chocolate and Frauen Tee 🙂

Till then,

Berlin Blows My Mind

Berlin blows my mind. Every moment alive and witnessing the awesome energy, massive humanity, creativity, presence that I find in myself to take it all in. Played some songs on the ukulele outside at a cafe today, attracting a woman with chopsticks that she played like drumsticks, then handed them to James, who had just told me about the electronic drums and beat writing he’d been working on for the last couple years. Magic.

James knows of a recording studio where they’ll record two songs start to finish for 50 Euros. Sounds like a good deal to me. Hmm.. . .

That conversation happened because I went to play some music for Ralf Schmerberg at his MindPirates office, and nobody was around, or they didn’t hear my klingel. Tricky not having a phone yet here in Germany. Ralf and his fantastic team created the concept and organization, ‘dropping knowledge,’ check it, .org, and they just put out the movie of the epic event they created, The Table of Free Voices, and beyond, premiering last week in San Francisco and earlier in the month, in Berlin. “Dropping knowledge empowers you to seek answers to questions in dialogue with others. When you ask in order to understand, when you respond in order to share, this is dropping knowledge.”

So I missed Ralf and crew today, try again next week. I went on my merry way and stopped at a cafe to use the wifi. Figured I’d get a little salad and a mineralwasser. James came strolling by after his shift at my favorite hostel there in Kreutzberg, HostelXBerger. James is a super pro bass player, from Holland and  living in Berlin now for, I forget, 10 years? 20? He says it’s not possible for musicians to make a living in Berlin because none of the venues pay, and he doesn’t perform out much at all, he says, for that reason. But there are sooo many venues with constant music flowing out. Good thing the cost of living is still pretty cheap in Berlin.

I took the train to Wiesenburg, a groovy village outside of Berlin, one hour on the train, where I’ll play an outdoor concert on Friday night. I was invited by Harald, who is co-facilitating an art and environment retreat for international youth and wants me to be a part of it. The retreat starts tomorrow, and most of the students are already here, so we had a fire after dinner and I sang for about an hour. The teenagers were most excited by my songs, applauding and asking for more. And Harald’s friend Sebastian plalyed quite awesomely the violin with me as if we had practiced. Fun times! Furthur was rockin, and The River felt like a river flowing through.

The fire was warm, and I felt so much stronger than I was 3 years ago when I visited and played my songs in the same places. I know my confidence has everything to do with the last three years I lived with Benjamin, being treated like royalty, with such deep love. Thank you Benja! I am forever changed.

I am not tired. I am on California time. But I suppose I must adjust, and so I will stretch out and sleep, for tomorrow is coming soon.