Wednesday, April 3, 2013


There's a scene in the movie "Spirited Away" where a big stinking mudpile of a spirit plods slowly into the bath house, and Sen is assigned to bathe it. She finds a thorn lodged in the spirit, and upon pulling it out with great effort an entire junkyard's worth of debris and detritus comes streaming out. The spirit is then cleansed to a luminescent white and it goes sailing off laughing and leaving a trail of gold coins...

The bathhouse was the retreat center in Peru to which I fatiguingly made my way for my bath. That old, tired, bored, resigned, mopey, cynical, half-baked-excuse-filled, stick-in-the-mud, curmudgeonly, sour part of me was fully revealed and forcefully expelled with the help of the shamans. It felt unbelievably good, better than the most incredible sex, better than the most liberating bowel movement. Decades of living to the world views and expectations of others, washed away.

In the process, I solved the puzzle of how I, and perhaps many people, get this way and how it can be healed. The simple one word answer is: GIFT. We have forgotten as a culture how to give gifts, and how to receive them. Gifts are what tie together healthy communities. Gifts are what open hearts and foster acceptance. I'll not go on at length here, as there are many others who write about this with greater articulation and experience, most notably for me, Charles Eisenstein.

This is the painting I started at the retreat in Peru under the tutelage of Anderson Debernardi. It's still a work in progress, but I was encouraged to share it and I'm happy to oblige. The cylindrical object is the puzzle or "codex" whose solution I discovered.

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