The Call for CONNECTION  
 🌑 it's a new moon in cancer 
Image item
Primordial Paradox: Poets, Penguins, Police, Puppies and Pantone

If you want to share this newsletter, a shareable version is here
If someone sent you this and you want to subscribe, you can do that here
I truly appreciate every share and forward.
🌑  Paradox as Portal
Hi friends
It is a hot. mess. out. there. How are you feeling? I accidentally, on purpose quit Twitter many months ago and am currently midway through a two week Instagram and news fast. I know this is a large part of why I am feeling fairly balanced amidst the current chaos. Human nervous systems can easily become frayed by relentless information.
Image item
As Bayo Akomolafe says: The times are urgent; let us slow down. Please take extra good care of yourself. And trust that we are powerful beings living within an expansive universe full of infinite possibility. Also – full of magic.
Despite the larger societal dismissal of it, I have an inclination towards the mystical. As a kid, although I did not have much access to stories and traditions of myth and magic (ancestral or western), my mom’s deep faith in Ethiopian Orthodox prayer (and specifically in the power of Mariam/Mary) may have primed me to understand that the world contains more than the material. In college, experiences with psychedelics gave me confirmation that there’s more going on to reality than what we normally perceive with our ordinary senses. Over the decades, I have explored multiple esoteric, occult and mystery traditions.
And, yet, until recently, I’ve held myself back from fully embracing (and expressing) these interests. For a long time, I chose as my primary spiritual spaces majority white western meditation communities that emphasize the rational at the expense of the intuitive, where the magical elements of teachings and practices are often left out. And I felt comfortable (and maybe comforted) in that. Though many people in these communities are mystic-adjacent, really far out things are rarely discussed publicly. Sort of like how, years ago, people would whisper the word “cancer.”
If you’ve known me for a while or have read You Belong, you are aware of my love of paradox as a portal to enchantment – the world view that nature and the universe are ensouled and numinous. Enchantment challenges the scientific materialism underpinning modernity, and I engage in enchantment to undo the disenchantment I’ve been taught by the larger culture. When affirming and supporting ancient knowledge systems, enchantment helps remedy epistemicide – the killing of indigenous ways of knowing (in my book, I explore the cultural appropriation that can be involved in this “remedy”).
Enchantment is a practice that invites me to relate to absolutely everything as alive – land, plants, water, rocks, “objects”… everything! Because everything is. As the theoretical physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser put it to me, “we are all vibrating energy patterns, made of the same kinds of atoms and connected to everything else through the history of the universe.” I met Marcelo at a conference while I was in the midst of finishing You Belong. I had just told the entire group about how my teenage experiences with psychedelics revealed the interconnected nature of life. I received back completely blank stares from everyone, except Marcelo. He was the one person who approached me afterwards and told me he resonated with what I shared. At the end of the weekend, I mustered up the courage to ask, and he kindly agreed to make corrections to my first chapter. I had used the paradoxes of physics early in my book to bolster my argument that the universe is ensouled (and to support my case for belonging as the ultimate paradox). I put a bunch of scientific facts in because I know that referring to western science helps convince certain people that whatever I’m talking about (including psychedelics) is worthwhile. 
I am certain people.
I am also trying not to be certain people. Not because I have any inherent issue with science or scientists. I love physics — one of my best subjects in high school. Science can be awe inspiring: we are literally stardust (wow!), the vast majority of any atom is space (get out!), time is an illusion (say what!?!)… It’s just that I am only now learning to embrace my intuition, learning not to hide what may seem fantastical or outlandish, learning how to express what some may not be used to hearing (and some may not want to hear), learning to live life with reverence and (as Albert Einstein said) as if everything is a miracle.
Maybe it’s different for you. Maybe you have been long connected to ancestral traditions or wise communities that center mystery and honor the numinous. Maybe you’re of the new generations – everyone seems to be a witch/astrologer/tarot reader. Me, I’ve been reaching for whiteness for a long minute and assimilating to a culture that dismisses mystery. Or, I was — hopefully that is past tense. From now on, I hope to connect to science for inspiration not assimilation. More importantly, I want to explore, cultivate, and share my many unique ways of knowing. Like Maxine Hong Kingston, I long “to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.”
I feel belonging is the ultimate paradox for humans. And belonging is the only way out of our current catastrophes. If everything is connected, that means there’s no dividing ourselves from anyone or anything (not SCOTUS, not Putin, not the difficult friend or family member) — separation is delusion. Yet, here we are – dumpster fires of separation everywhere. I certainly don’t know an exact formula for how we heal from this. I do know that THIS [gestures all around] is NOT working.
I continue to focus right here. There is work to be done on the collective level, for sure, and right now, I am more and more certain that my specific work is 1) investigating how I contribute to delusions and divisions (my closest relationships are my best mirror for this) and 2) sharing my experience with others. To quote bell hooks, If you’re fucked up and you lead the revolution, you will have a fucked up revolution. I also know that change, whether internal or external, is often a mysterious, sometimes magical process. To quote myself: The revolution will not be secularized. There are too many cosmic paradoxes and puzzles to continue to believe we can rationalize ourselves out of our collective crises.
So, all this to say, you’ll be getting more woo from me. Also, I'm working on something for you that will immerse us in this exploration of portals to enchantment… stay tuned (and let me know if there's anything in this realm that you want to hear more about). 
Until then, I hope you find ways to rest and fortify. We were born at this time because we are meant to serve a purpose. First we need to care for ourselves. We Are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.
With love,

If you were forwarded this newsletter and would like to sign up: 
In My Experience…
In My Experience... is my take on an advice column
You ask questions  
I answer from my own experience
Questions are anonymous
Answers will appear in this newsletter, on full moons 🌕
Use this form to submit what you're curious about