Excerpt from my book: Consent

Excerpt from my book: Consent

Definition:

1. permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. (dictionary.com)

For Vicki, early experiences with sex and drugs were wrapped together. The week after she graduated from high school, she and her friends rented a house on the New Jersey shore. “We just got drunk,” she says, as she began to describe the experience. “Everyone that I knew would do this. That is the rite of passage that I went through after graduating high school.”

At the time she told herself it was fun, “but I ended up breaking my shoulder, getting a concussion, and being raped all in the same night.” When we spoke, Vicki recounted her story with very little emotion. “It was with this kid that was my kindergarten crush,” she said. “We went to the same high school from kindergarten to 12th grade. He was Mr. Popular and was very good looking. I think that is sort of why my friends let it happen. I have no memory of even seeing him that night. I woke up the next morning feeling as though I had had sex.”

Beyond "Just Say No:" Substances, Sobriety, and Initiation

Growing up with rites of passage and related practices woven into my life, I felt like I had all the tools I needed to navigate through any transition that life could throw my way. And it’s true, my toolbag is hefty, including mentors and elders I can call on, ritual and ceremony, practices for connecting with nature, and an ability to build community.

Then a few years ago, it became clear that alcohol was negatively impacting my life. It had became a key coping strategy for managing life’s stressors. While I would attempt to set limits, I couldn’t keep them, and the occasions of waking up embarrassed by what I had said or done the night before--or even worse, at times not remembering--felt miserable. I can see where this is headed, I thought, and it is nowhere good...

Cultural Habitat Restoration

Cultural Habitat Restoration

One of the things about focusing my life on supporting people through transitions is that being willing to face my own is kind of a job requirement. And the truth is, our changes are constant—they simply don’t stop.

My mom said a couple of years ago that gardening taught her that there aren’t four seasons, there are 365. Last year when she drove from New Jersey to Seattle, she observed that transitions across the landscape were marked by similarly subtle gradations. I see this in my own life, as well—how each passing day marks a subtle shift in who I am and how I relate to the world around me, an opportunity to cling and try to control, or to surrender and observe what unfolds. Or—as is usually the case—to do some weird contortion of both at once, a thoroughly uncomfortable and awkward dance...

 

We Are Our Landscapes

We Are Our Landscapes

Five years ago, when I moved to Hawai’i, I was steeped in the question, “what is the indigenous soul?” This term, which made me uncomfortable because I felt like it objectified and homogenized Native peoples, and because I wasn’t even really sure what it meant, had nonetheless seeded in my mind and taken root. It gave a name to a deep longing I felt. One day, I asked my friend Chris Quiseng what phrase indigenous soul evoked for him. Chris responded: “We are our landscapes.”