Adrenal Update

My lower back was home to incredible pain this weekend, causing me to miss two days of work. The sharp pain, increased fatigue, and almost complete appetite loss — all potential indicators of outright adrenal failure — caused me to lose eight of the ten pounds that I had just gained.

What was the source of this pain? Well, some people have tried to attribute it to heavy lifting, which is what everyone wants to blame back pain on. Others have said that it may have been because I worked a long day Thursday and then tried to work another long day on Friday.

But the truth of the matter is that it was stress. Stress, stress, stress — of the emotional variety, that is. The shift on Thursday was actually shorter than many I’ve worked on this, my busiest day of the work week. And when the pain set in on Friday, it wasn’t triggered by lifting. I woke up with it when I went to work, and lifting didn’t seem to aggravate it. It was only when I started feeling stress that it really kicked in, before I had even started lifting again.

So, what’s the source of this stress? Since it involves other people, I don’t want to talk about it publicly. If you know me personally, then feel free to ask me about it in person. But if you don’t, it’s enough to say that I was not maintaining healthy emotional boundaries and chose to internalize the stress of people in my life who I care about deeply.

This external stress, combined with my own diminished-but-persistent general stress about life, was enough to trigger another "incident" of sharp back pain that I attribute to profound adrenal exhaustion.

The good news is that I’m learning to self-treat this condition.

When I woke up Friday morning, I wasn’t fully mindful or respectful of the fact that my significant lower back pain was an indication of excessive stress. So, I worked through the pain rather than resting and relaxing. Later. when the pain sharpened in response to further stress, I recognized immediately what was happening and simply stopped working because I was physically unable to continue.

The last time this happened, I was out of work for several days of almost continuous and severe back pain. This time, I noticed improvement as early as Friday night — and after a poor decision to attempt working on Saturday, I noticed improvement again as early as Sunday morning. And as a result, instead of losing 10 pounds like last time, I only lost 8 pounds. (Those seemingly small two pounds mean the world to me at this point!)

So, I am learning how to respond to these incidents as they arise. But the ultimate goal here is to NOT HAVE these incidents! The ultimate goal is to heal my adrenal glands so that even the occassional several-week span of emotional stress won’t cause my adrenals to shut down.

In pursuit of that goal, I have three tactics:

* Continue eating cooked foods until my weight surpasses 145 pounds;
* Actually follow my doctor’s advice to take certain supplements and eliminate as much stress as I can from my life;
* Start drinking licorice tea, which my latest research has uncovered as an herbal remedy to adrenal exhaustion. [By research, I mean book learnin’. I obviously don’t have my own holistic medical lab in my basement… 🙂 Although that could be cool… ]

Continuing to eat cooked foods will be the simplest part of this program. Even though these foods seem to make me feel groggy and eager to "detox," they do seem to put on the weight — and in all honesty, some of them taste really good! Raw chocolate is still the greatest tasting food I know, and raw foods are still the most healing and energizing foods out there. But I’m not going to deny that cooked foods taste delicious! That’s why so many people eat them, in spite of all of the negative health qualities they contain.

Resuming the supplements was simple. I already started that this morning and will continue with it from here on out. The hard part is going to be actually letting go of the stress in my life. Luckily, however, I have very good training in "psychic defense" and the regulation of my own consciousness.

The big lesson that I re-learned this weekend is that I must be ever mindful of that psychic defense training, even when I’m in the presence of loved ones. In fact, I must be ESPECIALLY mindful of this training in the presence of loved ones, because they are the people who I "lower my defenses" to the most. Since we care about each other, it’s only natural to spend most of our time in a very open state of emotional sharing. But when stress ariseson either or both sides, it’s my responsibility to "raise my shields" and offer a healing response rather than an emotional reaction.

I could dedicate an entire entry to the nature and importance of psychic self-defense! Maybe another day… in the meantime, I’m going to finish this entry, rest a bit longer, and head over to the Co-op for some licorice and a two-hour shift. With any luck, I’ll still feel good later in the afternoon, enough so to make it over to the second episode of the Southern Illinois Community annual visioning meeting. Either way, I’ll post any further news about my adrenals, my health, and life in general right here in Song of the Trees. Until then, I hope that you enjoy a restful and relaxing weekend…

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Walk in Love

Love? Yes, Love.

Love is a flame that consumes me. I am a live wire, with the electricity of love flowing through my veins. Every ounce of resistance to love that I feel within myself generates a burning heat and a blinding light. In the past, I responded by flipping off the switch, turning off the love, saving the energy for a later date. But now, I’m turning up the dimmer as high as it can go and letting my love BURN…

Love is a fire that flows smokeless, heatless, lightless, through every square inch of the universe… as it flows through us, we sometimes feel a tremendous suffering, but only because there is a part of us that offers resistance to love… when the resistance clears, we simply shine with its brilliance… until, of course, the next pocket of resistance arises, and once again we find ourselves consumed by flames…

For years now, I’ve been on a journey to rediscover my love.

First, I turned away from the brink of death… even though a part of me still truly wanted to die, another part wanted to live, and turned away from the brink of self-destruction before it was too late.

Then, at about the same time, my heart opened to the world… I started to empathize deeply with the suffering of others, and I felt myself light up like a Christmas tree as I empathized with tremendous amounts of suffering in the world that I had no real power to resist.

This released some of my love. This is when I first started opening up to my spiritual path, and when I came upon my new name. But all of this heartache still left me very shielded, especially on a personal level.

Then came raw foods… this flooded my life with a burst of fresh energy, but something was still missing.

Then, came my healing studies… I came to understand healing much better and to take the first real steps on my own healing journey.

Then, came my Coven studies… I came to deepen this pursuit of a healing path and to live it rather than simply thinking about it. This culminated in an experience where I revisited my previous choice to pursue self-destruction and tossed that part of myself off into the Abyss to meet its death on the rocks below.

And now… now, what comes next?

I think that going back to a cooked diet has helped me to descend even deeper into the shadows in the hopes of liberating more love than I had ever even knew existed. It’s putting on the weight I’m looking for, and therefore it’s filling my energy field with more manifest energy than it’s had in a long time — possibly ever.

BUT… cooked food is still poison! And animal products are still the embodiment of unnecessary violence. I love the taste of these foods, and I can feel them rapidly adding fat and even muscle tissue to my body… but I can also feel them disturbing my pH balance, triggering my immune defenses, filling my body with a "heat" that is very different from the raw body warmth, and generally making me moody and groggy and not quite well. I will have my 145 pounds of flesh, to be sure… but only by taking back in some of the negative consciousness that I thought I’d expelled years ago.

That’s just it, though… did I really expel it? To some degree, yes… but to some degree, I just denied it. With the force of my will, I suppressed what I did not approve of in the hopes of transforming it later.

Well, Later has arrived… hence, my return to the Underworld.

I think that my biggest source of angst, now and always, is my difficulty living in the presence of anything short of profound and uninhibited Love. Really, as an adolescent, my unfortunate decision to bind my emotions was a response to the full awakening of my Love — love of myself, love of friends, love of family, love of lovers, love of the world. As I felt this incredible love awaken inside of me, I looked into the outside world for confirmation…

…and found none.

Sure, there were those who loved me, otherwise I would have almost certainly killed myself during that dark period in my life. My family loved me, a few of my school friends and teachers loved me, and my friends on the Internet loved me. But really, in spite of their love, I could feel the world beyond our doorstep… and it was not a world ruled by Love. And with the dawn of adolescence, as I started falling in love with others, I could feel what was in their hearts… and though their hearts were beautiful, they didn’t share the same love for me that I was holding for them.

There are no words for the sense of loss I encountered… I didn’t even know a name for her at that point, but I could only even sleep at night by imagining myself in the arms of the Goddess, the Earth Mother, held in a deep and unquestioning love that seemed impossible in my surroundings. During the rest of my waking hours, I felt alone in my love… and so, starting with my self-binding spell, I pulled a rather classic Rigid defense, denying the reality of my inner world of love and accepting (though bemoaning!) the reality of the outer loveless world.

But then… something unexpected happened.

In the end, my Love was stronger than my Will!

You have no idea how incredible it has been for me to discover this… to experience firsthand the victory of my own Love over a foolish choice I made so many years ago, and still feel the echoes of today.

As those who truly know me can attest, the strength of my Will is incredible… casting aside all humility for a moment, I must truly say that I have a very uncommon, very Rigid, capacity for self-control that arises out of a remarkable power of Will. This is why temptations are so meaningless to me… why I was able to stay on raw foods for almost five years without even a moment’s thought of eating cooked foods… why I was able to travel thousands of miles to Idaho to meet with strangers in defense of another ecosystem when I was terrified simply to walk out my door in the morning. I was able to do all of these things, and then some, simply because my Will served my Reason without question, without hesitation, without delay. Only confusion or uncertainty in my mind could cause the same in my actions. Once I made my choice, there was no dissuading me from it short of physical death or an argument that could win over my Reason to a different perspective.

When I started my spiritual healing studies, I didn’t understand just how strong my Will was at first, because my physical body has always been weaker than average, and physical health is also a product of strong Will. But there are different layers of Will… Will of the physical body, Will of the emotional body, Will of the mental body, Will of the Heart, Will of the spiritual bodies… I have a very specific sort of Will — namely, the Will to do as my Reason instructs me, regardless of any Emotion to the contrary.

So, when I found my Emotions exploding into turmoil in response to difficulties within me and around me, I simply exercised my Will to control my Emotions. Even though a part of me still wailed and writhed in incredible emotional torment, I learned to project the energy of peace, love, understanding, and healing into my life and out into the lives of those around me. Without fully understanding what I was doing, I bound those aching energies inside of myself to be worked out later…

Well, Later has finally arrived! And it’s been a long time coming…

The more that I think about it, the more that I see my life over the past ten years as a victory of Love over my stubborn Will to hold myself in alienation.

First, I was Willing myself to leave the flesh entirely… then, my Love of the world fought back, burning inside of me with a passion for social and ecological justice.

Then, as I pursued my social and ecological causes, the alienation simply shifted, and I felt a burning hatred for the people I saw as oppressors, dominators, destroyers of the planet. But my Heart was never really fooled by this simmering anger… September 11 taught me that I didn’t really hate anyone, be they Emperor, Terrorist, or Appeaser of any sort. I felt anger, yes, but anger held in the presence of Love… and my Love tore down the walls of alienation that I had built up to prevent myself from empathizing with people who I see as unthinking destroyers. Without empathizing with them, how could I ever hope to understand them, or to create a better world?

Then, even as my Heart continued to open, I was Willing myself to wait until "after the Revolution" to find personal happiness… but my Love was strong again, and I found myself exploring the most personal dimensions of Love.

Throughout all of these stages, there has been another dimension of Love that has always burned… another lesson that I kept revisiting, but never fully learned… and that’s the lesson of romantic love.

In my fear, I held back my feelings of love… I felt so vulnerable in my love that I held it back, waiting for external love to validate what I was feeling internally… I withheld this inner love so fully that people who I shared my love with would simply be taken by surprise because they hadn’t felt it coming from me before.

How could they feel it when *I* wasn’t even feeling it?

My first attempts at romantic love were utter disasters. Then, I met Shelby online… that turned out to be a short-lived relationship in the end, but at least it was an adventure of the heart, and at least it finally gave me the opportunity to express some of my love freely, if only for a short while.

Then, there were a few others along the way… all rejecting me, but getting progressively more considerate about it. I started feeling safer in my heart and in my love in light of their relative understanding. A few of them even stayed in my life for a while as friends rather than simply disappearing to hide from the same feelings that I was hiding from.

And then, there was… somoene. From the moment I met her, she had my attention… the more time I spent with her, the deeper I fell in love… we connected so deeply, from the heart, in a way that I had only dreamed of in the past… but even with this sense of being "soulmates," it apparently was not meant to be. She already had her "soulmate"… and yet, finally, in spite of this lack of opportunity for a "relationship," I had someone in my life who wasn’t afraid of my love, who cherished it as much as I was coming to cherish it, who shared herself with me fully, who I could share myself with fully, without holding back anything.

This was a time of tremendous blossoming for me… and the very fact that she is unavailable in a romantic sense is certainly part of the synchronicity, part of the lesson I am here to learn. We love each other so much that I feel perfectly safe embracing my love for her and shining in her presence… and yet, the circumstances dictate that we can’t be together… and so, I must learn to find peace with that fact without denying the love that I feel.

It’s been a tremendous learning experience… but definitely a journey through the Underworld! Oh, only the Goddess knows the ferocity of the flames that have raged inside of me, consuming me alive in the presence of my resistance to Love… "surely," I would ask myself, "if a love is not destined to be manifest in the flesh, then it does no good to carry it in the heart, does it?" But the sheer depth and intensity of my love crashed through this wall of reasoning like the ocean crashes through the walls of a sand castle. I don’t Love for the sake of some end goal, some result in my life… I Love because life is beautiful, and because I’ve encountered another beautiful being who I resonate with deeply. What may come of that Love is another story… whatever it may be, I embrace my Love, and I shine with its light…

Now, with my heart open, I continue to feel more Love — and I continue to feel more resistance, because the circumstances of my life, my community, my society are not validating my Love. In fact, I feel less externally validated in this Love than I did just a few short months ago. But my Love is a Flame that burns regardless of independent validation… my Love is a Flame that burns regardless of a being buried under a mountain of ice. It may take a day, or it may take a millenium, or it may take an eternity… but the ice will melt… and my Love burns eternal, regardless of the ice around me.

I would say that I’m in love with two people right now, neither of whom is "available" for a "relationship" — or even any social time! There are others who I have an interest in, but it will take time for me to find someone to share my life in. And sometimes, when I feel the heat of this Love burning inside of me… the walls of resistance rise, telling me that I should give up on Love, accept that it has no place in this world, accept defeat and settle for a life without true Love.

But no… by all that I hold holy, I swear that the Flames of my Love will continue to burst through the walls that I’ve built around them. Maybe I will never have a romantic relationship with Person A… or Person B… or Person C… but that doesn’t mean that I can’t love them with a depth and passion that most people don’t even feel for their life partner. And just because A and B and C don’t always return the feeling doesn’t mean that I won’t eventually find Person X who does.

So, yes… my Love is a Flame, burning away all resistance that I still hold. I have made a new choice in life… the choice of Love… the choice to consign my petty ego to the Flames, to be consumed alive by their relentless Fire, to die and be reborn with Love as my flesh and bone… when the people I love the most don’t return that love, and don’t even choose to spend a moment of their day with me, my heart aches, and a little voice of alienation pleads with me to give up on Love… but this is a very foolish Demon indeed, because upon hearing its whining protests, I snatch it up by the horns and toss it into the flames, to be reborn into a creature of unrestrained Love and Passion and Vitality.

It’s pretty rough descending directly into the Flames… it’s pretty rough looking into my own Heart, and seeing in it the Heart of Humanity, and choosing to stay with my Love even when it seems rather inconvenient and uncomfortable to do so. It’s pretty rough facing all of this uncertainty and chaos when I don’t even know if I have another moment on this planet, much less another hundred years that I intend to live.

But hey… the only thing rougher than the Flames is the BURNING COLD… the cold of the Rigid… the sinking certainty that "this is all there is," and that Love has no place in this physical reality.

F*** that… no more of that life for me. I’m not afraid of Love anymore… I will walk in Love to the end of my days, and I will thank the Lady and the Lord for the scorching Flames that consume my last pockets of resistance and transform them into bursts of loving passion.

Love is its own reward… and if I choose to embrace Love, its Flames will burn away my chains, and I will find an unsurpassed freedom of the Heart that is more valuable than any external validation.

Of course… I still desire a relationship of great love with someone beyond the boundaries of my own heart… 🙂 That desire is clearer inside of me than it has ever been before in my entire life. But as the Flames burn away my resistance, I desire this relationship for the right reasons… not as a validation of what I feel, but as a means of sharing and deepening it.

On that note… Love to you all, and may you find your way through the Flames…

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Descent into the Underworld

In Gaia’s Orphans, the descent into the Underworld is more or less literal. Set in post-apocalyptic Chicago, this novel follows one man’s journey among the living dead, who are the sole “survivors” of a global catastrophe. Our hero must literally walk among Zombies, Vampires, Trolls, Demons, and Stones in search of humanity’s lost hope.

In Earth Conscious Revolution, the descent into the Underworld is slightly more of a metaphor, one that involves facing personal and collective “demons” in pursuit of humanity’s forgotten core of love and life. (Although the real world is filled with its share of the living dead! Hah, hah…)

And so, being the immersive and avant-garde artist that I am, I’ve chosen this time in my life to descend once again into the Underworld myself! Or perhaps more accurately, the time has chosen me…

The first aspect of this descent is the one that’s likely to spark the most controversy — namely, my change in diet.

I’ve been a raw foods vegan for almost 5 years now. Before that, I started my time as a cooked vegan in the Fall of 1997, and my time as a vegetarian in January of 1996. During this time, I have been a vocal advocate of these diets because of their environmental, health, and ethical implications.

Now, I’ve decided to cast aside all of these rigid restrictions and eat a wider variety of foods, including cooked foods and even animal products.

Why, you ask?

Well, there are a variety of reasons, all of which are related to the theme of descent into the Underworld. But my first and foremost motivation was body weight.

I still advocate a raw vegan lifestyle, and I still believe that all people can find abundant health and happiness by living in this way. When I became a raw foods vegan, I noticed a dramatic increase in my health, including boosted immune health, increased energy levels, diminished tooth decay, and improved mood. The switch to raw foods is almost certainly what flooded me with the vital energy that I needed to emerge from my rut of depression and suicide ideation.

However… for whatever reasons, I have not been able to heal my adrenal exhaustion and low body weight on a raw foods diet. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t have enough money to buy more “superfoods.” Maybe an expensive consultation with Gabriel Cousens, or David Wolfe, or the Top Secret Raw Warrior Special Forces would have been enough to restore my adrenal health and return my body weight to a healthy range. But since none of these were happening, and since my weight was hovering for a prolonged period of time within an unhealthy range, I decided to take dramatic action that I knew would lead to a weight increase — and possibly an improvement in adrenal functioning.

I know that this choice on my part will incite a wide array of reactions, ranging from applause to indifference to contempt. However, I haven’t made this choice with any of those in mind. Believe it or not, the motivation for all of my choices comes from an inner source, not from a craving for praise or condemnation. I’ve chosen to do this because my intuition calls me to do it as a part of my spiritual journey, and my reason calls me to do it as a last-ditch effort to ensure that my body stops cannibalizing its own muscle tissue in search of energy.

So, at least until I regain the weight I’m looking for, I’m eating a certain undefined percentage of cooked foods and animal products.

This, however, is not the only aspect of my descent into the Underworld.

On the outside, I’ll be going to places that I’ve avoided or shunned for years now, experiencing their negative energy firsthand in search of the deeper meaning that is hidden amongst the shadows. This includes the Mall, bars, and a variety of social circumstances that I usually walk away from.

On the inside, I’ll be going to places inside of myself that most of you don’t even know exist. Part of my health challenges arise out of the fact that I’ve restrained a huge chunk of my life force in order to maintain the air of peace, compassion, diligence, and discipline that everyone in my life knows me for. Rather than keeping this life force locked away in an astral prison for any longer, I’m releasing it one step at a time, using my knowledge of healing to transform it into the positive flow of life energy that it was always meant to be.

Therefore, both inside and out, my world is turning upside down! This is a challenging journey for me, and you may notice quite a change come over me in the coming months. However, I’ve started doing a daily morning ritual in order to ground all of this intense transformation in my experience of the Divine. Even though there will be — and must be — moments of chaos, I have every confidence that the deeper meaning of my journey will shine through even more clearly than it has in the past.

On that note, I’m off to continue the journey. Before you pass on any questions, comments, or so on, I encourage you to read some of the questions and answers I’ve compiled on my Descent page. In the meantime, thank you for listening — and good luck with your own descent into the Underworld!

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I have a dream…

All things considered, I feel like I’m one of the most blessed people I know. I’m alive, and I’m probably about 75% well, which is more than most people can say. I am well-loved and respected among my fellow community members. I have many hopes, visions, dreams, and aspirations leading me forward, ever closer to the life of my dreams, going farther in life than I suspect most people even dream of. I feel the presence of the Divine in my life, and in many ways, I feel like I’m on the right track.

And yet…

And yet, sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I get lonely. Sometimes I feel despair. Sometimes my muscles ache with the cries of six or seven billion voices lost in anguish, despair, confusion, and alienation. Sometimes I just want to go to sleep at night and wake up in the world of my dreams.

When I wake up, I won’t be tired anymore. There won’t be any alarm clock whining at me, and I won’t have anywhere to go or anything to do. I’ll walk into my living room, and a dozen of my closest personal friends will be waiting for me, talking amongst themselves about the intentional community that we’re about to build together.

For once, they’ll all be together in the same place, at the same time, with their hearts filled with hope and joy. They will all rise to greet me, and we will meet in the center of the room with a group hug.

To my amazement, I will notice one of those giant oversized checks for forty-seven million dollars leaning up against the television. Some bilionaire who read my book decided to fund the Revolution, and now I get to spend the rest of my life with a dozen of my closest personal friends building an intentional community and travelling the world to spread messages of love and healing to all people.

And in the center of my circle of friends, I’ll see the love of my life — a beautiful, charming, intelligent, strong, loving, revolutionary woman who I’ve been hoping to find for the past eight years or so. She won’t be married; she won’t have a boyfriend; she won’t have a deep fear of commitment; she won’t be oblivious to my presence; she won’t have an inexplicable tendency to run away in terror when I tell her that I love her. Instead, she will know me as well as I know her, and we will spend the rest of our lives together loving, learning, growing, living, and inspiring revolution in each other and the world around us.

And then, to top it all off, I’ll walk into the kitchen to discover David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Juliano, and a host of other raw foods celebrities with the feast of a century waiting for us. We’ll lose ourselves in the sensual delights of naked chocolate — and since we’ll be filthy rich by this point, we’ll get to eat this way every day for the rest of our lives.

And then… I’ll wake up.

Maybe I should just be grateful for what I have. And I truly am grateful for what I have, especially since I almost decided to end it all prematurely many moons ago. But when I can see the potential for so much more pulsing all around me, squashed by nothing but stubborn ignorance and gross misunderstanding, I can’t help but feel frustrated sometimes.

So, I drink my day’s dose of naked chocolate, type away on my keyboard, and hope for the best.

And perhaps the best is yet to come… I do have two books in the works ( http://gaiasorphans.org/ and http://earthconsciousrevolution.org/ ), and I do have some good prospects for the future.

But the future lies in such flux right now. So much hinges on the choices of so many… will we choose to dismantle the institutions of domination and destruction, or will we watch in seeming helplessness as the heartless juggernaut rips through the final inches of the flesh of our living Mother?

Even now, amidst all of this war and the rising tides of fascism, my money’s on the children of the Earth. But we have so far to go in our journey that my heart aches even at the prospect of a distant success…

In any case, I feel that my role in the hope of the future lies in creating and sustaining hope in my community and my very own life. So, on that note, I’m off to do some more writing on those two books and some more personal process work in the depths of my soul. When I wake up in the morning, maybe I won’t find those dreamy realities waiting in the next room… I mean, maybe I really WILL, who knows… but either way, I will find another day, and another opportunity to celebrate the Divine and seek some greater measure of sanity in the process.

And that’s good enough for me.

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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