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The Long Road
...and the Arc of Life.
It has been a while since I’ve been called to write… Three years ago today, one of my greatest spiritual teachers, Don Howard Lawler, passed on to the other side. I had the honor of sitting with him and experiencing his guidance with plant medicines - Ayahuasca, Huachuma, Singado, Bobinsana, Vilca… I also went on his last Pilgrimage to Chavin in 2015.
During Medicine journeys deep in the Amazon jungle, or on ancient temples atop mountains in the Andes, as Don Howard and I walked side by side, he’d glance over at me knowingly, and say, “The Long Road. You and I, we’re on the Long Road…” which would bring up energies that conjured the fabric of space-time across the ALL… infinite threads, weaving across lifetimes and eternity.
After Don Howard’s passing in 2019, a young man named Parker Sherry moved to Peru to help facilitate at SpiritQuest, and also did a lot of community organization work. During Don Howard’s transition, he told me that Parker was an incredible young man, and the perfect person to help support SpiritQuest during that challenging time.
A few years ago, Parker arranged a reunion at the Dao House in Estes Park, Colorado, where I met Master Chen and began a journey into mystical Daoism and the I Ching. We had another gathering in Sedona, Arizona, where I connected with new and old friends, for fellowship, and to honor the memory of Don Howard.
Earlier this month, on October 3rd, I received news that Parker had a terrible accident. He dove into a creek and had a freak accident where he ended up paralyzed from the chin down, and on life support. Ironically, this was Don Howard’s birthday. It seemed so unbelievable… that someone who was so deep in the Work… manifested this reality.
In the end, he was still lucid, and my friends in Austin went to see him, as he allowed Nature to run its course and departed this realm… to join Don Howard.
The Universe works in mysterious ways.
Lately, I’ve been having discussions with friends about the nature of transformation through Ayahuasca and other Medicines. Plant medicines aren’t a magic pill that solves all of one’s problems or magically transforms one into a superhero. They can help with untangling internal “trauma energies” and patterns, and are profound tools for healing and learning. However, after returning to “default reality”, challenges are still there, life goes on, and shit still happens.
In recent conversations about Plant Medicines, I’ve talked to friends about how, sometimes, there’s a part of us that misses the unconscious mode of being of Matrix living, pre-Medicine… like Cypher wanting to take the blue pill to return to “knowing” what you’re “supposed” to do… climb the corporate ladder, get rich, seek power.
Except there is no blue pill.
Ultimately, each individual life is part of that infinite fabric of reality. The threads we weave are part of a bigger picture, a larger context. A framework that has been helpful to understand the context is Ray Dalio’s Arc of Life.
It seems like my peers and I are working through the checklist of the end of Phase 2… as our children are finishing up Phase 1… right on schedule. Understanding the phase that one is in, as well as the phase of others, helps us to support those around us… family, friends, partners, colleagues, clients, and strangers even.
So, here I am, writing again. Parker was one of my most supportive readers of this writing experiment, and also a great writer. We would communicate and respond to each others’ philosophical musings and reflect and support each other. I miss him dearly.
Para el bien de todos, hermanos.