Is that cicadas singing?
I always wonder if I misidentify them.
I found the exoskeleton of a cicada clinging to the hibiscus syriacus when I went out foraging a few days ago… and if this is cicadas… I think it is… they have been singing with me as I have been making tentative, emotionally fraught inroads at rebuilding my connection with my musical instruments.
Recently it's been the guitar.
For a lot of time now, I've been rehabilitating my singing.
I want to talk today about art… and dream traveling.
I want to tell you about Michael Newberry -- who I only discovered somewhat recently in the interview that he did with Demi Pietchell on the Starfire Codes podcast.
My various… challenging… I'm looking for the right words… iterative… rehabilitations of music and art in my life…
…especially over the last 10 years of very serious, compounded, complex, multi-system disablement… having experienced forms of violence that many people dissociate from and don't realize are happening, or cannot come to terms with even if they have been confronted with it…
…this has been a journey in rehabilitating my artful processes; my physiological processing through arts… that has been very rare and difficult to be able to discuss with anyone except survivors of the most extreme and invisibly violent intersections, who would understand -- who would be able to connect with me about it -- except that all of us, because of our contact with sex trafficking organizations or various other forms of human trafficking influences, we are too hard hid by the violence at our intersections to be able to spend very much time in conversation with one another about that.
Some of that has changed recently, as the Intuitive infrastructure has come online more robustly.
But our ability to interface with one another consistently is still intermittent.
Our opportunities for deeper conversations about arts rehabilitation are still far too few and far between.
When I discovered Michael Newberry's work through this interview on the Starfire Codes platform, it meant so much to me.
It was very difficult for me to verbalize it then.
I am only beginning to try to verbalize it now.
There is a particular joining of subject intersections in what I've seen Michael talk about that I haven't been able to find most other places most of the time — except in the most severely affected populations that I've been working with.
It is three things, I think, primarily. And there may be more that we will yet discover.
One… is a strong recognition and appreciation for classical arts; for the depth and breadth of classical arts.
Two… is a very true, resonant, resonating spiritual compass for what art is; for the meaning of artful expression (that many people in classical arts, in fact, lack).
The Third thing I would like to call out… is that Michael has an interest and very relevant insights as regards the co-optation of professional art spaces and professional art platforms.
As they get deeper into the subject material that they're exploring, Michael is describing co-optation that he's recognized in arts communities that are profoundly problematic…
…for human thriving…
…for any sense of life-affirming artful expression…
…for ensuring that we are honoring living beings, that we are honoring the sacredness of life energy that is simply given to us, that is breathed through us from the very beginning of our time on this physical plane…
…that we have been taught by many sources to take for granted, or take advantage of, or minimize the effects of… or even desecrate, depending on who or what we're talking about.
I have typically not seen anyone discussing this kind of arts co-optation at any length.
We do talk about something very similar in survivors groups… but most of the survivors that I have interacted with have not had careers in classical arts.
I studied and performed stage opera for many years.
The communities that I was part of while I was performing -- I watched them be destroyed by the predatory influences I later came to recognize as human trafficking influences.
Until very, very recently, I didn't know if I would ever be able to contact my own neurology from those times, maybe for the rest of my life.
I had been cut off from it because of the violence I experienced while I was striving to honor my artful impulses; knowing my artful impulses to be at the very core of what makes me alive… something that we all anchored together when I was working with other artists, with other performers.
This goes beyond mere discussions of capitalism, mere discussions of the misuse of wealth.
This goes a lot deeper.
It's very intricate.
Michael Newberry, in his interview with Demi… he's talking about reading mystery novels, some of the mystery novels that my father introduced me to many years ago.
I didn't get to read them as much as my Dad did, but I have a fondness for them, and I was delighted that they were part of that interview conversation.
When you tune yourself to noticing very subtle details about life processes… about how things occur in a complex environment… you can see things that other people do not necessarily see and might be totally unaware of.
I feel a lot of grief that I could not notice more at those intersections where I was in the midst of classical arts engagement that was and is so important to me…
…the way those communities were destroyed around me -- without me even understanding what was going on.
When I tried to come back to them, I found them decimated.
There are so many other parts of my life that are not themselves specifically classical arts intersections that experienced the same decimation.
Other kinds of art, other kinds of expression.
The performance art environments, the theater environments that I was part of…
The experimental community-building where people are teaching one another very different ways of living and being, just to find out what it feels like…
Different kinds of arts communities, different kinds of festival communities…
People seeking their true source-self life energy…
They have all been targeted in some different and similar ways by the cooptive influences that Michael is describing; for instance, in classical arts communities.
One of the things that happened when I was watching this interview…
…is that a whole lot of my neurology from that time came back online.
And it had been gone; it had been wiped out.
I didn't even know how seriously it had been wiped out until a bunch of it was coming back online; and a bunch of emotional stuff came in for me with that. It's still very, very difficult to verbalize.
It's very important to me to highlight these three things that I found in the dialogues with Michael Newberry on the Starfire Codes…
…because there are people in classical arts communities that recognize the nature of meaning in great art. But…
Most of them do not recognize where communities are being co-opted by predatory influences.
I think there are parts of me that have thought for many years now that there would be no way that I could ever communicate that to any of them.
But now I'm recording this audio for broadcast -- and that makes it a part of our public media conversation, which is part of our Intuitive infrastructure for the purpose of making it more possible to communicate with one another across the barriers and abysses that have been created.
So, I mean, here it is.
This is part of the conversation.
Some people are recognizing those predatory influences.
Some people are tracking, the way we are in the Intuitive network… Where are the trafficking interests? What are they doing? Why are they doing it?
How are they deploying various initiatives to allow them to commoditize individuals? -- families? -- communities? -- businesses? -- organizations? -- populations? -- the resources of the sacred lands we all dwell upon? -- the very resource of life energy in all our bodies and all around us…?
There are people out there (...not only in the Intuitive network… and we are finding them!...) who are really paying attention. They have a mind to that kind of detail, to notice where things fit together in a complex map of associations.
Most people, most of the time, are just not trained to track that kind of thing. They've never been exposed to the kinds of learning that would allow them to learn how to track that kind of thing.
That's why and how human trafficking organizations are so successful in the ways that they hide in the midst of all our environments.
When I was studying opera and the history of classical music…
…some of this I have still retained, but my vocabulary has been hit very hard -- so I'm just expressing it however I can express it; I don't know what will come back when…
…I have sense memories from that time…
…that I know now to interpret as various levels and techniques of co-optation; the way that the arts, opera and otherwise, are used to propagandize populations to control communities of influence.
In my studies, I was also being used that way.
Other students, other professionals, other performers were [and, um, are] being used that way.
It's an experience of trauma that is very real, but is often not recognized as trauma by the people experiencing it -- especially if one maintains enough privilege, enough contact with resources to be able to get through one's life.
You might never notice; you might never realize that it's going on.
You might never realize that it's been a traumatic experience.
But if you come to an experience of hardship…
…or if, like me, you come to an experience of being sex trafficked…
…if you meet challenges that destroy your body and force you to regrow yourself over and over again…
…you end up having to come to terms with it.
You end up having to be able to recognize it consciously, because you have to make sure that it won't happen again.
If you can get charge of your own circumstances so that that violence will not continue, you have to do something about it from that kind of intersection.
Usually those intersections are invisible and invisibly violent.
They are hidden in the midst of even very privileged environments, as well as in the midst of environments of poverty.
Everywhere we have reached, we have found trafficking influences that function this way.
One of the things that we know to be most powerful is… our sense of what life energy is.
What is the Great Sacred?
How are each of us co-created in the Universe?
How are we each emergent?
How do we combine our strengths, interests, and activations with one another all the time -- even if we don't know we're doing it -- the art that we are all making by being here with one another, by living our stories that are all interconnected (whether or not we notice)?
The more we are able to recognize that, the more the whole story changes…
…and we are not victims for traffickers to eat.
We are not a dead resource to be commoditized… by somebody who can make money off it… or by a network of somebodies making money off the planet.
We write our way forward.
We create the art that is our essence of being.
That changes everything.
We do, however, have to be able to recognize what's happening in order to choose something different.
It has been very profound for me how much I have been seeking myself in that place of power that is artistic expression, artistic performance, where I am aware…
…that if we bring relational integrity and collaborative fluency to our artfulnesses together…
…there is no way for us to continue being victimized by the dishonorably predatory.
I was really cut off from that -- until suddenly it came flooding back, when I watched Demi talking with Michael Newberry.
I will continue to strive to verbalize; I will continue rehabilitating instruments and performance acumen and vocal expressions.
Oh! a bunny rabbit just meandered into my field of vision; I'm staring out at the garden. Always, for me, a good omen.
This bunny rabbit is relaxing in the garden here beyond my window… and using a paw to scratch behind her ear. She's there. She's herself, she's existing.
She is part of the Great Sacred Panoply.
We are all here expressing what we are expressing.
How aware can we be of how much that matters?
Michael made a post on 14 August, a couple of days ago… about working on a piece, oil on canvas, called "Little Goddess," in 2004 or thereabouts… of Athena, standing on the shores of the Aegean, witnessing the fall of Icarus.
For me, I look at it and I feel the trauma of that moment.
What Michael describes is how Athena in this painting is using her divine powers to neutralize gravity, to cushion the fall of Icarus -- to allow him to safely land.
This also interconnects with my intersections of professional marketing in the business circles that I moved in before I was sex trafficked.
We had some particular dialogues about Icarus flying too high being a danger… and we also had dialogues about Icarus flying too low being a danger.
Too high, and the sun would melt the wax on the structures of his wings; too low, and he would be weighed down by the spray of the sea.
I am recognizing how many of us have been conditioned in a way that makes it hard for us to even try…
…and then, to find that middle way… to soar successfully in a way that is not so high that our wings are burnt and collapse… and is not so low that we never make it to the level where we can catch the wind and keep going.
In this same post, Michael talks about a dream that he had…
…where Hitler was still alive…
…and was being released from a high security asylum for the criminally insane…
…and it was now Michael's job to care for Hitler.
What strikes me about this dream is that all of us, in the midst of these embedded cooptive influences… we are being positioned to care for what is most violent, what feels most dangerous to us…
…what most or all of us would rather dissociate from and never think about again.
It has been put on our plate.
We are having to contend with it.
It is living in… and living off of… all our community spaces…
…until we courageously identify it and address it, bring it to consciousness, and sort it out…
…which requires us to understand what we're looking at, to honestly process our experiences with one another and in support of one another.
Otherwise, this terrorizing responsibility is being put upon us -- and we are all having to deal with that in ways that many cannot confront, but many others are having to make themselves right with, to make hard choices about dealing with in situations of isolation and scarcity of resources.
The most important resource that has been made so scarce… is the relational integrity of us knowing one another; coming closer to one another; caring for one another;...
…choosing to use our powers to take action…
…to safeguard one another.
What do we feel in ourselves about that striving?
When I watched the collapse of my communities around classical arts and around a lot of other subjects, I watched people become disoriented and demoralized; they were being targeted by certain kinds of predatory influences.
They lost their sense of what was possible.
They lost their connection to the power of the art that lives in all of us.
It became a kind of hollow construct for them… and it seemed that hollow construct could not save them from the devastation that they experienced in their lives… that we all experienced in our lives to one extent or another; my experience having been very extreme and very invisible to others.
But still; people maintaining their interconnection with privilege and resources… in a way that I could not because of the violence that my family was targeted with, because of the violence my communities were targeted with… still, everybody has increasingly been affected by these hidden traumatic experiences because of the ways that we are all being extracted from… by the kinds of co-optation that Michael calls out in his interview with Demi Pietchell.
How do we believe in ourselves?
How do we rise to where we are truly capable?
How do we find the place where our artifice… where our wings… can catch the wind in that way? …and not be seared by the sun or weighed down by the spray?
There's no need for us all to allow ourselves to be preyed upon in the ways that many have come to take for granted.
When I consider… what is great art? and… how will those of us who can recognize it build together? …so that more and more people can have contact with dialogues about what is great art… and… what is the art of the greatness that lives in the core of each of us?...
…this protects us from hidden or overt violence.
This preserves our vital life force.
This is what makes generations of strong and healthy families… thriving with purpose and meaning and nourishment.
This is what we're working for.
Dwelling on it makes me think my rehabilitative endeavors will succeed.
And I want to see my severely disabled community members all over the world, working with Intuitive infrastructure, succeeding in their rehabilitative endeavors.
I want to see their amazing recoveries.
I have come so far since my most severe, compounded, extreme neurological injury… which is still ongoing; I still experience ongoing physical violence here, and yet I can communicate now far better than before. Many people around the network can attest to that.
When I have been able to achieve what I have been able to achieve -- how are we bringing that to every other living being we can reach, to restore that power of artful expression?
That power of essential communication of our care for one another; of our desire to cushion one another's fall?
To use our divine powers to make that difference for one another?
To present ourselves naked and vulnerable…
…and yet magnificently powerful…
…in ways we don't even know…
…until we choose to act from that care…
…with great courage…
…from our essential artfulness?
If you take a look on Substack, you'll find MichaelNewberry.substack.com.
I hope you will browse more of his offerings. He has a lot of really beautiful writings and beautiful paintings -- that I have caught only small glimpses of, compared to what he's produced. I look forward to exploring more of it.
I am very, very grateful that Michael took the time to talk with Demi at the subject intersections that they covered in that interview conversation.
It has affected me profoundly.
I hope I have gotten to convey even a fraction of that to you today.
If you want to follow more of these musings, make sure you're subscribed to IntuitivePublicRadio.substack.com (Mack's Memo -- that's me).
I'm going to sign off now, Max Megan Elizabeth Morris, going now to my evening… to meet challenges with courage and compassion and belief…
…in what is artful… and amazing… and full of vitality.
As I hope you will likewise.
Take good care, friends.
Thank you for listening.