As we tumble into this hottest month of the year, August, ATEN offers a couple of exciting events held in a nice, air-conditioned building: the Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library. If you want to become a member, come on out on Saturday, August 3rd at 10:30am for an orientation in Meeting Room 1, led by Jennifer. If you are already a member and want to meet others to set up exchanges, we have Meeting Room 1 again on Saturday, August 24th at 10:30am for a Creating Commerce circle. This is a chance to speak in front of a supportive group for up to 5 minutes about what you do or are passionate about, and network with other members, too. We are very excited to get these business-oriented meetings going on a regular basis!
On Sunday, August 11th, Soma Vida is having a painting and organizing workday from 11am until 4pm. If you are a member of ATEN, you can volunteer to help and get credit for your time; just r.s.v.p. to email@example.com. Then at 4, there will be another orientation opportunity (at Soma Vida) for anyone curious about joining our time-banking community. Show up promptly and you’ll get all your questions answered!
And now, for something refreshing and different: the first in hopefully many guest posts on this blog, this one by ATEN member Oakwalker. His bio follows the story. Enjoy!
A Story of Wasps and Resolution
As an adept shamanic practitioner, one who experiences life on the planet as a continuous sharing of the life in everything that is created, finding myself apparently at odds with any species is a huge bell-weather of imbalance. It disturbs me to think that I am not in harmony with the elemental forces of nature, or at least more out of balance than usual. (It’s a process.) So when, back in May, we moved into our new, slightly smaller apartment it seemed a no-brainer to me to let the red wasps on the patio have the upper part of it, everything above my head, if they would let me have the bottom, which they didn’t seem too interested in.
This was a very anxious time for us. Laid off from my corporate job at the end of April, then downsizing by May 1st, then getting married on May 11th, we were really pushed to the limit. I did not have “remove wasps” anywhere on my lists of things to do.
Wasps are generally one of those critters that it would be best to leave alone. The stings they give when they are feeling threatened are very painful. That is reason enough for most people, but there are other good reasons that are often under-appreciated. Most species are generally very friendly to humans -those that are not thrashing the air, anyway- and they eat all kinds of bugs that you really don’t want in your garden. They are actually protective in both an environmental and a spiritual way, in the sense that their very presence repels your ‘enemies’ too. Red wasps, however, have a reputation for being a bit nasty and territorial, and I was relying on my “pure heart” to avoid any problems.
Until that night that I stepped out into the patio in the dark and pinned one’s wing to the ground. I howled and limped and felt that I had “paid my dues” to the wasp agreement. After all, I would have stung her too, given the tools, if she were standing on me. She died, I healed and I thought all was fine until one of them did a sneak attack on my hand during the afternoon break. This time, I swelled to the size of a small melon for five days, indicating that there is a progressive allergy around this and making it very dangerous for me to get stung again.
I do not use inorganic chemicals anymore. The solution would have to be organic. We found that soapy water, if it’s very strong, will drop them to the ground and smother them. We toyed with different essential oils to help repel them. But I still didn’t feel safe out there. I know that the Universe Loves Me. I know that no harm will come to me, because I am part of an Eternal Wholeness. But I don’t want to die of a bee sting. I want to ascend an invisible staircase, or go out defending a friend. I don’t want my last words to be “OUCH, what was that?” I don’t want my epitaph to read “The big things couldn’t get him.” or “Here lies Oakwalker, but for a swat he’d be with us today.”
With persistence and diligent nest removal -get them at the stem stage- their intrusions became less frequent. This was an improvement, because I had a lot of seedlings on the patio that needed attention. The patio is where I go to smoke and meditate on just how I am going to replace that honkin’ great income, or downsize even more, or both. I have been starting my healing practice on a full time basis now, and I need some way of telling people that I am so much more available. The Austin Time Exchange Network is a key part of my strategy for this. It is more than a great idea for exhanging goods and services. It is a network, and the buzz that gets generated along the network will radiate into the community at large with the message that money is not the only way to get what you need. I’m a believer. Yet I’ve found this start-up process to be overwhelming at times, and progress has been slow. It seems as if I’m being guided in one direction, then another, as if I’m trying to paint in a circle one ray at a time. Commitments were becoming difficult to fulfill, as the prep work required was being left to the last minute.
This morning, meditating on the patio about just this very subject, I had the breakthrough that I needed. It finally dawned on me that I was confusing the objective again. My Angel, caressing me with a warm, peaceful knowing in my heart, reminded me that it is about the Healing. Anyone can see that there is a lot of healing that needs to be done. A LOT. I sat up and announced “Well, here I am! Going Pro, now that things are weird enough!” Then I was seeing. I could see the future as if all of these possible lives went out as tubes all around me. As I finally made this firm declaration, a total commitment, then those tubes seemed to shift and run through my space as well, before going out into their own futures, a rest stop along the way. My guides and angels were flooding me with their own special brand of “It’s about time you put some heart into it!” messages that skittered along my skin like happy rain in a hot skillet.
I opened my eyes, and beheld the one of the most beautiful insects that I have ever seen. Irridescent blue from head to tail, it flew to me and really gave me a good look. It landed and let me look at it closer. It was one of those enchanted moments. What was this gorgeous symbol that Mother had sent? What did it mean?
Well, this wasp, the Cuckoo Wasp, lays its eggs in other wasp nests. It is a natural predator to the red wasp’s larvae. This wasp, named after crazy, is the balancing force of Nature that I’ve needed to keep the red wasps down. This secretive little critter was my visible message from my loving Universe that I can be at peace, that I will be provided for, and that it’s OK to sit on my patio again. I just LOVE this life.
Oakwalker is a Pachakuti Mesa Tradition Teacher and Shamanic Healing specialist. He is an initiated sound healer, Crystal Skull Meditation initiator, a certified clinical herbalist and a former engineer. On the ATE Network he offers classes in Shamanic, Herbal and Sustainability studies.