0x1ba3
September 21st, 2022

Navigating our modern reality requires a skill-set we, as a collective, are not truly equipped to deploy in such pressing times. Holding space for both the utter destruction of our planet, our ecosystems and our social fabrics and also leaving space for the simple beauty of the natural world that surrounds us and the fundamental goodness of humanity. Such a duality is not something our educational systems teach, nor does the dominate religious culture here in the West. But if we are to truly survive the reality barreling down at us with a sliver of sanity intact, we must embrace this duality and create the space in our lives for both the beauty and the chaos.

While chatting with a colleague the other day via DMs, he asked if we’re really as fucked as we seem or are we only seeing the bad stuff? We were journalists for many years, so we’re wired to process the world differently. I replied that it’s both— both realities are true and the challenge is to navigate and hold both truths at all times.

Holding Space for Beauty and Chaos

What does holding space for our reality in such a manner actually mean? From the Buddha Dharma perspective, we embrace the reality that life is both beauty and chaos, joy and suffering, pain and delight. We hold space for the fact that we can not eliminate the afflicted emotions, the chaos, pain and suffering are equally as important as the beauty, chaos and joy. Without the pain— how would we know delight? Without sorrow, how could we know joy?

0x1ba3
September 1st, 2022

Last week I returned to my spiritual and academic community nestled at the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado. Returning to my people after an intense summer in the South was beyond a relief. All summer I was surrounded by the perpetual iconography of separation, violence and racism and while I grew up in the South, I’ve never experienced such energetic volatility at scale. And I’ve documented post conflict countries in the midst of collapse and under occupation. I’ve witnessed and experienced intensity for a living, but it pales in comparison to what’s happening in this country, and around the globe, right now.

A powerful Sycamore tree during a sacred smoke ceremony.
A powerful Sycamore tree during a sacred smoke ceremony.

I’m taking a class called Nature, the Sacred and Contemplation this semester, which is a combination of ecopsycology and spirituality, and the content is beyond powerful. After class on Friday, which was around the same time as the New Moon in Virgo, something shifted. A deep and subtle sense of foreboding, a quiet dread, just opened up, like a tiny little lotus in my gut. And I feel all of my emotions in my gut. Through multiple meditations and even a little Indian Raga singing practice (also a class I’m taking this semester) the little lotus of dread keeps opening. Its not going away, its just living there. Like a tiny little beautiful beacon of something much deeper and darker on our horizon. I’ve been trying to reverse engineer this for the past few days and I’ve come to a few conclusions. What’s the “thing” causing this lotus of foreboding?

Reality.

0x1ba3
July 31st, 2022

Very few tensions perplex me more than trying to pursue my dharmic work on this planet while also living in a consumption-based, patriarchal capitalistic system run by kleptocrats and corporatists. Roll in our current economic state, with rapidly rising inflation at 8.7% and counting, 46% increase in gas prices and food prices inflating 15% and well, the dharmic tension is legit.

In my twenties, work and living was much simpler. I was part of a quasi-nomadic community who worked in the leisure industries and we followed the seasons for work. We paddled and bartended in the summer months at the beach and skied and tuned skis during the winter months in the Rockies. We found a place to live through word of mouth or just rolling into a town, checking the local bulletin boards at the grocery store and that was it. We followed the beautiful weather and played hard. Very hard. This was long before the AirBnBs came along with web2 and removed affordable housing from beautiful tourist towns.

In my thirties, I stepped into the world of journalism and after returning to JSchool, I accidentally started a business. I became an an accidental entrepreneur because the jobs being offered at the local newspaper didn’t cover my cost of living. Then the housing collapse happened and its been a free for all ever since.

I straddled the worlds of trying to make a living doing what made my soul happy and also surviving in an unstable and wildly chaotic economic climate. I’ve always held the duality of doing work that is fulfilling while also keeping food on the table. I’m lucky in that I am only responsible for myself and my hound dog, so I have more flexibility in how I work.

0x1ba3
July 22nd, 2022

I launched the Unraveling Collection ($UNRAVEL) on Foundation in early July of 2022 as a means to fund-raise so I could cover traveling to DC to document the Women’s March event on July 9th. While no NFTs sold before the event, I’d created a collection that I could leverage to actively use my skills to fight for my own rights and those of the collective. I began exploring this concept of deploying my NFTs as tools to raise funds for DAOs in late 2021 and now the framework was finally in place.

Begin collecting & supporting ChoiceDAO at https://foundation.app/@cstreet
Begin collecting & supporting ChoiceDAO at https://foundation.app/@cstreet

Unraveling is a collection that will grow over time as I continue to document the various elements of my country’s spiral into authoritarian rule and the collapse of our social systems in the wake of late-stage capitalism.

I will mint many of the Unraveling NFTs with splits that will distribute funds automatically using the smart contracts built into the $UNRAVEL artist’s contract on Foundation. Funds will be directed towards chosen DAOs that are supporting issues represented in the images or DAOs. I chose not to mint any images of individual protestors, only images of signs, symbols, iconography and group images.

0x1ba3
July 22nd, 2022

On July 9th, 2022, I traveled to Washington D.C. to document the Women’s March Summer of Rage event. I had no agenda. I was simply filled with rage and needed to document and bear witness to the collective action of my fellow women and allies as everyone screamed into the void. I decided to publish a photo essay of the day’s events and give both my observations and personal opinions of what I witnessed. If you’d like to read a deeper essay on the day, please visit my previous article here.

I chose some of my favorite images that do not highlight individual protestors, only iconography, signs/symbols and group shots, to mint as fundraisers on my artist-owned smart contract on Foundation called Unraveling ($UNRAVEL). I will be minting sections of images that will incorporate a smart contract split which automatically sends 75% of all proceeds to DAOs supporting women’s rights and impact DAOs I am active within and who support social justice causes. The first round of minting will support ChoiceDAO, a collective working to fund and engage in the fight for reproductive rights.

0x1ba3
July 12th, 2022

On July 9th, thousands of women, female-identifying people and male allies gathered in Washington, D.C. to hold space and be heard. We gathered to voice and direct our rage at the seat of our government, the one building we were told was the sacred seat of power our entire lives. The very House that has failed to protect the women, the marginalized, the poor and the suffering of this land year after year. The very House that we were brought up to believe was the apex of power in this world. The very House that we look to when the dark forces of the world turn on our citizens and threaten our liberty. The very House, that for many years now, has failed to keep us safe, failed to keep us supported and failed to recognize our right to exist.

GenZ taking up space and being heard in front of the White House, on July 9th, 2022.
GenZ taking up space and being heard in front of the White House, on July 9th, 2022.

On this day of rage, thousands stood in front of that very House and screamed into the void. With a very clear and cohesive plan to be ungovernable, to be outraged, to act collectively through civil disobedience-- a plan to not go quietly into that dark night.

I went to DC to document. To bear witness. To hold space. I was trained as a journalist to never be an activist and participating in protests still makes me uncomfortable. Even though I agree, with every fiber in my being, with those who choose to scream into that void, I often go to protests to simply document. It’s a strange position to stand within, to not be neutral, but to still maintain enough emotional distance to document the entirety of what is unfolding before me.

0x1ba3
June 25th, 2022

For years, we’ve known of the attempt to roll back the clock on rights for anyone not male and white in this country. The strategy used by a radical, far-right political machine was not, nor has it ever been private. All laid bare for those with open eyes to see, process and watch in horror as it unfolds. For four decades.

And yet many of us were called conspiratorial, alarmist, dramatic or just wrong. We were not. We were right. We always have been.

Who are WE? WE are the marginalized, because of our gender, race, sexual preferences and because we believe in the basic fundamentals of human rights. WE are the ones who, at the hands of 6 unelected wealthy elitists placed in positions of unchecked power by rich white men who were not elected by the popular majority of this country, are now considered in the eyes of the law, second class citizens.

WE are angry. WE are exhausted. WE woke up today in a world where our right to exist is now challenged. We woke up in a reality that is freakishly close to the Handmaid’s Tale, so much so that I will be devoting a fair amount of time over the coming days to lock down my personal opsec, secure my alternative modes of economic transactions and strategically plan my dissent along with my exit from this country once the path to full authoritarianism is complete in 2024.

0x1ba3
June 6th, 2022

I live in a country completely engrossed in violence. I’m blessed enough to not have violence in my personal environment, but every time I leave the house, I anticipate that I could enter any plethora of violent scenarios.

We must begin to ask ourselves what living in perpetual violence does to our mental health, how ongoing trauma impacts our well being.

We can turn to overt violent environments, like the war in Ukraine, and see what happens to the human spirit under the ongoing campaign of senseless violence. For some, the spirit rises up and fights back. For others, the spirit retracts in self defense. In all, the spirit frays under the constant duress of heartbreaking and senseless death.

We can’t deny the scale of tragedy in Ukraine right now. I can only imagine what living through such destruction would do to one’s heart. But what I’m exploring in this essay is a more subtle and ongoing war against one another. The violence we allow and inflict upon one another, in a country not at “war” is a stunning and devastating reflection of who we are as a society.

0x1ba3
May 19th, 2022

The Sacred Wisdom OnChain Project is a capstone project I’ve created to implement in the fall for my degree-- in yoga studies. I get the irony here, but I wanted to share my academic proposal here on Mirror to begin a dialogue that has been surfacing almost daily. Grab a coffee and get to reading….

My core question is as follows:

How can decentralized blockchain technology be utilized to protect, archive and support the translations and teachings from wisdom traditions so current and future generations can freely access this knowledge as a public good, while also providing support for scholars and source communities through the monetary and governance mechanisms inherent in blockchain technology?

The Sacred Wisdom project contains three core premises that I will explore and work towards the implementation of during my capstone project. The first premise is protecting wisdom tradition translations and teachings from the threat of market enclosures, commodification, disinformation and authoritarian political structures through decentralization of information. The second premise explores archiving wisdom tradition teachings so future generations can access the knowledge with no centralized gatekeepers or market forces controlling access. And lastly, I will explore supporting scholars and source communities through the creation of decentralized organizational structures that provide the technical and autonomous mechanisms to build and support communities through virtual gathering places and alternative economic modalities without middle men or gatekeepers in a global container accessible to all and built under the premise of the Gift Economy.

0x1ba3
March 23rd, 2022

Originally published on my substack in early 2021.

Several core pillars of our society are collapsing, shifting, and redefining themselves. Centralization is becoming a hindrance to economic growth and the endless printing of dollars to support the pandemic-ravaged economy is causing confidence in fiat currencies across the globe to wane. While I support the massive government spending necessary to help the citizens navigate the current economic collapse, at some point, inflation will come knocking.

We can explore those statements in depth later, but for the sake of this article, I want you to know that embracing cryptocurrencies is part of our adaptation to the inevitable shift of our economic systems to digital currencies. Before we hash out the details of purchasing your crypto (pun intended), let’s step out for two seconds and look at the big picture.

Decentralized Currencies Lift Us All

0x1ba3
March 9th, 2022

I have to admit, I did not have “psychopathic kleptocrat starts World War” on my 2022 bingo card, but here we stand. Staring down the reality that during the previous administration, America helped numerous dictators consolidate power and prepare for the very scenario we see playing out before our eyes.

Unjustifiable wars, devastating human rights violations and utter destruction to re-establish global power dynamics that disappeared with the Cold War. Only now, it’s a hot war, the kleptocrats are bent on utter destruction with total disregard for human life, America’s standing in the world is greatly diminished and the end game is the destruction of democracy across the globe. Democracy is hard, dictatorship is easy.

Oh, and we’re still grappling with the lingering results of a two year global pandemic that shredded communities, families and social safety nets. And don’t get me started on the climate crisis.

Is it any wonder why so many of us are simply hanging on by the very edge of our tattered ropes? Almost every friend I bump into answers the question “how are you?” with a heavy “overwhelmed”.

0x1ba3
February 24th, 2022

I live in multiple worlds. I believe many of us do. And as of late, my worlds as a technologist and former journalist are colliding in my timeline and causing a deep yet profound duality. One that I am learning to live within and hold space for.

On the one hand, I see nothing but hope, community, art and opportunity. On the other hand, I see nothing but destruction, polarization, propaganda, ignorance, kleptocracy and the destruction of humanity at the hands of the 1%. And lately, I’ve seen that machinery of destruction unleashed upon the hopeful sector of my timeline-- the technologists.

At the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
At the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

To see only the beauty and ignore the destruction is to remain blissfully unaware and vulnerable to the world itself. I often envy those who are able to completely ignore the destruction. My ability to process the destruction with a level of detachment is a skill learned as a journalist that serves me well now. My ability to sit with the sorrow and bear witness to the worst outcomes of our human journey also allows me to be a powerful documentarian and show others the impacts of politics and policy through imagery.

0x1ba3
February 13th, 2022

Disruption is messy. Period.

Change is not something we, as humans, navigate with grace or ease. We fight change kicking and screaming. We crouch in fear in a dark corner, as our limbic brain begins to shift into flight or fight mode, and lash out at anything foreign that enters our vision. We armor ourselves and sink into an often detrimental cycle of vehemently fighting the wave of change that is slowly coming at us- bracing for the inevitable tsunami that will alter our lives.

And let’s be honest, we’re all exhausted from the last few years of perpetual fear and disruption of our daily lives at the hands of a virus we can’t control.

Now take that looming specter of change and wrap it in a technological container that takes some serious dedication to understand and also possesses the potential to disrupt the existing power and economic dynamics currently enabling the patriarchal and corporate webs that keep us all trapped in the wheel of consumption and you have the ingredients for a straight-up war.

0x1ba3
December 17th, 2021

What is a warrior?

Redefining warriorship is one aspect of healing our patriarchal society that I resonate with on a deep level. I believe we are living through a time where the quiet warriors among us are being called to step up and shed light on another way of walking through our world.

Sacred indigenous cultures and eastern religions view the warrior in a completely different light. The sacred warrior is fierce when they need to be and compassionate at the same time. The warrior is self aware and shows up as her true, authentic self so that others can rise up along with her. The warrior engages in violence only when necessary and only when their community is in danger. The warrior views all life, all sentient beings, as something to be cherished, celebrated and protected. The warrior understands that the balance between feminine and masculine energies is the true battle to understand and win.

“The call to the warrior is not simply an individual call to action when all hell is breaking loose; it’s a call for us to cultivate the ground in which warriors can be grown. A warrior must be respectful and disciplined in their interactions with all living beings and omitted to protecting the sacredness of every life” (Mitchell 153).

0x1ba3
October 23rd, 2021

There’s a conversation we, as a society, are completely avoiding and the ramifications of such a silence are shredding the fabrics of our shared experience on this planet.

I’m talking about the collective trauma of the pandemic and the fact that we all, every single person on this planet, experienced (and are still experiencing) the direct pain of intense trauma. The pain from this trauma, when left unaddressed and ignored, causes us to lash out in unpredictable and destructive manners.

Group trauma is passed along in ways that impact the entire group. Group trauma can lead to distorted thinking, which often manifests as internalized oppression, as people try to maintain some sense of misplaced control over the circumstances of their oppression. In addition, trauma from long-stranding oppression can leave the group huddled together in a form of stagnated solidarity. When anyone tries to move beyond the place of suffering that the group has occupied, they are attacked by the group and brought back down (Mitchell 56).

When layered a top a large population of people already traumatized from the long term impacts of climate crisis and the kleptocracy-capitalism hybrid many of us are navigating along with massive inequality and economic disruption, it’s no wonder why massive portions of the population are clinging to disinformation that makes them feel empowered over their own lives. It’s no wonder that identity politics have now reached full scale destruction.

0x1ba3
October 6th, 2021

Originally published on my substack in 2020.

In most dystopian fiction, the overlords bend the population into submission by drugs, violence, fear or swoop into power after some landscape altering catastrophe or population-decimating contagion.

In the real version, circa 2020, the population opens their hearts and minds to the algorithms they keep in their pockets all day. The overlords simply have some low wage workers flood social platforms with endless conspiracy memes, put a little money into an advertising engine, slip a few fluent English speakers into some private groups to stoke some racism and a population submits willingly to the forces that are destroying their communities, families and lives.

For someone fascinated by the intersections of humanity and technology, a lover of dystopia and a former journalist, it doesn’t get much juicer than this. And honestly, if this were happening in another country, I may just go back to school and get a PHD based on this very scenario.