Mar 17, 2011

TWO SPIRITS: ¨The bravest choice you can make is to be yourself¨

I relished my private time to do something I hadn´t done for quite a long while--I indulged in self hypnosis...

This morning I found myself alone in the house.  It´s a rare treat for me to be all alone as I´m usually busy with helpers working in my art studio and most mornings and afternoons the housekeeper comes and puts my comodos living conditions in order.  So, this morning I decided to gather the doggies and let them sleep on my King Sized bed as I closed off all the outside sounds of my small village life in Central America.   You know, exotic birds chirping, street dogs barking, donkeys hauling wood/big bags, riders riding horses and the constant outside human movement that is created when workers work from dawn into the night.

I relished my private time to do something I hadn´t done for quite a long while--I indulged in self hypnosis after I closed all the windows, darkened the rooms and prepared to relax and let let go of the everyday tensions, my deepest noisy memories, conscience and not, and a tendency I have to think I must constantly strive ¨to be¨ in charge of a life that I can´t really control in many ways...a life that often does very well when I simply show up and participate in it calmly and observe it happening around me instead of dominating it with demands.

After the dogs began to snooze around me I started relaxing in ways that were taught to me years ago by my therapist, the well-known, around here and beyond around here, Dr. Jean.  Dr. Jean died over six years ago, in her fifties, after spending a lifetime as a paraplegic.  A paraplegic who refused to accept the mind boggling physical limitations that had come her way.  Dr. Jean was a clincial psychologist, a brilliant friend and a specialist in post-traumatic stress related disorders.

As I drifted into the place of ¨letting go¨  I started visualizing, one by one, friends who had left life and my life many years ago (some natural causes and some sadly not).   Not fearful ghosts materializing around me but more like the essence of dear friends who in a renewed state of emotional and spiritual wellness had come to visit, one by one, in my bedroom, this morning from places far away from me...from timeless decades ago they began to take shape and flow in and out of my subconscience mind.  Their visits gradually made me fill-up with a warm wave of gladness and well-being.

I felt comforted and rejuvenated by these unusual visitors but it was more than that...I was able to see, feel the authenticity of real human beings who came to me from afar, and once had struggled hard with themselves (and others) to ¨be¨ themselves...courageous friends with strong personal character who had a thread of commonality in the reality they were Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and dear friends of mine who had found happiness and peace of mind. People much like me who somehow survived difficult personal and emotional/spiritual/social adjustments to become exactly who they/we are--we had become the people we were created ¨to be¨ and I saw it clearly this morning in my own darkened bedroom, sprawled out on my bed, surrounded by sleeping dogs, as current images flickered, then emerged, from my past.

Later I came out of the trance, moved to the computer and saw immediately this inspiring story about a TWO SPIRITED person:

Fred Martinez was a Navajo boy who was also a girl. In an earlier era, he would have been revered. Instead he was murdered.

(San Francisco, CA)-- Two Spirits interweaves the tragic story of a mother's loss of her son with a revealing look at the largely unknown history of a time when the world wasn't simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders. Powerful and moving, Lydia Nibley's Two Spirits explores the life and death of Fred Martinez and the ancient Native American two-spirit tradition. Two Spirits will premiere on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 10PM (check local listings.)

Fred Martinez told his mother he felt as if he was both a boy and a girl, and she explained that this is a special gift, according to traditional Navajo culture. But the place where two discriminations meet is a dangerous place to live, and Fred became one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at sixteen. Between tradition and controversy, and freedom and fear, lies the truth--the bravest choice you can make is to be yourself.

Two Spirits explores issues of national concern including the bullying and violence commonly faced by LGBT people, and the epidemic of LGBT teen suicide, and reveals the range of gender expression that has long been seen as a healthy part of many of the indigenous cultures of North America, and of Navajo culture in particular.

The Navajo believe that to maintain harmony, there must be a balanced interrelationship between the feminine and the masculine within the individual, in families, in the culture, and in the natural world. For the first time on film, Two Spirits tells stories from the Navajo tradition of four genders. The first gender is the feminine woman. The second is the masculine man. The third is the male-bodied person who has a feminine essence--nadleehi. The fourth is the female-bodied person who has a masculine essence--dilbaa.

In Navajo, nadleehi means "one who is transformed," and as the film traces the ramifications of Fred's murder, it also shows the transformation being undertaken by Native activists who are working to restore the rich heritage of two-spirit people and to claim their place within their tribal communities.

"The film team is working with over sixty organizations nationwide to have six million people see the film and to help expand the national conversation about gender," says the director of Two Spirits, Lydia Nibley.

Lois Vossen the producer and founder of Independent Lens explains, "Two Spirits is an important film that tells a modern story with deep historical roots and does so in a way that is surprising and striking. It's a film that shows humankind at both our best and worst. It's gut-wrenching at times, but also hopeful and very engaging."

To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the companion website for Two Spirits at Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Dr. Jean, RIP
·  Thanks to Eternal Friendships
·  Thanks to Fred Martinez, Jr, RIP
·  Thanks to "nadleehi," a Navajo term referring to a two-spirit person
·  Thanks to  Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
·  Thanks to PBS-Independent Lens
·  Thanks to The Bilerico Project, sidebar


it's margaret said...

Thank you for this. I have witnessed the special reverence for two-spirit people at ceremony. I felt bereft of the means to celebrate that within our own tradition....

Leonardo Ricardo said...

it becomes more clear--like a natural focus defining reality instead of a frantic blur.

It takes courage (for everyone),

Love to you and yours,

JCF said...

The fourth is the female-bodied person who has a masculine essence--dilbaa.

I don't recognize myself very often. Thank you.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending!