The Magic Mystery Healing Tour: Why E+SM Matters
(Portions of this article appeared in my recent Huffington Post story on "The Rise of the New Spriitual Counterculture.")
It’s February 17 and I’m standing, exhausted and elated, in front of a full room at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA. Once again, we’ve filled up the seats and some people are standing in the back as I deliver my opening line, “If you told me several years ago, I’d be here talking about Jesus, ayahuasca, and aliens, I would have laughed my ass off.” But perhaps even more incredible than tales of mystical awakening is the notion that here I am on the final night of my Electric Jesus West Coast book tour, knowing we have shattered the odds.
At nearly all of my sixteen talks, packed into three weeks, I have been greeted by engaged and enthusiastic crowds. This shouldn’t happen. The publishing industry has been wilting for years, and this kind of energy and buzz isn’t a reality for most first-time authors backed by an independent publisher. But I’ve been blessed with an enormous gift that I’ve also helped build over the last few years – it’s called the Evolver Social Movement (E+SM).
It was E+SM, and the outreach of our local Evolver Spore chapters, that completely funded my “Kickstarterish” book tour campaign, exceeding my intended monetary goal. It’s E+SM's dedicated Sporeganizers who have built up transformational communities over the last two years that brought in the audiences, and it’s these same evolutionary allies who also gave me free places to crash, rides to the airport, floats in sensory deprivation tanks, skinny dipping in secret backyard hot tubs, sound healings, guerilla lemon picking, and sunset treks through Joshua Tree National Park. After six years of writing alone at home, this voyage turned into a surprising practice of testing just how much love I could possibly allow myself to receive, and how many magical adventures I could permit myself.
I use the term “magic,” because it seems to be one of the most repeated words we hear throughout our mycelial network. Although there’s not a way to scientifically prove this, I believe it’s because E+SM resonates at a higher frequency than our parasitic hierarchal systems that suck all the resources to the top few percent, creating astounding amounts of scarcity and suffering. Energetically speaking, society at large is a house divided, competing for money, power, jobs, land, goods -- you name it.
As systems theorist Buckminster Fuller stated, most problems are “problems of design.” Over the last couple of years, E+SM has worked (and played) hard to nurture transformational communities that are designed to foster ecological responsibility, creative collaboration, and conscious evolution. We believe deeply in the spirit of the gift, honoring the talents, visions, and passions of each individual and connecting that wisdom with the flow and energetic abundance of our interconnected network.
This unusually safe and wildly artistic container creates a higher, heart-based resonance, fostering synchronicities and “magical” moments throughout our community. During this tour, people constantly showered me with stories of how they met their life partner, best friend, key collaborator, favorite artist, teacher, healer, DJ, etc through an unexpected set of Evolver coincidences. One person even told me that he had overcome his life-long depression after someone recommended an ayahuasca article on Reality Sandwich that inspired him to trek down to Peru for ceremonial work.
Throughout my West Coast expedition, the word “healing” came up almost as much as “magic” – perhaps because they both come from the same sense of flow and connection to source energy. Wherever I went, I heard journeys of people healing their shadow, their family lines, and finding ways to help the planet herself. Given this common dynamic, I enjoyed asking one question in particular at each talk: “Who here is going through some type of initiatory or healing process?”
By the final night in Long Beach, I’m confident that at least nine-tenths of the audience are going to raise their hands. It’s been consistent from Calgary to Vancouver, Seattle to Portland, SF to Ojai, Palm Springs to LA. As all but a few raise their hands, I have them share glances with those in the bookstore. “There’s something unusual going on here,” I say. “If I grabbed the intercom at the local Wal-Mart and asked the same question, it’s not likely most people would raise their hands. I think we’re pioneers.”
Over the past three weeks, I’ve come to realize that evolvers and our related transformational tribes aren’t just the Whole Foods sustainability crowd or fist-in-the-air social justice advocates (although they might be into both of those things). There’s a weird and intricate alchemy of deeper ecological and mystical activism, where new design systems meet vipassana firmness of mind, plant medicine wisdom engages with Occupy ideologies, permaculture principles with a widened galactic perspective, and a rising consciousness with radically practical solutions to face the global challenges tidal-waving towards us.
This deeper collective journey came up most potently during a talk at the Elevate Films mansion in Ojai. A quarterback-athletic, twenty-year-old man (we’ll call him David) shared that he’d gone through a kundalini awakening similar to one I describe in my book. “People thought I was crazy. Nobody believed me. They put me in the hospital but I know these experiences are real.” The group then discussed how, since society doesn’t acknowledge the mystical experience, they are playing with just a tiny portion of the deck – that they don’t have the spiritual technology to deal with these kind of encounters. David’s voice trembled, “There just aren’t places for us to process what we’re going through.”
At this moment, it occurred to me that David needed support. I asked another member in the group to lead an energy exercise where we would all send him love and healing light. We focused our energies on David, holding space for him, sending comfort his way, until after a couple of minutes, his head dropped and he started sobbing, releasing some of the pain and isolation he’d been holding onto. Once this was over, we sang a mantra of “Love is the light” (or something in that vein) to help close the impromptu session.
For me, this moment summed up so much of what we’re doing with Evolver. Society has completely failed us, given us information over wisdom, consumerism over community, false advertising over deeper healing. Just about everyone I’ve met in the Evolver Social Movement is working to transcend this situation, to create new, joyful models of coexistence, to live and share our gifts, to reconnect with the sacredness of nature, to be bearers of light as we face perhaps humanity’s darkest hour.
Together, we are creating the healing circles, organic farms, mystery schools, yoga studios, reskilling trainings, ceremonial spaces, gift economies, eco-festivals, and neotribal gatherings to help David and the rest of us move through a harrowing initiatory path, and activating others along the way. E+SM is providing places for consciousness-raising films like “Wake Up,” “2012: Time for Change,” “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” “Gasland,” “Electronic Awakening,” and “Dive” to find their audiences. We facilitate platforms for trailblazing figures like Charles Eisenstein, Starhawk, Daniel Pinchbeck, Adam Elenbaas, Starhawk, Graham Hancock, Jennifer Palmer, Android Jones, and Darrin Drda to share their visions across the network. We are “Finding the Others” and growing the transformational tribe on spaceship earth along the way.
As I leave Gatsby Books on the final night of the tour, it occurs to me that I am closing some type of three-week healing work myself. When the glass door shuts beyond my back, a subtle wave of sadness lifts from my chest and evaporates like fog. I find myself briefly tearing up alone in the strip mall parking lot until my ride to the airport comes outside. Who knows how long I’ve been holding onto whatever shadow piece that had been, or what connective moment from this journey finally released it from my system. I’m just glad Evolver was there to help it illuminate.
In The Electric Jesus, I open the memoir with a line from The Gospel of Thomas: “There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world.” I believe we are here for exactly that – to help turn on many lights in the world.
We truly have something magical here, but even magic needs solid grounding and the energy to support it. As a grassroots organization, we depend on our community to fund our iniatives and expand our nework of light. While anyone can be an integral part of E+SM by contributing their time and passion, we hope you will donate to the Movement. After this tour, I feel confident that your gift will inspire and activate people in ways you couldn't even imagine -- that's magic for you.