It's hard to lay in pain in a hospital bed for a week with no one to give you a hug, especially for someone as affectionate as I'm known to be.
I came here alone as a pilgrimage, a venture usually undertaken to honor something, to fulfill a quest, to make a divine petition. And unlike a trip or vacation or tour, a pilgrimage often asks for an offering or sacrifice along the way, in hopes of receiving a blessing or transformation upon or before returning home. If you've ever undertaken a pilgrimage you understand the nature of the ritual. And you know that you nor the home you return to are never quite the same.
I've gone on several pilgrimages, most self-constructed, and all divinely rewarded. To me the process implies departure, detachment, a willingness to let go of ones habitual life and encounter yourself again through vulnerability, prayer, fear, and surrender.
In ONE WOMAN SHOW I joked about becoming a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven (Mathew 19:11-12). But for me that identity is very real, and part of that commitment means being open about my faith, and my motivations for undertaking such a tremendous operation. This isn't only about sex. I mean, God willing this is a lot about sex, but as Jabez cried out (1 Chronicles 4:10), before going under the knife I asked God to enlarge my territory, to enable me to receive more, to provide more, not only in the material world but it the spaciousness of my sexual center, and the vast interiority of my heart; To be free of harm, and to not cause pain to others.
It's scary to offer up your body in a private covenant with God. As a Jewish boy I did it at eight days old, though without consent or any understanding of the agreement I was being thrust beneath. As a Christian woman I have a clearer understanding of the redemptive power of self-sacrifice. Where the flesh of my genitals was once severed under the law of Moses and the Prophets, the same tender region has now been restored in faith with the grace of Jesus. For me it's a symbol; once instructed to fear and obey in Gods law, now invited to share and love in gods favor and forgiveness. I have a great deal of gratitude to Pastor Joseph Prince who helped me to see the two sides of this biblical coin, not that I have any assurance he would accept me in his church!
Now this view may not bode well with my family or Jewish friends, especially since I'm sharing it during the Days of Awe. But it's no one's truth but my own.
And anyway, I am a spiritualist and a story teller, and have been since birth. I've called the angels with King David, author of the psalms, been ridden by and submerged myself with Yemaya, Orixa mother of the ocean in Santeria, Candomblé, and Yoruba ritual. I've made love with the Holy Spirt while purging my darkness through sacred plants, chanted and cried with White Buffalo Calf Woman in the healing lodge of Lakota ceremony, where I first learned to honor my two-spirited nature. I've danced with the devil in the pale moonlight, for reals, and walked on my knees down Sunset Boulevard in drag and genuflection. I've risen like a Phoenix in Tantric meditation with Geshe Lama Norbu, the Love Sutra Lama, and met Guanyin and her blue pearl of wisdom through Dakini Yuan Miao, the new century sky dancer. I've encountered the Virgen de Guadalupe in the mountains of Michoacán, where I was christened Mama Pancha and led to give limpias (ritual cleansings) in the thermal waters of Araro. I studied Buddhist dharma in a quiet Thai temple one-on-one at the behest of Ajahn Chanya, who inspired me to finish my doctorate by telling me about his, "The Buddha's Socio-Political Ideas." I've sang to Shechenah on the candle-lit Malibu coast with Jewish tweens from the Valley, rocked my Christian praise with C3 Church Manhattan, become baptized in a new England Lutheran church where I sang "All Good Gifts" like I was 15 again (only without the recorder solo), consulted tarot cards, the stars and planets for the better part of my life, and danced it all together with my Butoh master, Diego Piñon who taught me to share my body, my spirit, and its insights with porn stars, elephants, musical theatre writers, and monks alike.
This is my quest. This is, in a way, a soulful accumulation. And there is no end, no finality or score keeping for spiritual materialism. In my experience, it's only an ever-unfolding moment of like-minded wisdom with different points of entry.
I only want to open myself up.
I only want to open myself up.
And the best part is, somewhere in San Francisco or Philly there's a radically justified feminist of color who can call me a culturally appropriating white man living out his erotic wish fulfillment of vaginal ownership. And that's fine. Maybe she's right. And I love her like a sister regardless.
As Norbu Lama says, "enlightenment is a peaceful of cake." So have your fill.
Tomorrow I will rise up and walk through the Gate of Beauty (Acts 3). Alone, as I intended, but with every teacher, guru, friend, lover, mentor, relative, ancestor, and spirit guide I can carry in my heart, and in my vag.
Bam. We are blessed.