Eskawata Kayaway: transformation

This is one of the most commonly used words you may hear, in North America and Europe, coming from the Hãtxa Kui language spoken by the Huni Kuin of the Kaxinawá people, an indigenous people from the Brazilian Amazon with a long lineage of healing traditions, including transcendental plant medicines. To learn more about these powerful healing traditions, I suggest you visit Nixi Pae Experience. It is with deep gratitude I share this reflection, started during deep healing work with the Huni Kuin people. The thread of these lessons continues to unwind…

This is also the first word I wrote in the opening page of my journal this year, wrapped in the embrace of a giant serpent, another deeply powerful symbol of transformation. As I nestled in my mosquito-netted hammock, doubling as my bed for the trip, it felt like the best way to initiate the blank pages. After all, I was deep in the Brazilian Amazon, in the midst of another layer of initiations and transformations that started many life times ago, all within my current lifetime but in another form of self.

I’ve been sitting with this word, this concept of transformation all year while silently resisting my inner transformation, of course. While silently, or not so silently, resisting the realities of the everything happening around me.

I’ve always wondered how to be just one thing. One sole cause or purpose. After all, we are the culmination of all of our experiences, the identities we’ve assumed then shifted out of, past lives lived, ancestral lineages, and everything in between. We are layers upon layers of interests, experiences and passions. We are complex beings in a giant web of life. Change is inevitable. To manifest and step into that change, now that takes courage. Resistance and fear can leave us feeling paralyzed, tired, and scared. But like it or not, transformation is happening all around us on micro and macro levels: in the leaves decaying on the forest floor, the fact you just read transforming your opinion, the interactions you have transforming your relationships, our actions transforming the climate.

Recently, I’ve been looking at the whole “who I am” thing less in terms of “what defines me” and more in terms of what can I stand for right now? How can I use all the experiences, tools, world views, wisdom, and energies I contain to be of service right where I am in this wild world? How can you?

It finally hit me (with the help of some loving support): I’m in the world of transformation. I am all for this: Transform yourself, transform your mindset, transform your relationship with Mother Earth, transform your relationships with others. Transform how you show up in tough conversations and structural inequities. You can be the one to change destructive dynamics.

As someone who has always resisted change, this is a pretty funny self-realization, almost like an out of body experience. We don’t have to be anything. Or something new where we land. We can center and then adjust and bring whatever we hold inside of us, pull upon our lived experiences in a way that may serve in that moment. Transform, adjust, change, step out of yourself, serve. You don’t have to be who you were last year or even yesterday.

Transform, transform, transform. But, also root down. Transform with values and with respect for the people and the living world around us. Dance with the flow of life, not against it as you evolve into the next form of you. I can’t wait to meet you.

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