Teachers, Colleagues, and Friends

Trouble Makers

Trouble Makers

The categories are somewhat arbitrary. Eventually Teachers become Friends, and soon Colleagues, at least in the sense we join into the larger project of collaboration together, spinning our webs trying to catch the beauty of the sunrays and the delicate raindrops that pass by our way. My main influences have been African shaman and Elder, Dr. Malidoma Somé, who was gracious enough to write an introduction for my book, Medicine Without an Expiry Date, mythologist and author Dr. Michael Meade, movement and performance specialist David MacMurray Smith and independent scholar Daniel Deardorff who, again, was kind enough to write an introduction for my poetry book, Why Dragons Think Glitter is Theirs. (Picture, teachers from a recent Minnesota Men's Conference including Martin Shaw, Francis Weller, Doug Koch, Miguel Rivera, Daniel Deardorff and akido master Tom Gambell).

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Malidoma Somé, author, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, Of Water and Spirit, and Ritual, Power, Healing and Community. Malidoma, as representative of his village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and an initiated Elder, has come to the west to share the ancient wisdom and practices which have supported his people for thousands of years. “At this critical time in history, the earth's people are awakening to a deep need for global healing," he says.

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Michael Meade, author, The Water of Life, The World Behind the World, Fate and Destiny, and a co-editor of The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart and founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation. Michael Meade is a master storyteller, ritual maker, and scholar of mythology. "Young people are growing up in a world of tragedy. They may appear to be ignoring it, but actually they are feeling it strongly," he notes.

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David McMurray Smith, founder, Fantastic Space Studio (and Clown School) is an independent academic specializing in the study of movement, embodied memory and performance communication. "As we lean our way into the 21st century, I think it is essential that we increase our ability to directly experience each other by lifting the veils of assumption and seeing beyond the myths we have created of ourselves," he suggests.

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Daniel Deardorff, author, The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, Psyche, Founder of The Mythsinger Consortium. Daniel is one of those rare birds that can fly through hurricaines and warn the land-bound about approaching danger. Robert Bly called Deardorff a true inheritor of Joseph Campbell. “Myths, poems, and songs are the greatest repository of wisdom available to humankind today," he affirms.

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Sobonfu Somé, author, The Spirit of Intimacy, Welcoming Spirit Home, and Falling Out of Grace. Sobonfu, whose name means "keeper of the rituals" travels the world on a healing mission sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native Burkina Faso. "I want to help people explore the unknown dimensions of their wounds and see the gifts that are there. In the Dagara tradition, where the wound is, is also where the gift is," she tells us.

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Ray Stothers, BSc, MA, Ray is a professional storycarrier and keynote speaker with some twenty years experience. Through his other indigenous training, Ray has developed a unique clarity of seeing through the surface details to the myths that are trying to emerge in a life. "You've got to find people who help you know what you already know, and you've got to do it now," implores Ray.

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David Hatfield, M.Ed. is a Leadership Consultant and Facilitator focusing on issues of masculinity, conflict transformation, creativity, rites of passage, and communication. "The assignment we face is nothing less than re-imagining, re-designing, and re-enacting how we are to live, and to do so in unfailing alignment with the ways and laws of nature. To succeed, we must befriend change and transformation with urgency," he states.

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Little Woo is a spiritual mentor who helps people understand their heroic life purpose and engage it with full passion. As an independednt multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and program designer, she has developed the Epic Evolution teachings which celebrate authentic eccentricity and explore the sacred in the profane. "Here, we are mystics, traversing the dark nights of the soul," she reminds us.

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Billy Knutson, Rhythm Wellness, Functional Fysical Fitness, Master Drummer, Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Coach and Drum Circle Facilitator. Knudson discovered the power of group rhythm and drumming in 2005, and since that time has immersed himself in offering the healing power of the drum. "Wellness is not a goal, it is a journey travelled throughout life," he says. Photo Michael Julian Berz

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Navaro Franco, Master Drummer, is a cultural translator, performer, and teacher. She is deeply interested in traditional knowledge and how it can be brought forth to support consciousness, community, and healing in our modern world. "You get the picture? A place to be fully human. No curtain calls, no seats in rows, no curfew because the rental time is up," she advocates. Photo Michael Julian Berz.

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