The Poetic Body

An Ecology of Voices All Singing: An Interview by Jace Yokoyama-teh for Decolonizing Healing Zine *

*This interview was done specifically for the audiences of queer and indigenous/persons-of-color around healing and decolonization.
Therefore, it may not come across as "safe" to those who are still unclear as to how queer and dark skinned bodies are forced to move through the world. 
I am mixed race, and raised as an American, so I am very much able to speak to both worlds inside my body. This is not an apology, but a heartfelt call to be present with the ways in which white supremacy and capitalism have harmed us all, and the radical efforts required to heal.

 photo by Carolyn Crafty

photo by Carolyn Crafty

Q: Who are you?

Hello, my birth name is Darius Nissan Carrasquillo and my chosen name is Dare Sohei. Both are true. I/we use they/them, because it's more accurate!
My ancestors are from what we consider Puerto Rico & Spain/African diaspora (my father's people), France & Switzerland (my mother's people).
Many times i will say that i am a male bodied, gender plural person i.e. queer-the-verb-not-the-noun, omitting the "of color" part of my categorization depending on the audience or the point my ancestors want me to make.

I am also speaking into the plurality of selves, of souls, that i am, that we are. The modern day marginalization of so-called multiple personalities and/or the hearing of voices is a nasty side effect of the church's worldwide genocide of any person, usually female bodied, who exhibited skills or behaviors indicating witchcraft, shamanism or other altered states of consciousness. "Talking WITH the World is not allowed."

We are living ecosystem of ideas, rather than an individual... an identity coerced into the commidification and disrespect of natural and emotional resources and labor.
A living ecosystem of beings. 
An ecology of voices.

Speaking makes it so, on a neurological level. Language is powerful and symbols literally create perception and reality. Stories are dreaming us.

Q: What does decolonizing medicine mean?

My work as a co-counselor, fitness professional, and multi disciplinary artist-teacher revolves around how we can decolonize the root forces of healing.

Specifically, how we can decolonize The Imagination?

Diane Di Prima, a female poet from San Francisco, has a brilliant quote:
"The only war is the war against the imagination, and all other wars are subsumed by it."

My belief and experience is that the source of healing, of life itself, is the alive, filled with living, ecology of voices called The Imagination. 
By any other name i am speaking to and about this Field.
The Dreaming, The Eternal, The Universe.

By reading these words and entertaining these ideas, decolonization is already happening.

Decolonization, to me, is the practice of remembrance. Of remembering the Forest of Stories that lies buried beneath the modern, streamlined, monocropped, categorized, segregated, sanitized, domesticated, advertised, and state sponsored ONE TRUE STORY, sold to your parents as food.

But just because you *can* eat something, doesn't make it Food.

Q: What were your remedies of healing as a poc whether that be how you grew up, or how you're reclaiming your ancestry now? 

Reclaiming Ancestry is the cornerstone of my practices.

How can an estranged, orphan American, with male body and light skin privilege, reclaim the dark blooded indigenous soul that animates their body? 
This body that is the living face of so many interwoven ethnicities, families, histories, terrains, migrations, exiles and atrocities (both as victims and as perpetrators)?
This body that is made of ocean, river, stone, tree, soil, insect, fungus, reptile, mammal, sky and star?
This body that is, at its core, good, true and beautiful?
This body, this body, that was born to sing?

The term indigenous in modern terms, means "native, of a place." It is commonly an honorific of those people who have largely resisted modernization and colonization of their core values. Indigenous people are people who can still hear the story that is dreaming them.

Keith Basso wrote a book called "Wisdom Sits in Places". One of the true stories presented therein is that, if you relate to a place long enough, with sincerity and mutual indebtedness, that place will begin speaking through you, dreaming through you. You will have begun to become, truly, Of A Place.

This is not the common experience in America, as far as I've seen in my life.

And to make matters harder, a bunch of privileged orphans trying to "re-indigenize" themselves comes off as disrespectful and delusional. A kind of romanticizing of the Primitive. Another kind of bypassing, an escapism into some bygone glory that may never have existed, an idyllic corner of The Imagination that we are intent on colonizing because we want to feel good. The grass is always greener SOMEWHERE ELSE, where the troubles are "different", and don't seem like ours.

I propose a different story.

In a similar way to how the one word edit of "my imagination" to "The Imagination" reframes an entire web of beliefs, a simple linguistic pivot does the same for the problematic behavior of "becoming indigenous".

Become ENDOGENOUS.

In biochemistry, the term endogenous refers to biochemicals that are generated by the body itself. In opposition to the term exogenous, which is a substance that is ingested from an external source.

What would it mean if we were deeply of a place and that place was our actual bodies?
What if by really being with our bodies, we returned home? 
What if we returned home?

Q: How do you feel about New Age Spiritualism? 

Let's not get caught in a mind trap here. That being said, the toxic side of new age spirituality is a mind trap. LOL

Spiritual Bypassing, Materialism and Appropriation are the three angels of this particular apocalypse.
Their siren songs are sweet. They are like salve on sore wounds.

But the wound needs more than salve.
The wound needs attending to. Attention. The wound needs to speak, and be spoken into. 
We need to go down and feel what we don't want to feel.
Talk to who is down there...

There are no trademarks or copyrights down here in the mysterious terrain of your Inside. 
Use what works. Do the work. Have the experience.

When sharing with others, give gratitude to where you received the gift of this good medicine. Give thanks, speak it.
Remember, all cultures share. It's what cultures do. All forms are hybrid forms.

Q: What do you feel could help you heal more "effectively"? and how can the community help you with that? 

There needs to be more safer, braver spaces. Not just safe spaces. Spaces where people who are mammals, can come together and practice remembrance. 
In body centered therapies it's called nervous system regulation, or attunement. 
It's sitting with the trouble. The discomfort, the trigger, the dissociation of trauma in the body. 
Sitting together with it. 
Inviting it to the feast of longing. 
Coming out of it together. 
Witnessing the other and yourself moving through the pain together.

We need to heal relationship IN relationship.

Q: How have you, through the experience of a qtipoc, found ways to heal or how are you trying to? 

Find the better stories, the ones i dare not even dream, the ones hidden behind shame and self denial, the ones that hold my deepest loves, the ones that romance my soul.

Q: Any other additional information you'd like share or a message to those seeking qtipoc community. 

Call The World to you. Let it crack you open, spread your insides across the stars. Let it Love you.

Q: Are there any remedies you'd be willing to share? 

Ecstatic Mindfulness and good Chinese medicine!
And seriously, the best medicine is Kindness. With kindness, a better world is possible, without kindness, who cares?

Q: Any place to find your work? 

Look up BodyAltar.org, Dare Sohei on Facebook, or email me bodyaltar@gmail.com
I'm living in Portland, OR currently so let's hang out in a park!

Q: Is it okay for people to contact you and who do you cater toward? 

Yes, please contact! 
My passion is to help people remember the oppressed aspects of themselves and reverse the symptoms of trauma, fear, and wounding that keep us stuck. 
If you want to do that work, reach out! 
I'll reach back.
 

further reading: http://www.bcollective.org/ESSAYS/bodyasplace.ede.pdf

darius sohei