Eulogy and Tree Dedication for Niki Franklin

I miss you, my friend….

Hello and thanks for being here.

My name is Kaika, but some of you remember me as Lu. I met Niki about 15 years ago, while we were in our early 20s. It was a memorable time.

It’s no secret, Niki was a party animal. It was the Pride festival, Freezone, GirlBar, and Nine Fine Irishmen, especially Nine Fine. We made any excuse to get drunk on the dance floor. She was my cheerleader when it came to tearing it up.

Left to right: Niki, Kaika, Logan, Marissa @ the Las Vegas Pride Festival

She was the responsible one, though. I don’t know how many times she refused to let me drive, made me sleep in her guest room, not caring how jealous or controlling any of my girlfriends may have been, or whether or not I’d get broken up with the next day. She likely saved my life.

What I loved most about Niki was her passion. I can’t recall how many times she started a sentence with, “I want you to know that I care…” 

I remember how much she loved her students. Throughout the years she shared letters written by her children, drawings, reports. When there was a child who needed help, she shouldered their burdens and needed to talk about them. Although none of us minded, she would often say, “Okay this is the last thing I’m going to say about work. Okay, okay, I know I said that was the last thing, but this is really the last thing I’m going to say about work.”

I remember telling her how important she was to the children of this world. I told her that not all, but many of her students would grow up, look back and tell stories about Ms. Franklin, “the teacher who believed in me,” “the teacher who stood up to my parents for me,” “the teacher who encouraged my obsession with Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology,” lol.

I remember thinking, ‘man, I wish I had a teacher like that. Just one teacher like that would have changed my life.’

Then I realized that Niki was my teacher. 

Yellowman concert @ the Hard Rock

Earlier this year, I deleted all my social media accounts because I realized that I didn’t know how to be a good friend. I confused likes and follows for love and loyalty. This is me at 38 years old. I wanted to know who my friends really were. I wanted to know who would take the time to text and FaceTime me. I wanted to know who those true friends were and I wanted to love them back.

Niki showed me what it meant to be a good friend. She genuinely cared about how I was doing. She carved out time to text and talk. FaceTime was important. She gave thoughtful little gifts, cards, photos. She made it a point to express support of my transition. For a trans person, that support could be the difference between life and death. And she knew that. I know that I’m not a special one.

Niki made such efforts to accommodate all her friends, and I marveled at how how she was able to consistently put her love into practice for so many people, for so many years.

This past summer, her, Logan and I reconnected in a way we hadn’t in a long time. The last time I saw her face, just a few weeks ago. I was at a bar, FaceTiming with Niki and Logan, virtual happy hour, and we took a stroll down memory lane. I got to tell her how much I appreciated her friendship and why. We celebrated my wedding. I got to feel like I reciprocated her love. For the first time, I felt like I was on the path to being a good friend.

Now, I’m back in Vegas but I swear we were planning to kick it, drink my first batch of mead, and celebrate life, not have a COVID funeral!

Well, class is over. I seem to have graduated, and it’s time for me to go out into the world and become the friend I want to be. Here is where I cherish the memory of my friend, teacher, and role model. 

If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because Niki has touched you somehow. You loved her, didn’t you?

When you go home tonight, whether you find yourself numb, drowning in tears, or trying to assign some sort of meaning to the fact that when the world needs people like Niki most, she’s gone, or whether you’re desperately trying to make yourself personally responsible for her death, as I know I have, I want you to know that Niki cares about you.

And you’re not alone.

We may not be friends. We may not know each other. You may never hear from me again. Yet, through our love for Niki, we are connected. And anytime you grieve for her, we are here with you in this emotional space. I want you to know that Niki cares about you, and you are not alone.

Thank you, Niki, for sharing your life with us, your light, your love, and all your gifts. I pray that we learn to celebrate life with gratitude for our every breath. I pray for the peaceful journey of your beautiful soul. Please forgive us for our selfishness, for wanting you here in this crazy, chaotic world, when we know deep down that you’re in a much better place.

Amén, a’ho, blessed be.

Thank you for your time.

Today my wife and I planted a Chilean Mesquite named “Demeter,” dedicated to the memory of Niki Franklin.

Midnight Words

Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The windstorm and the wild fires have stolen my rest, roused by the howling of the night sky, the forest creatures’ blackened faces pressed against my bedroom window, asking, “Do humans still have souls?”

An answer one might quest, lest I find myself caught up in some violent tempest, within, cobwebs and funnels, spun, like broken records, replay, nostalgic for smallness, this funeral, today…

How does the morning appear? Like an old newspaper, repeating historic nightmares, and fear, the far, natal stars charting fate, as the darkness fades, we believed, we obeyed, so naive, still dismayed, and prayed, our hearts blue, waiting for a savior (within you).

Then we worshiped with weapons, knelt to paper and holy books, innocent blood for sacraments, shook and deceived, bent, kneeled, agreed, while demons in mirrors made pancakes for breakfast, and we demanded pig, too.

The dark ballad resounds through the space opera house, as the morning sunlight creeps in, enlightening, the lighting, we find reasons for living, and forgiving, the pink of a rose petal, the whimper of a pet.

The most precious of secrets are hidden in plain sight: the trees produce golden fruit, the clouds only speak truth, and empires are for sociopathic children.

Someone, please help them.

Yes, humans still have souls.

Poem: Marriages & Peace Treaties

The day I married my best friend.

I woke up in the East and spent my day playing with the Salmon fry, while the Lion crossed the Sky.

The ceremony, our hands tied, crowns switched, my wine and her chalice, like Alice, and one sip, just one bite, vegan cake, love, and my wife, and this life, well, it’s just beginning…

I went to my Father

to ask for a blessing.

She was baptized by Mother

creating, expressing.

The scientist’s cat who could be and not be.

Moonlighting portals to new realities.

The trees hum a lullaby for those who have ears.

The warm sun browns my skin,

I thank God for my melanin.

Time-tellers get lost in the River of Womb.

My best friend and I chase pink rabbits.

The war in your soul is over.

Over.

OVER.

[echoes faintly]

I have signed the Peace Treaty.

So have I.

And I!

The war is over but hasn’t yet been won.

Suit up, Peaceful Warrior.

The darkness falls quickly on the lost sheep.

Lunch Break with Dr. Seuss

I said I would write, even if my shit sucks, especially if no one reads it. Why? Because this is for me, no one else.

I’ve been processing fear in my dreams, apocalyptic nightmares, lava lakes appear, so near to my dear heart, waking up clear, and steer this chariot along the middle road because this soul is not for sale….

How to express with balanced emphasis, burning passionate hate, transmutate, for wide, is the gate, negate, contemplate, alchemists in stride, for faith and for fate, and single-file lines, chanting “I’m not my body, I’m not my mind.”

I call on holy purgatory flames, shame, blame, and childish games, for humans and their big brains, complain of the acid rain, ascertain, its the same game, for fame and billions in the bank, millions walking planks, military tanks, missing children, prison shanks, and big thanks, for thousands of years of genocide and oppression….

Bolt upright, sweaty chest, middle night, address distress, risk of flight, and I guess, I’m still breathing on purpose, for a purpose, ah, I digress….

Get back to work, Dr. Seuss!

Tonight’s Words: Shadow Work

I don’t know what I’m about to say, but I need to allow it to come to the surface, like shadow bubbles under thick tar, festering and moving, like bowels, removing shit I don’t want to see. Fears I do not wish to be conscious of.

Shadow work is daring to venture into the dark recesses of your mind, back in time, rewind, all the wounds never healed, and feel, the real, horror reels, and wheels, like pages, keep turning and burning, like starlight, I’m yearning, for adventure, and learning, the quest and the question, highest good, better, best, and the test, the quest, yes, introspect, while the light of your heart guides and protects you, yes? Do you trust your heart?

Aries and his spear, Sagittarius and the stratosphere, warrior parts and natal charts, I swear there’s no war here. It’s just a vacation, by-pass go, train station, and onward to Leo, trine, Trinity, creation, Divine Incarnation, but I can’t stay here long.

I mean I love Fire space parties, and all. But I have to go back to Earth.

Learning to live in two worlds at once, Heaven and Earth, be the bridge, stars, and dirt, the Middle Way, night and day, silent, say, we can sway, the waves, spin the web, in my mind, everyday, honor life, celebrate death, I left, my old self behind….

Good night,

Kaikz ❤

Decolonizing Spirituality

I went to a school for neo-shamanism because I didn’t have access to medicine from my own lineage. I learned a lot of techniques that work, but I also learned things that were not congruent with my natural instincts or the ways of my ancestors. This can be damaging because neo-shamanism is essentially white shamanism. This means that the culture is taken and interpreted through a Western lens.

The problem is that Western ideas are not always sustainable, reverent, or even accurate. Western civilization has brought us to the brink of extinction. It poses its definition of sacred as absolute superior to others, its sense of progress and righteousness. So when BIPOC show up to these circles, they either get white-washed or victim-shamed. This is why decolonizing spirituality is important. It’s about creating safe spaces for BIPOC and LGBTQ folks in spiritual circles.

Cultural appropriation hurts BIPOC. It is a form of genocide.

That being said, the medicine I bring through my bloodlines and from past/other lives isn’t really aligned with any institutions. It comes from my roots and the convictions of my heart. It comes from the wisdom of past experiences. It comes from Creator.

I don’t believe that a certificate makes a medicine person. I believe medicine people are born and initiated through trauma(s), and every time they conquer another obstacle, they create medicine to share. This is experiential learning that accumulates in wisdom and humility. Creator chooses these people, not humans. Sometimes I wonder if these shamanic schools do more damage than good…. but who am I to say?

To be clear, I am grateful for my teachers and all the valuable lessons I have learned. I’m grateful for the beautiful people I’ve met. I bless the path I’ve walked and that others may be walking now. I’m letting this go now. I let my heart light the road and my soul lead the way.

I pray for guidance….


Blessings of clarity, peace, and joy. 💙

Layered Truth, Balancing Realities, and Healing the World

I’m in the middle of a profound paradigm shift. I feel like I’ve demolished the old concrete sidewalk and a new one is being laid down to dry. In the process, I find dissonance where there was once resonance, and resonance where there was dissonance. It’s about balancing dualistic realities.

The Eagle’s eye is like a camera lens that allows us to see from great heights. It’s the Sagittarius mind that gives us the bigger picture, the higher truth. It allows us to be the observer and helps to raise our vibration when we get lost.

Then you have the Tiger’s eye. This lens gives us perspective from the ground, and allows us to see in the dark. The Tiger’s eye is more like the Capricorn mind, grounding us in this reality and showing us the practical steps it takes to accomplish our missions.

What is illusion to the higher mind is very real to the grounded mind. Truth is layered, not absolute. As multidimensional beings, we can move through these layers in a way that allows for efficiency and grace.

We stop spiritual bypassing when we learn how and when to switch our lenses. Anyone who has taken a photography class can tell you that it takes a little practice, some playing with the camera before you develop a feel for which lens to use in which conditions.

Looking back, I can see that I’ve used my Eagle lens in moments that required a more grounded and empathetic approach. Sometimes when we fly above our issues, and the issues that other people are going through, we bypass our very humanity, invoking spiritual cliche that comes across as cold and unfeeling, which is ironically contrary behavior to that of an enlightened being.

When we attempt to heal our wounds by seeing them as illusions, cutting away the trauma in our roots, trauma that gave us strength and fortitude, trauma that taught us invaluable lessons, trauma that balanced our karmic debt, cutting off our families, denying our history, turning away from the atrocities committed by our ancestors, while reciting our metaphysical philosophies like, “High vibes only,” we have not healed. We have repressed.

I healed my stories, not by cutting them off and labeling them illusion, but by honoring them, honoring their experiences, listening to the inner children cry, and hearing their dark tales. I stopped punishing my inner children for feeling sad or angry. I stopped neglecting them when they lowered my vibration. Instead I gave them compassion and grace. I cultivated peace and gratitude around my trauma, and harvested strength, courage, and so much power. 

Likewise, we can’t heal the world without being on the ground and honoring the suffering of the collective, turning oppression into empowerment. Media that was intended to cause division can be used to bring people together. Images that were meant to stir up fear and provoke war can be used to generate peace and oneness. But we can’t do that if we are too busy telling ourselves that what’s happening in the world is not our responsibility.

Needless to say, I’m guilty of keeping the Tiger’s lens on for too long sometimes, staying on the ground in survival mode, thrashing about and forgetting my higher purpose. It’s so easy to be angry when you’re down here. There’s so much to be angry about. I’ve got dragon fire for Capitol Hill, for the White House, for the Pentagon. I’ve got dragon fire for myself.

When I find myself feeling self-destructive, I know that I’ve been in the 3D for way too long.

I’m still working through this shift, still learning to be on the ground with the big cats, sniffing the path, watching the shadows in the dark, listening to the heartbeat of Mother Earth, and communing with my ancestors. I’m learning when it is appropriate to shape-shift into the big birds and fly with higher consciousness, remembering that I am an immortal child of the Divine, and there is nothing to fear or worry for.

Aloha. Thanks for listening ❤
#holyshift

A Woman’s Inherent Right to Choose

I have never been pregnant and if I ever got pregnant, I’d like to think that I would never abort my child. However, this is bigger than pro-life vs. pro-choice.

Before there were abortion laws, long before Roe vs. Wade, before there were hospitals and birth control, before there was civilization, women who were not ready for motherhood ingested poison, used sharp objects, committed suicide.

No matter what the law says, women have always and will always have a choice, even when that choice is brutal for both the mother and the embryo/fetus/child.

A cisgender man will never understand what it feels like to have a life growing inside him, to know that he is responsible for that life. He will never understand what kind of love it takes to choose to end that life.

Of course, all life is significant. All life is precious. This truth is embedded in our soul. Let’s not forget this truth when we look at the girls and women who have been raped, girls and women who have no access to birth control or sex education, girls and women who have systematically been programmed to believe that their worth is tied to their sexuality, body image, and ability to please a man.

We are living in a world where White men and boys get slaps on the wrists for raping women and children, the same system that wants to force women to become mothers.

When the mother gives birth, and she cannot care for her child, will the child be abandoned in hospitals? Doorsteps? Thrown into trash cans? Will children be abused and murdered by the same women who KNEW they were unfit? Do these states have systems set up to support these women?

The answer is no. The voters may truly care for the women and children, but the system does not. The system is set up, not to save lives, but to oppress women and femmes.

Black women, White women, Brown women, Muslim and Christian women. Cis and Trans women. ALL WOMEN AND FEMMES.

If we support women and femmes, if we teach young girls to find their true worth, if we give them sex education, if we give them easy access to birth control, if we respect their bodies and honor their boundaries, if we teach them that it’s okay to say no, if we tell them they are beautiful and powerful and capable, if we listen with our hearts to what they to say, if we support their decisions, if we express our love for them, if we do these things, they will be better mothers. But if all we do is create a law that seemingly takes their options away, all we have done is oppress them further.

All life is precious. But we cannot force a woman to become a mother. If you think abortion is brutal, I would hate to see the choices that women might make when they realize that despite abortion bans, SHE STILL HAS A CHOICE.

Sending so much love to all sisters, mothers, and daughters. Keep your head up.

Men, boys, and masculines: please stand up and use your voice. It is our responsibility to dismantle the patriarchy.

#heforshe #abortionban #roevswade #feminism #ilovewomen #thepatriarchy #prolife #prochoice