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

Sacred Space: From the Inside Out

Chances are, you already know what sacred space is. You may have an altar dedicated to your spiritual practice. You might smudge your self, your crystals, and your living space regularly. You may even evoke the wisdom of Fengshui to harmonize with your space. There are some fun exercises I would like to share regarding the creation of sacred space in your home, backyard, or somewhere in nature. Before we get to that, I’d like to remind us that the most effective beginning to creating sacred space is in the remembrance that our external spaces can only be as sacred as our internal spaces. So, let’s create sacred space within. Let’s examine our inner energetic fields.

I am not an expert on metaphysics nor am I a Law of Attraction guru. I am a writer, a filmmaker, and a shamanic practitioner. I want to share my understanding of energetic hygiene along with some tools I use to boost my vibrations daily, and enhance my spiritual practice towards ease, peace, and joy.

Please feel free to dismiss anything that doesn’t resonate.

I think it was Christ who criticized the religious fanatics of his day for cleaning the outside of the proverbial cup, while neglecting the inside. JP Sears does a great job pointing out how ridiculous we can look when we are too focused on the externals of spirituality. It’s humorous when we can make peace with some of the silly things we have done. We’re all learning, and these lessons don’t have to be taken for mistakes.

So how can we get deep into our inner auric fields for daily cleansing? How can we create inner sacred space? Well, what is it that stinks us up in the first place?

Most times, the source of our stink is a low-vibrational story that we are telling. As we examine our state of being and release others from expectations, and when we take responsibility for our vibratory output, we often discover that our thoughts are in misalignment with our truth.

Our belief systems inform our perspective, which in turn generates a vibration that manifests into form.

How often do your belief systems evolve?

Do you believe that ascension is difficult? That the Twin Flame path is impossible? Do you believe that healing is painful and that the best life lessons involve suffering? Do you believe that there is no resolution without remorse? Do you have rigid beliefs about others which seem to protect your heart, but instead causes the other person to act in ways that fulfill your low expectations of them? What are your expectations of others?

Changing your beliefs isn’t about neglecting or denying reality. It’s about reframing your perspectives of reality for a higher vibrational output.

Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.

I was raised Christian. This creation story, from the voice of Yahweh to the Garden of Eden, was the soil that seeded all life in my Universe. Although I left the Christian religion almost ten years ago, the book of Genesis continued to generate my reality from my subconscious mind.

I understand now that creation stories are metaphoric, but more importantly, they inform the energy of everything in my Universe.

The Judeo-Christian creation story is not necessarily a bad one, but I wouldn’t call it a good one either. The story of Adam and Eve is one of forbidden knowledge, guilt, shame, and banishment. Not to mention patriarchal bullshit. These energies showed themselves in my reality everyday that this story was running, whether I called myself a Christian or not.

Consider a Native American creation story about a woman who fell from the Upper World and made her home on Turtle Island (North America). She gave birth to the twins of duality in perfect balance. In some stories, the twins lose their balance and there is banishment and unconsciousness.

There are many creation stories. Some are religious, others philosophical, and some are scientific. Simple minds are satisfied with simple explanations, while more complex minds need complex explanations. I find that artistic minds, like myself, enjoy allegory and its many layers. We are free to choose our creation stories, and the one you choose is continuously creating your reality.

As children of Creator, we are also creator-beings. We have inherited creative energy, and with this birthright, we are empowered to rewrite our personal story of creation. We can be intentional about which energies will be seeded in the fertile soils of our reality. We get to plant our own Garden of Eden.

This is where sacred space begins.

Once you change the creation story running in your subconscious, it’s your story. It’s your Universe.

Here, I will share my personal creation story. If it resonates, you may adopt it. You may revise it however you wish. Don’t bother asking for my permission, and don’t worry about crediting me. My name on this article is all the credit I need.

In the beginning there was Everything and Nothing. The great void was full of infinity. Truth was paradoxical as duality was One.

One day and night, the Source of All That Is got a little bored with infinite Oneness and decided to explore other ways of being.

There was a Big Bang!

Source stretched its lazy limbs into a yoga pose. Breathing in Prana, Source expanded itself across the Multiverses.

Source became galaxies and nebulas, star systems and black holes. Source was pleased with this.

Then Source looked closer at itself. It noticed that Oneness could be broken down into two parts. Light and dark. Good and bad. Masculine and Feminine. Excited, Source experimented with duality.

What happens when duality is balanced? What happens when duality is imbalanced?

Source wanted to look closer, but saw that it was too big to see minute details. It had to fragment itself into smaller parts. It had to forget that it was Source.

So, Source created Earth (along with many other worlds like Earth, and many other worlds unlike Earth.)

Earth was a planet where Source could recreate itself as physical beings.

It started with bacteria. Source watched life on Earth evolve for billions of years. Of course, this was only four cosmic seconds. After watching the animals grow more and more intelligent, Source watched as Earth’s most evolved being begin to discover duality.

Source zoomed in on the Garden of Eden, and watched as the Kundalini snake slithered up the Tree of Knowledge. Source watched the primates taste the fruit of Conciousness, and humanity was born. Finally, Source became human.

As human, Source experienced forgetfulness and imbalance. Source discovered the phenomenon known as suffering. Source raised its human eyes to the Upper World, saying, “Creator, please help me.”

To those fragments of Source in human form, Source replied, “You are me, I am you. You are All That IS. Come on, remember who you are.”

Source, as human, began to create ways out of suffering. Source created many different religions. Some religions alleviated suffering while others created even more. Source observed the contrast between opposing polarities and laughed.

To Source, duality was funny.

Eventually, Source grew tired of duality and decided it wanted to be Oneness again, but its fragmented human parts forgot how to be Oneness and was not quite ready to harmonize with itself. So, Source watched as its fragmented parts began to awaken. Other parts slept more deeply. Source waited to be asked for assistance when a fragment was lost and afraid. Source delighted every time a fragment came home to Oneness.

All times, Source is watching and patiently waiting for itself to remember Oneness. When Source in human form remembers itself as One, there will be Heaven on Earth.

As all things happen in the eternal Now, there is Heaven on Earth.

The Beginning and the End.

Homework: Get out some paper and write out your current creation story. Is it affiliated with a religion? Is it scientific or philosophical?  Which energies are seeded in this creation story? Which of these energies are serving you? Which are not serving you? Burn your creation story with gratitude in your heart for all that you have learned from it. Write another. Be intentional with your words and be conscious of the energies and perspectives you include in your story. Print out your new creation story and let it sit for a while. After a month, go back and see if your story needs revisions. Let this story evolve with you as you travel the path of ascension.

In my next article, we will build on this new energy. For now, have fun creating your new reality.

Poem: Why Meditation Sucks

I have always been a doer
to hunt and slay, (and hide)
to remind the angels
why I am worthy of
warmth and clean water
(or chocolate milk).
Maybe.

Too busy to breathe
I’ve been earning
my breath.
Keep your money and fame
I am seeking
my worth.
(Wait).

I had to secure my ticket to Heaven
(like all the other straight,
White,
Christian men)
I – I can’t get in?
What do you mean I’m not a man?
Fuck.

Holes in my rusted chalice,
fake treasure maps, toy swords.
Indiana Jones and the Flat Earth Theory.
(Fall off the edge already).
Fine.

The thirst and salivation.
Cheat codes hidden inside the nightmare,
(but my scars are real),
behind the shadows, along the veil.
Stephen King and the Cave Wall.
Popcorn and limitations.

I never wanted to sit,
to be still, feel, the fathoms
below and die.
Would you trade misery for joy?

Shut up, boy. (Not you).
The Lady or the Tiger?

Place your heart on the scale.
Do it, doer.

End this poem,
(end it now)!

Poem: Father Geronimo

Daughter, to you I write this medicine song.

 

The world you know is crumbling

Our great grandfathers thundering

I pray, Usen, let the rain fall

Like tears down her pretty face.

 

Your roots are strong

You will not die

Your wings, like Eagle

Meant to fly.

Daughter, I feel you suffering.

 

The four winds change

The sacred wheel turns

Great knowledge and wisdom

Every medicine man must learn.

Daughter, I am proud of you.

 

The love you feel

And pain you heal

Balance and discipline

Heavy news from Raven.

Daughter, this is medicine.

 

You have outgrown this cage

They cannot hold you back

Now that your heart is filled with rage

Like Apache warrior under attack.

Daughter, I know. I know.

 

I want to be your father again

I want to try again

Draw back your bow, my daughter

Draw ink for your pen.

 

I am here

I have always been

I will stay with you

Until the end.

 

You will see

My sweet daughter

 

This is medicine.