Author Archives: Beth Gager

About Beth Gager

I am a writer, a coach, an artist, a dancer, a mother and a goddess. I love elephants, trees, manatees, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, wolves, gorillas and watermelon. I have written three books and many blog posts.i love beautiful people and I am blessed to be surrounded by joy.

You are a sacred listener… A Rooted Mind after the hospital

Chapter 13- Sacred Listener

If you have been called mentally ill, then you are a sacred listener. This means you listen closely to the heartbeat of the world. You hear everything. Every breath, every motion and every cry for help. Those of us who listen have always been called the crazy ones. It is the sacred act of listening that makes us who we are.

We know how to listen to the wind. Do the trees speak to you as they speak to me? Do hawks swoop in front of you with a silence that feeds your soul? Do you hear the songs of whales in your heart when you sing to your children at night? Are you a follower of the rhythms of the moon? Perhaps you have been called a lunatic. Like I have. Like we all have.

You might be a follower of the rhythms of the cosmos, but you are not a lunatic. You are something else entirely. You are the reason the cosmos exists. It’s people that listen that make the world spin on its axis. Don’t be ashamed of listening anymore. You have nothing to apologize for.

You have a friend in the sacred. The divine light that moves through everything moves through you. For a long time, I did a group called Roots and Visions. It went something like this: Do you have voices, visions, unusual beliefs or other extraordinary experiences that have been shut down by the world around you? Join us in a safe, supportive environment to explore these experiences in a way that makes sense to you. That group opened my eyes to the magic that can happen when people are allowed to heal in their own way.

That is what we are denied when we are called mentally ill. We are denied our right to make sense of our own experiences. We are told that we cannot be having them at all. And what are they? What are voices and visions and beliefs that we have about the world that no one seems to share?

They are our own personal way of listening. They are our genius, our birthright as human beings. They are windows into the mystery. We cannot contain the mystery. Nor are we to be contained by people who try to keep us in small boxes that deny the breadth and beauty of human consciousness.

There is a movement across the world called the Hearing Voices movement. It is an activist movement. People in it say that they have the right to their own experience where they can find ways to make sense of what has happened to them that is considered beyond the ordinary. They find support with each other.

Often, they identify their experiences with the pain and suffering of trauma. I have found that trauma definitely exists among people whose consciousness leaves the ordinary. Which is every person on the planet, by the way. People would come to me and say, “I don’t hear voices.” But I didn’t find one person who doesn’t have a deceased grandmother that talks to him in his dreams or some other “unusual” experience of the breadth of our sacred souls.

Trauma is very prevalent among sacred listeners. Often, we have been abused and brutalized. Our trauma doesn’t begin the moment we come into the mental health system (although mine did). The system only exacerbates our trauma and freezes our hearts and minds. The reason we get into trouble at all is because of the brutality of the world. We simply hear. We hear the ancestors and the animals and the souls of other wounded ones crying. We hear them so loudly we get depressed or anxious or what is called psychotic.

It is a simple truth that being a listener means we hear everything. And the world has been such that there is far too much pain for one person to hear. But in my experience with lots of sacred listeners I have found that we also hear something else. We hear the voice of God. We hear the voice of goodness. We have angels and grandmothers and special friends. I certainly have my friends the elephants and the whales and the hawks. Grandfather tree sends his roots deep into me whenever I ask him.

To listen is to understand the world. How do you understand the world? Do you understand it only through the lens of your trauma? Or do you understand it through the lens of your magnificence?

I am going out on a limb here. And I am saying be free. I just spent five months on a long-term ward of a state mental hospital. There are people that I care about that are still there. Lots and lots of people. The scope of it is staggering. To be thrown away like that. I explained over and over that I was simply listening. And no one believed me. No one believed me at all. They said I had no right. They said I had no rights. They said I was nothing.

I can’t listen to them. And you can’t either. I am fresh from the ward and I am writing this book. Which you are now reading. Are you fresh from the ward of your own pain? I have $40 and a whole list of nothing. I was released to absolute devastation in my life. As I write this it is still not over. But as you read this obviously it is.

No one had the right. No one had the right to keep me, to throw me away, to tell me I am not sacred. But they did it anyway. I had to be there because NO ONE has to. It is my calling, my purpose to be a freedom fighter. When I was in the system, I did not do nothing. I participated in the healing of the world. I worked with the Dalai Lama in the sight.

For the sight is the place of the sacred listeners. We all have the sight. The sight was painful for me because I was in the soul place with people that I loved and everyone around me was in the ordinary world. That happens for sacred healers. Often in Roots and Visions we would talk about how to navigate the bridge between what happens to us in the sight, or the soul place and what we know when we return to ordinary life.

My life will never return to ordinary again. I went as far into the sight as a person can go and I healed it all the way in my own soul. Now the Dalai Lama writes the afterwards to my books.

He is the keeper of the sight. And so am I. And so, maybe are you. What does that mean to you? Are you familiar with the soul place? Do the words the sight resonate with you? Do you listen to things no one else seems to ever understand?

If so, then take heart. This book is here to free you, mind and soul. There is the brutality of what happens to us in the world when we are sacred healers and sacred listeners. They have no right. And those of us who have been brutalized will make sure that they do not continue their bad work of keeping us small and throwing us away.

But there is so much more to us than anything they can do to confine us. There is our magnificence. What do you say about that? Now that you have come beyond the place where you can be thrown away what do you throw yourself into?

I throw myself into my work as a writer. I sit here, still in confinement and I write. I write to you. And I write for myself. And I write for the sacred that moves through me. I have been told over and over again that I am small. I have been completely dismissed as a human being of value.

For a long time, I was very well respected in my circles. I was seen as an advocate, a healer, a writer, a gifted person. And in truth, I was. And I had a lot of success in my life. And then I was taken back into the darkness. This time I was taken back into the darkest part of the world that calls itself a system of care for people that it is obvious no one really cares about.

Are you one of those people? Does no one care about you? Are you ostracized, are you disempowered, do you have no job, no car, no life outside being a “consumer” of the system? Does your family identify you as the broken one? So many are like you. Or have you risen one step above to be a “peer” where you work at a low paying job with a little respect from your colleagues but not that much because you are only the one with “lived experience” but not the expert?

I go out on another limb here. To say, “Enough!” That might seem radical because it is. What we need is radical. A radical shift in the way we hold the sacred in our world. Have we agreed that we are sacred? If not, then why not? Why is listening such a crime? Why is hearing the world as it really is the thing that makes us broken?

Are we really broken, or do we allow ourselves to be absconded with at every turn? Why can’t we rise above that which wants to keep us small? Why can’t we acknowledge who we are in our most magnificent hearts and minds and souls?

Who are we, really? I would propose that we are the very answer we seek. When we stop denying ourselves the world will no longer have the opportunity to deny us. We do not need a system that “cares” for us by denying who we are and telling us who to be. We do not need to be denied our basic human rights to our own beliefs and the permission to do as we will with our own person. If we have differing beliefs than the doctors or the other ones in power so be it. Why does that mean that we need to be subjected to forced treatment, to confinement and to complete dismissal of our basic rights as humans?

I met no one in the long-term ward or on the shorter term wards who was dangerous. I met people who were broken down by the brutality of being confined with no place to go and no one who cares about them. I met people that are extraordinarily compliant in every way. They wait patiently in long lines for their medication, for their terrible food. They sleep quietly in uncomfortable beds and they sit for hours in mind numbing groups about nothing at all.

They are kind to each other. They complain hardly at all. They are trapped. Completely and wholly trapped. Why is this so? A lot of people benefit from their existence in those trapped wards. There are lots of people who make their living off of keeping other people confined. It is economical to keep people prisoner. They are there for no good reason other than that the system wants it to be so.

Freedom fighting comes at a cost. Are you a freedom fighter? Are you an activist? Are you a sacred healer? Do you want better, for yourself and for all of the beautiful people in the world that get trapped by complacency and greed and complete lack of respect for human dignity?

Are you sacred? It is time now. We must be sacred together. We must now fight for our freedom. The time of The Rooted Mind is here. We must grow our roots. We must stop allowing ourselves to be seen as lost and broken. We must stand together and have one voice. We must give voice to what we listen to.

Listen closely, now. What is the sacred whispering inside your soul? You know about the sight. You know about the soul place. You may not yet have made sense of all of your experiences from the world of the unseen, but it is not as hard as you think. You just need a guide. Others can guide you. Others have been through it, too. There is all kinds of support once we start talking to one another.

Let us stop being silent about our experiences of the other worlds that we can hear so clearly. All we are is human. We are just simply humans. And that means we have a part of us that is a soul. And that means we have the sight. And that means we can talk. We can talk to other souls. And we can hear the others talking back. And that means we can listen.

If you were to stop now and listen closely to your magnificence what would it say to you? Would it say write? Would it say teach? Would it say paint? Would is say sing? What would you do if you could do anything? Who would you love? Would you love yourself? Would you finally, finally step outside of the broken places in your own mind and heart and love yourself and the world the way you are meant to?

Once I knew a person who said he didn’t believe in anything. He said he never felt safe. And then he said he believed in his favorite sweatshirt. And that when he wore it he felt okay. And then he said he believed in eagles.

The window into our own soul is in what we love. You love. I know that you love. You have stuck with me this far. That means you love. Find love. Find the thing that you most want to listen to. It may surprise you and it may not. Then let the rest go.

Find other people to process your trauma with if you have it. Find ways to make sense inside yourself about what you have heard. You have all of the answers inside of you. I always say the things we hear don’t have to make literal sense in the way that science does. Sometimes things can make sense in the way of dreams. Sometimes we as sacred listeners have the gift and the task of walking through the world as dreamers that are awake.

You have a sense of what you need to find your own rooted mind. You have an understanding of who you are and what you have been through that is the direct pathway to your own healing. And when you are healed there is no telling what you are capable of.

You may have been one of the ones that were thrown away completely and told that you are beyond lost and broken. You may have been told like I just was that you are nothing at all. Or you may be one that lives in the normal world and passes through unnoticed. You may only be lost and broken in your own mind and heart.

Your soul is not and never has been broken. You are a sacred healer and a sacred listener. Now do me a favor. Listen to the song the moon is singing to you. It might be lunacy, or it might just be lunar. You decide for yourself.

 

 

 

River

I need a river. I need a river flowing softly in its banks. I am a river. I am a river raging out of its banks destroying everything and nothing in its path. The only word I have ever heard inside my head and my heart is beauty. And now it is fury. Because I am still stopped. And so is everyone I care about, including my littlest ones. And some big ones are doing fine. And some would still deny us. And some know nothing at all. But I know so much. And so do the ones that are listening to me go on all day as a volcano. I will not tolerate it for one more second I say, and they agree but they must tolerate me in their helplessness. And in their absolute power. Today I began a new book called Rooted Nourishment. It will be a cookbook and a call to activism through words and art and sacred justice like the world has never seen. And plenty of people will ignore it. But you never will. And then you will eat. And you will write. And then you will dance. And you will sing. And you will do your law and your yoga and your art and your numbers. And you will do it long and well and so will your children and the world will never be the same because you will understand much better than I ever can. Because you are just that way. And you always have been. The earth will bloom. The trees will make flowers and nuts. And the animals will walk among us when they choose to. And we will all be happy. And so will the ones who still choose to ignore and hurt us for a time because they will think they are home finally in our world. But they will not be eventually and God will make sure of it. God does not suffer fools. But I must still. I am home, I am writing, I am singing, I am working, I am mostly eating and I am doing okay. But I am furious and I do not see an end to it. Today I found out that a little girl that I love has to be confined for six more months and I can do nothing about it. And then I still can’t give her what I promised her which is everything because she is beautiful and she has nothing, not even her own room or her own clothes or her own food or her own books. And her mothers are rich. No one can do anything about it that I have asked and she has been told what she will be given and she says she’ll be okay but she is sad because it is not what she most wants. Well, she should not be sad. She should be let go to live her life. Among her loves.

This will be my last facebook post and my last blog post for a long time. I will not speak of this again. Ever. I am only one woman and I am fierce and I am honest and I am a writer and a speaker with a voice and I am told I have a lot of power. Even in this moment. But I do not believe it. Sacred Nourishment will come out on ebook on Amazon and so will A Rooted Sight and A Rooted Mind updated and A Rooted Body and Meditations for Rooted Living and my collected works of poetry when the angels make it so. My art and the books you can hold in your hands will come out when I and my team can get to it. Sacred Nourishment in its cookbook form will take I don’t know how long because I have to use everything in me to make that art and I have lots of other work to do. And sometimes I have to rest and play.

You are beautiful. You are brilliant. And you are doing all the right things all the time. Don’t worry. Don’t fret, listen to music and nature and people that are always supporting you and ignore the rest the best you can. Even the pretty ones, because they are not pretty, they are mean and they torture you. As they do me when they are not medicating me or confining me or harassing me or ignoring me. Find your own way with the others and you will do just fine. And I know you will be so joyous at what the earth and the angels provide in their bounty and their love.

I am going on retreat like the pink dolphins and the manatees and the gorillas. And I am writing and I am making art and I am finding grace.  And I am sitting constantly with the laws that need to change so our children can inherit the earth. The whales insist on it. And so do the trees.

I love you. Be well. The moon is constant and so are the tides.

When did you decide to become a Vegetarian? by Beth Gager

At eight months old I threw away my bottle and refused to drink milk
I stuck to that decision throughout my childhood until I was finally convinced “Milk does a Body Good”
I always preferred an apple an orange watermelon
to any other food I was offered
I vividly remember biting into a brown leg
asking what it was and immediately deciding I would never eat rabbit EVER
I still kept a foot (and even a tail I think for “Good Luck”) until one hunting season I stood gazing down at a pile of rabbits
apologizing to limp bodies as they awaited the slice of my brother’s knife to detach them from from their fur and internal organs so they could be hung upside down from the clothesline
I can’t remember much about the ducks and geese
Only that I never wanted eat them or see them nailed to our wall
Feathers collecting dust plastic eyes haunting
I did decorate them for Christmas one year to my brother’s delight He took pictures Santa hat and streamers
I once liked ginger ale gravy for the idea
And then I learned that the roast in the oven was once a part of the gentle deer that gazed at me with elegant neck and alert eyes as he nibbled grass with his family in the field across the road
The same fellow that hung for weeks by his hind legs stripped of his insides and his dignity outside my cousin’s hunt club
Closely related to the pregnant doe that had been hit by a car late at night her belly swollen her body still warm
My father allowed me to touch her quiet face but made sure I went inside before the cutting began
He even took once to see another hit and run as she lay in the grass unable to move eyes dilated in terror
He drove me home in silence and returned to her to end her misery
And then I learned about crated calves and told anyone who would listen and many who wouldn’t about the abused children otherwise known as “Veal Parmigiana”
Next was fetal pig pink and white with little black socks
Stored inside a box under my bed until I carried him to my exam and pointed out his heart to the graduate assistant telling her, “He’s a dead baby” when it was over and she commented at my apparent discomfort with this assignment
I apologized for my cowardice as I dropped his shriveled, violated corpse into the trashcan with a thud
And swore not to eat his relatives ever again
I still harbored resentment for the rooster that attacked me from behind as a child
But even that became a weak excuse for devouring his cousins so I stopped
A soft glowing light gently inspires me to hug my brother because he knew not what he did
Lay my cheek against a tree
Marvel at the perfection of an apple
My mother tells me I wasn’t always this way
My niece talks to me about saving the rain forest
I talk to her about her hamburger to which my sister rolls her eyes and tells me I wasn’t a vegetarian when I was her age
I was
I am
 
 
Dedicated to my niece Sarah who became a vegetarian when she was twelve, my friend Diego Padro who is a true vegetarian soul like me, my master vegetarian chef son Eli who doesn’t even know what an egg is, my daughter Chloe who is the biggest animal guardian in the world and my friend Benjamin Wright Haile who never ate an animal in his life and spends all his money on the water rights

Eat rice and have faith in woman by Fran Winant

eat rice have faith in women

what I don’t know now I can still learn

if i am alone now I will be with them later

if I am weak now I can become strong

slowly slowly if I can learn I can teach others

if others learn first they will come back and teach me

they will not go away to the country of their knowledge

slowly we begin giving back what was taken away

our right to the control of our bodies

knowledge of how to fight and build

food that nourishes

medicine that heals

songs that remind us of ourselves

and make us want to keep on with what matters to us

eat rice have faith in women

what I don’t know now I can still learn

slowly slowly I can teach others

if others learn first they will come back and  teach me

What’s mine, What’s yours and What’s ours

I once knew a man that liked to sit under trees and look up through their branches at the sky. His name was Ray Gager and he was my father and he was a union carpenter in South Jersey  in the pines and he is a mason. He taught me a few things about life. He taught me to love my husband. He taught me to never abide by racism or hatred. He taught me to never kill an animal except when they were suffering. He taught me that men are craftsman and stewards of the trees. He taught me that I am smart and beautiful. My mother Ruth Cliver was his true love. He called her Mama she called him Dear and he kissed her every morning before going to work and tooted his horn at her when he drove away. My mother taught me to always use my instincts. She said to trust my intuition. She said we always know if people are good or bad because they always tell us. She can tell in a second if there is something that needs to be healed and she knows what it is. She will cook for him and she will make him his old fashioneds without a word because she is a woman and he is a man.  She only wishes he would take better care of the finances with her and not give her all the responsibility for the kids. They will glide across the dance floor like they own the moon and stars. We sit in the living room with the fire lit and the candles lit and we will listen to old country music for hours. Ruth never thought she was smart but she knew I was and so did Ray and so did my brothers and sisters. The reason I am smart is because I was loved. No one ever understood me, no one ever knew the real me, and yet they did. Every bad thing you could ever imagine has happened to me, especially in the past twenty years since I gave birth to a 2000 goddess, and I was brutalized in nearly every way for being who I am, but I was also always very loved and protected by people who could do nothing to protect me because they were not protected themselves. I have been talking to these green men who fight for the world of justice and taking care of our earth and know who they are since they are two years old but have had to be completely secret with me and everyone else including each other because there has been so much work to do to kill the evil in this earth. There are a lot of people in bad religions that do bad stuff to us our whole lives because they learn in their secret churches and temples things to do to control us that are of the soul from the time they are born. These people appear normal and pretty and handsome but they are always cruel because they are following their religion which is to take control over us that are kind and love the earth. They hate the earth, they hate people that aren’t white or pure in a certain way, they hate women and they hate children. They are big, big world leaders and the people sitting next to you who still won’t look at love. Do you know what is yours? I do. The moon and the stars and all the planets. Do you know what is mine? I do. Every single person that is beautiful and kind. Do you know what is ours? I do: the elephants, the whales, the manatees, the gorillas, the sea turtles, the buffalo, the bees, the trees and all the stars. On Sunday, January 19. 2020 at 2pm in the Mennonite way have a big vegetarian feast with your beloveds. Bring your instruments and play your tunes and let the children run and be free. I am love. You are love. We are almost home.

I know what’s mine

I always thought I’d get there. I always knew who I was. I always knew who the goddess was. I always knew who the god was. And I could always pick out people who are kind and beautiful like me. I always knew animals were my friends. I always talked to trees. And I always went for long walks by the sea. I am a simple pine girl and a simple jersey shore girl. I am a writer. I am a coach. I am a healer. I am an artist. I am a musician. I am a dancer. I am a yogi. I am a mother. And I love everything that is beautiful, especially you who are reading this with an open heart and an eager activist mind. There is no doubt anymore that we are in the green world. This is the Pan Revolution. And we shall be sacred. And anyone who says anything bad to us when we are being sacred will simply fall away from our beautiful, lush, gorgeous lives. They might be people we have loved deeply. But if they are choosing to be mean and small now, that it their choice. And if you, my love, choose them, you will have made your choice, too. Just like you, I have been brutalized in every way possible. And I am still being brutalized by people who are being so mean all the time. I have no food. I have no money. But I have beloveds in my sight. If you have a gift for breaking through bad codes that exist on the internet friend any of these people. Benjamin Wright Haile. Danny Schmidt. Paul Cureri. Arjan Bouw. Stephen McInnes. Oryx Cohen. Matt Cureri. Alexi Murdoch.