Chelan Harkin Transcript

Chelan Harkin Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done over 600 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to B-a-t-g-a-p and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website. And there’s also a donation page which suggests alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Chelan Harkin. Welcome, Chelan.

Chelan Harkin:  Thanks, Rick.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we had a Senator Tom Harkin in Iowa for years any relation?

Chelan Harkin: Not that I know of.

Rick Archer: He was really nice. Anyway, I first heard about Chelan from Mary Reed, who has been on BatGap several years ago, she sent an email and she said I saw on the BatGap website that you have hundreds of suggestions for guests, so I’m just checking to see if the intuitive poet Chelan Harkin is in your queue. She’s causing a major stir right now in spiritual circles. With the recent release of her first book, ‘Susceptible to light’. I think I’ll just show the cover of that book on the page here. ‘Susceptible to light,’ she’s frequently compared to Hafez, Rumi, and Rilke so much so that Daniel Ledinsky, renowned author of seven books on the great mystic poets, reached out to her personally and has genuinely generously endorsed her book. Her second book is due to be published next month, just five months after her first. And that’s now because her second book, ‘Let us dance,’ which I’ll show on the screen is coming out today, isn’t it?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: This morning

Rick Archer: This morning? Cool.

Chelan Harkin:  It came available.

Rick Archer: Good. Yeah, good timing. And that wasn’t actually pre-planned, was it?

Chelan Harkin: It was there was some

Rick Archer: I mean, in terms of having coincided with this interview.

Chelan Harkin: There’s a little story about that.  Okay.  We’ll talk later, maybe?

Rick Archer: Okay, good. But first, let’s hear a little story about you. So, you know, tell us a little bit about yourself. And quite very soon in this interview, within the next few minutes, I want to have you read a poem. But let’s start by just telling us how you got to what you’re doing now?

Chelan Harkin: Sure. Yeah. So, the last seven months have been completely transformational in all kinds of ways. So, rewind to November 2020. And I had a big collection of my poetry that I’d been sitting on for about 12 years and had kind of vaguely been thinking, maybe someday it would be nice to publish a book and it was kind of just a dream that didn’t really have legs. And, and I had all kinds of inhibitions about what that process might reveal. And I was scared to move forward with it. And so I was kind of in this just paralysis mode with moving forward. And then the energies catalyzed in this just the precise by design feeling way. In which my motivation really became activated to move forward and to treat the process of publishing more as an experiment rather than a success, fail. And so I just started taking these steps forward and reached out to everyone in my even very distant circle, who had any know-how about publishing and just things started moving and doors started opening at such an incredible rate. And I decided to self-publish this first book, ‘Susceptible to light’, and didn’t know anything about that process. So I bought two of two books that I had I’d love dearly, both written by Daniel Ladinsky, these Hafez books. And I was deeply inspired by them again and I bought them to really be to the books have beautiful formatting. So I wanted to kind of just be inspired by that formatting. And then I started, I did another experiment, I decided to pray to Hafez every night and ask for ask for inspiration, help and ask for publishing help. And I just really went for it with this prayer. And I asked that Hafez find all the delegates in the spirit world and all the delegates in this world to be my marketing team. And every night just had this intense focused prayer, I would go on a night walk, and just chat with Hafez and my poetic inspiration started flowing through me like never before. It was really just so noteworthy that something had changed. Yeah, and then, yep. And then anyhow, long story short, is not even that long of a story. But three weeks, three, three weeks into that prayer, Daniel Ladinsky discovered my book and reached out to me and all kinds of things have opened since then.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you and I were talking yesterday and we were recollecting a quote and I looked it up and here it is, is from English explorer W.H Murray, he said, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events, issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I’ve learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s concepts. Quote, whatever you can do, or dream you can do begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it, end quote.” So that’s what you did. Yep. Another part of Mary Reid’s email was, she said, she said, your that your story of connection to the great Muse is inspiring. Was that what you mean by Hafiz? Is Hafiz sort of your muse?

Chelan Harkin: Good question. So I learned about Hafez’s poetry. For those who might not be familiar. Hafez is a mystic Persian poet.

Rick Archer: Kind of like Rumi and sort of in that genre, right.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yeah. Maybe a little bit more irreverent, but very similar. Yeah. And I don’t actually remember when he lived. But anyway, so I heard a Hafez poem in a therapy session when I was I think 20 years old. And it was so potent, it was really penetrating and it really had a major impact on just shifting the way I was, I thought about God and spirituality and so I So, yeah, so that Hafez poetry has been an inspiration for a long time. But my poetic process really began a while a long time ago, and when I was about 21, and

Rick Archer: Long time ago, 11 years ago, yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, 11, it feels like a while. Yeah, and poetry had been an important part of my life. But there was a lot of efforting involved in it. And then, I don’t know, one day, I just decided again, to just do kind of an experiment and I committed to writing bad what I said was a bad poem for 30 days and sharing it every day. And that commitment just really kind of gave me it loosened me up, and it gave me some permission to explore and, and just let things flow more. And so on the second day of that experiment, something just really just cracked open wide in me, and a poem just came pouring through. So rather than this like, effortful process that would take, you know, weeks or months to like, finally scramble a poem together. This just came through as quickly as I could write it. And that’s been my process ever since. So, poems come

Rick Archer: Which poem was that that came streaming through?

Chelan Harkin: Should I read?

Rick Archer: Yeah

Chelan Harkin:  I have marked it?

Rick Archer: Which one is that?

Chelan Harkin: It’s called, ‘Say wow.’

Rick Archer: I think I have that one here. Yeah, I do. Okay, ‘Say wow’. Got show it on the screen, go for it.

Chelan Harkin: Okay, great. ‘Say Wow’ Each day before our surroundings become flat with familiarity and the shapes of our lives, click into place, dimensionless and average as Tetris cubes. Before hunger knocks from our bellies like a cantankerous old man, and the duties of the day stack up like dishes, and the architecture of our basic needs commissions all thought to construct the four-door sedan of safety before gravity clings to our skin like a cumbersome parasite. And the colored dust of dreams sweeps itself obscure in the vacuum of reason. Each morning, before we wrestle the world, and our hearts into the shape of our brain, look around and say, ‘Wow.’ Feed yourself fire scoop up the day entire, like a planet-sized bouquet of marvels sent by the universe directly into your arms and say, ‘Wow,’ break yourself down into the basic components of primitive awe. And let the crescendo of each moment carbonate every capillary and say, ‘Wow.’ Yes, before our poems become calloused with revision. Let them shriek off the page of spontaneity. And before our metaphors get too regular, let the sun stay a conflagration of homing pigeons that fights through fire each day to find us.

Rick Archer: Wow, I have to say

Chelan Harkin: Yeah

Rick Archer: That was great.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And so that you say it kind of poured through you just scribbled it down as fast as you could. Try to elaborate on the subjective experience like of that you’re taking a walk or something and all this, this whole thing came to you. I mean, I’ve heard of things like that. For instance, Mozart said that sometimes the whole symphony would come to him in a flash. And then he would have to sit down and write it all out all the different instruments, but the whole thing was like cognized in seed form or something.

Chelan Harkin: So yeah, so I was I had shown up at the computer lab, I was in my college, computer lab. And I, you know, I’d made this commitment. So I was going to write my poem. And yeah, it really just what happened. And what still happens is it’s like I’m retuned to a different. Just like I’m retuned to a different frequency, there’s like, There’s a buzz that comes over me and the words just start, just start coming. And it kind of feels like they’re pouring through. And so that’s, that’s how it felt. And, yeah, and there was kind of an urgency to it. And I just needed to write it down as quickly as I could. And any more I what I’ve learned is that if I don’t do that, if I don’t find a pen, or if I don’t get to a computer like it’s, it’s gone, the magic is gone. I can remember the basic theme of the poem, but there’s no life to it.

Rick Archer: Do you finish do you fiddle with it and tweak it and refine it? Or does it pretty much you just pretty much write it down the way it came? And that’s it,

Chelan Harkin: huh? Yeah, good question just ever so slightly, not much at all. So this book of poems that I just put out? Well, both of them are this way, but this book that I just put out today, so let us dance. It’s, it’s, it’s all poems that have come through in the last seven months. And for every poem that came through probably five to 10 others have, but the ones in this book are the ones that needed almost no, no edits at all.

Rick Archer: So the best ones tend not to need edits.

Chelan Harkin: Yep.

Rick Archer: Yeah

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Exactly.

Rick Archer: And, like, when you feel a poem coming, is it sort of like, you know, the beginnings of labor pains? Or you get a tingling in your toes? Or I mean, what is, is there some kind of like, like, feeling like, oh, here comes one?

Chelan Harkin: It’s always really exciting when one comes, and they come a lot. So it’s a very familiar feeling. Yeah, there’s a tingle. There’s a full-body tingle, to it.

Rick Archer: And you’re not trying to make it come you’re just kind of like minding your own

Chelan Harkin: No

Rick Archer: business and all of a sudden here come a poem.

Chelan Harkin: No, totally. Exactly. Yeah, I’ve noticed walking does kind of, walking can bring them on though. Walking and being in the shower can also bring them on. And driving also. And yeah, and there’s just like, yeah, there’s an urgency to it. And almost a slight that the experience is very pleasant.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah.

Chelan Harkin: But there’s an urgency to it. And it would be a little uncomfortable to not write it down.

Rick Archer:  Right. Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yeah

Rick Archer: Interesting. Speaking, speaking of taking a shower, I was taking a shower a couple of hours ago, and I was listening to the radio, and they had a story on NPR, about this guy who had suffered some kind of brain injury. And he was perfectly articulate, he could talk perfectly well. And but what happened was, he suddenly could play the piano and never played before. And they were playing stuff that he plays. And it was fantastic, complicated, beautiful stuff. I mean, he took his mother into a music store, and he sat down at a piano and just started playing this amazing stuff. And the salesperson in the store came over and said, ‘Wow, how long have you been playing?’ He said, ‘just a few hours.’

Chelan Harkin: Oh my God!

Rick Archer: So that’s, you know, where does that come from? And, you know, in the case of poems, where does that come from? I mean, is it do you feel like there’s some kind of transcendent or celestial source of intelligence or intelligences? Like, like, I guess a muse is supposed to be like, some higher being that is your muse? Or what?

Chelan Harkin: Yes, yes. So it feels like there’s a mingling of me, my spirit, I guess, and, and something else, because if I were just to try to sit down and write a poem right now, it would not, it wouldn’t be that great. It wouldn’t, there wouldn’t be that much to it. So I definitely feels that way. And you asked, like, what, you know, what is that? How do you maybe like, how do you? How do you crack that open? Like, what is how do you access then, and I don’t know, I don’t know if there’s any kind of formula to that. But I do there before this cracked open in me, I was very, I was in really a place of acute suffering, and, and felt that there was no space in the world where I could share, share my, my heart and my voice authentically. And that was really my primary desire in life was to be able to do that, but I had all kinds of just conditioning and really just repressive tendencies. So I was unable to do that. And it was, it was so painful. So I feel like I was kind of walking around constantly, though, with this deep prayer of like, you know, please, I need to be able to do this. And so kind of, in some ways, I think it had to do with that. Just a really, really deep desire for, for a really potent, true, deepest level of connection with something.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I have a feeling that everybody in the world has sort of genius locked up in them.

Chelan Harkin: Right, easily

Rick Archer: And certainly, the routines and the pressures of the world kind of kills that genius, you know, or, or represses it or dampens it down. And

Chelan Harkin: Yes

Rick Archer: there’s this sort of deep, repressed yearning, which I think perhaps accounts for a lot of the suffering people experienced. Because they know, you know, they’re, they’re like multimillionaires, who are just begging for change on the street, you know?

Chelan Harkin: Yes, and yeah, perfectionism, too, has I think a lot, a lot to do with kind of clamping that down. There’s kind of, in my experience, sort of a, just a cracking open to a willingness to, well get out of control to some to some degree to allow that to happen. And, yeah, and there’s also I think, just such a deep preciousness about this where this the genius lies, it’s, it’s I think, our most intimate self and we still want that to be beautifully received. And then we have you know, trauma around ways people have related to our creative expression in the past.

Rick Archer: In other words, they told you to go get a job as an accountant or something and forget all this poetry stuff and that kind of thing.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yeah, but I agree with you I really do think that we all have some kind of genius that wants to express itself in its unique way that all of us have that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I often when I think along these lines, I always extrapolate it out and think what would the world be like if everybody in the world unlock their full genius, you know, their full potential?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah

Rick Archer: You know, it the world would be so radically different?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, totally. Yes. Well said I have a poem that kind of speaks to that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s do that

Chelan Harkin: That’s actually not one of the ones we have written down.

Rick Archer: Okay. It doesn’t matter.

Chelan Harkin: I’ll just go with it. Okay, it’s called, ‘Probing joy’.

Rick Archer: Which book is this from?

Chelan Harkin: This is from, ‘Let us dance’.  Okay, your new one. Okay, ‘Probing joy’. I can’t keep quiet when there are still so many hearts that need resuscitation. So much buried power and truth, so many gifts to be resurrected. The richness waiting in you to be tapped is the inspired ink into which I dip my pen. Like a scientist who cannot stop penetrating new frontiers of this universe. My pen cannot stop probing the farthest reaches of joy. To prove again and again, there are countless dimensions of you yet to be discovered. I cannot stop revealing the evidence that within every darkness can be found universes of whirling light.

Rick Archer: Great, love it.

Chelan Harkin: Thanks.

Rick Archer: And, you know, on this theme of everybody having repressed genius, I think a lot of people sort of externalize the blame, although perhaps some of it can be externalized. In other words, they might say, ‘Well, that was my parents,’ or ‘it was the educational system’, ‘It’s the government’ or ‘it’s the deep state’ or, you know, whatever. And maybe there’s some blame to be assigned to external influences. But ultimately, you can take it from here, ultimately, I think we’re the ones who have to kind of take the initiative to unlock that inner potentiality no matter what, no matter why it has been locked up.

Chelan Harkin: Yes, yeah. And actually, I, the degrees, to which I felt really stuck, stifled and stymied with, with this deep, deep level authentic expression, like the this the, the suffering, of all that, and just my lack of contact with that is really, I think, it was like my voice was in this incubation period. And now that it’s busted out, like it does so with such gusto. And such a joy, and such verve and excitement and such a deep belief, yeah, that, that this capacity exists in all people, and just a really potent desire to share that, and I don’t know that I would have had that without all of those beautiful benefits without the struggle of not having that for so long.

Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, I mean, if you, if you help a chick out of its egg, you probably gonna kill it, or if you help a caterpillar out of the butterfly out of the chrysalis, so, and there’s a certain struggle and kind of having to make that effort to escape that confinement oneself. But you end up at least in these examples, the little being ends up healthier as a result or ends up living as some kind of see.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yeah

Rick Archer:  I mean, were there birth pains associated with this blossoming of creativity? Did you have to like go through some kind of purgatory in order to clear that clear stuff out?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, hell, hell. Yeah. Major. Yeah. Yeah. So well, so my 20s 32 now in my 20s was just this really beautiful gauntlet of just intensely healing and, and to heal means to encounter your pain as the way I describe it and move through it. And, anyhow, yeah, just intense healing and then intense creativity,

Rick Archer: Were you do about like, spiritual practices and seeking and reading and what or what?

Chelan Harkin: Mostly was embodied practices.

Rick Archer: Such as?

Chelan Harkin: Hypnotherapy was my primary tool.  Oh, that’s right. You became a professional Hypnotherapist?  Yep. But personally, too, I just would use that all the time. Yeah, I spent a lot of my 20s hypnotized. And, yeah, and, and it was so interesting. Because sometimes you said, you know, does the Muse feel like it comes from a celestial kind of out there, maybe source or something? But then also, when I would crack open my heart really and do a big cathartic release? Almost always under that would be a poem. Yeah. So that Yeah. And then, and then also, more recently, when I decided to publish this book, it was like this rapid-fire, skin shedding and burning through all the reasons that I hadn’t published it before. And of which there were many, all kinds of limiting assumptions and kind of just old, old frameworks that I needed to move through and that is not comfortable. And that’s why that’s another isn’t why Yeah, so many of us don’t pursue the things we most care about is because they’re, it’s painful. It is painful. Totally worthwhile. But there’s pain associated with it

Rick Archer: Did, when you were be hypnotized a lot, and well explained a bit what that experience was like, I mean, I

Chelan Harkin:  Sure

Rick Archer: you know people have most people don’t probably have a really clear understanding. And have you ever been hypnotized and like a deep meditative state? Or was it for you, and were you kind of like? Go ahead. You elaborate?

Chelan Harkin: Oh yeah? Sure. Yeah, well, I like to say that I had a boyfriend in high school whose mom was a hypnotherapist, and she was always like, trying to convince me to get sessions and I thought, I thought she was so wack, like, I thought it was so sounded so wacky. Like I wasn’t really exposed to alternative modes of therapy at all. Until I was, and but then yeah, so I like to say that because I think a lot of people have all kinds of kind of wacky assumptions about what hypnotherapy is or can do. And I just, I empathize with that.

Rick Archer: You think about stage hypnotists and all who make

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, exactly

Rick Archer:  people look like a chicken or something?

Chelan Harkin: Exactly. It can feel like manipulative and stuff. But then I was in such an acute just a desperate and acute constant state of distress, that I became more open to anything that might help

Rick Archer: Why were you in such a state of distress?

Chelan Harkin: Well, I just like I hadn’t been able to I related to my suffering as though there was something wrong with me. And, and I didn’t know how to share my pain with others. And I’m just I’m, I’m a sensitive, perceptive person who just I really need to live in a profoundly transparent and open and truthful, like, embodied truthful way. And, and I didn’t know how to do that. So it was just really it was agony.

Rick Archer: And that was causing the suffering. Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah. And so, one of my good friends told me about a mutual friend who had been trying hypnotherapy. And I got this hypnotherapist’s number right away. And I did a long-distance session with him that night, and that first session transformed my life. Yeah, so basically, it’s an extremely beautiful method of hypnotherapy that really affirms that we all have an essential inherent part of us that has always been healthy and happy and whole and inherently worthy of love and acceptance. So that’s kind of the premise and that we all have all the wisdom within us that we need to heal. And so I really, I got in touch with that part of myself. And through getting in touch with this part of myself that was not only not broken, but inherently just totally worthy of love. I’m just really dismantled so much in it. And for the first time in my adult life, my consciousness was kind of unlocked from all these just bit pain stories. And it was able to sink deeper into true, true connection with a much more true self. So it’s really a process of I mean, I think all healing is really a process of the development of consciousness. Mm hmm.

Rick Archer: It sounds a lot like, you know, my experience is meditation, it’s just a different way of different angles of going deep, you know, and

Chelan Harkin: Yes

Rick Archer: exploring those finer levels and of clearing out the detritus that is accumulated and

Chelan Harkin: Exactly. Yep, yep.

Rick Archer: Interesting. This theme that we brought up a couple of times now keeps coming back, which is that the suffering of there’s a word in the broad or phrase in the ‘Brahma sutras’ or someplace that says there’s no joy in smallness. And, and I keep, as I’m talking to you, I keep thinking of that, that, you know, being constricted being forced to run on one cylinder when you’re an eight-cylinder engine, cause  Yes causes pain. And you think about the opioid epidemic and all people are just, you know, in pain because they’re bottled up there. They can’t express their full potential and they and they take the wrong angle trying to just block things out even more. But I think it’s a core issue.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Should I read a poem about that?

Rick Archer: Yeah, please. Is it one we have down or just you want to grab one?

Chelan Harkin: We have it. I mean, this it’s just about encouraging the full, the fullness itself. And it’s called, ‘I’m too much’.

Rick Archer: Got it.

Chelan Harkin: This one reads well. Okay, let me make sure I have the right. Yeah. And there’s a lot of, you know, societal ideas about being too much and too big and arrogant. And

Rick Archer: Yeah

Chelan Harkin: Whatever

Rick Archer: Too big for your britches.

Chelan Harkin: Too big for your britches and of course, like, you know, we don’t want to, there’s a, but when we’re just all that we are in sharing our full light. It’s just, it’s beautiful. And it’s nourishing to others that doesn’t take from others. And so this poem is just reframing and reclaiming the phrase, ‘I’m too much’. Here we go. I’ll let the poem speak for itself. I am too much. It’s time to reframe and reclaim the phrase, I am too much. It’s time to practice being okay with it, lathering ourselves in it, and basking in all that we are here goes, I’m too much. I want to devour suns for breakfast and kiss the center of every heart. I’m too much for niceties. All I want is to experience the inmost nectar of the soul. I’m too much I’m divorcing myself from the timid ongoingly gray life of a repressed sky. Let’s dive in to the center of our storms. I’m too much for small ideologies to encourage me to live in the margins of the heart on the outskirts of life. I’m too much to be appropriately tipsy. I want to pop the cork off this world and make all things intoxicated with glee. I’m too much I want to stock God all the way home to the center of every beauty and sweetness. Go forth glorious too much ones and pour your rivers of light that quench the world. Go forth and feed every ravenous soul from the generous table of your heart. Knowing your essence is one of feast, not famine. Go forth and live in a way that reminds people how abundantly luminous each night is bedecked in her stars. Let your too much Nadis be your devotion. God after all, is the queen of too much polyamorous with every religion and every heart as she is. And she does not stop making her point after only one galaxy. Yes, by all means be too much. Your heart was made to be a gong Not a penny whistle. Your beauty is a downpour not a sprinkle. Your voice is a nourishing meal for this hungry world, not a garnish. Your too much has been a tight judgment that tries to tie down your vastness and constrain the cosmos within you reclaim it and pour forth your stars, reclaim it and become just the right size to hold the universe.

Rick Archer: That is so good. Thank you. Yeah, you know the whole notion of Enlightenment and an all or realizing one’s essential nature as Brahman. Brahman actually means great. That’s what the Sanskrit word means the word means the great. And the idea is that, you know, you engulf the universe, I mean, that what you are, the universe is a speck of dust within that, within that vastness, or that greatness. So that’s cool. I don’t mean to sound so dry and intellectual in response to these, but now they just remind me of these types of things. You know, they ping other thoughts. Yeah, they do. And, and obviously, you’re capturing something which the saints and sages had, you know, experienced and understood and written down in various scriptures and so on. So it’s a perennial wisdom, and you’re expressing it beautifully.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you so much, Rick.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I remember I listened to a couple of interviews. Like the one Mary read, did you with you, I think, and another one or two. And there was one where you said you felt like the top of your head was gonna blow off or something because there’s so much energy.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: coming through, I mean, has that settled down and been integrated?

Chelan Harkin: That kind of? Yes, it has. So about a couple of months ago. I just really had to have a talking to with this muse.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And I told it, I needed a little bit of a vacation. And it’s actually calmed down a little bit since then. But really, wow. So of the intense feeling where it actually started to hurt a little bit was when it was right, it was right. In the beginning stages of the process of publishing this book susceptible to light, and that was when I was going on these nightly, night walks and asking Hafez for inspiration, and it was just really it was torrential, it felt like a tap was just turned-on full blast.

Rick Archer: Kind of sounds like our crown chakra is opening or something?

Chelan Harkin: Yes.

Rick Archer: Do you kind of feel like in a way that you’re a kind of a sense organ of the infinite or, you know, one of God’s appendages serving a particular function?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, wow, that’s a really nice way to think of it. I’m really, I’m just really, I’m really grateful. I love this experience. So, so much. And I, I really my poetry, my experience of my poetry is I have such incredible trust in it. Whereas I struggle with plenty of self-doubt in other areas. But with poetry, it’s just like, oh, it’s, I just completely trust it. And I know it needs to be shared. And that there’s value in sharing that and there’s just so I’m so grateful for that experience. And then I, I, I’ve been, I’ve worked really hard, I’ve really done a tremendous amount of just being on this path, which is messy and hard and intense. But I’ve just really tried to keep my heart open. And then and then going into all the reasons it’s closed, and then opening it again. So there’s something about that, that I think, you know, can be more universalized. Like, I think blessings and just cool, cool Grace can come to people from doing that. But I don’t think of myself as like, I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve gotten too lofty about No,

Rick Archer: I’m not saying that you think you’re God’s gift to humanity or something. But just, I mean, I have the same sense. There’s, you’re kind of a servant, and you’re serving a particular function, you know, within your particular skill set. And, and it’s having an influence on the world. And because you’re doing that, it’s like the powers that be the gods whatever they say, Okay, we got a live one here. Let’s, yeah, give her some juice, you know?

Chelan Harkin: Yes. Yes. And, it has, I mean, it’s intensified so much since I just started taking it seriously. Yeah. And validating the process more as I did when I started publishing my work. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And we haven’t mentioned it, but you know, your, you are a young mother you have How old are your kids?

Chelan Harkin: Four and one,

Rick Archer: Four, and one. So it’s not like you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs. You’ve probably got a lot to do with them. And husband, what does your husband do?

Chelan Harkin: He’s an audio engineer.

Rick Archer: Oh, great. Wow.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. So he helped me a lot with the setup.

Rick Archer: Handy.

Chelan Harkin: Yes.

Rick Archer: And, you know, I imagine that all of that helps to open your heart. You mentioned trying to keep your heart open. I’m sure that they are nice little heart openers.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Parenting is all just be really transparent about it. Parenting is hard for me.

Rick Archer: Is it?

Chelan Harkin: It’s they are heart openers, and they’re my motivation to open my heart more than anything else. But also, like, Do you have kids? Rick?

Rick Archer:  No, just animals.

Chelan Harkin: Okay, right on. Yeah, I mean, not everyone feels this way. But it for me, kids bring it, it brings. It brings it all up like its surfaces. It surfaces all the limitations that want to come up to be cleared because you do just want to be you know, perfect unconditional love for your kids. And so all the escapist tendencies and all the issues with intimacy and all of that surfaces, so I call it just accelerated growth. Being a parent, because there’s more in me there’s more motivation to do the work but it also like it’s so it’s deeply humbling, because it just puts your face in it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, relationships of all kinds kind of put your face in it. And

Chelan Harkin: Yes, yes

Rick Archer: but, I don’t think that they are. I mean, and sometimes you know, people with a monastic inclination, regard that as a, you know, a see a quagmire that serious spiritual seekers should avoid, but I think for the vast majority of people, dog is having a coughing fit here. Come on, that for the vast majority of people, that’s exactly what we need.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: And without that, you can become very self-absorbed and idiosyncratic and

Chelan Harkin: Yes

Rick Archer: you know, just sort of you don’t have the mirror that you need to reflect your stuff back to.

Chelan Harkin: Yes. You said it. Yes. And kids are such fine-tuned mirrors.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Mm hmm. So, yeah,

Rick Archer: Yeah. Have they have your kids inspired any poems?

Chelan Harkin: No.

Rick Archer: Some kid poems

Chelan Harkin: Actually may be one or two? Maybe they’re not in the book? No, I don’t feel that anything really inspires my poems. Like I’ve had, in the past, a couple of people have asked me to write poems for, you know, this or that custom-written poems, and it’s just it doesn’t, it feels awkward.

Rick Archer: So if you’re asked to be the poet for the next presidential inauguration, you’ll, you’ll decline?

Chelan Harkin: No, I would accept. And I would just read one of the poems that came through on its own, but that felt like it most fit the occasion.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, you want to read another one now?

Chelan Harkin: Sure. Yeah. I’ll read the one that really took off in quite a wild way. And is really, I have a lot to thank it for, for why I’m here with you right now. It’s what connected me with Mary Reed. And, and it’s also it’s so just went viral.

Rick Archer: What’s it called?

Chelan Harkin: It’s called, ‘The worst thing’

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Heard of this. Good.

Chelan Harkin: And it all just share a little bit before I read it. So, before sharing this poem, I would get like, you know, 35 likes on my, on my poems on Facebook. And like, 50 was amazing. And, you know, three people sharing it was really cool. Stuff like that. And so then I shared this one and it like, 30,000 people shared it.

Rick Archer: Wow. Took off

Chelan Harkin: And like, yeah, just totally, totally took off. And, and it’s so interesting. Like one person, in particular, shared this poem. And like, 10,000 people found it on her page. And then I got curious the other day, and I went back to her page to look at other posts and other posts get like, yeah, like 10, 10 likes or whatever. And I’m not sharing that because like, it was just, every single thing about this process was so like, the forces of the universe were like, this is happening. And it all just, it all just went. So anyway, I’m so grateful for this poem. So so grateful This is wouldn’t have connected with Daniel Ladinsky. Like this is the one so, ‘The worst thing’

Rick Archer: and I don’t know. Yeah, I guess we, we in the intro, we explained who Daniel Ladinsky is, he’s

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, I can talk more about that. That’s a really cool story

Rick Archer: Ok, later on after we do that later.

Chelan Harkin: Sure. Okay,

Rick Archer: Okay.

Chelan Harkin: So, ‘The worst thing,’ The worst thing we ever did, was put God in the sky out of reach, pulling the divinity from the leaf, sifting out the holy from our bones, insisting God isn’t bursting dazzle meant, through everything. We’ve made a hard commitment to see as ordinary, stripping the sacred from everywhere to put in a cloud man elsewhere. prying closeness from your heart. The worst thing we ever did was take the dance and the song out of prayer. Made it sit up straight and cross its legs, removed it of rejoicing. wiped clean its hips sway its questions. It’s ecstatic yowl. Its tears. The worst thing we ever did is pretend to God isn’t the easiest thing in this universe, available to every soul in every breath.

Rick Archer: Great. Love it.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ll send you a song later if I thought of it, we could even have played it now. But I don’t have it queued up, but it’s called, ‘Everything is holy now’. And I forget the name of the songwriter. But basically, it talks about you know, when he was a boy at school, go to church, God was this you know, distant thing. And now everything is holy, every leaf every bird song every everything and you know that that I think is really the reality. I think the whole universe would come to a screeching halt if God were not functional in every little subatomic particle,

Chelan Harkin: Yes. Wow, yes.

Rick Archer: Yeah, next week, I’m going to interview a guy about intelligent design, which I had had a sort of a skeptical attitude toward. It has this sort of pseudo-scientific connotation. But he’s right on. I mean, it’s like he explains in great, great detail scientifically, how we really couldn’t have a universe if there were not some guiding intelligence.

Chelan Harkin: Interesting. Yeah, it’s a real paradigm, where it’s a way of living and relating to all things, this othering of God, and outsiding God and we are disconnected from our, our bodies, ourselves or wisdom, everything, there’s an alienation of experience in this paradigm. And that’s one that I yeah, my poetry is really doing a lot to try to crack open.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And there’s a kind of a popular bias against I mean, people are ostracized and ridiculed for, for speaking the way we’re speaking right now, in certain circles in scientific circles, and many others, there’s, you know, the New Atheists are all, you know, all the rage and very popular Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and people like that. So there’s some kind of a theme in the culture that feels that, appreciating everything as holy is somehow old fashioned, and, and

Chelan Harkin: yeah,

Rick Archer: superstitious or something like that.

Chelan Harkin: There’s so much and just all the conditioning that we have around least in this in our society around opening our heart, because like, all the sacred scriptures talk about the heart as the, there’s just something about the heart, it’s important to that’s the seat of God, whatever. And, but then, you know, vulnerability, but the thing is, like, open your heart sounds like such a nice thing to say, but we don’t because there’s, there’s so much pain in there, and there’s so much to move through. And, but there’s so many ideas that we’re not allowed to feel, you know, we’re not allowed to go into all the feelings that we find, when we really, when we really do open our hearts and connect with what’s in there. And there’s so much beauty and wisdom in there. And there’s also pain and there’s certain sort of, like, you’re allowed to get to the beauty and the wisdom and the good stuff. But like, the pain, like it’s too much, or it’s, you know, so there’s I think there is a lot in all kinds of ways that shuts us down from really connecting with this implanted, you know, divinity within us and, and then when our heart is shut down like we’re screwed from connecting with, with, you know, beauty and love. That’s I do think is built into the neck to the natural every part of the natural world. Yeah,

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, it says, let’s, let’s play with this one for a few minutes. I mean,  Sure,  As you’re saying that I was thinking of like crabs and snails and conchs, and things like that, who, who need their shell, you know, they would be so vulnerable without their shell. But they also have to sort of venture out of it in order to get food and stuff. And I don’t know how good of an analogy that is for human beings. But you can see why hearts get shut down. Because you know,

Chelan Harkin: Of course,

Rick Archer: that we’re battered by so much, and we need to protect that tender thing.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: But then, on the other hand, that entraps us. When

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: because as we’ve been saying earlier, we’re meant to be, you know, the universe – we’re meant to be vast, and yet we get hung up in a little shell. So how do you how does one navigate the metamorphosis? So you know, such that one can be utterly open, and yet not vulnerable in the sense of being damaged by that openness?

Chelan Harkin: That’s such a good question. Yeah, well, how to open it all in the first place. I feel like we just really need either a very deeply safe environment, or even just another person around us that can kind of in which, because the reason that we don’t open to the hard stuff or share our full stuff is because it’s been presented to us as if we were struggling too much, or if we’re whatever isn’t, you know, we’ve been told as an acceptable that that will be a liability to our belonging, and we’re so wired for belonging that then we just had, you know, we need to play these roles to, that we think would get us the belonging that we also want. So we need people that we need to know that it’s safe to go into our messy painful stuff. And the people will still just totally cherish us and love us. And or for me with hypnotherapy, I, I was able, in that state to create a safe enough place inside of myself and really connect with this part of me that was like, Oh, I’m good. Actually, I there’s in the deepest level, I am, I’m okay. And that didn’t obliterate all of my, you know, limitations and foibles and shadows and things, but it allowed me to then it actually allowed me to encounter them and move through them rather than just stay stuck in them because I thought they were me. Does that make sense?

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned hypnotherapy because I was thinking, you know, there must be there are processes, which enable a person to you know, simultaneously culture both strength and sensitivity. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago, I interviewed Anita Moorjani. And her new book is called, ‘Sensitive is the new strong’.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah.

Rick Archer: And, and it’s kind of a contradiction in terms because sensitive seems vulnerable. And how could sensitive be strong, but I think we can perhaps understand how it could be, and maybe we could even

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah,

Rick Archer: elaborate the point a bit

Chelan Harkin: I would love to talk about that point. Yes, I really deeply, deeply believe that I am sensitive can mean sensitive to truth. And I think a good synonym for sensitive can be just being very perceptive. And, and being sensitive to. Hmm, yeah, when things aren’t aligned with truth and feeling like, Oh, that hurts, you know, because we are so sensitive to love and truth. And that’s so important. And then, and then it’s a journey and just finding, finding a way to address those things. That, that our that is in a strong way. That isn’t coming from like, being victimized by those things, but then we can speak about them. Yeah, that yeah, I don’t know where it was going. That.

Rick Archer: Well, this image comes to my mind of, you know, the strong man, he’s like the bully, Man Get out of my way. He barges his way through the crowd, nobody gets in his way. And then, you know, doesn’t matter who he tramples on, he’s strong. But really such a person is weak, you know, they’re, they’re just expressing a sort of an inner inadequacy that they’re, they’re trying to compensate for by

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: by being a big, you know, bully. And, yeah, but it’s, it’s really been the sense. I mean, and you know, there have been such people who have conquered nations and who have done big things on the world stage. But I think the people we most admire, the great geniuses, the scientists, the composers, the poets, are people who were, you know, acutely sensitive. And they’re the ones who really tapped into some deeper genius, and who’s, whose work stuff has stood the test of time.

Chelan Harkin: And, yeah, and I think, yeah, it, it feels safer to be open, when you know, that you that we also as humans have the capacity to move through pain. And so then when we find tools to be able to do that, then it’s, we’re more resilient. And, and I think it’s, we’re just not as afraid of what comes at us. So it’s easier to just hear I am the world. And, and I think also when we really can open our heart in that sensitive and strong way that I don’t know. We challenge the assumption that we will be hurt. Yeah. And maybe we won’t be as much as we once thought.

Rick Archer: No, I know what you mean.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: I was just reading something. Yesterday, I think Susanne Marie’s Facebook page, she wrote this thing about how she has been on BatGap. About how when the individual sense of self drops off and is no longer predominant. Then one knows oneself as cosmic being, then everything is passing through you. Yes, you know the good, the bad, and the ugly but it doesn’t shake your status as cosmic being. There’s a saying that Brahman is the eater of everything that container of everything has the capacity to contain all extremes of the universe without in itself being perturbed.

Chelan Harkin: Totally, I have a good poem for this moment, boy, shall I? Yeah, which one? Okay, am I actually it’s another one that I didn’t give you. I had a cool, really cool experience. Recently, I said a prayer had been just this whole journey to it’s just been an incredible experience, experiment and experience with prayer. And I said a prayer. Recently, I just was like, I want to level up. Just I wanted to get out of kind of fast out of some old patterns. And then like, the next day, this lady reached out to me who I’d never met, who was like, Hey, I found your poetry and can I give you a four-hour session and this like, I don’t know, type of healing I never heard of, and I was like, okay, and she was for free. So I was like, Oh, sure, okay. And it was incredibly potent and powerful. And there have been really two times in my life where I’ve had these extremely profound kinds of just, I am kind of experiencing the I am from a totally different vantage point. And this was one of those this is about two months ago, and then this poem came out right after. It’s called, ‘There’s an essence’. There’s an essence within you that can neither be enhanced nor diminished. It spans universes and embraces the minuscule, the infinitesimal. It is infinite in the way that the numbers between zero and one are infinite, which is completely and wonderfully, eternally satisfying, and yet allows for infinitely more infinities. It is the exultation of the hermit crab, when it ceases to need to scurry from shell to shell to find respite. This essence dips into pools of intergalactic radiance for play and restoration. It tickles the stars and high fives the suns, it has no need to bypass the trappings of the small mind, but nor does it take them too seriously. There is nothing to prove or do or please to earn this. This is your birthright that I solemnly swear. No joyfully exclaim all humanity is growing into.

Rick Archer: That’s great.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you

Rick Archer: Reminds me of another Vedic saying. It goes. Anoraneeyan Mahato Maheeyan, which means small, smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Yeah, that was a very, very profound, profound experience that the main thing I came away with was that first line that there’s an essence within us that can neither be enhanced to nor diminished is just completely satisfied in its own nature. Like, there’s nothing you have to do to get to exactly where you want to be. And that also, this inherent essence is just sewn with the also profoundly satisfying experience of connection like that. There is nothing again that you need to do or try for to earn or when

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: connection, but it’s just, we just have it within us and can drink it in and totally enjoy it. So

Rick Archer: If you have infinity and subtract 100 from it, you still have infinity. If you add a 100 to it, you still have infinity.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, wow. Yeah.

Rick Archer: So what were you saying about Daniel Ladinsky there was some interesting story about him.

Chelan Harkin: Yes, yes. So, so mostly just, well, he was really a he’s my primary poetic inspiration. He is really the only poet that I’ve really, that I feel has influenced my work. And then, and then just so yeah, I bought these two books of his because I liked the format and I needed ideas for my books, and then so basically, Daniel Ladinsky does all of the English renderings of Hafez poetry, which is originally written in Farsi.

Rick Archer: So does he translate from the Farsi?

Chelan Harkin: No. So he actually doesn’t even speak Farsi. But he uses the translations, and then he’s an incredible poet in and of his own self and he had a mystical experience with Hafez that inspired his writing and so he kind of takes the translations and brings them kind of infuses them with what he believes is the original kind of spirit intended spirit sounds

Rick Archer: Seems like Hafez is messing with people. Firstly messed with Daniel then he messed with you.

Chelan Harkin: I think he’s a total trickster. Yeah. And so anyway, so I bought these books that are Hafez books rendered by Daniel Ladinsky and that’s really what started cracking this process open. And so yes, after three weeks of intense and joyful though, intense and joyful, just conversation with Hafez like Daniel Ladinsky, I get an email from him in my inbox, which

Rick Archer: How did he even get your email?

Chelan Harkin: I have no idea. I actually don’t think I’ve even asked him. I should ask. So he found me and he said, Hey Chelan, I found your book. Congratulations. Seems like it’s doing really phenomenally well, even internationally. And just he was so generous and kind and celebratory. And then I had used a quote of his and my Amazon description that I had miscited. So he said, and you know, he was totally relaxed about it. He just said, you know, this was late, late December. So he said sometime next year, at your leisure, just if you could amend that. So then I wrote him back this like, totally unfiltered email because I was in just this. This complete state of awe that he had reached out to me after I had been praying to Hafez, and I just told him, the whole story. I said, Oh, my God, Daniel, I’ve got to tell you this whole story. So I did. And I told him, I had this ‘A’ team in the dead of dead authors, and Hafez was in charge of them. And I sent him a poem that I felt was particularly inspired by Hafez. And then it was my commitment to myself to just really ask for the things that I wanted. And so I, I said, Daniel, while I have you, could I send you my book? And if you’re genuinely moved to do it, would you consider endorsing it? So I just sent that off on a wing and a prayer. I assumed he had all this fan mail, he might never respond to me, whatever, whatever. And then that night, I got an email back from him that said, so Chelan, this is strange on so many levels, because I’m you know, I rarely reach out to people. People miscite my work 1000s of times every day. So I really must have been Hafez that nudged me to connect with you.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And he said, and this is extremely rare. I’ve never done this before, but I just really feel that you and I need to coauthor a book together.

Rick Archer: That’s cool.

Chelan Harkin: So that was just like, it was like the skies opened then it was pure bliss. I just had this hysterical, you know, moment.

Rick Archer: So he wrote some kind of intro to one of your books, but are you actually going to coauthor one with him?

Chelan Harkin: So we’ve started and then that just launched us into this extraordinary few months of intense collaboration. And we were both just inspiring each other. It was like this wild poetic dance, like, I’m talking, we’d send each other like 20 emails a day just, it was like a poem that kept evolving. And so we started working on a book together called, ‘Letters to and from a young poet’. And there’s a Rilke a German poet Rilke, a classic, called ‘Letters to a Young Poet’, so you’re gonna kind of spin-off of that and modernize it, but it was going to be more back and forth. And we made really wonderful headway with that. And then we also started working on a book of Haiku called, ‘Two zucchinis dancing’, ‘Sweet haiku from the kitchen.’ So it’s all just haiku about food. And it was just so fun. It was the most exhilarating, joyful experience of my life. And then we also dabbled in some other ones. So and so those are still kind of those are kind of shelved in terms of really bringing them all the way home for now. But um, but yeah, he wrote me a foreword for my book. And he’s just a good good friend anymore.

Rick Archer: That’s great. That’s exciting.  Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It’s really incredible. Not just that it happened, but what was incredible about it was the way that it happened. Can I read that poem that I sent him?  Yeah, please. Do you have do I have, do I have that one here?

Chelan Harkin: I think you know, it’s called ‘Hafez was generous and susceptible to light’. So this is the poems I’m reading our mix summer from this book summer from Let us dance. Okay, Hafez was generous. Hafez was generous. I asked him for help. helped with my poetry and he stuffed my heart with 1000 suns for starters, he poured a collection of instruments into my soul and announced play. He spit-shined my inner eye that it might see Wild Magic everywhere winking back at it. I asked Hafez for help with my poetry and he responded, it’s about time you asked. I’ve been waiting with a stampede of Muses to unleash upon you. I’ve been waiting with a cosmos of roses to hand to you to bring forth even the shyest part of your love and get it dancing. I asked Hafez for help with my poetry, he said, All poems already are like luminous birds in the spirit realm, you simply must summon them. And he started wildly throwing bird food directly into my soul. There’s a secret trapdoor in heaven, when you pull on that string, God topples down upon you. I asked Hafez for help with my poetry and he pushed God out that door to land right on top of my heart.

Rick Archer: That’s great.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.  Really nice.  Thanks.

Rick Archer: Do you mean this kind of literally, we’ve sort of touched on it, but you know, there’s new agey type people often think of there being sort of Ascended Masters or, you know, some celestial beings or whatever that are caught interceding in human affairs in various ways. And, you know, perhaps using certain individuals as representatives of their intentions, or as mouthpieces through which they can speak. So do literally feel like something like that is going on?  With Hafez? With Hafez, or this ‘A’ team you mentioned or whatever.

Chelan Harkin: Well, it’s so interesting. I mean, um, it’s hard to deny it anymore.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I’m not Pooh poohing the idea. I kind of believe it works that way. But I’m just saying if you do,

Chelan Harkin: well, I’m not you know, I am, we have so many layers to us. And one part of me is like, totally like, rah, rah, let’s ask, you know, Dead Poets for help. And then the other part of me is also like, kind of stubbornly, like, has a doubt, you know, about the mystical and things like that. And so, um, but yeah, and anymore after this experience, it’s, I found, I’ll say, I find myself experimenting with it more. Yeah. And that, I think that’s, that’s all I can really say. But I mean, you know, self-published poetry, I had essentially no connections with anybody. I had no marketing team. And just the way that this is, has expanded, it’s hard to understand why things would have happened like this without some kind of influence.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: No, I think the world I think the universe works that way, personally.

Chelan Harkin: But I kind of like not being certain about it.

Rick Archer: Yeah. No, that’s good

Chelan Harkin: There is a dynamic edge to like, Okay, I’m gonna keep trying this. Let’s see how it goes now. And

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: and getting information as we try these things. And so, yeah,

Rick Archer: I have a lot of respect for the scientific method and for the relationship between science and spirituality. I think they each possess qualities, which the other needs. And, you know, and what’s what spirituality needs from science is the sort of empirical, you know, a little bit skeptical. You know, not being, you know, blindly faithful kind of attitude and taking things as hypotheses which should be tested rather than things that you need to believe in. Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. And that’s very important. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And then what science needs from spirituality is the whole toolkit of being able to explore these subtle dimensions, which, you know, materialist science doesn’t have a clue about.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, totally.

Rick Archer: Couple of questions came in, and anytime you anything pops to mind or poem you want to read and just sure, don’t wait for me to ask you just go for it. But I’m here now. Does Mary Reed live in Washington, DC?

Chelan Harkin: Bethesda.

Rick Archer: Bethesda.

Chelan Harkin: Maryland,

Rick Archer: Alright.

Chelan Harkin: Not Bethesda, Maryland, right on the border.

Rick Archer: So I think this is from Mary. She says, “it would be interesting to know about Chelan’s spiritual upbringing”.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, sure. Sure, yeah. So I grew up in the Baha’i faith.

Rick Archer: Oh, boy. Yeah. Seals and Crofts.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,  Yeah, yeah. So the Bahai for those who aren’t familiar with the Bahai teachings, basically just really a beautiful worldview, that all, let’s see, that really unitive worldview, that all people are inherently just very, very interconnected. And that, that for the kind of the crowning point of our maturity as, as human people is to be able to operate harmoniously in a, worldwide as a global society, and, and that all religions come from the same source and their purpose is to help humanity develop both spiritually and, and socially. So, anyway, there’s a lot of just real beauty there. And I’m so grateful for I think it really helped me have a trajectory for my, my mind and heart, and it gave me even just the concept of God and the concept of prayer. And, yeah, but then also, interestingly, with something that the Baha’i Faith says, The Baha’i teaching says that, that you can’t inherit a religion from your parents, like it just doesn’t, doesn’t work. And so no matter how beautiful your faith is, you really need to go through the process of just really finding your own relationship there. And so, for the last 10 years or so, also, I’ve been really in a process with that, and shedding some pieces, a lot of pieces of that, and refinding some pieces

Rick Archer: You still love them?

Chelan Harkin: That’s a very nice mature thing for religion to say, you know, because usually, they’re very possessive. And, you know, yeah, if you leave the fold your fallen and so on. Yeah. Totally well, and then, but then it’s interesting. Like, I think a lot of people in the Baha’i community would do well to take that advice.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And, and so it’s funny how our conditioning around religion, I guess, can even be a stronger player than the teachings themselves sometimes.

Rick Archer: Sure.

Chelan Harkin: So I don’t know. I don’t. And the community is continuing to evolve, which is wonderful. But I’ll just leave it at that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, I think most people in every religion would do well to actually heed the advice of its founder, you know.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: It’s the exception rather than the rule

Chelan Harkin: Just point. Yes

Rick Archer: It’s interesting that you grew up in the Baha’i faith because that that came out of Persia, which is modern day Iran. And that’s where Hafez was.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, that is interesting. Yeah,

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yep. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I don’t know. You’re probably Hafez’s wife in, in that life.

Chelan Harkin: Maybe that would have been an interesting life. He was like, exiled several times. I’d have been down for that.

Rick Archer: Maybe you were his mother. I don’t know.

Chelan Harkin: Ah, that’s hilarious. Maybe I was him.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s what I mean. Just said, Why, why? Why do I say, of course, you could have been.

Chelan Harkin: The title for this book, Let us dance actually. It was given to me. It was a really profound moment, I was on Baha’i pilgrimage when I was 21. The whole Baha’i Holy Land is in Israel. And it’s a nine-day pilgrimage going to visit all these holy sites. And the place I was most excited to go to was Bahala, who’s the founder of the Baha’i faith, his prison cell. And so this big group, and I went to this prison cell, and there was always time to meditate and pray and such. And so I closed my eyes for really what felt right. I’ve never had an experience like this one, I closed my eyes for what really felt like an instant. And I opened my eyes and everyone had left the prison cell and the door was closed. I was alone in this prison cell. And at that time, my relationship with the Baha’i faith was very complex. And really, I feel like the primary tension was like, needing to listen to my own inner voice and intuition and guidance system and wondering like it was that okay, and anyway, so I opened my eyes, I was alone in this prison cell. And I really experienced heard without ears, very clear voice inside of me that I took to be Bahala that said, Let us dance. And what that communicated to me was just, you know, I was invited to go on just a really authentic, dynamic journey with God. And I just cracked my heart open and I started singing and there were these amazing acoustics and like, I knew that was gonna be the name of a book of poetry one day, anyway. Yeah,

Rick Archer: That’s fantastic. Yeah, yeah. Experiences like that, I take it very seriously and quite

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: quite literally with, but with a grain of salt. But, but that could have been Bahala. And I mean, I think that kind of thing has happened to so many people. I mean,

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: Muhammad, you know, I mean, had some kind of visitation from angels, which cracked him open and, you know, he, you know, kickstarted his whole spiritual, you know, trip that he went on and that that’s true of many. There are many examples throughout history. So this kind of stuff happens.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. And yeah, whether or not you know, it had an effect.

Rick Archer: Yeah, for sure. That’s really interesting. Did you ever figure out how long you had actually been in the cell with their eyes closed?

Chelan Harkin: Well, it’s interesting, because I was there were a lot of Persians in my group. And there, they were, like, long, like, they would like pray for so long. And all these spots. And there were other times and I was really hoping to get some time alone. And there was like, There’s no way. So I imagine it was a while.

Rick Archer: And you must have gotten really deep because you didn’t even hear them leave.

Chelan Harkin: Didn’t hear them leave. Didn’t hear the door close. Nothing.

Rick Archer: Wow.

Chelan Harkin: Is bizarre. Yeah

Rick Archer: That’s really cool.

Chelan Harkin: It was really bizarre. Yeah. And yeah, the trip to Israel came a month after. You mentioned the guy with the brain trauma that started playing piano right. It happened a month after it’s really surprised. Surprise brain surgery.

Rick Archer: You had brain surgery?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, for an aneurysm in the central artery of my brain. And that they found accidentally,

Rick Archer: You, were you having symptoms, or they just somehow?

Chelan Harkin: No

Rick Archer:  Why did they

Chelan Harkin: No symptoms, no health issues.

Rick Archer: they did a CT scan for some reason?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, I had a sort of a jaw issue. And I don’t even know why I got it’s so weird that I, I went to get an MRI for jaw issue because it was pretty low-key. It doesn’t make sense. And they, they were like, oh, there’s your jaw is fine. But you’ve got a blurry area in your brain. And it might be an aneurysm, you might want to follow up on that. And I did it was this gigantic aneurysm and they said I wouldn’t have lived to be 30. So that was just a very dramatic time in my life, and it was kind of shortly after all of that, too, for me that that poetry really like cracked, open wide and just interesting things that all play a part.

Rick Archer: That is very interesting. Was it very deep in the brain?

Chelan Harkin: It was in the central artery of my brain. Behind my left eye. I’ve got an excellent scar from here to here. And yeah, it was pretty well in there.

Rick Archer: Geez. That’s

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, no joke.

Rick Archer: That’s very interesting.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay. Well, I’m glad they found it.

Chelan Harkin: Yes.

Rick Archer: Okay, a few nice little questions come in here. Here’s one from Andrea Gutfleisch in Mannheim, Germany. Where do I find this amazing poem, it goes, it really goes deep. We’d love to read it again. Love to hear about how Chelan was unpacking her gift.

Chelan Harkin: Which one? Which poem

Rick Archer: I’m not sure. But they’re all amazing. So, you know, you have two books, and a lot of your poems are on your Facebook page. And I will put links on your page on BatGap to both of your books on Amazon that people can just click on. Go.

Chelan Harkin: Fantastic. Thank you so much.

Rick Archer: Sure they can get the physical one or is it also a Kindle or what?

Chelan Harkin: Yep, it’s an eBook. You can get it at Yeah, so it’s on. Both are on Amazon. And then also, there will be signed copies of both books at my local independent mom-owned bookstore. It’s called Waucoma bookstore W-A-U-C-O-M-A

Rick Archer: Out there in Oregon. You mean?

Chelan Harkin: It? Yep. And it would be really, it’d be really fun to blast them with sales. They’re so great. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And yeah, so if everybody listening could just fly to Oregon and buy it there?

Chelan Harkin: They ship them around the world,

Rick Archer: They shipped them. So send me information about that. And I’ll put that on your, on your page also.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yep. And then I’d love to stay in touch too, with listeners that I’m still sharing new poems pretty much every day.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: So Facebook is the main platform I use for that.

Rick Archer: You know, another thing you might want to do, I just, I’m listening right now to a book on Audible, which, from a guy I’m going to interview and I said, you know, if I have to read the book, I’m not going to get through it. But if you can send me an audible version, I listened to a couple hours a day. And so I’m doing I really enjoy it. So you could actually consider making a version of your book that you read.

Chelan Harkin: I know I will down the road. There are two people that are doing that for me at this time. So I think I’ll use those until I like the idea of being my voice reading them just because I know you know, they come from me so it’s but yes, that will happen. then for sure.

Rick Archer: Good. Someone named Anwat Bradley in Santa Cruz: Any plans for audiobook versions of both the books and hearing you recite your beautiful poetry sends a love light and joy vibration straight to my heart. Thank you and bless you.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: Yeah. So there’s a sign from the universe.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Right.

Rick Archer: And here’s another question that came in from Angelika Kollin in Tampa, Florida. Excuse me if I mispronounce names, has Chelan experience Shalan experience that Chelan. I have been working on this.

Chelan Harkin: Okay. By the end of our interview, you’ll have it down.

Rick Archer: You were saying before we started that I should just remember Shazam. So Has Chelan experienced that consumption of certain foods or exposure to modern-day “noise” like social media or tv, has had a negative impact on her ability to download these poems? And equally, are there some beneficial practices or way of living that can increase one’s ability to be an open and clear channel?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, what a good question.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: So. Well, regarding the first sort of a two-part question. The last seven months, I’ve lived off of a steady diet of peanut butter toast and hemp mochas. So I No, I don’t think so with the diet, I and that’s just because I was like, just focusing on such a pace. Like, I really, it was like being a mother and writing poetry, and I just couldn’t be bothered with food prep. So I mean, I eat other things, too. But that’s to say that I don’t, I don’t think that’s a factor for me. And then I’ve also I’ve never consumed so much social media, because I’ve just been in this intense beautiful communication with people about my work and but at Facebook, you know that these things are tools, and they can be used in all kinds of ways. And when you’re putting out love, and you’re just not letting the stuff in that bothers you, you can just like unhide, hide people’s posts and stuff, like you can really just create a beautiful, nourishing virtual garden for your heart. So it has been that experience for me being on Facebook. But then in terms of other practices. Yeah, anything for me that just continues to open my heart and trying to grow and strength to be able to be more. You know, like, wisely vulnerable, like sharing, opening when it feels right. And so I do a lot of healing, of healing work of all kinds. So anything that really works for you, I think, to really allow you to, like let go of old energies and perceptions that have been kind of stuck in you that that’s, that’s profoundly helpful for me.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And there are so many things, I mean, just as exemplified by all the people I’ve interviewed, I mean, there are just so many different paths and practices and teachers and teachings.

Chelan Harkin: Of course

Rick Archer: And, you know, I mean, I just have the attitude of just finding what resonates with you, you know, what works for you.

Chelan Harkin: Yes, because it can be overwhelming. There’s so many different methods of healing practices, and meditation practices, and this and that, so I think yeah, doing your best to just start trying, if that’s what you’re looking for. And then whatever works for you keep going with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And you know, you need to sometimes dedicate yourself to something and not just be not be a dilettante that just flips from one thing to the next. But on the other hand, if you dig your heels in and just stick with one thing that isn’t working and just persist with it for years and years, you could actually waste time so you have to kind of find the balance.

Chelan Harkin: Yes.

Rick Archer: Nearby star gave a nice talk one time called bees in the garden and how she felt that you know, the way bees go from flower to flower and extract nectar from each one that you know, we can do that as spiritual practitioners without being dilettante without being superficial dabblers.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Cool.

Rick Archer: Want to read another poem?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Let me do that. Let’s see, I’ve got all these poems flagged. Maybe I’ll just open to one of them. Oh, this one actually feels appropriate. Yeah. So there was a time when I thought I really needed to, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this either. But when I really thought I needed to read all these say Sacred Scriptures and I needed to be like very well versed intellectually to have, like, I guess, to merit to be worthy of like spiritual joy, I guess. So, this kind of this poem kind of speaks to that. It’s called name, excuse me. It’s called, ‘Name drop gods’. Okay. For years, I thought I had to name-drop Hindu gods for my poetry to be valid, but I hadn’t really met any yet. I thought I needed to read all the sacred scriptures, but they were also dense and cumbersome. Perhaps if I listed a couple of yoga pose names, yes, any kind of Sanskrit must be the key to making my words spiritual and enlightened, be a bit more esoteric Chelan. A bit harder to unravel. Make your poetry a necklace of tangled prayer beads, your readers will want to extract God more from your poetry for not being able to access it. Well, thank God all that changed. And thank God, it turns out all scripture, every spiritual encounter, every holy ordinance is repeating the same universal simplicity over and over and over. It’s either saying Open your heart or nothing at all. And I think just to, I think there can be a really beautiful thirst for knowledge. And that can be a very beautiful and enlivening thing. But then I think there’s another way to relate to the kind of academic pursuit of spirituality where it is kind of like, putting our destination like out there, like if we read enough will, you know, so that’s, that’s the one I’m speaking to you there.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Also, it’s a personal proclivity kind of thing. I mean, some people are inclined to do certain things, and some people are inclined to do others. But I think a universal thing is that there really has to be the experiential component, whether or not you garnish it with intellectual understandings. Yeah, the experience is really what those understandings are all about anyway. So you should make sure to get that.

Chelan Harkin: Yep. Yeah. And some intellectual understandings can unlock us and open us to that experience. Yeah. But then there can also Yeah, there can just be like a collecting of intellectual experience, that doesn’t necessarily get us where we want to go.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’d say they serve a couple of functions. One is to just alert us to the fact that certain possibilities exist, which we might not otherwise be aware of. And another is to kind of safeguard the path and in a way so that we don’t mistake, you know, some certain experience for something else like or, you know, have a certain level of experience and assume we’re finished, for instance, which I’ve actually heard some people say, whereas if we had a little bit better understanding, we realized that there’s so much more

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. Yeah. So I guess Yeah, it’s a harmonious relationship between

Rick Archer: Yeah, balance,

Chelan Harkin:  The experiential is a nice, nice way to go.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Kind of, like, we could say, you know, somebody, there’s a, there’s a cook named Bobby Flay, and he is on TV, he has his own TV show, and he’s really good. And he, you know, there’s a really good cook has a good balance between a lot of knowledge about cooking, and also kind of an intuitive, creative approach to it, so that he’s not strictly bound by that knowledge.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, and I feel I enjoy kind of just being an advocate for this experiential way. And more of my poetry is geared toward that because I don’t think it gets enough cred. Or enough, like, just really potent advocacy about like, just this, this process of. Yeah, experienced spirituality or embodied spirituality, you could say,

Rick Archer: yeah, so I like talking about that. Let’s just see here. Yeah, maybe you could read one or more of these kinds of jumped out at me the sacred whereas a good costume heart warriors or our great cocoon, they’d feel inclined to read one or another of those.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s see. Well, I’ll read ‘The sacred wears a good costume’

Rick Archer:  Okay.

Chelan Harkin: For starters anyway, and I’ll also plug this dear friend Mary Reed, our mutual connection. She’s going to put out an incredible film sometime in the nearish future and my poetry will be part of that film. And, and this will be in there this one. ‘The sacred where’s the good costume,’ The sacred where’s the good costume, She loves to dress up as the ordinary. Sometimes like a queen in peasant clothes, she cloaks herself in the mundane to get a break from all that fawning. So how do you know it’s her in there? Look closer at things when you can and to your heart, she’ll give a certain knowing wink

Rick Archer: For those who are just listening to the audio, Chelan just winked.

Chelan Harkin: I’m actually not a good winker.

Rick Archer: You did okay.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, okay. Oh, thanks. Can only wink with my right eye

Rick Archer: Because of the brain surgery?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, no, I don’t think so. I think it’s just, can you wink with?

Rick Archer: Yeah I can

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah. Oh, nice. What a great capacity. Can you raise both eyebrows?

Rick Archer: Yeah, I can.

Chelan Harkin: I mean, I mean, one at a time. I don’t think so. No, I can’t do that.

Rick Archer: I can life up one side of my face. See that?

Chelan Harkin: Okay,  Oh, that’s great. Yeah.

Rick Archer: That’s my mother used to call it my Buffalo face because we visited relatives in Buffalo and I started doing it then.

Chelan Harkin: Funny. Can you frown? Some people can’t frown.

Rick Archer: Yeah, sure.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, that’s not much of a. That’s more of a scowl. But you can’t do the downturn lift

Rick Archer: No no you try that. Let me show you that. Okay, let’s see. Yeah, that was a good poem, The Great cocoon. It kind of harkens back to our theme of God hiding in plain sight. We didn’t use that exact phrase, but you know, God, God sort of being well, there’s, there’s a nice phrase, God is in everything, and everything is in God. It works both ways. You know? But I feel it’s literally true. And that, you know, everything. I mean, this Kombucha bottle or whatever, if you could see it, in its true nature. You’d be looking at God. God’s not Yeah, it is not some puppeteer off and on some cloud, you know, pulling strings. He’s totally infused into everything. And

Chelan Harkin: Isn’t it, isn’t it amazing how dense we can be that, that this? This quality of divinity can be everywhere. And we can have such blinders on. It’s such an interesting, dynamic.

Rick Archer: It’s amazing. Yeah, I mean, the power of Maya the power of illusion. There’s the deludes God, God herself, you know, because if God is really the ultimate and complete, all-pervading reality, then then we’re God. And yet, we have forgotten it. So somehow, we’re God having forgotten who we are, or what we are.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, yeah. And it’s, it’s a juicy waking up experience, though. Um, let me read a poem. This is called, ‘I no longer pray’ and it’s it kind of touches on this. It’s, so I was just really frustrated with prayer all my life like it just felt kind of abstract and vague. Like is, is anything? Is anybody out there? Is anybody listening to me? Like, maybe something would happen? In some yeah, just very deluded very vague way, I didn’t feel connected to an intensely or potently, and I was frustrated with that, but, and I also felt like, you know, if prayer if there’s something that works, you know, if there is a universal force or a network in which we can, we can connect with that and ask for our soul’s desires, you know, or ask for help or whatever, like, that is the master. That’s the master key. And it’s free and it’s universal and like, so I really wanted to tap the power of prayer and just didn’t know didn’t really have a clue. But I’ve had some just really extraordinary Yeah, prayer experiences just really being direct with God really being about all the things my anger with God and my frustrations me and my desires. And this experience in the last seven months was my first time of really feeling like I was plugged in and like, like things were actually being received and shifting because of these prayers, so here we go. This is called “I no longer pray”. I no longer pray. Now I drink dark chocolate and let the moon Sing to me. I no longer pray. I let my ancestors dance through my hips at the slightest provocation. I no longer pray. I go to the river and howl my ancient pain into the current I no longer pray. I ache I desire I say yes to my longing. I no longer pray as I was taught. But as the stars crawl onto my lap, like soft animals at nighttime, and God tucks my hair behind my ears with a gentle fingers of her wind, and a new intimacy is uncovered in everything. Perhaps it’s that I’m finally learning how to pray.

Rick Archer: Very nice.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I couldn’t begin to write poems like this.

Chelan Harkin: No?

Rick Archer: I don’t think so. I mean, we all have our gifts, you know,

Chelan Harkin: But I couldn’t begin to interview Yeah, exactly. You’re, we were talking about this a little bit yesterday, your one of your magical capacities is to interview people.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m perfectly happy with that. I mean, I’m not going to become an NBA basketball star either. But I have no

Chelan Harkin: Yep.

Rick Archer: No regrets about that.

Chelan Harkin: Exactly. We don’t have to do at all.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. But it is satisfying, you know, if there is something implanted in there that we really want to do to pursue that.

Rick Archer: And that’s an interesting point in itself because I think there’s, I interviewed a guy named Steven Cope a few weeks ago, and we were talking about Dharma. Dharma meaning, that course of action, which is most evolutionary and most appropriate for each individual, you know, given their gifts, and you know, what they can do to serve? And I think everybody has one. And it’s not necessarily going to make your world-famous or rich or anything like that. But everybody has one. And when you find it, it can be extremely gratifying.

Chelan Harkin: Yes,

Rick Archer: and you know, life can be very fulfilled, like we were saying, an hour ago, the suffering is very often a consequence of our not having found our Dharma and not having unlocked the inner gift, which we intuitively know is there.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, I wonder, I mean, I don’t feel either way, ultimately about this. But if there’s always a thing, you know, or if sometimes it’s just kind of infusing our experience, whatever it is, with our, with our joy, or I don’t know, I don’t know if I know, it’s, like a really distinct thing. Maybe they do. I don’t, maybe they do.

Rick Archer: Well, I mean, when I was interviewing him, we were talking about people who work at Amazon warehouses or Walmart or something. And yeah, you know, could that really be their dharma and I gave, I gave an example of a woman who works at our local Walmart, who is just so much fun to interact with,

Chelan Harkin: Totally

Rick Archer: She’s always laughing and helping people. And she seems to be having a grand old time, you know, and

Chelan Harkin: Totally, I have a really distinct memory of a guy working at the airport as the ticket guy who would give you your tickets. And he was, so I was like, Man, this guy’s totally enlightened, like, he was just filled with light and sharing it with everybody. And those people their work to it’s transcendent above what they do because they’re, they’re showing what their way and their actions that, that kind of, like radiant joy, can be, can be had in any space.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And it’s pretty, it’s pretty profound when people are able to do that.

Rick Archer: But he probably sees, you know, a couple 1000 people a day or whatever, and uplifts every one of them.

Chelan Harkin: Exactly. But I do have a poem about what you were talking about. It’s so spot-on, I must rewrite please what it’s called. Well, I also and before I read it, I think, you know, we all have things that bring us joy, for sure. And then when we can put meaning behind what brings us joy through sharing that in some way, in a way that benefits others then that, I think that’s our Dharma like it’s not doesn’t have to be that complex. It’s, I think we can demystify that, to some degree is just what’s the path of what really brings us joy, because whatever it is, if we’re coming from that place that activates that in those that we make contact with, and that’s such a potent gift, but Okay, so here’s the ‘The thing that makes your heart sing’ this poem is called. The thing that makes your heart sing might be quirky as hell, it might not do anything for capitalism, no one might buy it. You’ve probably written this thing off countless times for those reasons, and because you probably should do the dishes or something more practical like that instead. But this thing that makes your heart sing is the thing inside of you that most wants to topple your kingdom of shoulds that wants deeply and burningly to be prioritized and for no particular reason, but that it brings so much light and wants to look you straight in the eye and say, let’s do this baby, even if it’s drilling holes and seashells and stringing them to fishing line, even if it’s drawing, anatomical pictures of a flower with great care that are never meant to be hung in an art gallery, but to be pressed into the precious pages of your heart, even if it’s making a new kind of cookie each week and devouring them with relish on your couch by yourself, a sweet sacrament just meant to share with your tastebuds. This thing that makes your heart sing will resurrect parts of your life and restore a sacred nutrient to your days. It can be muted, but never silenced. If you’re not sure what it is, just listen for the reoccurring whispers in your chest of that flame that will not die. The paradox is this. While the thing itself might seem simple, this thing that makes your heart sing will create a luminosity so bright, you’ll be the envy of all the stars and they’ll want to jump into your body to feel it.

Rick Archer: Wonderful. Love it.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: It’s really good.

Chelan Harkin: It’s nice how our conversation is just naturally brought up these thematically aligned poems.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s cool how a certain point will come up and then you’ll see I’ve got a poem for that. Yeah, and you really kind of nailed a lot of these different subtle points in beautiful verse. There’s another one I want you to read. It’s, yeah, the God who made the octopus.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, sure. That’s a fun one.

Rick Archer: I like that one.

Chelan Harkin: That one came through right after this incredible Satsang that I was invited to participate in with Mary Reed. And I think she sent me she sent you that video.  I’ve listened to that. Yeah.  Ah, you have listened to it? So that’s, yeah, I’m so glad

Rick Archer: I don’t usually watch videos. I listen. I extract the audio from them and listen to them while I walk in the woods.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, okay, here we go. The God, the God who made the octopus?

Rick Archer:  Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: Is that the one? Okay, the God who made the octopus. Awesome. So, the God who made the octopus. If you think the eccentric God who made the octopus is gonna judge you for your sins. I’m afraid you miss, you’ve missed the mark. If you think this wild God that spins galaxies as a pastime, cares to get fussy about your mistakes, or has ever made anything that wasn’t born perfect and luminous. You might need to repent. If you can’t yet admit how lovable and infinitely worthy the fullness of your human nature is. And if you think God wants to do anything, but perpetually poor and abundance of love gifts upon you. Well, my dear, your soul just might need to go to confession.

Rick Archer: Very nice. Have you seen My Octopus Teacher, by the way?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, recently. And I loved it so much.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s great

Chelan Harkin: I loved it.

Rick Archer: It’s a documentary for those who don’t know, it won the Oscar for Best Documentary. But everybody who watches it just told me loves it. I think it’s on Netflix or Yeah, it’s I think it’s on Netflix.

Chelan Harkin: Can I tell you about the process of publishing the second book?

Rick Archer: Sure. You can tell me anything.

Chelan Harkin: Cool. Great. So, again, so this well, this book is about 100, roughly 100 pages longer than my first book. And all again, all the poems have come through just in the last seven months, which has just been incredible. And but I wasn’t really sure when to an end. Oh, another thing that’s just important to mention is this whole journey has just been, it’s been completely easeful. Like there’s been no pushing or forcing or stress. It’s just been, anyway, it’s been very amazing like that. But then I wasn’t sure when I was gonna get around to publishing this, this next book, and it didn’t feel like there was any climactic moment in which I didn’t have anything planned for that. And we show the picture of it again, Rick?

Rick Archer: The picture of what?

Chelan Harkin: Of, Let us dance.

Rick Archer:  Yeah, sure.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: Okay, I’m showing it now.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, cool. So you see that beautiful tick fire woman dancing in the middle. I had found that picture. And I thought that I would need to have an artist kind of remake it. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t plagiarism, or that I didn’t have to pay a whole bunch for it. And so that was really my main hold up with publishing this book. And, and then a generous person reached out to me to offer to make me a website pretty much for free. And she said, Hey, I know you don’t have a cover yet. But can you just give me a picture that can be like a stand-in? And this was two weeks before today. And so I got her that middle picture of that fire woman dancing. And while I was doing that, I saw that it’s free for commercial use, like it had this big. So then I was like, oh, man, I felt like I got a cosmic wallop in that moment. And it was like Chelan, this is free, you need to run with this. And you need to have it done by July 3, your interview time with Rick, so you can announce it at Buddha at the Gas Pump. And so then it was like, just like that poem or that passage, you read about how everything comes together when you commit, like, so I really this last two weeks, I put together this book. And it was useful, even though it was intense. So I’m so grateful to have had this motivation, and just the way it all, all the things aligned is just very cool.

Rick Archer: Yeah. The whole principle of effortless action is, I think significant.

Chelan Harkin: Yes.

Rick Archer: I mean, maybe some things need to be a little difficult for some reason, but I think for the most part, if you’re really in tune, action is always gonna be useful, because, you know, nature has, it operates according to a principle of least effort. Like, if you throw a ball, there are an infinite number of trajectories the ball could take. But the ball takes the most efficient trajectory, it takes the one with the least expenditure of energy, at least effort. And a human being can function in tune with the laws of nature. And in a similar way such that, yeah, nature supports your activity, and you’re not sort of pushing and pulling against the flow of nature’s intentions. And then, and then every action is effortless.

Chelan Harkin: Totally. And yeah. And sometimes I think people can interpret that as just pure passivity. But

Rick Archer: No, no, it can be dynamic

Chelan Harkin: You could be a participant, it’s dynamic. It feels to me like, like surfing a wave.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And you have to, you know, you learn some skills, and then you just get out there and wait for that beautiful wave. And then it flows you to places you couldn’t have imagined.

Rick Archer: I mean, surfing is a good example, because surfers or any really top-notch athletes. There’s an effortlessness about their performance, which is part of the reason we love to watch them. It’s sort of so artful, because it’s so natural, and there’s no sort of awkwardness or clunkiness, you know, just

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: Smooth.

Chelan Harkin: Totally. And that actually well describes how it feels. When a poem is coming through. It’s like a wave’s coming. Need to get ready for it.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: And standing out the equivalent of standing up on the board would be just, I need to get a pen really fast.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Hangin’ 10.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah,

Rick Archer: Do you still write them most days?

Chelan Harkin: Almost every day. Yeah, the last two days. Not because it was just this, you know,

Rick Archer: getting your book finished?

Chelan Harkin: getting it all finished and stuff. But, and it was respectful. It was like, I’m not gonna bother you today. The Muse. But yeah, almost daily.

Rick Archer: That’s great. It’s daily. Do you feel a sort of a maturation or an evolution taking place?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Yes. ‘Let us dance’ feels like a very, it has a very different tone than ‘Susceptible to light’. And they both at the heart have this intention to liberate expression and affirm inherent light and help people navigate their shadows. And let us dance as is it’s just I got so much affirmation with ‘Susceptible to light’ that it encouraged me to kind of expand and try new things and speak more boldly really just really empowered my voice. So I would take experience, I would do more. It was very much a process of experimenting. And so I would make experiments and see how they were received. And then they were well received. So that emboldened me further and so there’s, I would say there’s a bolder tone in ‘Let us dance’. And my writing really, really transformed through working with Daniel Ladinsky too because it was just I was working like I was writing like 60 hours a week like never before just pulling from the depths, right?

Rick Archer: Like what? Just poems or all kinds of stuff that was

Chelan Harkin: Mostly so this book, Letters to and from a young poet, a lot of time was poured into that. And then it was then

Rick Archer: Was there prose in that? Or is it just all poems?

Chelan Harkin: It’s almost all prose.

Rick Archer: That’s gonna be very interesting, yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. It’s really it’s a potent book. I hope it completes someday.

Rick Archer: Oh, it probably will, just in time for you to go on the Oprah show.

Chelan Harkin: There you go and then just a ton of poetry. And then I was also working on a book that he was encouraging, that also will come to life someday. It’s called, Becoming the full moon, the many phases of love, creative expression, and wholeness.

Rick Archer: Wow.

Chelan Harkin: That’s another book of prose.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I look forward to reading this stuff. We’ll have to do another interview.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you so much

Rick Archer: One of these days

Chelan Harkin: I would love that.

Rick Archer: Yeah

Chelan Harkin: I’d love that. Yeah. So and it was really through that process, working with him that I really, really reidentified as, oh, I am a poet. This isn’t a, this isn’t a side gig. Like, this is what I do. And this is what I’m here for really connecting with that Dharma sense to have like,

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: yeah, in a very potent way. So it’s transformational.

Rick Archer: It’s great.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Okay, so is there anything else that we want to talk about? Or you know, certain poems that you’re gonna kick yourself if you don’t read?

Chelan Harkin: God

Rick Archer: Today?

Chelan Harkin: Good question. Good question. Are there any more questions?

Rick Archer: No other questions have come in from people that I know of? Irene would have sent them over. And, you know, I mean, in terms of the poems you sent me, let’s see. Susceptible, no. A more loving candidate, Crown Chakra, Hafez was generous. You already read that one. Don’t know what to call No. Make your love visible. The soles, homeland, things are about to get interesting. Those are some of the ones who you’ve worked on.

Chelan Harkin: I haven’t yet

Rick Archer: Right

Chelan Harkin: That I haven’t yet read yet. I’ll read one more of those.

Rick Archer: Okay, which one do you want to read?

Chelan Harkin: I’ll read, The soul’s homeland.

Rick Archer: Okay, good.

Chelan Harkin: I did a little editing actually, of this poem today. So I’ll read this printout here.

Rick Archer: I’ll show it on the screen. But there will be a few edits.

Chelan Harkin: No problem. Yeah. Okay, The soul’s homeland. Sometimes my soul feels itself to be in great exile from its homeland. But then I remember my mother tongue is the poetry my heart is so fluent in. It’s dialect, laughter and tears. My other native language is rising early to praise all the great things the sun falls upon. My national song is a geyser of joy, hitting the highest notes of ecstasy and breaking every glass ceiling in the mind that once trapped God inside. My anthem is the feisty love parade that marches gaily from my heart to yours. My religion is the untying of old knots that once kept my soul hitched to rigidity and smallness. And my doctrine is whatever comes after that, when the souls full range of movement is restored. My flag is every mood of the moon that reflects my inmost heart. My ancestry is the collection of radiance from morning dew, passed down by blades of grass as they stand vigil in silent reverence to be part of the wonderment of receiving the ancient inheritance of each new morning. My DNA is the encrypted love notes written in the luminous ink from the stars. My soul is an ancient heritage of love songs from God. And whatever it is, I’m doing here has mostly to do with pledging allegiance to this glorious anthem. Whatever I’m doing here has mostly to do with expressing my devotion for the borderless birthplace deep in my chest, where beauty, again and again, takes her first breath.

Rick Archer: Awesome. Very nice.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you.

Rick Archer: So this is really cool. I’m really glad we got a chance to do this.

Chelan Harkin: Wow. And the two hours flew by on the outset, that seems like a lot but

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: No, no problem there

Rick Archer: It always flies by you know, because it’s so

Chelan Harkin: Wow.

Rick Archer: as Kermit the frog said, time, time is fun when you’re having flies.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, and I just again, Rick, I just so appreciate just the lack of lack of spiritual egotism that you bring, and just the authentic.

Rick Archer: I’ve had it. I’ve had it beaten out of me over the decades.

Chelan Harkin: Some of it but It’s not prominent in you and, and just how good that feels and how I love. It’s so nice to connect with people. It’s just such a human level. I don’t know you just bring a lot of just this wonderful human authentic stuff forward and

Rick Archer: Well thanks

Chelan Harkin: I really appreciate you.

Rick Archer: So do you, you know, that’s why people like you so much, because you’re so

Chelan Harkin: Good.

Rick Archer: You’re so genuine and unpretentious.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, good. I’m glad that I come of that way.

Rick Archer: Yeah.

Chelan Harkin: You never know, it’s always hard to know how we

Rick Archer: You’re kind of buoyant, you’re like that guy at the airport that just cheers up whoever you encounter.

Chelan Harkin: Thank you. Thank you. That’s nice to hear.

Rick Archer: You are a light in the world

Chelan Harkin: Oh, thank you so much, Rick. Backatya.

Rick Archer: And we need more lights like you.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, can I let me talk about what’s coming up?

Rick Archer: Yeah, sure.

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. So, let’s see. So, gosh, I wish I remember the dates. So my friend Mary and I are doing a series where a lot of live-streamed series of episodes in which we’ll be diving into themes around just the experience of coming out as kind of a mystic, you could say, and just embracing the messiness of that process. And just about kind of living trying to be on the path of living, authentic truth. And there’s more or oh one of the episodes is going to be called redefining God. It’s going to be

Rick Archer: You mean like video webinar, Zoom type things, right?

Chelan Harkin: Yeah. And so people can sign up to be part of this, and it’s on my website. I’m glad to remember that. So Chelanharkin, first and last name .com. You can find it there. It’d be so nice to have you it’s going to be wonderful Mary’s the coolest person ever. And

Rick Archer: I’ll link to that from your page on BatGap. And also, probably you can put it on Facebook, too. And Mary will probably have it on her web page or Facebook or whatever.

Chelan Harkin: Fantastic.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I assume.

Chelan Harkin: And then in the coming months, I’m also going to be putting out an album of my music. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Whoa music? Alright, I see a little guitar on the wall, but it didn’t.

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah. That’s mine

Rick Archer: You didn’t tell us about that.

Chelan Harkin: Such a great guitar. Small guitar. Big Sound. Yeah, I love singing and poetry are my two main avenues.

Rick Archer: You should put some of your poems to song.

Chelan Harkin: They don’t I haven’t found a way to make that work. I would love to be able to do that. But poetry and song poetry are different things,

Rick Archer: Yeah

Chelan Harkin: like you can get away with kind of cheesy rhymes and song poetry. That because the melody is so nice. That works. I don’t know,

Rick Archer: couple of people who did that well. Well, Dylan obviously had some incredibly poetic songs. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature a few years ago.

Chelan Harkin: Wow,

Rick Archer: Donovan had some really great poetic songs put to ?. And there was a group called the Incredible String Band whom you’ve probably never heard of, but I’ll have to send you a song or two. Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: My favorite musical poets are the Indigo Girls.

Rick Archer: Oh, yeah.

Chelan Harkin: Incredible lyricism and the Abott Brothers. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him or them.

Rick Archer: Never heard of them

Chelan Harkin: Really beautiful music. Yeah. So that’ll be coming out. And then also, there’s I am going to be a panelist with the Center for Contemporary Mysticism in October. That’s going to be fun, just a q&a about all kinds of different juicy subjects

Rick Archer: Neat. Well, you’re not running out of things to do. Oh, yeah. I heard you. I heard you mentioned that. Somebody paid you $500 to come and give a talk. What was that all about?

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah. Well, that was really cool. So I just many background about that. So my four-year-old son has just really had a, it’s hard to get him to sleep at night. So sometimes when we’re not feeling very patient, we just take him on a long drive. And I was on one of these long drives a few months, not more than a few months ago. And I just said a little prayer, quietly because he was sleeping in the back for speaking opportunities. Oh, and I’ve really never done any public speaking. And, and then like, two days later, I heard from two people who wanted me to be on a podcast and then this other person who just was like, Hey, I’d love to pay you. I have this organization and we want to the theme is moving forward with grace. Can you be the keynote speaker for 500 bucks?

Rick Archer: Wow.

Chelan Harkin: Okay. Well, sure. So I’ve just really yeah, I’ve been saying yes to all the things that open that feel like so that’s just been a capacity I’ve been wanting to develop and I still want to develop so if anybody has things that they would like to invite me to join them in any of the listeners. I’m open. I’m excited.

Rick Archer: Right

Chelan Harkin: That was a really good experience and these three podcasts before this one Rick, I feel I feel really, I wouldn’t have been, I wouldn’t have been ready for this without those.

Rick Archer: Neat.

Chelan Harkin:  So I’m grateful for that process.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: Yeah.

Rick Archer: Well, Mary said in her email to me, I don’t think I read this part. She said, your listeners would very much enjoy having the chance to hear from her before fame swallows her up. I’m not exaggerating. So. So it seems like you’re on a roll.

Chelan Harkin: We’ll see what happens. I’m saying yes. To all the things that, you know, I do want my work to reach people.

Rick Archer: Sure

Chelan Harkin: It’s had a very beautiful effect. And I’m so grateful for those so nourishing, it is, it’s the coolest thing imaginable for me for my work to reach people in especially because I had held it close for so long and hadn’t shared it. So I do I would love it to reach, you know, have as wide of a reach as it possibly is it possibly might. So we’ll see what comes with that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think there’s a deep human tendency to want to expand one’s territory of influence. And that can have a dark side to it or

Chelan Harkin: Yes

Rick Archer: a light side to it, you know?

Chelan Harkin: Yes. Absolutely.

Rick Archer: But it’s one of those natural human drives. I think.

Chelan Harkin: That’s interesting.

Rick Archer: Yeah,

Chelan Harkin: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that kind of trying to, you know, assessing my motivations and things and thinking about how, you know, fame, really, like attachment to fame just really comes from, like, feeling, from a sense of

Rick Archer: Smallness,

Chelan Harkin: Not an, like, not enoughness, and wanting to lean on that crutch of other people’s approval, or whatever. And that doesn’t help. That doesn’t help anyone, let alone or ourselves. So yeah, anyway, yeah.

Rick Archer: But it’s if the impulse is pure, and if the motivation is pure, then, you know, we can,

Chelan Harkin: Yes,

Rick Archer: you can utilize that natural tendency for good.

Chelan Harkin: It’s exciting. And it’s fun. It’s really fun to have a platform to share, love and truth, and joy and liberation. It’s great. So anyway, gosh, like, well, I don’t want to say goodbye.

Rick Archer: Yeah, well, we’ll be in touch. And, oh, you know, just, I’ll be putting up that BatGap page. But if new things come up, I mean, I don’t put up people’s announcements of every new event or something but a book or you know, a new website, or you know, something of permanent nature. We add them to people’s BatGap pages if they want. And, you know, so and for those listening or watching, there’ll be several links on your BatGap page that they can follow you like a link to your Facebook and to your website and all but obviously, people know how to sign up for emails and become your Facebook friend, and all that kind of stuff. We’re going to work on that Facebook friend thing. You got to

Chelan Harkin: Oh, yeah,

Rick Archer: You’re maxed out.

Chelan Harkin: Yes, thank you so much for all your support, like I deeply, deeply appreciate it

Rick Archer: Yeah. Well, thank you for doing this. It’s been a lot of fun. And

Chelan Harkin: Totally fun.

Rick Archer: And we will be talking to each other again.

Chelan Harkin: Okay, thanks so, so much. I wish you just all the best and all the good that there is.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And same for you.  So and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. And as I mentioned earlier, next week, I’m gonna be interviewing a guy about intelligent design, which I find fascinating. And I don’t care if some people think it’s pseudoscience or something. I think there’s something to it, and this guy expresses it brilliantly. And so that should be an interesting conversation, kind of sciency. But if you hang in there with us, I think you’ll, you’ll learn stuff. I certainly have been in preparing for it. So see you next time. Talk to you later.

Chelan Harkin: Thanks.  Bye. Thanks to all the listeners. Thanks. Nice talking with you.

Rick Archer: Yeah, bye bye.