Cinnamon Moon Night
And then it dawned on me probably later than it should, but after four or five trips from Maine to the reservation that I was having a bit of my own modern day Vision Quest experience. When I looked at what was happening to me, it had all the same elements of that ancient Lakota right. (26:39-26:58)
Yeah, no, you do. It’s so fun. I mean, the world actually becomes, I don’t want to say a simpler place, but you can see these basic simple elements everywhere you turn suddenly. It’s like the whole world lights up that way. (57:50-58:07)
Learning and growing does not have a finish line. It doesn’t have an end point. It doesn’t stop and there’s no winning or losing. It’s just living with a soul-based authentic intention and purpose that is pointing you in the right direction. (80:56-81:20)
[00:02:49] Cinnamon: Good evening, everyone. I’m your host Cinnamon Moon, and I’ve been looking forward to our time together this evening. For those who don’t know me, it’s been my honor and passion to work with the most amazing people serving as a spiritual coach and a reader. That patchwork has spanned well over 45 years now. Back in January of 2000, our online study center opened and today we can be found at spiritlodge.fiveview.com visit often, and you’ll find our resources are rich. If you’re curious about Chemonics spiritual development and what it consists of, you’ll find an extensive overview in my book, A Medicine Woman Speaks that’s available at all major booksellers and on ebooks. And for those who would like to join a spiritual community, we hold open our doors on Facebook. We have a group over there called two moons walking, and we welcome your questions, your comments, as well as any experiences you might want to share. You’ll find show announcements, updates, and inspiration, along with a warm and a very wonderful community of friends.
If you’d like to call into the show this evening with topical questions or comments for my guest, the number is 9143380494. Be sure to press option number one. So your hand goes up and we know you want to come on the air. And we’ll be taking those calls during the second half of the show. As spiritual beings, we often struggle to make our way along our unique evolutionary paths, and while the web of life has been woven with the strand for each of us to unravel, only you can fulfill your destiny. The insights shared here on the show each week are presented to give you a variety of perspectives and to help you do just that. Before I bring my guest on, I want to honor all those who are out at Standing Rock in North Dakota and protecting the water. If many know of the Army Corps of Engineers has put a cease and desist on the pipeline, and they’re refusing to honor that, Obama signed off. So it’s an ongoing battle. Yesterday, over 2,000 veterans deployed to the front lines in unarmed peaceful support. And I’m proud to say that my nephew, Walden, will not be in the chat room with us tonight. He’s among the veterans. Please, prayers are up, definitely for everyone as they all remain safe and warm and healthy so that this matter can be resolved soon and put a stop to it.
My guest this evening is a fascinating man. His name is Kevin Hancock, and he’s the author of Not For Sale. Kevin will be sharing insight on his time in the land of Crazy Horse. And before I bring him on, I want to give you a little background on him, because he is quite impressive. Kevin is the president of Hancock Lumber company, which was established in 1848. Hancock Lumber operates 10 retail stores and three sawmills that are led by 460 employees. The company also grows trees on 12,000 acres of timber land in Southern Maine. It’s a multi-year recipient of the best places to work in Maine. So that’s saying quite a bit for the company he oversees. And a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, and the MITC Exporter of the Year award. Kevin was a past chairman of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers aAsociation, as well as the Bridgton Academy Board of Trustees. He is a recipient of the Ed Muskie Access to Justice award, the Habitat for Humanity Spirit of Humanity award, the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen award, and Timber Processing Magazine’s Man of the Year award. So that in itself is an amazing accomplishment.
Kevin also spent 20 years coaching middle school basketball for the Lake Region school district, where he graduated high school and then attended Bowdoin College. He is also a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation out in South Dakota. Now back in 2015, Kevin published a book about his experiences with the Sioux tribe titled, Not for Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse. The book won the 2015 national indie excellence award, first place in leadership and runner up in the spirituality categories. Kevin is an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals within a company or a community such as Pine Ridge and through lifting, empowering and shared leadership, he accomplishes this. Kevin, I am bringing you on right now. Welcome to the show and thank you for making it on this wintry night.
[00:09:05] Kevin: Cinnamon Moon, hello. Thank you for finding me and having me on your show. I’m very happy to be here.
Cinnamon: It’s good to have you, what brought you all the way from Maine out to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation? Can you tell us about that?
Kevin: I can, it’s a bit of a story. It was enough of a story that it became a book, but a couple of things happened both really kicked off in 2010 at the peak of the national housing and mortgage market collapse. I was running our lumber company here in Maine and I began to have trouble speaking. So when I went to talk, all the muscles in my throat would spasm and squeeze and contract, and my voice got very broken and weak and hard to hear. And what’s worse for me, it felt like it took a pretty major athletic feat at times to push out just a few sentences and talking left me dizzy and sore and not wanting to save very much. So I went to a doctor and then another doctor, and I finally ended up at the Mass eye and ear clinic in Boston, where I was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which is a rare neurological voice disorder that affects only speech with no known cause and no known cure. So I had found myself there in the peak of that economic crisis, trying to help lead a lumber company without really being able to use my voice and it forced me to stop and sit still and listen, and think differently about leadership and even the essence of who I was and what it meant to be human. And when that economic event passed and I could see that our company was well on its way to being okay again, I had a growing feeling I needed to search for my voice a bit, find my balance, serve myself a little bit more and just randomly that summer I’d picked up a copy, this was 2012, picked up a copy of National Geographic and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was on the cover. And I read that story and it was as if every character ever connected to the story of that reservation came out of that yellow magazine and gave me a big hug. And I finished and with no more thought than that, leaned over to my wife, Alison and said, I’m going to go there. I want to see what modern day life is like for the people that live there. And one trip became two and two became three and I was just there a few months ago, a couple months ago for the 10th time. And I found in Pine Ridge a place where I could search for my own voice, if you will, ironically, in a community that felt like it had no voice, a community that felt like it had been pushed to the side and marginalized and was not heard.
Cinnamon: Yeah, for sure. And I think they’re still feeling that way. Can you tell us a little bit about Pine Ridge? What’s it like out there?
Kevin: I can. So Pine Ridge is just one of the biggest, most remote, most historic, combative, disenfranchised, poorest but also most beautiful and wonderful of all the Sioux reservations on the Northern Plains that were created in the last half of the 19th century after America’s quote unquote manifest destiny, Western expansion and winning of the west. It’s located right in the Southwest corner of South Dakota, just above the Nebraska panhandle and it’s home to the Oglala Sioux tribe. And they are the direct descendants of some of the most famous war chiefs and medicine men in American history. Names like a Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Black Elk and others. Their band was directly involved in 1876 at the battle of Little Bighorn. For many people there, I think, feel like they’re still being punished, and I’ve heard people at Pine Ridge describe their community’s journey through modern American history as from first to worst. They used to be one of the most powerful and independent tribes on the Northern Plains, and today, statistically, it’s the poorest place in America. We had a national crisis in 2010 when the unemployment rate hit 9%. And today at Pine Ridge, unemployment is something like 80%.
[00:14:03] Cinnamon: Yeah, it’s bad. Tell us a little bit about your company Hancock Lumber, and then I want to get to your book.
Kevin: Sure. So our company began doing business in 1848, somewhat ironic to my story, my book’s story, the same decade, the great Oglala War Chief Crazy Horse was born. And I’m part of the sixth generation of my family to work for the company. And today we own Timberland. So we grow trees, and we have three sawmills that manufacture lumber that we’ve shipped all over the world. And then we have 10 stores in Maine and New Hampshire and there are approximately 460 people who are a part of our team who work at the company.
Cinnamon: And they love you.
Kevin: Probably not all the time, but I’m pretty lucky. I know pretty much everybody in the company, and I think pretty much everybody in the company looks out for me, as I try to look out for them. We’re a bit of a family that way.
[00:15:08] Cinnamon: Yeah. That’s pretty awesome. And then when did you write the book and why did you decide to share your story?
Kevin: Right. So I took my first trip to Pine Ridge in October of 2012. And at the time I had no plan whatsoever to make a second trip and certainly not to write a book, but I was keeping a journal, a very kind of personal private journal at the time of my first trip. And I was just so caught up by the place I was visiting, the people that lived there, the beauty and kind of natural, sacred energy, if you will, of the Northern Plains and their history and their story and the injustice and the resilience and all of these things. And one trip led to another, and the journal kept going. And at some point, three or four trips in, it dawned on me that I wasn’t actually keeping a journal, I was writing a story that I was gonna share, which I ended up publishing just about a year ago in the fall of 2015.
Cinnamon: Can you describe the meaning behind the title, Not for Sale?
Kevin: Yeah, sure. I get joked about it a little bit because sometimes people will look at the title and they’ll say, oh, that’s so nice, your book is free. And then I feel bad because it’s not free and it’s $20. And then I have to explain the title to people. But the title is important to me because it had meaning for the people of Pine Ridge and for myself, it had a dual hidden meaning.
So first, for the people of Pine Ridge, in the 1930s the Sioux tribes began filing a series of lawsuits against the federal government over the taking of their land in the 1870s and eighties. And as you can expect or might imagine, their lawsuits were thrown out of court and defeated and overturned, but they didn’t quit, they kept going. And they found themselves in 1980 before the United States Supreme court in what would become a very famous case, The Sioux Nation of Indians v. the United States Government and the Supreme court ruled in the favor of the Sioux. And it said that the United States government had violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the Sioux by taking their land without just compensation. So at that point, the court went back to the 1870s, calculated the value of the land and a war and compounded the interest and awarded the Sioux something like $103 million. And the Sioux came back to the podium and said, “Oh, your honors, I’m sorry, you don’t understand. That’s not why we’re here. Our land is not for sale.” And they won’t take the money. They’re very principled in the way, they want their land back. And that award, that judgment, sits in trust to the present day and is now worth over a billion dollars. So these communities that are economically challenged in a very significant way, on principle, will not take money that might otherwise help them.
And then for me, Not For Sale, the second meaning of the title was really personal. I’d hit a point in my life where I came to realize that I wanted to define myself more broadly than just being about business or just being a business executive. I love my job. I love my company. The company I’m connected to, it’s all really exciting for me, but I came to see that my job was a role, it wasn’t the totality of who I was and that I wanted to explore and express myself more broadly which I ended up doing in a number of ways. But one particularly was through this set of experiences at Pine Ridge, as a writer and a photographer and a bit of an Indian activist. And that in that way, I too was not for sale. So that kind of the joint meeting of the title.
[00:19:25] Cinnamon: Can I ask you Kevin, just backtracking a little bit about the voice disorder that you. Have you gone to any alternative healing with that?
Kevin: I sure have. There are two approaches to healing the disorder, which is considered to be incurable, technically. One of the treatment methods is chemical. The other is spiritual. I use both, but the spiritual side is my favorite. On the chemical side, I do get a periodic Botox injection, and Botox serves as a muscle relaxant. And sometimes it works better than others, but when it works for a couple of months, my voice can be fairly normal. But more importantly, and really the opportunity to me and the calling of the voice disorder is a search for a real sense of inner calm. When you have spasmodic dysphonia, one of the things you’ll learn is that the more peaceful and calmer and quiet you can make that inner core spirit center essence of who you are, that the better your voice does. And so I have come to see this as a bit of a blessing because I have what I think of as a built-in barometer that keeps giving me hints as to what’s happening on a soul’s level.
[00:20:56] Cinnamon: Whether you’re in harmony or not. I have that when I’m relaxed, it’s very similar. It’s not my voice so much, but it’s my breathing. And if I tense up then nice or to hyperventilate and I, or if I get under stress, I hyperventilate. So the body does act like a barometer. I know exactly what you’re talking about and I use the spiritual method to relax myself too. What’s the connection between the ancient Lakota vision quest right and your personal journey and the story that you’re sharing?
[00:21:36] Kevin: That’s a great question. And it was what I learned about in progress as a result of traveling back and forth from Maine to Pine Ridge. So the more time I spent there listening to people, learning about their values and history and traditions and rights, I learned about the ancient Lakota vision quest, which is one of their seven sacred rights that was brought to them long ago, before even the coming of the horses by the white Buffalo calf woman. And in that right, young people coming of age, or adults at a transformational moment in their lives would leave their tribe and journey out alone into the wilderness for the purpose of seeking a vision, the Lakota phrase is hanjbléčheyA, which translated means ‘to cry for a vision’. And the idea was that through searching and sequestering yourself alone with nature, contemplating your connectivity to that spirit energy that exists in all living things, that you might gain insight or a vision or a whisper of your own soul’s core intentions, your path, that which made you special and unique. And then you were expected to come back to your tribe, share what you’ve learned and live your life in accordance with your own truth.
And the idea was really powerful to me and its simplicity. If every member of the tribe was strong, was following their own voice, then the tribe would be strong. It was right out of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book almost in that ‘the strength of the pack was the wolf’, the power of the individual. And then it dawned on me probably later than it should, but after four or five trips from Maine to the reservation that I was having a bit of my own modern day Vision Quest experience. When I looked at what was happening to me, it had all the same elements of that ancient Lakota right. And one day towards the end of the book, around my fifth trip there, that vision came to me, if you will, alone in the Black Hills in Wind Cave National Park with the Buffalo and the blowing grass. And the vision was again, pretty powerful in its simplicity, the partial loss of my voice, which I only up until that point thought of as a problem or a disability, was actually a blessing and an opportunity and a calling. First to sit still to be quiet and to listen more deeply to the whispers of my own soul and to know and follow my own voice separate from my roles and public identity.
And then second, in my roles, to do what I could to help strengthen the voices of others, especially those that didn’t feel heard, whether it was an employee of a company or people in a community like Pine Ridge.
Cinnamon: I think it’s wonderful to hear you say these things, Kevin, because very often on the show, I talk about how, when we become aware of our spiritual path, people can get caught up in the spiritual side of things. And then it is separate from their physical reality when we’re meant to bring the spiritual into our daily lives and use it. And I’ve vision quested too so I know what it’s like. And mine took me on an 8,000-mile journey to various sacred sites and then culminated at Blackstone. And it was amazing what was shown and what I experienced. I mean, there are things beyond words, but it also gave me my sense of direction for the rest of my life. I’ll never stop fulfilling that vision. And I think that’s what the vision quest does. It gives us our soul’s purpose in life and then it’s our task as humans to bring it into the physical end of things and bring it to life. It’s no longer just a vision. It’s an action.
Kevin: Right. I love how you said that. And that’s exactly where I landed. It took quite a while for me to see that, that was the soul’s journey, to find your voice, to find your truth, and then to figure out how to bring it into, which is much easier said than done, but to bring it into the daily world and share it with those around you, because otherwise the dilemma is you have to leave in order to transcend. And yet we live in a world where we all are called on to be engaged and to be active and to be involved. And so the real challenge of the modern age, I believe, is figuring out how to bring spirituality into the day to day into a corporation, into an organization, and talk about.
Cinnamon: And I think a lot of people get hung up in the process of trying to bring it into their physical reality by thinking that it, because it’s a spiritual awareness, they have, they have to explain it in spiritual terms to those in their environment or their community or their work, wherever they’re applying the knowledge they’ve gained.
But the truth is that the knowledge that we gain is fashioning us into being a tool, if you will, a metaphor, and we’re a tool. And so therefore if we function like a tool and we simply apply that knowledge, without having to explain where we got it, everything you say to somebody doesn’t have to go back to your college degree or where you studied or who taught you this, or who taught that, you that you just function with the knowledge. And it’s the same thing with spiritual knowledge where you can function in the physical world without having to explain it, use it. That’s what it’s about.
Kevin: That’s so true too. That’s such a great point. I’m thinking of a moment in my book where I’d had a really neat spiritual experience at Devil’s Tower, and weeks later, I was talking to one of my Lakota friends at Pine Ridge because the experience was so rich, it overwhelmed me. And I didn’t know how I would explain that to anyone else back home and my kind of my daily life and routine and my Lakota friend listened. And then he said to me, that vision wasn’t meant for anyone else. It was just for you. And that you don’t need, just what you said, it doesn’t need to be explained. These are things that just end up helping you grow and they, and those experiences just start manifesting themselves in the essence of who you are in your day-to-day life, you immigrate, essentially is what it comes down to. You ended up immigrating what you’ve experienced.
Cinnamon: Yeah. Yeah. And if you’re in a spiritual minded community, then you can go into detail. It’s easier because you’re talking with people that are at least open to the experiences you’ve had or may have even had something similar themselves so they can embrace your truth and honor them. And if it’s different, then you can speak freely. You don’t go to work saying, oh, last night I had a vision and they told me this. It doesn’t work very well. And there was a time, years ago when I was given some information through a shamanic journey. And when I shared it I was sharing truth. Right. And it didn’t get received very well at all, it caused an upheaval in the circle. And I ended up with people that were very angry with me because they thought it was me making these choices, even though I told them, you’re going to make your own choices, but they thought, oh, you’re deciding for us what we’re going to do. They didn’t take it well. Everything that I was shown was going to happen, happened as a result of the way I delivered it. So it was a powerful lesson for me in delivery and who you tell what you and how you present it to them. It makes a big difference.
Kevin: I’m Sure.
Cinnamon: Yeah. Yeah. Now in your book, you write about transcending busy-ness. What does that mean to you?
Kevin: Yeah. What it means to me is this, we all come from a tribe. It sounds simple to say that, but it’s healthy to stop and think about it. We’re all born into a house, if you will, a street, a place, a moment in time, a culture, and that tribe pulls on us to act a certain way to think a certain way and do certain things in the culture I was born into that I live in that I grew up in the American business culture of the east coast, one of the hallmarks of that is, is busy-ness. And I think it’s more than just a business culture. It’s become a phenomenon of American culture or even global culture today where we’ve got 24-7 internet television global connectivity that there’s always more to do. It’s a bit of a bigger, better, more go, go, go world seems to be moving faster and faster.
And the more we take on, the more we do, the more there is to do that still lies in front of us, and we’re caught up in what some have described as a bit of a busy-ness bubble, where we’re not able to really find time to stop, to sit still, to think, to look inward, to soul search or to connect with the essence of who we are. And so it can, I believe, manifest itself in a world where people are really busy. People are really productive. People are giving things done, but there is a bit of a feeling of emptiness to it all. And I really wanted to transcend that for myself. And then for everyone that I was connected to, I’ve come to talk about it as putting the work back in its place where it’s important. We’re committed, we’re competitive, we’re proud but we’re not going to let it become all consuming. We want work to be a balanced part of a holistic life.
Cinnamon: So do you employ that concept with your employees, and has it spilled into the business you do?
Kevin: So I’ve really tried awful hard since my experiences at Pine Ridge. So in our situation there are some parts of the country or some types of companies where a lot of the jobs are part-time, but in our company, the jobs are all full-time jobs. And the challenge was more that people were working in a very long work week that averaged almost 50 hours. And so one of the goals that we took on was reducing the workweek back closer to 40 hours using the efficiency and the productivity gains of the modern age to work less, not more. Yes, we can make more widgets or do more deliveries, but we could also just play in work a little bit last. And in order to support that, we felt we had to rebuild our compensation systems because so much of that old age compensation model is built around overtime, getting paid time and a half for hours over 40 a week.
And so we built a brand-new set of incentives that we call performance gold. That was essentially a bonus plan that everybody in the company participated in, so that as we became more efficient or more accurate or more collaborative and things took us less time, that people could actually earn more money that way. If you think about it, paying people extra to work longer is really a backward or archaic compensation model, but it’s one everybody’s used to, so it took quite a bit of work and communication and engineering to rebuild it. But we’ve been able to do that. Our work week now is closer to 40 than 50. And people’s compensation has actually gone up at a pretty healthy pace, even though the number of hours worked has gone down. So we’re excited about that.
Cinnamon: Is productivity growing as a result?
Kevin: What’s that, I’m sorry.
Cinnamon: Do you feel that company productivity has gone up as a result of this as well?
Kevin: Yeah, definitely. When we measure in any of the areas where we measure productivity or accuracy, we’ve seen dramatic improvements and we’ve been able to share the benefit of those improvements, the company benefits, but the people on the team also benefit because the work is more accurate, less stressful. It takes less time to do it. And people are able to make as much or more money than they were before. And it frees up time and energy for other things in people’s lives.
[00:36:20] Cinnamon: Yeah. Give them the time to spend with family and friends and their own spiritual journeys. I think that’s wonderful. And I wanted to ask you if you could expand about evolutionary astrology and how it impacted your personal journey and story, if you would please.
Kevin: Yeah. So evolutionary astrology was one of the first new ideas that came into my life and really set in motion this story we’re discussing tonight, that became the basis for my book back in 2007, I’d had a reading done by a woman I’d never met from California. Who’s since become a very close friend. And I remember sitting at home in Casco, Maine and listening to my reading and it just stopped me in my tracks to see how this woman I’d never met was really revealing. What I felt was the deepest, most personal, most private darkest and most hopeful core of my soul. And it made me really want to know more about how she did that and how she could sense that or know that. So I went on to connect with her and learn a lot more about evolutionary astrology.
And what I learned was that evolutionary astrology has three basic tenets or beliefs. The first is that everything that lives or has lived or shall live is all made up of the same energy, the same stardust, it’s all related, which is really a piece of both scientific and indigenous wisdom as well. So that rang true to me.
And then the second tenant of evolutionary astrology was that that energy, that lives in all things, that sacred energy has a mission. And that mission is it wants to grow. It wants to learn. It wants to evolve. It wants to advance across time. And finally the third tenant of evolutionary astrology, which was initially the leap for me, but changed the way I viewed people or what it meant to be human.
The third tenant is that as to humans, the soul is the being, and the body is more of a vessel, if you will. And that a human experience, a soul’s experience, and souls have multiple incarnations across time for the purpose of evolving, learning, growing transcending, old patterns, low-end patterns and acquiring new higher end patterns of behavior and living and seeing the world. And when I stopped and took a look at that, it all really rang true to me, and it changed the way I thought about being human for myself or the other people I was interacting with.
Cinnamon: That was one of the first pieces of my spiritual journey and puzzle to put together. I was handed that concept when I was five years old and told that I would be going into the world and teaching this. And when I was five, they just, they told me that your spirits, the real you, my guides did, the spirit is the real you, and you need to tell people about that because they all think that their body is the real them. And they were explaining it in very childlike terms to me. And I thought that’s going to be interesting. I don’t know how I’ll tell the whole world that. I remember that, when I was little and I remembered him growing up and the more I came to learn about spirituality, the more confused I became, I guess you could say, and I was learning to develop in ways that allowed me to develop my spirit rather than my physical life. And I think it’s a beautiful way to view life, if you can manage to do it. I think everybody does. I wish they all did.
Kevin: No, I agree. I’ve since suggested to people or to friends that even if evolutionary astrology was too big a leap for you to believe in, if you just pretended it was true. If you played along, if you will, it would lead you down the right path. And this really ties back into this culture of busy-ness where we’ve really become a culture of doing, a culture of things and activity, and the soul or a soul’s journey can easily get lost in that culture. And this was one of the real benefits or gifts of my connection to Pine Ridge because in traveling to, and spending time at Pine Ridge, I was immersing myself in a community that thought first at a soul level, at a spiritual level, and only second at a more of a head or brain or task orientated level. It’s a place, Pine Ridge is a place for the heart more so than the head.
[00:42:05] Cinnamon: As a side question here, what was your initial connection to Pine Ridge itself and how were you received as not being part of that tribal culture initially?
Kevin: Good question. So I found myself before I picked up the National Geographic article, I’d found myself reading more and more about the second half of the 19th century when our nation’s Western expansion ran into the Plains Indians. And so I knew about Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee because of its historic place in American history. And then when I picked up that National Geographic article that focused specifically on Pine Ridge, it just tipped me towards wanting to go there. To the second part of the question, on one level, it was always a very warm open place for me to go from the very first trip I took. Everybody there was friendly and kind and welcoming, and I always felt at home.
That being said, I do think it’s a community where for good reason it takes some time for people that see your heart for them to really bring you in, because it’s a place where throughout history so many people from away have gone to fix or remake them or to do their civic duty, if you will. And I think there’s a lot of distrust and a lot of hurt and a lot of pain that still needs to heal, wounds that need to heal. So it’s always been a very welcoming place to go, but it’s not the easiest place to, I think, be deeply accepted or embedded. But once people there see the way I’ve had it put to me several times, someone will say to me, I really embrace you because I can see that you have a good heart and that’s what people look at there. And it’s one of the things I love about that community. It’s less focused on what you do or who you are from a role standpoint, and more focused on the heart or the spirit or the intention that you’re bringing with you.
Cinnamon: And did you know someone on your way there for the first time though, this is what I’m trying to get at. How did you walk in the door?
Kevin: That was tricky. When I got back, after I read the National Geographic article, my voice did not always work well on the phone. So I started sending a bunch of emails to people at Pine Ridge. I knew, or I had learned that the reservation had some pretty dramatic housing problems and coming from the lumber industry, I thought that perhaps our company might be able to help with those issues, which we did. So I used that as an initial entry point and looked for people on the reservation that were connected to housing. And I finally made a connection with a woman who is now a dear friend by the name of Pinky Clifford, who runs the Oglala Sioux tribe partnership for housing. And she agreed to host me and found a place for me to stay and really cared for me my entire first trip. It’s now gotten to the point where I know lots of people there and I self-navigate and just plan my own trips. But initially she was the one that guided me and took care of me and made me feel at home while I was there.
Cinnamon: Oh, okay. Okay. And so through your lumber company, then, you help them with housing. Was that through the habitat for humanity project or was this something separate?
Kevin: Yeah, it was not through habitat for humanity, but it was something similar. We did a few things, but the first big thing we did was we ended up working with Pinky and her organization, and we donated all of the materials needed to build a new home on a vacant lot they owned in a neighborhood on the reservation. We put all that material in a container in Maine and shipped it out to Pine Ridge. And then Pinky had a number of volunteer groups, mostly faith based, church-based volunteer groups, come out throughout the course of that summer and build a home. And then they found a homeowner and helped them get into that home.
Cinnamon: Wonderful. Yeah. And now this evolutionary astrology that you studied, have you looked into indigenous astrology at all? Just a curiosity.
Kevin: No, I haven’t. I mean, I have become very interested in what I think about as indigenous wisdom and was really interested in the indigenous wisdom, the old ways of the Sioux and love to hear about and learn about them, but indigenous astrology, if that was the phrase you used, nom that’s not something I’ve come across, but I’m curious already, just hearing you ask about it.
Cinnamon: It’s based on lunar cycles rather than solar cycles. So each moon is considered a grandmother and each moon has its own teachings and then they come together, like one leads to the next. It’s a fascinating area. Yeah. Your book makes frequent reference to the late great American mythologist Joseph Campbell. What is the connection there for you?
[00:48:00] Kevin: I had taken four or five trips to Pine Ridge and was visiting with a wise spiritual friend of mine back home in Maine who listened to my story and said that is Joseph Campbell, that’s the hero’s journey. And this was at a time in my life that was very rich because new learning was just coming into my world at a rapid rate. I’d never heard of Joseph Campbell, but I went home and Googled him, read about him, bought his books, and low and behold, there was a direct connection. So he was perhaps the greatest mythologist of the 20th century. He was American, but he studied the world’s modern and ancient religions and mythologies and came to believe that he could see a single story in all of them, that they were all telling the same story, which he dubbed the hero’s journey, which was a journey of initiation. Something is taken from you. Something is lost or stolen, like my voice, separating you then leave on a quest or a journey to regain what was lost, often finding more than what was something richer and deeper than what was even lost to begin with. So separation and then return.
So then this is just what you were talking about earlier, then coming back home to your community and trying to share or integrate what you had learned. Then it really, again, stopped me in my tracks to see that pattern was exactly what was playing out in my own life. And I’ve since come to see it everywhere, like I just did a little exercise today, ironically, where I made a list that every Walt Disney movie I could think of and they all, every one of them, followed that same routine: initiation, separation, return. And that this really was the story of the soul personified in a human lifetime.
Cinnamon: Yeah. When I was in college, I was studying world philosophy, world religion, mythology, and folklore. And I kept seeing the common threads in that myself and these stories that came forward, originated in times when there wasn’t communication between the different cultures. They were estranged from one another. They weren’t connecting. And so while the names may have changed and the locations or the landscape may have changed, the gist of the stories was the same. And that really made a big impression on me. And then when I started to understand what went on when you do initiate through spiritual teachings and when you do the vision quest and what comes out of it, and the pattern stalled, if you can see the universal connection threads, they’re all there. Once you can make that connection for yourself, you can see them in any tradition you explore. And I love that.
Kevin: Yeah, no, you do. It’s so fun. I mean, the world actually becomes, I don’t want to say a simpler place, but you can see these basic simple elements everywhere you turn suddenly. It’s like the whole world lights up that way.
Cinnamon: Yeah. Yeah. I love the fact that we’re indigenous, we’re all indigenous to this planet and it’s not about owning anything or one culture being greater than another. We’re all here together to learn and grow with each other. And I think if you can take that approach when you step out into the world every day it makes it much more pleasant. Everybody becomes related.
Kevin: No, exactly. The Lakota have a phrase for that. I won’t say it exactly right, but it’s a [Lakota term] which means just that, translated, people will say it means ‘all things are one thing’. We’re all brothers, we’re all related, that everything that lives or moves or shall live is all made up of that same sacred energy. We’ve convinced ourselves that everything is different, but it isn’t, it’s all the same.
Cinnamon: Exactly. We’ll talk more about that when we come back. We’re at the top of the hour and I’d like to take five minutes to let everybody either refresh a beverage or stretch and just sit back and enjoy the interlude. I’m going to play a little [inaudible] for you and wash your spirit clean. We’ll be back in about four and a half minutes or so. Let’s see you then.
I don’t know if my listeners can hear me, I’m going to have to refresh my browser because my switchboard just went into a loop and I can’t get out of it. Kevin, can you hear me?
Kevin: I’m right here.
Cinnamon: Okay. If I lose you, when I refresh, please call back in. Okay.
Kevin: Yes, will do.
[00:53:43] Cinnamon: Okay. I’m going to do it right now. Oh goodness. Here we go. Let’s see if this will load. Okay. It looks like we’re back on. Let me check the chat room. Okay. Everybody says they can hear, too. Good. Good. Good. All right. We’re back. I wanted to ask you more about your vision quest before I go on with the book here, if it’s alright with you, Kevin. I’m curious, was your vision quest done in a formal Lakota tradition or was it done in an informal manner?
Kevin: I would say elements of both, but more informal than formal. I had thought about going on a formal vision quest in the tradition of the Lakota vision quest, when I realized that it was actually unfolding. So to me, it was more of a modern-day vision quest that had all the same elements, but it played out over a series of trips, but all the same components were still there. I was journeying alone into the wilderness for the purpose of seeking a vision, a deeper understanding of who I was and my path forward.
Cinnamon: I asked because that’s what happened to me. I had guides come through that told me I needed to go to certain sacred sites. And it started out in Texas, it went across the lower Southwest, up the west coast and across the Northern Plains and everything. And I got to visit many different sites and I drew something different from each one, but I was interacting with spirits of place, if you’re familiar with what they are, and had other worldly experiences, every single place I went, the elements of nature came in and they fit the patterns of vision questing and then when I got up into the Black Hills into Bear View, I was given an enormous overview. It’s almost like, I don’t know how to put it. The Prairie’s, when you look out from Bear View at the Prairie’s all around it, it’s vast. It’s like looking out into space in a way. And so I’ve got this ginormous picture handed to me about being one little, tiny speck and all that, and still having great purpose in my path and what I was to do.
And then I got down to Pipestone, Minnesota. And got into the sacred lamb there. And I was down by the quarries where they bring up the stone. And I went down to the waterfalls, and I was at the Oracle on the Three Maidens and all these different places there and each one brought spirits up. And I was interacting with them, and I had the most amazing experiences. I was given a healing staff or prayer staff there. And I had encounters with five different spirits. And then I came home and what unfolded for months afterwards was all playing as a result. And some of it I tried not to deal with. Did you find yourself not wanting to embrace certain aspects of what you were shown?
Kevin: I love listening to what you just said, and I could relate to a lot of it. I’ve stood atop Bear View. I’ve had similar feelings atop Harney Peak in the Black Hills. And generally speaking on the Northern Plains, one of the things that I find really powerful is you simultaneously feel your smallness, but also your great power, just like you were describing. So you realize how small a single individual or soul is, but then you also realize that every soul is connected to the fabric of the whole and therefore how powerful a soul is. So I can totally relate to that. And yeah, I did.
Cinnamon: The importance is driven home to what we’re supposed to do. That was something that I felt very strongly, this is your dream wave. This is what you came to do and your purpose for being here. And it’s vitally important to all the people that you’re going to touch.
Kevin: No, that’s right. And this is the listening part. So what came to fascinate me about the story I was experiencing. Once I could see it was that I had lost the consistent use of my literal external voice, but that really was a calling to find my inner voice, that inner truth, that path and purpose and the Lakota have a phrase I love which is the ‘spirits will meet to halfway’ then that the spirits are always with you. They’re always there to guide you, but you’ve got to do the work, you’ve got to be willing to seek and to search. And one of the things I really loved about the vision quest is, or came to believe, is that searching or seeking is the single biggest step. And to the extent today that fewer people are receiving visions, it’s only because fewer people are seeking them out.
Cinnamon: Ah, okay. Yeah. I believe that. I think a lot of people are given visions that they don’t do anything with.
Kevin: No, I do, too. The way I’ve come to talk about that is that our future bumps into us all the time, but we’re often too busy or too skeptical or too focused on the external to hear it, feel it, or see it. And I don’t consider myself special in this way. I mean, it takes a constant commitment to listen and to seek. It’s not a simple exercise.
Cinnamon: It does. I like to center myself when I start my day and I like to center again in the evening because I can feel the energy shift. It’s quieter energy at night. And during the day it’s very busy. And so I like to center myself and just get in harmony with that flow of energy so that I can move with it. And when I do, I seem to accomplish a lot more, it’s like time doesn’t hold me up. I don’t get so caught up in it that I can’t get things done. I actually get more done.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s the whole subtitle to my book. So the title is, Not for Sale, and the subtitle is Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse. And that’s really what my trips were about. It was about connecting with that, learning how to reconnect and stay connected with that inner core of who I was and initially to be able to do that I had to leave in a vision quest type of way, and I’ve since developed for the most part, the ability to like you talked about to keep myself centered on a daily basis.
Cinnamon: Yeah. And the more you do that, for our listeners’ benefit here, the more you do that centering every day, the more sensitive you become to the energy themselves, to their energy signatures. And you can feel the subtle shifts in the course of your day and activities and you know when to start looking for something, because you just felt an energy shift, and that means something’s going to happen. Something’s going to change now because you felt the energy change. So the physical manifestation is going to be there, watch boards, and these little subtle signs are there with us all the time. But if we pay attention, we’re going to pick up on them. And if we ignore that, brush it off and say that’s nonsense, you’re going to miss the cues. There every day, 24/7 throwing cue after cue at you. And if you knew that they were there and you worked with them, you would realize that they’ve got the map and they’re giving you the way to navigate it so that you can get through this whole life and do it in a much easier way. Kevin, you shared some really personal stuff in your book. I want to ask you what prompted you to be so open, so transparent, with some of your most sacred, deepest thoughts and personal feelings, didn’t that scare you?
[01:03:59] Kevin: It did scare me. So, remember that this all started out as a journal. And then when I realized it was a book, it did scare me because I was being as transparent and open as one would be in a private journal, which I was now preparing to transcend into a book that would go public. And I talked to Debra Dooley, my friend and evolutionary astrologist, about that dilemma because I kept wanting and kept getting scared and wanting to go back and water down sections of the book or what I had experienced to protect myself if you will, from the public eye. And Debra stopped me and gave me a path that really released the book. She said to me Kevin, this book is first and foremost, just for you. So write the book you need to write as if no one other than you is going to ever read it. And that when you’re done, you’re going to bring it downstairs and set it in your basement. And then when you finish, you can go have a glass of wine or a beer and decide if you want to share it. And that process recommendation released me.
So from then on out, I just kept writing like no one else was going to read it. And when I was done, I decided to share it. And that ended up, I feel, from what so many readers told me, it ended up becoming the secret sauce if you will, that made the book special because I was really bearing my own soul in a way that anyone, pretty much anyone who was soul searching could relate to. We’re all taught to keep that side of who we are to ourselves, to dismiss it, to keep it damp down and quiet. But releasing that soul’s journey is a very liberating, lightning, uplifting experience. And I think sharing that through my book has really resonated with lots of readers who’ve gone out of their way to track me down to essentially tell me just that.
Cinnamon: Yeah, isn’t that a nice experience when people do that? I’ve had them track me down too. I love how the book itself goes out into the world and touches lives that we never see. We never know who is reading it, really. I mean, you might know a few people that have read it, but for the majority of the sales, it’s touching a lot of lives and you don’t know what it’s doing to them, but spirit knew, or you wouldn’t have been inspired to turn it into a book.
Kevin: No, that’s a great point. And I’ve felt that too. And Joseph Campbell, we talked about him earlier. He actually wrote about this. He essentially said that the artist, when we release ourselves to the spirit world and we let that come through in the form of art, whether it’s writing, song, painting, poetry, that we really are releasing the spirit that lives in all of us. And it’s why you see these deep connections with art, certain songs, certain paintings, certain poems, or certain stories, because they’re speaking to not an individual truth, but a a universal truth that lives within the souls of us all.
Kevin: That’s a great question. And it’s a constant work in progress. I think something else I really had to learn, and my friend, Deborah Dooley, the astrologist, has taught and reinforced for me is that learning and growing does not have a finish line. It doesn’t have an end point. It doesn’t stop and there’s no winning or losing. It’s just living with a soul-based authentic intention and purpose that is pointing you in the right direction. I was really interested to learn that the Lakota paid a great deal of attention to the direction they were phasing, and that each direction had meaning. And I’ve come to see that in the context of pursuing a mission or a life’s purpose, you’re never gonna finish or accomplish or be done, but you don’t have to. It’s just about facing the direction you want to travel, the kind of person or soul that you want to be and trying to live that way on a daily basis. And to also be flexible and not anticipate what’s coming next because that really was the old me. I would’ve tried to organize everything and have a plan and know exactly what was going to happen next.
But now I just try to actually make time, free capacity and be available. People ask me how I’m marketing or promoting or advancing the book. And I don’t even think about it that way. I just am making time to be available for the people or organizations that the book speaks to and creating time in and of itself is a pretty powerful act that can bring more things into your life.
Cinnamon: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right about that. I didn’t even think about marketing my book. I left it to my publisher. And I think it was like three years later, I found out that my publisher wasn’t marketing it. So it was spreading by word of mouth all that time. And I’ve just, I mean, I talk about it once in a while on the show and in my opening monologue that I have a book out there, but that’s the only marketing I do. The rest is all word of mouth and people have told me, geez, I love your book and I buy it for Christmas presents for people or birthday gifts. It’s nice to hear that because you’re touching in the right way and I know your reach is probably much different than mine, but I’m sure it’s just as expensive.
Kevin: No, it’s the same. It’s something I love about the modern age we’re living in. It used to be that a small group of publishers in London, Chicago, New York and LA might determine who got published and today anyone can get published. And if you really watch how a book moves today, it’s what you said. It’s readers who sell books. When someone reads a book and it speaks to them, they will pass it on to others. And in that way, the world is really very flat today and the power goes not to the publisher, but to the people who read.
[01:11:28] Cinnamon: Yeah. Yeah. Because they’re gaining from the contents. Absolutely. How can listeners find your book?
Kevin: So, there are a number of ways to find it. The book does really well on Amazon. You can just get it there. My favorite way for people to get it is on the book’s website, which is Kevin D as in David hancock.com, KevinDHancock.com. And I like to send people there because you can use PayPal, the book’s just $20, but I see all the orders placed on those sites, on that site. And I sign them personally. So there you can get an autograph copy with free shipping for just $20. You can communicate with me so we can interact. And there are lots of other resources at the site. Pictures, stories, links connected to the book as well. So that’s the most interactive intimate way to access the book.
[01:12:28] Cinnamon: Awesome. And what are your plans for the future now? What’s next for you? I mean, you have been involved in so many different organizations and have done astonishing work, so what’s your next big goal, Kevin?
Kevin: That’s a great question. I don’t really know either. I’m at a moment in time where I’m trying to stay true to what I’ve learned, and that is to listen, to stay centered, to not get too far ahead of myself and to not think I know what’s next, but to stay available and try to hear those whispers that are gonna come my way and be ready to see where that takes me and to take joy as much joy in the unknown as the known. So we’ll see, yeah.
Cinnamon: I am a big fan of the irony that spirit works with. It just delights me to watch the manifestation process when we’re told this or that’s gonna come about, and then you watch, and you watch, and nothing happens. And then all of a sudden, one day it starts to blossom, and you go, oh, it’s over there. And the irony of how things synchronistically come together and the orchestration of it is so far beyond anything any of us would think of. And yet it happens. And it’s beautiful. When you were on a vision quest and working with the Lakota, did you connect with your own spirit guides during that process?
Kevin: So I really believe I did, but not in a way where they revealed themselves to me or I had any kind of direct vision or knowledge into who they were. It was all for me. All of the deep moments came alone in the wilderness, typically in the Black Hills and often through animals or the sun or the wind or a tree at a certain moment in time. That’s where most of the inspiration or really uplifting moments where I felt like I was floating or not actually even with my body, that’s where those types of things would tend to occur.
Cinnamon: Yeah. I had that experience down in Blackstone and it’s wonderful. I loved the Black Hills when I was out there. There’s just something magical about them and so much has just become commercialized too. It’s sad to see it.
Kevin: No, it is. And there is so much irony there because the Black Hills has become a major kind of tourist destination built on the theme of patriotism and the winning of the west and all of these things and lost in that is the story of what happened to native peoples and native lands and the process of winning the west and discovering gold and so forth.
[01:15:36] Cinnamon: Right. Right. Is there anything… I think I’ve covered my questions for you, Kevin, for the evening. Is there anything that you would like listeners to take away from the program? Any issues that you feel are important today to be shared?
Kevin: I would just maybe say in summary that life’s journey is really about looking inward, finding our own true voice, which can only be found on an individual personal level. And then as we had talked about earlier in the process of immigrating, I think that’s where you come back to the idea that we’re all related. And one of the things I’ve really come to see when I look around today as we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re different and that there are boundaries everywhere, but they’re not real. They’re artificial.
When I leave Pine Ridge, I always typically drive west into Wyoming. And when I cross the boundary line between Wyoming and South Dakota, I always stop and I take a picture and I look at that sign and I have a big laugh because that boundary is not real. It didn’t exist 150 years ago, but we’ve carved the planet up thinking all of these boundaries are real, but I think hundreds or thousands of years from now, we’re gonna see as a human race, how silly that idea was that it really is a single planet and a single tribe. And we are all related and that as we seek and find our own voice as we release our own truth, we not only move ourselves forward, but we make a contribution towards moving that entire human psyche forward. So, that’s how it all comes full circle today.
Cinnamon: I think one of the things that’s so exciting at this time in history is the awakening process that’s taking place globally. And how many people, I mean, when I was growing up, you didn’t talk about these things, it was a taboo subject. It was spoken of in whispers or behind closed doors. And now you can talk about it in the restaurant over lunch, and people on the table next to you might overhear it and jump in on your conversation. And I love that. It’s so open and so free and it’s spreading.
Kevin: That’s so true. And if you think about it, this is a great example of that. I mean, here I am the CEO of a lumber company, and you think about the conversation we’re having. So I do think that a global awakening is occurring and that it is a really exciting time in human history.
Cinnamon: I do. I do. And if someone isn’t, I don’t think it’s necessary to try and force somebody and make them wake up. I don’t think they’re gonna. That’s the creator’s job to shake them if they need to wake up, not us. But if they’re waking up and they want help, we’re here to help them because we’ve made part of the journey already ourselves. And we have something to offer them. And I’m not just talking about you and me. I’m talking about everybody that has awakened or is in the process of it. Whatever little bits you’re learning, none of us can know it all, but whatever little bits of knowledge and wisdom and experience that we hold, we can share to help the next person. Maybe it’s just one step. Maybe we’re going to help them take a hundred steps, who knows, but the idea is to reach back and help the next person coming behind you and reach forward to the one that’s stepped ahead of you. And as long as we do, we’re connecting.
Kevin: That’s so well said. I agree with that. And I think your work, your book, your shell, all the things you’re doing are really lovely in that regard. So I’m quite glad you found me and that we’re connected. Thank you.
Cinnamon: Thank you for coming here. We didn’t have any callers tonight and I think we’ve just given the chat room what they wanted here, because nobody’s posting, I guess we’ve handled it well. I want to thank you for coming on and giving your information, your contact information one more time. If you would.
[01:20:15] Kevin: The book’s website is KevinDHancock.com, D as in David.
[01:20:23] Cinnamon: Okay. Listeners, it’s been a pleasure sharing the evening with all of you. Thank you for tuning in. You truly are a blessing and the reason the show comes across air waves each week. Join me again next Monday night for an evening with me, when my topics will be, the past you walk is your teacher and living your truth. In the meantime, don’t forget to come see me over on Facebook. Know that you’re a beautiful, powerful spirit, that you stand in your own light, make it shine, become a beacon until next week. Blessings and a warm goodnight to you all. Good night, shatters. They’re saying thank you to you, Kevin. You’re welcome, folks. Thanks, everybody. Goodnight and blessings.