Water oh sweet water

 

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We all know without water we couldn’t survive. That it covers roughly 70% of the earths surface. We swim in it, drink it, bathe and some are baptized in it. We surf on its majic waves leaving us with a feeling unmatched anywhere. We cook with water and mix our drinks with it. Water is the ultimate feeling of rejuvenation and freshness. Those of us born near a good river, lake or ocean know how it is simply part of your soul, making it not only vital for ultimate existence, but a happiness and connectedness with Mother Earth.

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Water is unpredictable, dangerous and thrilling. It can bring despair and euphoria. It can calm the deepest of nerves. Just being in it’s presence makes us feel like the Creator is washing over us. Water babies, beach bums, river rats, lake lovers all know this feeling. Even land locked, mountain lovers are many times left speechless at the site of my Gulf of Mexico, with its gentle waves rolling and out. Reminding us that life comes and goes, seasons too and love.

 

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I wonder how you feel about water. Is it just a means to an end? A way to get clean or to not dehydrate? Or does it have a deeper meaning, a spiritual connection? Does it center you? For me, water is medicine. It is healing and helps me make sense of a dry and sometimes cold, cruel world. So, sometimes I ride the waves, like I ride all the other waves in my life. Knowing good is always on the way and the best wave is only a set away ! Take a slash, take a sip, baptize yourself and become reborn into a world of deeper connections though one of our greatest natural gifts !

Southern Accent

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I like traditions. I like old ways. I think there is value in them. I like the style and accents of good storytellers. Phrases that have long ago fallen out of fashion. While much in every tradition should be let go of, I don’t see any sense in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Our country has become so homogenized that sometimes you can’t tell if someone is from Vermont or Georgia. There’s a damn Cracker Barrel, Lowes, TJ Maxx, and Toys R Us in every strip mall, in every town you go to. They have thrown a big sheet of blandness over the lower 48 ! Gone is most of the uniqueness that sets places apart. That makes them authentic. I don’t wanna get grits in New Hampshire anymore than I wanna get deep dish Chicago pizza in Gainesville Florida. Isn’t that what makes it interesting to travel, to see, while we are really deep down all the same, just how different our cultures are?

There’s a southern accent, where I come from
The young ‘uns call it country, the yankees call it dumb
I got my own way of talking, but everything gets done
With a southern accent, where I come from

While my ancestry is split, I am a Southerner, plain and simple. I understand the good and the bad of it. The depth and the breath of it. I also understand how outsiders see it and just what they think they know. Threaded through this post is a lyric to one of my favorite Tom Petty songs called “Southern Accent”.

There’s a dream I keep having, where my momma comes to me
And kneels down over by the window, and says a prayer for me
Got my own way of praying, but everything one’s begun
With a southern accent, where I come from

Perhaps I am a person that grew up in a regional world and now I’m living in a global world. I am happy to be here, and while my travels are not nearly as far n wide as some, I’ve been a few places. I’m not saying we should stick to our little patch of ground. I’m just saying hearing someone with a regional accent makes me smile ! To listen to the Billy Bob Thornton’s, Levon Helm’s, Lucas Black’s and Dolly Parton’s of the world is a good thing. And let me tell you all of those people are and or were as sharp as they come.

Got my own way of living, but everything is done
With a southern accent, where I come from

I’m not sure I’ve fleshed this out very well. I just like the feeling of being connected to those that came before me and some of that is in phrases and accents that for a time were all I knew. Before everyone sounded like the man on the six o’clock news !

In writing this post I was listening to Southern Accents by Tom Petty, Good Ole Boys Like Me by Don Williams, Going to Montgomery by Davis Raines, Just like Hank by Walt Wilkins and Down South by Kings of Leon.I was also watching “I ain’t in for my health” a documentary on the great, wonderful and deeply missed Levon Helm. Hope ya’ll enjoyed this and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Local Tourist

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With a few stops along the way, I have lived in three places in my life. All tourist towns. I grew up in and my home is Pensacola Florida. I lived for a few years during high school in Saratoga Springs, NY and for the past 16 years I’ve lived in Nashville TN. So I have always hoped to never be a tourist and still don’t. I’ve always been drawn to being a traveler but never a tourist.
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Recently my wife and I went out to eat and decided to ride downtown just to see first hand the explosion of Nashville. We see the growth in other ways and my job reminds me often how many folks are moving to Nashville, but to see downtown was amazing. A friend is a pedi cab driver and he toured us around to places we’d heard of but hadn’t seen. The new Hatch show building, the mega huge convention center, the cool vibe of the Pinewood Social Club, where you can drink, eat and yes bowl a few games in a very hip atmosphere.
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This town has so much energy and cool things going for it, no wonder it’s projected to double in size in twenty years. I really think it is the jewel of the South as far as major cities. I say all of this to simply say this; if you don’t get out wherever you live, you should. You have no idea what is going on out there while your home watching Game of Thrones! This generation of young minds is doing some pretty cool stuff and designing and shaping a life totally unique.
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So if you find yourself in a rut like we have been, then take it from me, sometimes the best entertainment is to just get out of the house. There’s more to this story but the main thing is,cruise around your town, stop in someplace new, see your world from a little different angle. It feels good !

Same Theme Different Thought

A relative of mine recently visited the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles California. Without question it is an amazing space created to tell a horrible story. A story that was genocidal then and has had lingering affect on the generations that followed. It’s truly an amazing what we can do to our fellow man. This relative was so moved by her experience there, and spoke with such genuine emotion about her experience that it was hard to not feel a small part of that pain and injustice.

As she spoke about these atrocities I couldn’t help but think of how most of our culture doesn’t even realize that much of this same thing happened to our own First Peoples of this land. It seems like Indian people are just thought of as Hollywood stereotypes or museum artifacts. There is such an out cry for the Holocaust people and rightly so but also so imbalanced by the same massacring and stripping of culture to the ones here before us. It just doesn’t even register in the minds of most Americans.

I read a piece by a Native elder one time that said with respects to our culture that ” We could somewhat make it right with African Americans, because we could give them back what we stole from them; their freedom, but we can give back what we took from the Indian people; their land and culture. We’re not giving back the Black Hills, Vermont, Oregon, Alabama or any of the land. So is that where the guilt remains? That there seems to be no way to make the wrong right. I might also add that we took way more than just freedom from black people. They also lost identity and culture among many other things. Do we unconsciously feel that if we don’t acknowledge it that it doesn’t exist. And it does seem like a wrong that can’t be fixed. Although we could do much to keep the continued oppression and hunger for what’s under their land now.

I guess it also feels like the Holocaust wasn’t something we had a hand in, so does that make it easier to shine the light? Just wondering out loud. Many of us that are mixed races also have a Native heritage, so there is even more spiritual conflict going on. But right is right. Wrong is wrong and human beings are human beings. And it’s never too late to stand up and be a human being !

Impatience at Warp Speed

Not sure I’ll dial this thought in very good this morning on little coffee. One of the stories that has prompted this thought or frustration is the Malaysian flight that is missing. First let me say along with the rest of the world , my prayers are put in the wind everyday for the families of this horrible tragedy. I can’t even begin to grasp their level of angst, confusion and pain. I would also naturally want answers that hopefully would offer some form of closure, so whatever healing could happen, would begin.

This morning on the news was a lawyer stating that they didn’t need to wait for any type of official investigation or statement, because they believe there was a flaw in the planes design. The sharks and vultures begin to circle amidst peoples incredible pain and loss of center. This is an unprecedented event and with 24 hour news on dozens of TV stations, thousands of radio stations, millions of blogs and internet conversations. And the collective WE want the answers right now…or do we? Is there anybody else out there frustrated with the insane amount of guessing, theory and speculation going on? Of course they can’t shut up, they have to fill the airwaves every single second of our lives. It is up to us to turn it off. I get it, I really do, but it is crazy. It becomes like the boy that cried wolf. Now we hear of debris in the ocean and we don’t tune in !

This pace of information doesn’t allow good thorough investigation. To check and double check. Everyone wants to be first instead of right. Any thoughts, frustrations out there? Maybe this is the blessing and curse of our technology at the same time. I hope we can all find some measure of peace with this conflict that is not going away. We have to govern ourselves and that’s the toughest part. Peace be with you !

Dare I Say, Kenny Chesney

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I know, I know, I know !!! In some circles the name Kenny Chesney did or does bring a little chuckle. Some of us think back to dismal tunes like “She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy”, poorly shaped cowboy hats and them being worn by guys that wouldn’t be caught dead in one off stage. In general a big decline in good songs and artists that were believable. While I wasn’t his demographic early on, I have found his drifting to beach tunes to ring true. Maybe I’m trying to fill the void of old Jimmy Buffett tunes. Each year my beach playlist has most of the same artists and while I love the nostalgia of Buffett and Marley, I am always hungry for something new. So now I find a handful of little beach tunes by Chesney that I like.

I know there are some of you way-to-cool-for-school folks that couldn’t find any value in this music. But I like an artist that is maturing for one thing and for several years now the Chesney team has been picking much better songs like The Good Stuff written by legendary Nashville writer Craig Wiseman. So the songs are better and now with this turn to the beach they have an honest appeal. For all I know Chesney hates the Sun and is allergic to shellfish, but if that’s true it’s a marketing dream come true, because he sure seems to have found himself a home in the islands. I’m sure his team is also smart enough to look at the career of Jimmy Buffett and what he tapped in to and knowing that ole Jimmy sadly won’t be with us forever. So why not slide into the on deck circle !!!

Like the lyric says, “The keys in the conch shell , come on in !!!!!

Prayer: This Is Just My Way

Morning Prayers

It is said that my Great Grandfather opened his windows in the morning and prayed to the East. While my ritual of reflection or prayer time is not known by those that I knew or by the ones that they knew, I can see the seeds as they fall through the generations. My way would be closer known to the ancients way. As most family lore, the story of my great Grandfather is highly contested. Perhaps it is contested for the very reason my prayer time would be contested. Because it veers away from the tradition that a person feels comfortable in. To me that is one of the great keys to our spirituality: to constantly evolve and push the walls wider and wider to somehow catch a glimpse of the bigger dream.

My prayer time is like walking a symbolic path or labyrinth. As my ancient Muscogee / Catawba people would have done I begin facing east to Grandfather Sun. I listen to the Creator in his many voices of wind, birds and my inner spirit as he reminds me of each new sun, new day, new possibilities. Opportunities to be new again. Then turning South; this is the strength of the day as I am reminded of youth and the drive to bring thoughts to life. Facing West are the voices of reflection, wisdom and satisfaction. It is the sweetest direction for me when I find myself in its harmony. The last of the four is North, where we and everything returns full circle. Thoughts return full circle; acts return full circle; days and lives all have their returning to completion. Finally to be reminded of Father Sky and Mother Earth, before finally acknowledging the last direction with is within. My spirit. This is but one of many facets of the medicine wheel.

The symbolism comes from my choices of earth. The handle is made from shed deer antler. Shed to make way for new life, new circles. The abalone shell is a reminder of my body, my shell and the life it holds. The Hawk feathers because he is one of the highest flying birds, flying closest to the heavens as a messenger. Those feathers fan the sage, cedar and sweet grass that my prayers rise on to the sky.

I get that this might appear strange to many, but really it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter to me how anyone else attempts to connect with what the Muscogee called The Master of Breath. Why should there be only one way? Why should we concern ourselves with another’s path of spirituality. One Creator, many traditions. This is just my way. It’s not meant to be mystical or paint me as a deep thinker, believe me that’s not the case. It is just a way of understanding my path in this world. A way of navigating that makes sense to my spirit. I don’t think of right or wrong, better or worse. I just do what feels right from an honest reflection of something I will never fully grasp nor am I meant to. I am simply meant to experience, that’s all. The Great Mystery !!!

I hope these words ring true for someone out there. I hope it helps to release someone from their spiritual bondage of having to be right. Having to figure God out, and let them just experience. Lastly I hope it casts a simple, gentle light on our human desire to connect with this wonderful, Great Mystery !