Thanks a lot Mr. Media

This morning  I saw the latest installment on the Ray Rive video collection. How many more videos of this awful night are out there? The question and frustration that hit me right off is why we aren’t seeing everything at the same time? Who is controlling the release and what is their motive or agenda for piece mealing this out to us?

This was a horrible incident and one that deserves attention, conversation and a reconstruction in our society. But if I’m to have a full opinion on this night, if I’m to understand it comprehensively then I need to see all of the evidence. It wouldn’t take away any desired punishment for the violence, but it would allow me to see it from all sides.

The media wants to be the bringer of news. The informer and creator of conversation, but I can only feel like someone has an agenda, either politically or monetarily to show us a video, we make a opinion, then they show us more, we reshape our opinion, and still another video and another shaping of our thought.

Maybe they could treat us like adults, show us the whole thing and let us talk about it then. A lot of you are probably thinking this is how it’s always been done and what rock have I been living under. That’s all probably true, but there is a moment in all of our lives that everything we’ve been told and every thought that has lived in the back of our minds, finds a way to freedom and the light of day.

Maybe this was mine ! Nobody likes being a puppet. And maybe I shouldn’t really expect more from morning news shows.

Free To Say ?

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Let me get a few things out of the way up front. I write an occasional blog. Not even a full time blogger, far below professional standard, and even more below good, true  journalism !! I may even be a part of the problem of too many people talking. I’d like to, and it is my intention to evoke thought, mostly within myself.

So is anything free? Has it ever been? In thinking about freedom of speech, is there a cost. I suppose if you said to someone “I love you”, that there isn’t a “price to pay”. But when you say controversial things, should we consider the price? I am a  Patriot, and a full believer in freedom of speech. I’m very thankful to be living in a country that allows and revels in freedom of speech. At the same time I can’t get out of my head the words of my raising “If there is any doubt or if  hurting someone is a possibility then you probably shouldn’t say it”.

So this leads me to the film “The Interview”. While they have every “right” to say and make a movie about whatever they want it just seemed like a bad idea. How many people had to sign off on the movie as “yes, this seems funny and great”. They don’t even altar the name and country. They go for one of the most volatile places and leaders in the world. Perhaps I’m missing the point, but while I’d expect everyone to back our right to free speech, I wish I’d have seen at least one Hollywood person, say, even in hindsight, this was a bad idea from the start.

My Mother used to say “how would you feel if it were done to you”, and this rings true for me in this case. If they had made a big movie about us and any of our Presidents, we would be really mad and offended.

Any thoughts? What am I missing? Are we thinking about it from a full scope or a narrow lens?

New Day New Hope

Morning Prayers

In the traditional way of the Muscogee as well as many other peoples of the world, morning prayers facing the East are the start of the new day. To the East, to Grandfather Sun. To a new day. To a healthier way. As Kris Kristofferson said under another context, but still relevant, “yesterday is dead and gone”. Today is new with each sunrise peaking up over the eastern horizon. New opportunities, new paths and new words. It is hope, one of the biggest gifts of all.

Addictions, moods, poor perspectives of life can all be shaped a little different with the new day. That we don’t have to keep carrying the things we don’t like about ourselves. We don’t have to repeat the same actions and say the same words that keep our balance so, well, out of balance.

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The medicine wheel takes us through the seasons of  a day as well as the seasons of a life. It begins in the East, but it makes the full circle, but where we begin each day is likely where we end the day or the life.

Prayer is a funny thing. We never know if we should just listen or ask. Perhaps in our better moments we listen, but when the times are grave and our pain is intense, at least for me my philosophies give way to asking. Not for a job or millions of dollars or any other small thing like that, but the big stuff. Peace and understanding. Harmony. for pain given and received to dissipate. Those are the big things ! To be better, to see and feel my poorer choices like those that have felt them feel.

This sense of peace mostly not for me but for my children, my family. That the spirit of  things bigger will connect to them, giving them a reason other than themselves to be in this world. For the universe to touch deep in  their soul. For our friends, community and the world.

So as the sun rises on a new day, and as I reach out and watch the smoke from the symbolic cedar and sage rise to the heavens, I pray for all beings. I hope this is your prayer too. Thanks for this new day, I hope you see a difference in me !

Conciously Connected

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In my morning prayer time, I have tried to say a bunch of things to the Creator to make me feel better. To put a band aid on my fears or things in my life I wasn’t ready to deal with. I know my connection is more true and I find more peace when I lose my self centeredness,  “speech voice” and just ramble on.

I believe we are all connected to the Creator and I don’t know if I believe that that connectedness can really ever be broken. I think what can be broken is our consciousness of connectedness. That we don’t live and breathe as if the Creator is inside of us. For me it works best when I begin my day off acknowledging that I am eternally connected.

Most peoples of the land begin their day like this. Like my friend Walt Wilkins once wrote “I’ve tried my best to crawl out of Gods hands”, but you can’t, you can only be unaware of that presence. Most of us were taught that when we were “misbehaving” we were without God. When in fact we were just being selfish and our thoughts only on what we wanted. We were busy being human !

We have a choice to acknowledge or not. I don’t think the Creator is as worried about the little falls from grace that we incur daily, but if we are consciously connected. If so, everything else takes care of itself.

This is no high theology and I’m surely no deep well, but I think that’s the key anyway. That it really is pretty simple. Love for starters and being conscious in this world to all around us and within us, and that all of that is holy or sacred.

Morning Prayers

Listening to Learn

dream1If we took time, I wonder how much of what we pass every day of our lives,  would we find interesting. If we heard the stories of the people we pass and  the places we go. If we really tried to listen. Not just waiting to respond with our own version of the story that is being told to us. If we really took a deep breath and said to ourselves, “I’m just going to listen and try my best to put myself in the storytellers shoes”. I have a friend in Texas and  if you start telling him a story of one of your friends or relatives, he will politely interrupt you to ask the name of the person in the story. He is trying to place himself there to understand with heart and compassion as best he can. He is listening.

But we generally aren’t interested in or don’t have…oops that’s wrong, we don’t take the time to listen. The world is about us personally, socially, economically and geographically. Do we learn more by talking or listening? Do we open up and have more compassion and understanding when we re- realize that ours isn’t the only point of view. Oh and just how similar we all really are. We may have different customs and traditions, and some of those might startle people but it’s mostly because they don’t really understand them.

This is no new news, but it sure isn’t very well practiced. This art of listening. This way of being in the world, where you can appreciate others customs and realize many of the things you hold sacred are right there in theirs.

Pictured here is a dreamcatcher. We’ve all seen them and maybe we even know the general thought behind them. First Peoples also used stories to grow their children. They were no more practical than Jonah and the whale, but were used to tell a bigger story. This dreamcather that I’ve made tells many stories. It talks in ways that keep me grounded and connected to the Creator. To life and family.

The hoop is a circle. Everything in life is a circle. Seasons go in circles, one following another. Seasons of life. Circles like dreams and life cycles of a person can’t be broken. The buckskin used is to honor the 4 legged creatures that provide clothing and food. The hoop itself is partially dyed green for the earth and partially blue for the sky or heavens. A balance between the two. The shell in the middle represents the journey of life. The searching, examining, rejecting and accepting of your own way of understand this universe.  the 4 holes in the shell represent the 4 seasons, winds and directions. Finally, the feathers represent the winged ones. The ones that carry our thoughts, reflections and prayers high up to the Creator.

As I completed this dreamcatcher, I burned sage and cedar below it so the smoke also would carry the hope that whomever receives this will do so in good spirit. In the spirit of understanding our First Peoples culture more as well as a good road in finding balance and harmony in this life.

So this isn’t simply decoration. It is a tool for reflection and teaching. Of connecting and caring. Of family and tradition.

Personalized dreamcatchers are also available. This one is 40.00.

 

 

Story

Have you ever told your story? Did you realize that you even have one? Everyone does. They are all fascinating, full of uniqueness to the teller and enough strains for us all  to identify with each other. We are the family of man. I met a guy probably 11 years ago for coffee one day and one of the first questions he asked me was “what’s my story”? That threw me off a little. I had never talked about or of myself in that way. I never consciously thought about me even having a story. I managed to piece together some sort of guarded outline, careful not to be too transparent ! Even after I realized I had a story, I couldn’t think of any reason that it needed to be shared. After all I was just an average Gulf Coast guy. Not rich or particularly talented or gifted in any apparent way. “Just a fella” as Clint Eastwood famously said in “Unforgiven”.

I confess, I still have a shyness in thinking my story could touch, move or be of any value to anyone else. But I think, not from an egotistical point, that is where we are all mistaken. Just someone else coming to the understanding that they are not the only ones that think a certain way. It can be a lonely world if turn our attention away from the things that really matter. If we get caught up in the shininess of the world and forget about the beauty that surrounds us. The feel of the wind on our faces, the sunshine on our shoulders and the touch of a strangers hand. Our children, parents, family and friends all bring beauty into our lives if we let them. The four and three legged animals in my world bring so much centeredness that it amazes me. Other friends words in songs and blogs sharing the moments that stir their lives. IT’s rich stuff ya’ll, I’m telling ya, it’s rich stuff.

A few years ago I was asked to participate in an interview setting to share my story as it related to my faith. My church was trying to let folks know that the person sitting right next to you has a story and it just might not be what you were thinking ! I cringe still as I see myself on a video, but maybe there will be one word or phrase that you will connect to. Use the password ” story ”

I encourage you to think about your story. Share it. Own it, it’s yours. Encourage others to share theirs with you. It brings us all closer to understand. It helps break down the walls and we all know we are way too divided today.

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 !