55

Well I’m sitting here on the eve of my 55th birthday. A drop in the bucket some say. But I’ve been around long enough to know some folks’ buckets are smaller, and a single drop can take up more of that bucket. Nothing promised. But I’m not pensive, I’m thankful.

As with anyone’s life much has happened. The journey has been and continues to be rich and blessed. Many moons since I breathed my first breaths just off of Palafox St in the heart of my hometown. In the town that still holds my heart and my connection to everything that helps me make sense of this world.

I was thinking about peace and contentment earlier and while I still greet each day with thankfulness. I know many of my brothers and sisters in this world do not feel that way. Some have been dealt hard cards, some have chosen poor companions and some just seem to have inherited a DNA that they let dictate their outlook. I feel for them and to a big degree, I am the kind that may never be totally happy until the whole world is happy !

But as I sit here this April 7th evening in Nashville Tennessee, I am thankful for love. The one’s that have loved me despite it being a difficult task at times. The ones that chose to love me as well as the ones that had no choice. I am also extremely thankful for my children, one who’s 22nd birthday is today. Happy Birthday Dylan ! I love you !

So I think I’d just end by saying that we really , really need to love one another. Think maybe on the elements that we have in common as opposed to our differences. One Creator one Love. The  ability to draw breath really is a good thing, so to help someone else believe that in their soul id a big gift. We all need that gift to give and to be given to.

As usual, I’ve not edited this at all. As I’ve jotted this down, I’ve been listening to Tom Waits “Ol 55″ and The Staple Singers ” Touch A Hand”.

Go be someone’s light !

The Girl Who Sang To The Buffalo

Buffalo

While I’ve read each of Nerburn’s books many times before, recently I read all three in the “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” series. I hate to even use the word “series” for a writing that has shifted my life in such a strong way. Using the word “series” makes it sound like “Little House on the Prairie”.

I’m positive there is no written word from me that could capture the essence of these books. And while each one was progressively moving, The Girl That Sang To The Buffalo” was most so in the way that it reflected a light on the connection of man and nature in a fashion that I’ve never experienced.

I’ve never read it because I and probably most of us, haven’t had the fortune of meeting a people that are so far removed from the noise of this society and all it holds important. People so far removed, that silence and the conversations of nature are as clear as our Mothers voices. We don’t meet them mostly because we don’t value them. We say we do, but we hold high and in esteem many of the things that really matter least, and are without a clue on most of the things that do.

These are glimpses of what I found fascinating in this book. The old Ojibway man, Benais, living in a natural world that would scare the crap out of most of us. The young child that white doctors want to medicate because they can’t understand her. If freaks them out that she can communicate with the natural world as effortlessly as breathing.

These lives on the fringes. These quiet ones. These ones that feel no need to validate themselves to anyone. These ones so connected to the Creator and Creation that their lives are a effortless flow of Zen. Always in a circle. Always with meaning and purpose. With truth.

If you have an interest in seeing the world through eyes that perceive differently or wish to have your circle of understanding stretched, all I can say is read this book. Begin with “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”, then “The Wolf At Twilight” and close out your reading journey with “The Girl Who Sang To The Buffalo”.

They are powerful, but then again truth usually is.

The Art of Thankfulness

josey1How do I begin to speak of thankfulness? I know the language. I am pretty good at talking about how thankful I am. I even think I am thankful. But that is usually when things are going well. When they aren’t going well, I have the inclination to think of that first.

Many years ago a member of our family, Josey was hit by a car. He lost a leg. This was not only traumatic for him but really traumatic for me because I attached much more to that loss than Josey did. I thought about him looking different. not being able to run as fast as he once could. The accident made him different visually and in our culture different isn’t as openly accepted.

For Native cultures, animals have always been teachers. They studied the animal ways to learn everything from hunting to how to be in the world. Sadly these days we don’t think we have much to learn from animals these days as we see ourselves on the top of the ladder and not viewing life as a circle. In a circle everything is dependent on each other, and everything is equal.

Josey showed the rest of our family how to be thankful for what we have. Not what we think we should have. Not what we assume we deserve. His stitches, his limp, his “imperfectness” didn’t effect him at all as far as his worth of himself or his worth in the eyes of others. He is thankful and lives that thankfulness everyday. He accepts everything as a part of how life is. That everything happens for a reason. That everything belongs. We have now talked for years and viewed Josey as a great teacher in our house and life.

Josey has a story much like all of ours. He’s been wounded. Life has full of surprises and paths not chosen but accepted. In his teaching it’s like “so this has happened, now what?”. For all of us wounded brothers and sisters, how thankful are we for what remains? Do we view it as enough to create happiness from ? I hope my journey continues here for many more years. Apparently I’ll need them to close out my circle as full as I hope it to be.

I am

I am American. A Southerner and Floridian. I am English, Czech and Indian. I am perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect. Significant beyond measure and yet a speck of sand in the great deserts.

I am lost and found. A believer in the goodness of mankind and scared to death of my own dark possibilities.

A seeker and deep wanderer. Complacent and moved by selfishness.

I am moved by ceremony and many times untouched by beauties and graces that surround me.

I am thankful yet much of my life shows no sign of that.

Many times I can’t say what I mean and I wonder if it’s a lack of command for words or if deep down it’s my heart.

I know there is something bigger than me but can rarely define it.

I am insecure and yet completely comfortable with who I am and the journey I’m on.

I am full of the world. Full of love and many times full of shit. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing the difference.

I am here and I am gone. I reach out and hold close.

I am you and you are me.

Do you know me? Does any of this ring a bell?

Thank you for lending me your ear. I have written this straight and from stream of conciousness. No editing.

Connect Me

It seems to me that our lives are lead by what we think is important. Would you agree? We can say many things, but at any given moment our lives are driven by what we want. That seems to be true from the superficial level all the way down to our core. And what is down there driving us at our core? I read a book many years ago that said absolutely everything we do is a response to either love or fear. I would agree with that and I think everything has a healthy and an unhealthy component to it, kind of like our enneagram numbers.

IMG_3692

This morning I saw a story on a Canadian photographer that has a series on, at first glance, would seem like twins. Except the people are not related at all. He gets tons of emails from people asking him to find their “twin”. Once Asian girl asking so she wouldn’t feel all alone. There it was. The primary motivator for us. Being connected. Don’t we all want to feel connected and in turn be understood? To find our people? Our place?

We are and always have been connecting. Religious groups. Armed Forces, Tribal, Gay/Straight, Cowboy, Surfer, Artist.. Whatever, we are circling around and around trying to connect. As a traditional Navajo belief maintains, everything, absolutely everything is connected. The breeze moving on the wing of a bird, brings scents to a wolf that invokes him to take a path, etc, etc…The circle is never broken.

As I enter into a season of life that is setting up to bring the big changes that aging brings, it makes me think of those connections and what peace comes from them. In my daily prayers, I really try to not ask for anything, but to just feel that connection. That brief breath across my face of the Big Mystery. The Master of Breath. The Presence. The Lakota would say “Mitakuye Oyasin”.. We are all related, connected. And if this is so, why aren’t we treating each other better. Why do Fergusons happen after Selma’s? If we could see how we are all connected and dependent, I .can’t understand how we keep acting the same.

In the photograph, each stone touches the one next to it, to make the circle. If any of the stones are disturbed the entire circle is broken. When the circle is broken , harmony is out of balance. Connectedness is lost, and we feel the effects in our hearts.

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 ?

free speech

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?