Many Voices

Upon following Native news and especially the situation and devastation at Standing Rock, I’ve written this lyric as a partial response. Music to follow. Aho

Many Voices

We are the Native skin-  your long forgotten kin

But brothers to the four winds that blow- Navajo

 

We’ve come to share a word- one we’ve said but not been heard

And the time is now to listen and see- Shawnee

 

Our earth is crying out- as she shakes and shouts

There’s no doubt- you know this is true – Standing Rock Sioux

 

We all have to stand together- hand n’ hand here forever

To save what you seem determined to kill

The wind and the water and every flower on the hill

 

Tomorrow is paid for by today- so we must choose the better way

This is what our old ones say and the wisdom of the age- Ojibway

 

She’s been too long in her tears- ravaged by your money and the years

And we fear soon she will just let go- Arapaho

 

We must teach our children to listen- to the voice that’s been missing

It’s the one that’s true and can’t be sold- Seminole

RPT Chorus

Bridge

Come on brother Choctaw- come on brother Kickapoo

Muscogee and Cheyenne

For the children we must protect the land

Repeat Chorus

Journey on

I used to have a distant thought that there were two events that really connected us as humans. We were all born and we all must pass. The “dash on the tombstone dates” as Kevin Welch calls it, is where we all went our own way. While some similarities and parallel roads occurred, we didn’t reconvene on the big stuff till the end.

Now I’m beginning to shape the idea that while it looks different for us all, the “dash” is the thread that connects those two events for us as individuals of course but also as the family of man. The children of one Creator/ Creation.

I think that “thread” is answering in our spirits, the questions of the big mystery, or thinking we need to have the answer. When Richard Rohr talks about the impossibility of successful dualism, I think of how we understand it in our minds but our hearts refuse to get on board. But our heart, our spirit, is the Creator talking and in that there is no duality. The duality comes from the Creator, our spirit wanting us to progress and grow but our humanity, our culture, religion, fear and shame tell us we don’t really deserve it.

Those that dare to step into the dance of the unknown, to trust the Creator have never said they have all the answers. In reality the deeper they step into the unknown it’s understood that answers aren’t the interesting part. Answers are no longer the desire. Reality and connection, then relationship comes from the journey. The ebb and flow, the tides of the spiral. That’s where the meat is.

If not having the answers keeps us questioning and trying to connect everyday then that is a much better spirituality than thinking you have the answers. Because if you do think you have the answers, then the tendency is to camp out there and also to begin telling others what the answers are. Even reading that back to myself seems ludicrous, yet we all have participated in that. But hopefully we will trust that the Creator is bigger than religion, bigger than culture and that answers were never meant to be the goal.

If you don’t agree and you want to hold onto your traditions as though they are the holy part, then that’s fine. I just hope you give others the grace to hold onto what they feel in their hearts is the breath of the divine. If you get too far away from your brothers and sisters you will only see what separates you, not the thread of hunger to connect with the wonder and holy that lives in all of us.

Many Native people believe that those closest to the Creator are the infants that just came from God and the old ones who are about to return. They have a peace about them. I hope I can live in that peace with enough time to enjoy it and for my children to see it.

Peace to you all. Aho

 

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.

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.

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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.

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

sage

 

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