Tips to Myself

I’m in a season now where I think about things I wouldn’t have in the past. Like health, longevity, time, and what I’ll leave in the hearts and souls of my children, family and friends. Here is a quick list of things I’m pretty sure of ! Not an exhaustive list for sure but also not a bad place for me to begin. This is my list, but I’m hopeful something in there will be a reflective point for you as well. Tips and daily reminders to myself. I really need them !

*The fewer keys on your key ring the happier you’ll be

*Music, art and athletics have done more to bring the world together and bridge gaps than any government or religion- Thanks in part to my friend Paul

*Don’t take yourself so seriously !

*If man weren’t progressive then we wouldn’t have the wheel or air condition. I’m comforted by progression

*Don’t be an asshole- Thanks Willie Nelson

*Live barefoot as much as possible

*Definitions or describing something can never touch the experience of something

*Keep wonder alive

*There’s always another way to do something….your way ! Thanks Waylon Jennings

*The Creator is and  has always been inside you

*Remember the ones that say they have all the answers on something, rarely do

*Man is just a part of the circle. Not the top of anything

*Be intentional

*Celebrate those who dance. Those of us that don’t are simply jealous- Thanks Tamra

*Be good to yourself…..Aloha

 

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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

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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.

Rollin’ Down The Back Roads -Tennessee

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The back roads of middle Tennessee are especially beautiful in late spring. Everything is lush fueled by big May rains. Plants, bushes and trees poised and ready for the dry, hot, take no prisoner, summer sun of the South.
Traveling on roads like Leipers Fork and Bear Creek road, twisting turning two lanes snaking through ancient lands. Riding with an old friend from Pensacola, and enjoying extensions of the same conversations we’ve had for 25 some odd years now. Sometimes riding in silence for miles, until I hear my friend say “turn here, I wanna see what’s up that road”. Off we go into someone else’s world, peeking into their lives a little but telling us more about our own unquenchable thirst for connection.
Fairview, Santa Fe with a long E, Carters Creek Pike, cattle, long gravel driveways, steelbelts hummin’ on the asphalt as Steve Earle would say ! This is my hometown, American back roads. I know these people, farmers, preachers and warehouse workers. The ones that don’t have it all, the ones that aren’t quite up to snuff on having everything the advertisers say you have to have to be happy!

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We drive on, stop at a few markets in between Country songs, put our feet on the ground hear the screen door slap and a slow friendly “howdy” comin’ from inside. Old friends on old roads, traveling, sharing life, sharing Creation. Sharing the things that hold us together.

Harpeth River, Caney Fork Road, leaning tobacco barns, cemeteries in the afternoon shade. Jo’s Kut n Kurl, Tommy’s Tune-em shop. John Deere mailboxes and one room church houses. A glimpse to a past that some don’t remember and most try to forget. It’s heartland, it’s the backbone. The ones to count on, the ones that remember who they are.

I wish were cruisin’ in a big ole Jim T kinda ragtop Cadillac, feeling it sail over these roads like it was meant for them and them alone. But still we are taking whatever turn looks interesting and wandering. We are free. Free of clocks, free of all that we seek to be free from.
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A few hours into our little journey, we head east, looking for the signs of home. It will be good to be there and share our stories. It is good to have another set of experiences to laugh about. It’s good to have friends and good to be a friend.

So Long Mayberry

I’m puttering around my little office room. It’s late in the evening, and I’m attempting to organize the ever growing stacks of papers that contain my family’s heritage. Folders, Binders, Family groups, Census reports, well they just seem to grow and multiply.

Anyway, Jack Johnson was singing thru my ipod, and the line I’ve heard a thousand times kind of hit me…”There were so fewer questions when stars were still just the holes to heaven”. This thought has been rummaging around in my mind for years now I assume. Maybe since I was a child. It seems those of us that are questioners have been that way forever. I want to try and shake out just a little of that in this post.

I can’t seem to embrace my Grandparents beliefs. Some I can but there is a larger part that I can’t. I try and believe me I have a deep respect for the way their faith governed their lives. I have a deep respect for anyone who is trying to live their lives connecting and honoring the Big Mystery. I don’t think I’m deeper or smarter, I’m simply asking the questions that live in my soul. My deepest belief is probably that the Creator honors that humble journey.

It doesn’t matter if your Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or Native American, there are folks that are geared to follow the traditions of their faith, some to the letter. Now if I’m being honest here, I’d have to say that yes, I believe some are lazy. They just take whatever answer that was handed down and adapt it as their own. There’s a world of difference, if they’ve taken what was handed, looked at it, run it through their own personal filters, lived it and still stayed there. To me that’s an honest, honoring faith.

But then there is the rest of us, the agitators ! Then ones who may never find that peace. Oh we may get the sweet hint of a taste from time to time, but we may never rest in it as we keep up the process of examining and questioning. It’s not a choice, it’s just our nature. Always seeking, always peeling yet another layer.

Since I was little, I have been a huge Andy Griffith fan. The characters and spirit of that T.V. show surely shaped my outlook on life. Everything was simple and people were generally good. Those are two things I follow, simplicity and the belief that people are good. Then comes 911. Innocence lost, a new view. A new way of being in the world. A sadness and the inability to go back. Mayberry was lost. I couldn’t watch it for a long time, I couldn’t find that peace in my spirit to open up to it’s simplicity and love.

So it may be with my journey. Once you question and once those answers no longer hold the water they once did, there is simply no going back. When people smile that smile when hearing that some Native cultures believe that the earth came from the rising of the Turtles back, well do they smile the same smile when they hear about Noah’s Ark? That fable told to teach, seems as hard to believe to me.

But it’s all gonna be Ok. The journey of life spirals closer to God, then further, then closer again. I still have wonder as I sprial closer to this Creation. Sometimes I think we have to say so long to Mayberry to be able to say hello again down the line ! I think I am better off when I’m just sitting in the unknowing, not trying to have the answers, honoring this Big Mystery, by just being and by knowing I’m loved perfectly. That should be enough and tonight as I close, it is .

A DOGS LIFE

When I was younger I thought God should have made it to where the older our pets got, the less attached to them we were. The pain of losing a longtime pet is incredibly difficult. They are family, plain and simple. But God had bigger plans for us as He usually does and he knows we grow and get closer to Him and all that’s real, when we are uncomfortable. When we hurt. When we simply have no answers. That, and as hard as it is for us Western thinking folk, pain can be used for good and growth if we let it. Maybe it would remind us of the journey with everything including our life with animals.

I’m often jealous of our Dogs lives. Other than being told what to do alot of the time, they have it pretty darn good. As I was looking through our I Photo the other day I noticed how many pictures of our dogs were right there along side the kids and friends. That’s just how it should be.

My son Dylan and his dog, Dakota

Our dog, Josey goes to work with me everyday and I think as many customers come to see him as to look at the store. He is the best ice breaker in the world.

They should be honored for what they are. A wonderful part of creation and a wonderful part of our lives.