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

 

Be Good To One Another

Fear brings out some interesting emotions in us all. Organized religion has known this for a long time and has had a pretty good handle on how to make it work for them.

Perhaps we all respond to stimuli the way our natural DNA tells us to. Some has to be cultural, but I think our gut reaction is from our spirit and how we relate to the world.

With the grief and sadness over the recent attacks in Paris and other global points, it has been interesting to see the responses on social media as well as National media. A portion of my belief has real frustration with the news and the bombarding and continuous pounding of points that they want to make. All the more frustrating when they don’t have all the facts, but they continue to repeat those points, and then the fire is started and everyone runs off half cocked on social media.

As a country I wish our heart was in to a crisis as much as our heads were. It seems we are in a host of places that we don’t need to be or at least at that point.  We don’t have to be the worlds savior and it’s healthier for everyone for those that can take care of their own problems, do so.

I’m all for thinking globally and helping others out, but some of it just isn’t our business. I’m not much of a political thinker. I try, but the more I seek the less I seem to know or believe.

That being said I have my own difficulties personally even trying to lace up my faith and my humanness in close proximity. At the heart of the worlds major religions, from my Muscogee faith and my journey with Christ, to all the others, love, peace, balance and harmony are the tenants. Man has done and continues to do horrible things to his fellow brothers and sisters and my gut reactions are not pretty. But then I look at a statue of Buddha or Christ, or Black Elk, and the tension amps up quite a bit.

As I face East every morning with sage and feathers for morning prayers, all I can do is try to connect with the Creator and be thankful. I hope whomever you pray to , you are asking for much of the same thing. And that we all try to lace up our faith with our humanness to somehow resemble a single mind and heart for peace.

Aho and Amen! be good to one another

Music for the writing of this blog post was Bob Dylans, ” Everything is broken”, “God on our side” and “Change my way of thinking”

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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 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.

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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 !