Prayer: This Is Just My Way

Morning Prayers

It is said that my Great Grandfather opened his windows in the morning and prayed to the East. While my ritual of reflection or prayer time is not known by those that I knew or by the ones that they knew, I can see the seeds as they fall through the generations. My way would be closer known to the ancients way. As most family lore, the story of my great Grandfather is highly contested. Perhaps it is contested for the very reason my prayer time would be contested. Because it veers away from the tradition that a person feels comfortable in. To me that is one of the great keys to our spirituality: to constantly evolve and push the walls wider and wider to somehow catch a glimpse of the bigger dream.

My prayer time is like walking a symbolic path or labyrinth. As my ancient Muscogee / Catawba people would have done I begin facing east to Grandfather Sun. I listen to the Creator in his many voices of wind, birds and my inner spirit as he reminds me of each new sun, new day, new possibilities. Opportunities to be new again. Then turning South; this is the strength of the day as I am reminded of youth and the drive to bring thoughts to life. Facing West are the voices of reflection, wisdom and satisfaction. It is the sweetest direction for me when I find myself in its harmony. The last of the four is North, where we and everything returns full circle. Thoughts return full circle; acts return full circle; days and lives all have their returning to completion. Finally to be reminded of Father Sky and Mother Earth, before finally acknowledging the last direction with is within. My spirit. This is but one of many facets of the medicine wheel.

The symbolism comes from my choices of earth. The handle is made from shed deer antler. Shed to make way for new life, new circles. The abalone shell is a reminder of my body, my shell and the life it holds. The Hawk feathers because he is one of the highest flying birds, flying closest to the heavens as a messenger. Those feathers fan the sage, cedar and sweet grass that my prayers rise on to the sky.

I get that this might appear strange to many, but really it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter to me how anyone else attempts to connect with what the Muscogee called The Master of Breath. Why should there be only one way? Why should we concern ourselves with another’s path of spirituality. One Creator, many traditions. This is just my way. It’s not meant to be mystical or paint me as a deep thinker, believe me that’s not the case. It is just a way of understanding my path in this world. A way of navigating that makes sense to my spirit. I don’t think of right or wrong, better or worse. I just do what feels right from an honest reflection of something I will never fully grasp nor am I meant to. I am simply meant to experience, that’s all. The Great Mystery !!!

I hope these words ring true for someone out there. I hope it helps to release someone from their spiritual bondage of having to be right. Having to figure God out, and let them just experience. Lastly I hope it casts a simple, gentle light on our human desire to connect with this wonderful, Great Mystery !

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What Happened To The Middle ?

The tragedy at the Sandy Hook School has left us with an ache so deep in our soul that we’re not sure what a recovery looks like. It is a hard shaping of our reality. The are small brush strokes with subtly shape us in a way that we don’t notice until much later. This awful tragedy is an immediate, hard chunk cut from our softest core. Where we crave for answers and none come and questions just bring more questions.

While the tragedy at Newtown has prompted much of these feelings, the world conversations of guns and amendment rights, fiscal cliffs, and so on and so forth have made me ask this question; what has happened to the middle? The middle, the common ground where I really believe most of us live. Are the only choices the ones on the far ends of the spectrums? Is it really “my way or the highway?”. Is it a take my ball and go home world? I don’t think it is. I think most of us in the quieter conversations can see more than just their side.

What has pushed us so far apart from each other? These are serious issues some would say, but really, haven’t they always been. Womens Rights, Slavery, Obortion, Death Penalty, and the list goes on and on. What we humans will do to each other is a deep hurt and simply amazes most of us; and that’s at the hands of people who aren’t in their right mind. What of the sane ones that try to run over everyone else? Ones who would rather scare the hell out of people so their visions of “rightness” will become the way the world lives.

I guess in the end if we are pushed apart and the distance grows and grows then the result will be that we can’t even see each other. If we can’t see then we can’t hear each other. If we can’t hear then we can reach out and touch each other. The closer we live together the less we have to scream at each other. The more we can sit together in this world we share and really try to put our minds together, so we can build a better world for our children. If we don’t we will become a sea of people on opposite ends, mostly manuvered by external input, yelling into the darkness and wondering why it isn’t getting any better.

It is with a heavy heart that these words are typed. Not only for New Town, but for Aurora, and the Mall in Portland. They are typed for the man in Rapid City holding Police off, and for all the painful situations in which we hurt each other. The missing children, the elderly of which some prey on. I pray one day the Master of Breath will shed a light where we can wrap some understanding around this earthly existence. Till then, I hope we can all hold our tounge and wrap our arms around the ones we love. That we somehow drudge up and live with, even if a little at a time, the Golden Rule.

The Beloved Path

I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s. Deep South, Pensacola, Florida. Episcopalian Mother, Assembly of God Grandparents. My Father pretty much walked away from anything religious, be it practice or conversation.

Pop AM radio was my window to the world. Discovered the Beatles just as they broke up. Didn’t matter, bought all the records. The “hippie” movement for lack of better terminology, was quietly ingrained in my spirit. The spirit that said it was not only good to question things of life, but necessary. A spirit that said it was ok to take a different road. Looking back it’s easy for some to poke fun at the “hippie’s”, but aside from the natural missteps that come with pioneering, the spirit of that movement had a good, true heart.

My Maternal side stayed in the North after arriving in this country somewhere around 1631. My Paternal side approximately 1670, making their way through Virginia, North and South Carolina, and into South Alabama. Fear was a part of our spiritual lives. Part of the makeup that laid some of our foundation. While fear was alive, it wasn’t alone. Shame was there too. The Episcopalian side didn’t operate with as much fear, but the falling short brought shame. Pretty lethal combination.

Back to the “hippies” ! While much of my culture thought this new generation was cause for all the worlds ills, my Mother directly and my Father quietly tapped me into a deep belief in the goodness of people. To live and let live. They saw the spirit more than the outward appearance. That it was just a generation asking questions and drawing some lines in the sands of “it’s always been this way- so it’s the way it’s always gonna be”. My folks weren’t hippies by any stretch, but they shared an optimism that things usually work out well. They wanted my sister and I to enjoy the natural gifts of this life. The beauty and simplicity that God has created. Sounds a little commune-ish, doesn’t it !? Sounds like Jesus to me !

I was listened to by my elders. I was given a voice and they were quietly teaching me to use my ears. I don’t really know if this post has a point or if I’m just exercising a few old ghosts that seem to dog my trail from time to time. In the shadows of the upcoming elections, Car dealer ads in the morning, and media in general, it makes me wonder if listening and not just hearing is a part of culture anymore. Is someone else’s point of view honored at all. With the political process it seems like the headlines are something important, you know, those issues are what we want to sink our teeth into, but it all fades away after the last word of the headline. The body of the story is always nonsense. It’s shuck and jive, the old shell game. I wonder where conversation went to; whether it be about Gays, Right to Life, Republican, Democrat, Iran, Korea, Christianity, Native America, the list goes on and on. I really believe if you could sit quietly and talk with people that we’d find we are a hell of a lot closer to each other than we think. It’s the ones, the loud ones that garner TV time that divide us. This isn’t the depth of truth, but meant to be a place where the exchange of thought is made.

As I grow older and move around this beautiful circle of life I am seeing things from an angle that I never even knew existed much less would have believed in. It’s wonderful to listen. It’s a honor, for all of the ones we point fingers at, are all from the same Maker. Muskogee people call it the Beloved Path. They were right , it is. Paths have bridges not walls. Just trying to stay connected to and in harmony with the Creator, the Master of Breath.

Ok, as usual I don’t know how much sense all of that made, but also as usual, I’m not going to edit, and just going to let it slip on out there and hope one line, maybe just one resonates with someone.