Holy as a Handshake

It is a profound truth to me and one that has been circling in my mind for years, I just never found a way to say it as clear. I was talking with a friend the other day on this very subject. We were saying how, we as a human family tend to think of receiving something holy, only from God. In ways we are correct but I think where we mislead ourselves is thinking ‘holy moments’ only happen in church or when praying, or when talking to or about God. If the Bible is correct in this narrative when it says that God “is the alpha and the omega”, then to me that means the Creator is in everything, everywhere, all the time. And that all moments are holy.
If you give a Native American a cigarette it can just be a cigarette, but if you give him cigarettes or tobacco as a gift, then it becomes something holy. It’s the intention to which we act or receive. It’s how much we are paying attention to life; To the beautiful moments. How many of us are so struck by the rise of a new day that we stop and give thanks? New life, our pets, our elders, all offer wonderful opportunities for holy moments. Life has wonderful textures of scents and feels, all offering glimpses of the Maker, of God, of Wakan Tanka, of the Great Mystery!
I tend to find holy moments upon reflection or see them as so in a memory. I’m trying hard to recognize living in the moment, and finding holiness in those moments. Every human connection to other humans, to plant and animal life are holy. Every breath is holy and I should find thanks in every one of them. That sounds kinda crazy, right? That would mean I’d really have to pay attention ! Maybe I’m full of it, maybe some things are holy and some are not. What do you think?

Reading List: Neither Wolf Nor Dog

Do you have any books that you re read often? Maybe it’s a seasonal read. Like my friend Paul says, “these books are my friends, why wouldn’t I want to visit them often”. There is a book by Kent Nerburn called “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”, that reconnects me to a very grounded thought process; a connection to the things in life that really matter. It’s a beautiful view into a way of living in this world in a way that our culture doesn’t really embrace or teach. I think our children are missing out on these lessons and views.

So at least annually I travel the back roads of Indian Land with Nerburn, Dan and Grover. I listen in on their conversations, and the range of emotions swing high and dip low and close to home and heart. Reminders of how the late comers treated the Indigenous peoples of this land bring pain and embarrassment. The elder in this story, Dan, speaks very direct, but in the end he is looking into a person’s heart, all in hopes of helping his people navigate the rough terrain of living between two cultures. Dan speaks to the wannabe Indians, which make up a large portion of the readership of this book. Those of us with Indian blood, the ones that feel we truly feel a connection with that culture, are no matter whatever percentage of blood, are wannabes. Unless you were raised in that culture, fighting and struggling,  against the ever-present prejudices in our world, then it’s honestly hard to speak to it. All the rest of us with good hearts can really do is to draw attention to the continual problems.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog is a true gem and world chalk full of zirconium. It reminds us some things that are simply the truth. The connection to the land. You can call it your Mother or if you are more comfortable just knowing it is our provider then that’s fine. But as we spiral into a vortex of stuff, i phones, computers, Facebook, zip codes, vacation homes, and all of the other things that separate us or medicate us, we need to re remember some basic truths. Many truths are found in simpler things, like the land. It’s found in quiet moments with the ones we love, sitting with the garage door open as a thunderstorm moves across the sky or listening, really listening to someones heart.

Give this book a try, it may open your eyes to things that you didn’t know existed. There may be a unsettledness in your spirit that you can’t even identify, that some simple, clear words could help. Maybe that’s why I read and re read Kent Nerburn’s “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”. This book could become an old friend !

Reading List: The Wolf at Twilight

For those of you that read Kent Nerburn’s great and now classic book, Neither Wolf Nor Dog”, the ride continues with Lakota elder Dan on the back roads of Indian land.

“The Wolf At Twilight” has Nerburn returning to the Pine Ridge Reservation at the request of Dan to help him find his sister. Problem is, he hasn’t seen or heard from her in about 80 years, since she was abducted and sent off to boarding school.

So we travel on with Dan, Grover, and Nerburn, learning about Indian culture, as well as the despicable acts committed by the U.S. government as well as the church.

What I marvel most about Dan is his constant connection with God. In every breath the Creator is present. While that’s true for all of us, Dan is aware of it!

Through that awareness comes his thankfulness. His reverence.

In the end of all things, Dan is looking for all cultures to connect and respect each other under the Creators spirit. Dan believed that God gave every culture a specific gift; a way of understanding and interpreting Him. In that, we should reach out to other cultures to learn more about the One God that created all of us.

Indian culture has been largely forgotten in our culture. Sure they are remembered with painted horses and war bonnets. They are remembered for Tipis and eloquent speeches, but they are rarely thought of a present day people. People with ipods, t shirt and jeans, sending children off to school. They are largely though of as charactures.

If non Indian cultures are ever to grow to their full potential and receive the gifts the Creator gave to Indian then they must be seen as real people. People of today. To do that in part we will have to face the atrocities that were committed, but atrocities that we can’t reverse. We can’t give back their land. We’d have to give back the entire United States! My people, the Lower Creeks, were here thousands of years before Don Tristan DeLuna “discovered” the area now known as Pensacola. So what can we do? We can open our hearts and minds to their culture. Allow their voices to be heard and say a prayer for the way they have been treated and continue to be treated. Make no mistake, it is still going on. Once the government wanted their land and now they want what’s under their land, the uranium.

Ok, this post is about Nerburn’s great book, The Wolf At Twilight. If you haven’t read “Neither Wolf Nor Dog”, then you are in a wonderful place as you have two books that will warm your heart, bring a tear, and help you see the wonder of the Creator in beautiful new ways.