Monday, March 31, 2014

Indigenous Self

God is . . . 
In my memoir “God Never Hurries” I wrote:  ...I awoke in the middle of the night.  My room was bright with moonlight.  It called me outside to write.  Downstairs I put on a warm jacket and went out to soak in the heavenly light.  The evergreens were casting deep shadows.  The apple tree and grape vine glowed holy.  I bet I looked pretty good too in that Godly light. 

The air was super still in the cool quiet night.  In the neighbor’s yard a lone cricket found enough warmth to manage a slow chirp.  The barn a couple of blocks away released the smell of cows and hay.  And it seemed I faintly heard traffic on the freeway though it is well over two miles away.

I looked up at my bedroom window and saw Mr. Edison’s incandescent light.  It didn’t look like progress against this holy night.  Early ancestors, and even not so long ago, Native Americans must have had better nourished souls living closer to this Godliness.  I prayed, “Dear God, I know we can’t go back.  So please show us how to nourish our souls in this ever changing world.

Answers to my request on that glorious September night in the late 1990s started coming gradually after I sensed caring for myself was imperative as I struggled with my aging parents care needs.  l began to feel a part of something bigger than myself when on ritual walks in nature where I would find solace in reflection and found answers to some of my troubles.  Those walks helped me sort out what being human means, and to better understand how inextricably life is linked to the many small and big deaths we encounter on our journey.  Our ancestors had hands on experience with so much in nature which must have brought them closer to the living and dying experiences from which our modern, compartmentalized lives, seems to separate us from. 

I made the prayer feathers pictured above at a Women Gathering retreat given through Way of the Willow last August.  (See August 5, 2013 blog post titled “My Spider” and what my totem animal came to teach me.)  On the mornings I remember to hold my feathers and face each of the four directions and pray my day goes so much better.  Facing east, the place of Illumination, I thank the Great Spirit for what has been shown me, and ask for more.  Facing south, the place of Trust, I give gratitude for what trust has taught me and pray for more.  Facing west, the place of Introspection, I am thankful for what reflecting has brought me, and ask to go deeper.  Facing north, the place of Wisdom, I am thankful for what wisdom has come to me over the years, pray for more, and ask that it always be balanced with heart.  I close my prayer at each direction with a request, “Help me know what to let go of today, help me know what to embrace.”  Way of the Willow also just held a day of reflection on the Meaning of Mortality (see link to the program’s opening video, The Meaning of Death).  There I was able to share the annual Pre-funeral Luncheon I wrote about in my January 6, 2014 blog about old friends getting together to share what is important to them and to wink at death.  And then I had a rare opportunity this past weekend when my children, grandchildren and I were all in the van together to tell them about the green burial workshop I attend recently and learned about options for in-home care of the dying and the dead, and a new, even more environmentally sensitive option to cremation, the resomation process.  And I am thinking now, maybe I am becoming a budding indigenous grandma.

What if we all found ways to touch our indigenous selves?                   

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