And so…

Posted in Autumn, dreams, Forgiveness, Healing, Initiation, Medicine Wheel, poetry on November 9, 2016 by Standing West

We get the government we deserve…

It is decades of greed, arrogance, fear mongering, laziness, stubbornness, bigotry, Jingoism,unbridled Nationalism, and our refusal to play a larger role in our own governance that have led us to this place.

And now that we’re here, what will we do? Will we, as a people hunker down and learn the hard lessons? Will we wake up? Become more politically involved? Learn the power of protest? Change the system that spawned this entire affair? Will we look deeply into the soul of this country and pray for the courage to admit and accept the sickness there? Will we do whatever is necessary to bring about its healing?

Or will we continue on same as before: asses glued to couches and bar stools; bitching about how “the system is rigged” and how “we can’t change anything…”

All the while ignoring the fact that WE are the ones who’ve allowed this to happen.

And yet a soft rain falls. Grackles and starlings peck the earth for a last few seeds before the first snows come. The rain feeds us. Washes away the dust of what came before. It brings life, and assures us green…in time.

We stand in the place of work and responsibility. The time of gathering in what we have sewn.  Soon we will eat of it; letting it carry us through the long dark of winter.

We’ll sleep in our thoughts and plan for spring.

But what will we do when the snow melts and the rivers flow again?

Medicine…

Posted in ceremony, Healing, prayer, Spirituality on August 5, 2016 by Standing West

Relaxing after a good week’s work; flanked on either side by a sleepy house cat.  Had a nice fire last night, and we’re off to see Star Trek later this afternoon.

Taking care of the spirit by tending the physical.

“Honor your vices,” a teacher once told me, “because this work is so hard.”

Who am I to argue with my Elders?

So often on the path to healing there’s the urge to chuck everything that isn’t “spiritual.”  But when it really starts to click – and things begin to align – we come to realize that there is no separation; and something as simple as a cup of coffee or an afternoon of cleaning out the garage becomes good medicine.

We make a little space by getting rid of the things that no longer serve us.  We take some time to cultivate the things that do.  We go looking for things to get rid of and find only  vague outlines in the dust on an otherwise empty shelf where once they were kept. . .

 

A good day’s work…

Posted in gardening, gratitude, Spirituality, sweat lodge, yard work on April 14, 2016 by Standing West

Canvas tarp cleaned and patched,  blankets washed, rose bush planted, yard mulched, fence posts chain-sawed and chucked, post office run complete….It’s been a productive day.

Guess I’ll back up to the tarp and blankets for a minute.  Yesterday I went to Maryland to do some yardwork for Grandmother Martha, the widow of Grandfather Eddie, our Elder who recently walked on.  After I weed-whacked the Medicine Wheel, I fired up the walk-behind and the cable that engages the cutting-blade snapped.

I looked around for something else to work on and saw that the sweat lodge had partially collapsed.  I talked with Grandmother about the lodge and she said she’d rather I laid it to rest privately. Rather than recount the ceremony, I’ll just say that the tarp and blankets came from Eddie’s sweat lodge and will serve as the covering and doors of the healing lodge we’re putting up in the backyard later this year.

Finances have been a bit dodgy since leaving my day job, but Spirit always seems to provide what’s needed.  Unexpected tax refund, tarp and blankets for the lodge; these are just a couple of examples.

My hands are dirty from pulling weeds as I type this.  The need to write came upon me unexpectedly; sort of a “Eureka!” moment, and so I went with it.  There’ve been a lot of those lately.  It’s good to get off my ass and hit the keys again…

So…life stuff…

Posted in gratitude, Healing, prayer, Spirituality on April 8, 2016 by Standing West

I’ve been spending a lot more time outside lately.  Replaced some old fence panels, and set up a small grape arbor.  Mulched and weeded.  Cleaned up the herb bed, and fine-tuned the Sweetgum tree in the front yard.

It’s taken a little while for me to fall into this lifestyle – or perhaps just to realize that I’ve fallen into it.

Sometimes the tightrope seems as wide as a two-lane; sometimes it’s narrow as a thread.  But truth be told, it’s wonderful being here.  I’ve let go of some things, and glimpsed the depths of my faith.

There’s been sadness along the way. We recently lost an Elder (the man who taught me most about the sweat lodge and the sacred pipe; and married us in the Medicine Wheel on his property).  We loved him dearly, and came to look upon him and his wife as our parents.  We’ve dealt with family health issues and the challenges of our own spiritual work; but there’s also been some joy bubbling up between the cracks.

In short, it’s been a time of moving balance.

If I say that my prayers have been answered, that would imply that I’ve imposed an outcome upon the things I’ve prayed for.  Instead, let me just say that allowing things to be as they are and being grateful for that has taught me how to become a contented man.

My teacher asked me something the other day that blew me out of the water.  Towards the end of our session, he sat back in his chair with a grin on his face and said, “Are you really ready to let go completely, or do you need a bigger God?”  After I chewed on the question a bit, I heard myself answer, “Yeah…” as if something deep within me had already resigned itself to the prospect.

Doors have closed, and doors have opened.  I’m certain of little other than the fact that they’re not the last to do so. Regrets have vanished like smoke on a morning breeze.  And the earth feels cold but yielding in my hands.

Although recent weather may try to fool us into believing otherwise, green things stir from their slumber in the soil.  They push their curious faces skyward, perhaps shivering a bit, and stretch to greet the sunlight of another season…

Yo, Lazarus!

Posted in Compassion, Forgiveness, Healing, Initiation on February 12, 2016 by Standing West

Well, after nearly 4 weeks down with what had to be the worst head cold I’ve ever been hit with, I’m finally back on the beam. I’ll be the second to admit I can be a sonofabitch of the first order when I’m under the weather (second, that is, after everyone who knows me!)

Felt pretty damn good to be able to throw some iron around this morning without feeling like Meatloaf after a back-flip.

From what I’ve heard from other people who’ve had this thing, it’s a real beast. Nothing you can do but lay low, whack it with your remedy of choice, and ride it out; which, typically, I’m only good at for about two days before I start acting like a shithouse rat.

The lesson here – for me, anyway – is to learn to become a patient patient; bed down when I need to and let my body take care of itself.

Hope I learn that before I’m wearing six feet of earth as a blanket…

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