If we can but be large enough of heart and mind for a time

Flower with Human Hat!
Oh—there are so many things I want to know
but today I am moved with a fear
and so my curiosity is small and narrow
I want to know—How can a man,
any man or woman for that matter
be large enough of spirit and mind
releasing a lifetime of cultural acquisition and hoarding
letting go and dropping one’s own precious stories of identity
long enough to see the world through the soul and eyes of another?
Especially, in my case, on this sacred journey
into the Native American Northern Cheyenne Territory
to be asked to record the stories—
the ancestral genealogy of a traditional Tribal Elder
The children need help he says
they have forgotten who they are and where they come from
who they can be
He is a man whose Grandfathers fought
alongside the likes of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse
wiping ignorant and arrogant US Army butts alike
at the Battle of Greasy Grass*
A man whose proud family fled internment*
in foreign Oklahoma lands
in the middle of winter on foot
and with women and children for weeks
eluding capture across the plains of Kansas and Nebraska until
Only to be weakened and starving and jailed in Fort Robinson*
in freezing temperatures and denied
access to wood for heat and food for hunger and water for thirst
breaking out in desperation and courage
risking death for homelands of the heart
longing for a world of roaming free again
under an ocean of stars
and dreaming of Buffalo hunts from the backs of flying horses
and the gathering from soil of herbs and plants for food and medicine
for nourishing an indigenous reciprocity of prayer and gratitude
This son of Evangelical Fundamentalist lineage
with pale skinned grandparents of old pioneering
settling in newly opened and free for the homesteading
land in Indian Territory for the taking
sod busters desperate and brave and hard working claiming
God’s given birthrights of superiority over and from
inferior peoples and an earth created for their use and abuse
even as their loving God above used and abused them
for the pleasures of his own insecure divinity
a god needing adoration and servitude from lowly two-leggeds
Ah, but we are a traumatized people—All
And learning to see the wounds
to tenderly hold this diversity of our being
of our wounding of separation-from-belonging and worth
to bring compassion and understanding and love
to the exiled and denied and interned forbidden selves within…
the lonely and cold and hungry and thirsty ones we deem inferior
perhaps then we shall see and know
the eyes and hearts of our brothers and sisters are our own too
potential senses and experiences of intelligence and insight and wisdom
if we can but be large enough
of heart and mind for a time
No wonder I wake
with excitement and fear in my heart today
not knowing the shapes of transformation I will be invited into
for no man or woman can allow themselves to see through the eyes of another
and not be in-formed and changed
whether that other wears skin of colors not his own
or if the other walks on fours or crawls or slithers or flies or swims
or wears feathers or petals of flowers or pelts borrowed for a time from the rainbow
Notes:
*Battle of Greasy Grass more commonly known as Battle of Little Big Horn, or as Custer’s Last Stand
*Fort Robinson Massacre

5 Comments

  1. Sheelah

    08/07/2018 at 2:00 pm

    the red-ness of your blood, his blood, her blood, my blood , our blood,, this bloody-ness of human free choice life ,, in that Breath of god , the Breath that Breathes each one ,, each one miracle of creation in Divine’s own image created ,,, there, in one Heart, one Light Mind,, One Turning Burning Diamond,, is Love,, each Heart Beat Dancing New Patterns of Love in to Existence We Are constantly Creating A-new , eternal Mystery. You are that, He is that. I AM that. all of it. all the motes of Star Stuff will someday Be Light once more… breath at a time,, honoring at a time.. listening at a time. Tears, at a time. my tears are with you, all of you, all of he and we. Beauty all around you, Beloveds. Beauty, all around you.

  2. Robin Easton

    08/07/2018 at 5:09 pm

    “No wonder I wake
    with excitement and fear in my heart today
    not knowing the shapes of transformation I will be invited into
    for no man or woman can allow themselves to see through the eyes of another
    and not be in-formed and changed”
    Oh Larry, I am in tears from reading this. You are SO beautiful and I FEEL it all so deeply that of course tears spring to my eyes. How could they not. I am in love with the depth that you “go into” in yourself to undertake this “Listening” of ancient tribal stories. It reminds me of a some kind of soul cleansing or ritual that one might to do empty themselves in preparation of receiving. YOU are the prefect person to do this. I know that some “Listening” can be hard, even painful, but your heart is soft and malleable, gentle, open and capable of embracing so much Ancient Truth. It’s who you ARE. You are OF this truth, you are now (and maybe already were) part of these stories….your soul was called to this….the path you’ve chosen to walk entwines you in these Tribal stories and People. Oh my word, more tears, dear friend.
    Another part of this that ripped into me was….as dear Sheelah says, “I AM that, all of that.” (Thank you, utterly beautiful, blessed Sheelah.) Yes,the days of feeling Separation are long, long gone for me. Even before I shed those shackles in the rainforest I never fit into “Separation Thinking.” As a child “Separation-ism” terrified me, left me in cold-sweat terror. I was already SO “Merged With” that I was never successful at “Sepration.” —–And in my blood dance the souls of my Mi’kmaq Indian ancestors chanting “Tugwiet, tugwiet” (Awaken, awaken), and the ancestral souls of Jews who warn me of the “dark dangers” in turning a blind eye, and my Scottish/ German ancestors of Europe who tell me not to make mistakes they made, never hold dominion over ANY Life, including water, air, rock, Earth, and all Life. Never. Lay bare and humble upon the Earth. —–On some dark nights both the trauma and the deep wisdom of these souls haunts me, cellular memory surfacing….not my own firsthand experience, but nonetheless real. I am it All…. More tears. Thank you SO much, Larry, more than I can express.

  3. Chetslover Linett

    08/08/2018 at 3:47 pm

    Powerful to experience someone else’s stories. What a gift for you both! Are the children listening while he shares with you? I wonder if they’d like to hear your stories too….

  4. Jim Wert

    08/16/2018 at 11:40 pm

    So deep and real!!! Beautiful brother! And of course, Robin!!! How do we decolonize our minds, how do we decolonize the institutions and land, all over the world and especially here in the land of the expansion of Empire, known as Manifest Destiny!??! An immigrant culture that thinks itself native and English is thought to be native and not an immigrant language. How do we reconcile the notion that language arises from a specific place and informs us of and is informed by the spirits and the land, flora, and fauna of that place with the idea that there is no separation and differences in language serve to separate? How do treat the way older, more earthy, oral cultures see themselves, and the world in contrast to literate cultures who have lost depth?

  5. Larry Glover

    01/05/2019 at 6:26 pm

    I love your profound questions, Jim. They are the kind of questions to be lived into… allowed to rumble around inside one’s soul the way thunder can tumble and rumble around a landscape for a long time… rumbling yet more just when you thought perhaps it was done. Your questions invite us, me, to come alive with openness into perceiving and inquiry… the courage of willingness to listen… and to be moved and transformed. Thank you.

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