Archives for September 2016

Tonight I Danced Alone

BRAND_BIO_Bio-Shorts_Harriet-Tubman-Mini-Biography_0_172241_SF_HD_768x432-16x9One of the things I’ve been working on lately is having the courage to do things alone.  I am in awe of Harriet Tubman who went alone down into the south where she risked being re-enslaved, or murdered, to rescue people. Alone.

Sometimes some command to do something wells up in me, but I tamp it down, afraid.  I always want someone to do it with me as if that gives me permission. When I think about it rationally, I think, how stupid to let the fear of what others might say keep me from doing something courageous that’s needed. But I do. I think the fear of condemnation by others far outweighs any fear for my physical wellbeing.

Last night I went to a vigil for a shelter-less man, Roberto, who died in the doorway of the old UHaul Rental store just a few blocks from my house.  It was a good experience with neighbors.

Two men who had been his friends came a little bit into the vigil with candles and faces engraved with grief. They were day laborers and talked about how hard it had been for Roberto working only one or two days a week. How hard it had been for Roberto — and I knew they were also speaking about how hard it is for them. They said much more in Spanish and some of it was translated by someone there, but much wasn’t.

Two different men played Indian flutes, one Navajo flute and one a Mayan flute with a drone.

When the first man started playing the flute (such a perfect instrument, a perfect sound for this vigil in front of an empty car rental store, on a busy city street), I found my body demanding to dance on behalf of Roberto, and all the other Robertos. My whole body wanted to move and I felt no need to silence it. I tried to move to the back of the group where there was space, but I was penned in, leaning against the wall right next to the flute player, who didn’t want to move out in front of the group. Nor did I have any desire to dance in front of the group. Just to dance. A demanding, overwhelming urge.

The two friends stayed in the middle, facing the shrine, where they belonged. Our silence, the music, was as much for them as it was for Roberto.

I closed my eyes and the flow came, empty of words. My hands moved, the rest of me anchored to the wall. I sank into some other place letting my arms flow with the need, with the music, with some kind of bodily awareness of the needs of these men. A kind of oneness with… something… happened.

When I opened my eyes one of the two friends was crying.  I thought that he was crying for Roberto, and maybe also for himself.

I feel like I’ve graduated in some way. Moved into a space where I can feel what I feel, let flow through me … something … and do what I do without worrying about what others think. Truly give the gift on behalf of this man and all shelter-less people everywhere.  And it was good.

Tonight I danced alone. I didn’t risk my life freeing slaves. Not yet. But I danced alone letting go of all the self-consciousness. I danced for the man who died and for all the shelter-less people who die alone. And it was good.

 

“We Are the Protectors of the Water”

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We are the Protectors of the Water

This morning I watched a beautiful video explaining that the women of the Standing Rock Sioux are the keepers of the water and so they are not “protestors”, but “protectors”.  As I watch this “standing up” for the water happening in the Dakotas I am particularly engaged because, a year or two ago, as I wrote the Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet, it became clear to me that one of the main characters, Yameno, a native Uhsean (Are you wondering who the country of Uhs might be?) would have to be the protector of the sacred waters and lead the indigenous people from all over the earth to save the waters.

I don’t feel like some of these ideas (in the book) or even some of the writing really comes from me, but through me.  Of course, the idea of the indigenous people being the protectors of the water has been around for a long time and certainly my understanding of that was in my brain cells somewhere.  But still, I love the way different ways of thinking or acting seem to emerge from many points on the planet at the same time.  We are emerging, growing, changing, becoming more one with the earth, with each other, with the Dance of Life – in Earth Woman Tree Woman called the Tsin Twei.

The humans in the book take on other forms when they visit Ninas Twei, the land of the Dance of Life.  Some take on the form of animals, others, mythological characters.  Yameno becomes a wolf.

A quote from the fourth book:

“Water,” cried Tata. “Yameno Wellkeeper, the tree must have water.”
“We are coming,” called Yameno, and the Tree Woman gripped his back as he leapt into the air.

      I am the wild, the freeborn, earth traveler!
     My soul singing touches the moon and the sun.
     I am the herald, the seeker, the messenger.
     I bear the song for those seeking the One.
     I am the hunter, the knower, the lover.
     My voice like a spear pierces deep in the night.
     I am the lone, the many, the mirror.
     My call is like lightning, jagged and bright!

Out of the mists came hundreds of wolves and cougars, swans, coyotes, squirrels, snakes, elk, and eagles, surrounding the Wolf and the Earth Woman Tree Woman.

      We are the wild, the wild,
               freeborn, earth travelers –
         soul singing, earth travelers –
               touching the moon and the sun.
         We are the commune, the sharers,
               the lovers,
         joining together, ever seeking the One.

It’s his nation, Tree Woman realized, the people of his village who have come here countless times over the years. And more… The sound of a thousand drumming circles throbbed through the air as Yameno sang – the indigenous peoples woven into the land of the Americas and all the lands of the earth, drumming and chanting, their feet pounding the ground. Hi, ya! Hi, ya! they called.