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Patience and Purpose

Two references from the book, The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder’s Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows, by Kent Nerburn (with thanks to friend Kathy Jourdain for loaning me the book).

What I like in these is the possibility that arrises as I/we come into listening and feeling the many forms of energy and intelligence in the world. And the power in simplicity.

First, as told about Wapasha, a Sioux Indian Chief, “…, if you keep your mouth shut and watch the world around you, maybe in your life you will have one idea that will be of service to your people.”

Second, as told about Leonardo da Vinci, “One day a man came to watch him work on a painting he was doing of Jesus and his disciples. The man sat there all day, and Leonardo only made one stroke the whole time. ‘You stood there all day and only made one stroke,’ the man said. Leonardo looked at him. ‘Yeah, but it was the right stroke.’”

A few other notions / passages that I loved in this book, and that have me thinking back to some of the Navajo and Athabascan people I’ve worked with, and their perspectives on wholeness.

-“All young men thing they are strong. But something happens to them when they go off to the white man’s world. They go thinking about their people, but they come back thinking only of themselves.”

-“White man’s medicine is okay for sickness in the body. But it can’t do anything about a sick spirit. It’s good for curing, but it isn’t any good for healing.”

-“We didn’t take over anyone’s land because we wanted it. We were pushed onto it by all the damn boat people from Europe filling up the east and pushing us west. We didn’t try to take other people’s land. Stealing other people’s land is a white man’s invention…. I’m not say any of this is your fault or even that your grandparents did any of it. I’m saying it happened, and it happened on your people’s watch. You’re the one who benefited from it. It doesn’t matter that you’re way downstream from the actual events. You’re still drinking the water.”

-“This was the way it was all the time. Everything talked to us. Everything was giving us a message. The stones, the trees, the birds, the grass. That’s why we were trained to keep our mouths shut and our ears and eyes open. I never thought anything of it. It was just the way it was supposed to be.” This one in particular feeds my hunger for learning about what real can also be.

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