Sometimes I think the news media presents a warped, unrealistic view of our world. Their pattern of selecting stories for their fearful shock value keeps the worst of humanity ever-present in our awareness. Doing so contributes to and reinforces feelings and the belief that our world is worse than it really is.
One of the great advantages of my job is hearing from all of you about the miracles that are available, whenever we allow them. Unlike the evening news, being in touch with you paints me a picture of loving, powerful people, heroically moving through challenges, and stepping into one shift after another.
My special thanks to all of you who call and write me to share your breakthroughs (and breakdowns). I would like to begin sharing your stories here on this web site, as a resource to inspire and uplift -- to show the more enlightened stories of humanity. Knowing what others on the path are going through can help us to keep things in perspective.
You are encouraged to send me your stories of miracles, insights, operating bigger than your automatic reaction patterns, uplifting poems, making a difference, or simply something good you would like to be acknowledged for.
© 1995 by Oriah House, From "Dreams Of Desire"
Published by Mountain Dreaming
300 Coxwell Avenue, Box 22546, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4L 2A0
It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear and further pain!
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you're telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless
and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
I enjoyed a very nice walk which mostly entailed stopping to speak and touch the very beautiful roses and colored leaves of several shrubs, one bright yellow and one dark burgundy. The leaves appeared to be waxed. The mountains in both directions were majestic and serene.
And most of all -- the vineyards! The dried (ugly) stumps of a month ago are all lush with bright, fresh, green leaves. Those brown dried stumps never once appeared to have a promise of new life. I used to stand and stare and touch them. They appeared to my senses to be dead. But to those who knew from experiencing the life and cycles of the vines -- all was well. All was perfect. They did not try to change the brown stumps, nor doubt their ability to be transformed. I am sure they saw those stumps as beautiful with the promise of green leaves which eventually, in and at the appropriate time, would be laden with clusters of grapes to be harvested and crushed into exquisite wine to be enjoyed.
I was a white man living in a black neighborhood. On my regular walks, I used to pass a fenced yard with playing children. The older kids had taken to teasing the youngest child with threats that I was going to "get" him. At first I played along, but as time went on, I began to see a deep fear setting into the face of the young child. I realized that as (probably) the only white man this boy knows, having me be a source of fear in his life was not setting him up for an optimal future with white people. So I told him I had been kidding, and I was not going to get him.
The next time I passed, the grandfather was out with the kids. He too joined in with the kids in telling me to "Get 'im." I stopped to explain my point of view to the grandfather, but all the while the kids were still hollering for me to "Get 'im."
Finally, to the surprise of everyone, I turned and walked through the gate, went straight up to the little one, and while hovering over him asked the others...
"Is this the one you want me to get?"
"Yeah!!" they all yelled with enthusiasm.
"You're sure it's him?" I asked.
"Yeah! Yeah! Get Him! Get Him!"
"Alright" I said, as I reach into my pocket, and pulled out a (luckily) very shiny quarter.
"Here, this is for you!" I watched the boy's face change. As his fear changed to confusion, I rubbed his head and told him he was my buddy. His confused expression turned into a smile.
"Hey, get me! Get me!" all the other kids began yelling.
"Oh no!" I said with great inner smugness and joy, "You told me to get HIM!"
As they repeated their requests to get them, I repeated my assertion that I already got the one they told me to get.
Well, I not only made a new friend that day, and won the respect of the grandfather, I also felt in my heart that I had somehow brought us all closer together.
Flights of fancy from birds up high,
feathers of many colors filtering through the sky,
sun, moon and stars envelops Earth's dome,
we're all birds of a feather, finding our way home.
Spectacle of mesmerizing movements flashing in the mind,
melting pots of humans, secrets hard to find,
love all embracing whispers on the wind,
no physical presence, ecstasy from a light dimmed.
Gifts of joy enmeshed in music and dance,
visualizing images filtering in a trance,
warriors in a drumbeat at journeys end,
back to the womb of creation enmeshed in a substance blend.
Wondrous dreams in the stillness of the dark,
journey on uplifting voyages in paradise park,
thunder and lightening points the way,
a prelude to the land where Soul's play.
"The president in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.
The shining water that moves into streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories and the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.
The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone!
And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?
We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it as god loves us all.
As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.
One thing we know: there is only one god. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart.
We our brothers after all."