Bird Droppings May 12, 2021
Can we be about healing?
I came out earlier today into the darkness and the first thing I heard was a bullfrog off in the distance calling that was the first one of the summers. As I listened, I heard more I heard many birds starting to chirp, whistle and call. Somewhere to the left of me was a whippoorwill going way back into the distance to the right great horned owl. I had been for numerous cardiac and pulmonary tests the past few weeks. For some time, I have felt I was getting fatigued far too quick. I could walk to the kitchen and do dishes and I could barely stand in a matter of minutes. After all the tests I have asthma and my heart rate has slowed down which is causing my fatigue. Driving down our dirt road a red-tailed hawk flew in front of me and caught an up draft ten feet from my windshield wings spread full and tail and proceeded to a tree nearby by. I spoke out loud a good sign. A quick turn around and a turkey hen and a dozen chicks paraded in front of me.
My question for pondering today is, what is prayer?
People define prayer in many different ways most I find tend to confine to the parameters of religion. I recall reading Larry Dossey many years ago and now he defines prayer is more of a simply directing energy perhaps towards someone or something and even an idea perhaps. For me prayer is simply being able to sit and release myself from not necessarily the burdens of reality but the stranglehold that we allow ourselves to get into almost daily.
Prayer becomes those moments that are not necessarily quiet, not necessarily peaceful. As for me I was sitting on my back porch looking out, the sun will be up in the next 30 or 40 minutes and it is peaceful. Prayer could be simply thinking, pondering reflecting. I like the word reflecting, it is like seeing a mirror image and yet it is not really what you say or feel. Reflecting can have the ripples going through it like looking at an image on a lake. Life is maybe like that image. It is not the lake that is rippling it could be our life.
I love how John Dewey would teach that through experience we learn. However, it is through experience and reflecting on the experience where the real learning occurs. I try to spend a little time perhaps too much time pondering every day I can get caught up then simply sitting and listening. It would be extremely easy for me to go in my backyard sit on our swing and spend the day there just listening to the world around me.
As I am getting older my hearing, my sense of smell, physical strength all sorts of things are kind of dwindling. But I do surprise everyone occasionally when I do hear, see, and smell minute things others miss. I have always been colorblind, but my colors are more vivid than most peoples. I may be losing my hearing, but I still hear more than most people. Smell I am not going to go there I smell garlic since I really like garlic a lot and use in everything. The birds are starting to get serious in their calls and whispers and twerps. Prayer is a key in healing personal and in others.
“People cannot know how sacred power, or medicine truly works, but almost every Native American knows something of its ways. Often seen as a mysterious force that is fluid, transmissible and important malleable, sacred power can be manipulated by those who possess it – either for good or for worse” Larry Zimmerman, The Sacred Wisdom or the American Indians
It is so easy to get up knowing my children and grandchildren are safe and walk out into a morning unafraid, I have never been in the situation my parents were faced with my two younger brothers and myself. Shortly after I was born, they were unsure as young parents of the medical issues and why their newborn was having seizures. I outgrew that and moved on to polio at about three and a few small minor other health issues in my childhood. My youngest brother also started with seizures and almost immediately the intensity increased, and I think back to how my parents must have felt at that time. My middle brother contracted a bone infection and was on antibiotics and bed rest for weeks.
Watching my own children grow up with so few problems has been easy. A good friend has two small children one diagnosed with diabetes the other with health issues of another sort. A few years past on a Monday a dear friend went in for brain surgery, not something that you volunteer to do, she knew that she may not walk away from it. But in this situation options were minimal, an aneurism on the main artery in her brain could rupture at any time and she would be gone. She had her surgery and survived and is doing fine. We have daily medical miracles unthought-of even when I was a child.
There was calm this morning as I went outside before my wife was awake. It was an uneasy calm outside, as if a storm is coming or maybe just a weather change, yet so peaceful and still. I was absorbed in the quiet, and the stillness, perhaps the storm will come we can always use more rain (sarcasm while dry now we are ahead for the year). But perhaps the calm will stay and continue. I have a spot in the yard actually I call it my medicine circle where I often go to sit and to listen. As I sat birds were chattering about me and I was looking for answers and to what today would be for me. Sometimes I wander in thinking to defining infinite and nothing. Two simple words yet so much of philosophy and life revolve around attempts at defining those two words. Religions are based on and built on finding answers to the infinite and or understanding what nothing is.
Last evening, I walked to my car to get my phone that I had left on the charger. At this time in the evening with little traffic in our neighborhood my front porch is a quiet resting spot as well. I sat down in the rocker and was listening. A buzzing or more humming sound caught my attention, and I was face to face with a hummingbird. We stared at each other for some time till the tiny bird flew off into the expanse of pines alongside the road. Had I been a few minutes later or sooner I would have missed the hummingbird.
“Creative breakthroughs and prophetic knowing will become ordinary. Empathy and compassion will flower as a result of our deeper connection with one another. The awareness of immortality takes the pressure off living and dying. This will not happen automatically, however. We have to do our share and set our biases and prejudices aside. These are urgent matters.” Dr. Larry Dossey, Healing Words
It has been quite a few years since I read Dr. Larry Dossey’s first book. I am coming from a seminarian background; my library is filled with books on prayer and the healing power of prayer. Every day in the local paper articles and advertising for various churches allude to the power of prayer. There have been times in my own life when prayer was a significant issue. I recall my father telling the story of my brother lying in a bed at The Philadelphia Children’s hospital this was in the mid 1960’s and the head doctor Dr. C. Everett Koop (The former U.S. Surgeon General circa 1981-1989) offering a prayer over John. I recall a comment my father said years ago that Dr. Koop offered in all of his years in medicine and dealing with terminally ill children had he ever met anyone who refused prayer. Dr. Larry Dossey in his work however is looking at prayer as a thought of healing intentions. Dossey even removes religious connotation from prayer as he looks at the power of prayer, in a California study where a group focused on the individuals in a critical care heart unit and healing occurred.
“This has actually been tested in certain studies and has achieved positive results. For example, at the University of California San Francisco Medical School, they actually tested healing intentions, which were initiated at a great distance by several individuals, for people with advanced AIDS. This was a double-blind study. The people who received the healing intentions statistically did much better than people who did not. So, this is not just fantasy. This is a valid phenomenon, which has been tested.” Dr. Larry Dossey
I am rambling a bit, a dear friend emailed back a few months several incidents of healing and intuition recently, while she was a pastor in Delaware. A good friend would end his emails to me sending energy south. For a number of years now I have ended Bird Droppings with a simple line, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart, each day. A very simple statement, as I sit and think imagine if we each would do this daily how profound an impact would that make on the world.
“We are made of prayers. With prayer we listen to what is important inside of us and all around us.” Navajo healer
“We are not alone. The spirits of those gone before guiding our steps, our traditions, our beliefs. We are not alone. The care of those around us leads us to healing and wholeness and comfort. We are not alone.” Mohawk/Onondaga healer
“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.” Chief Seattle
A good friend from the mountains of North Georgia introduced herself to me several years back as a healer and soothsayer. I have many hours talked with her about medicinal plants and other healing topics. I was reflecting how as I learned more about certain plants, I seemed drawn to specific ones. Her response, she has been healing and working with folks for nearly fifty years, they will let you know when they (the plants) are needed. So, I close today someone needs a soothing word. If we focus on those in harm’s way if we try and alleviate suffering and harm being done to others within our own realm of being, that will spread that will encompass soon all of mankind and the world will be touched. Today make it a point to keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and a special thought for a little girl in North Georgia and a local woman in Athens who just came out of surgery and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin ve
(We are all related)