Bird Droppings November 14, 2022
Reconciling the importance of the present, past, and future
I spent the better part of yesterday avoiding my direction, so intent on the moment I missed the past and future cues. As an empathetic human being, I get caught up at times in the emotions and feedback of the present. I CAN BE A FORMIDABLE TEACHER AND ADVOCATE when I allow my wisdom to kick in and help determine pointing the way. John Dewey writes about experiences past, present, and future and how they are reflected upon, interrelated, and interchanged. I am working on a notion of a continuous curriculum, not finite, as most teachers try and practice. William Pinar discusses curriculum as running the ongoing course; it intersects each aspect of life and time. So, as I sit here today pondering my previous day, present moment, and future, I see the interplay that so easily can be hidden in focusing solely on the moment. So, I take a swig from my meditative mug of chai tea and get into today’s thoughts.
“I do not write from mythology when I reflect upon Native American spirituality in this book. In my own opinion, mythology leads to superstition; and superstition has proved fatally destruction to many millions down through time. It is ironic, then, that Dominant Society accuses Native practices of being based on myth.” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man
My general wanderings are the expanse of my almost seventy-three years of life experiences over several days of traveling, thinking, and observing humanity. A few nights ago, my son and I walked out to a choir of coyotes just a few yards away, deep in the pines. It was an opera of coyotes’ howls and yells. At the same time, after only a few minutes, the sounds were an eerie reminder that even in a civilized world, nature was only a few feet away in its wildest. I was walking this past Sunday morning just in my backyard. I have been away from my quiet spot due to some developer work and bush-hogging near my home in Between Georgia. Around me, birds would occasionally fly into and out of the trees but most of the time without a sound. I was essentially alone, sitting and listening while everyone else was inside. A few hours earlier, I had a wonderful experience watching nearby my house as the sun rose and starting this book, Nature’s Way.
Ed McGaa is a Lakota Sioux and an attorney by education. He chooses his words wisely and does not simply offer a book to fill a spot on a shelf. He points to observations as a basis for our spiritual views rather than heresy or merely taking the word. It has been a few weeks since we drove home from a quick trip to see my son, his wife, and our grandbabies. We noticed nearly fifty hawks sitting on the wires watching as we drove by. If you have ever seen a hawk, hunting observation is critical. Every detail is seen as they look for a food item crawling or scurrying along the ground.
“Clearly, we are meant to think, analyze, and deliberate. And yet, humans seem to have some sort of fear (or is it plain ignorance?) of exercising the simple freedom to think. Why are we so prone to let others do our thinking for us – to lead astray and control us?” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man
Only a few days back, we have been through one of the most biased and perhaps sheep-lead-to-slaughter election campaigns I have ever experienced. The negative ads were the vast majority of all from either side. Issues were simply something that would be dealt with after the election, and even then, that was questionable. Here in Atlanta, several mega-churches are going through severe upheavals with pastors who, after years of preaching and blasting various human characteristics and issues, are coming out themselves and being who they preached against for twenty years and built empires against. One of the themes I have seen in politics and religion so blatant in the past year is “letting others do our thinking for us.” I received a copy of a book in the mail from a friend in New York after he published it. I had known the title for months prior, but after seeing it and beginning my initial reading, it hit me. “Hustlers and the idiot swarm,” how appropriate is that to our society today? Opening up Reverend Manny’s book and turning to the first page, a quote and thought to permeate our society, if even unknowingly.
“For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, Ch. X
Within a day or two of first setting foot in Washington, a newly elected Congressman who ran on a ticket of repealing the recently legislated Health Care bill was upset that his government healthcare insurance did not start immediately. He had to wait twenty-eight days and make a scene in his first official meeting. During the past year, lies about the health care bill made headlines more than points significantly crucial to many families. I grew up in a family with a severely disabled brother who would never have been insurable under most standard insurance due to preexisting conditions. Even more significant is that my son was over twenty-five while still in nursing school but was covered by the healthcare law. If not for that not sure where we would be after his accident in May several years ago with over three hundred fifty thousand in medical bills covered.
Sadly, I did not want to get into politics since reality is not an issue there. The past few days, I started thinking about finding our center and understanding the world around us.
“The Sioux believe that lies, deceit, greed, and harm to innocent others will never be erased, and neither will good deeds of generosity and caring. Dominant society, on the other hand, leans towards “forgiveness” theory which claims that bad deeds can be purged.” Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, Nature’s Way
As I started getting into this idea of each of us formulating and ratifying our understandings of all that is about us, it became clear this would be more than a quick note. I walked out of the house earlier and had R. Carlos Nakai on my earphones, and rather loud. The CD is one of Nakai, a seven-note cedar flute master playing with a symphony of his various melodies, and it was almost haunting as the visage of a clear sky and quiet surrounding the trees. I had to stop listening to the music and see this faint, still, image before me. The two interplayed as I got ready to leave the house. As I turned from observing, I noticed a flat tire on my son’s truck which brought me back to reality and the moment.
To close this quick dropping and get on with the day, I remind everyone to please keep all in harm’s way on their minds and in their hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)