Trying to clear my head

Bird Droppings September 20, 2011
Trying to clear my head

“The hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” Carl G. Jung

I have been a fan of Carl Jung for some time. Many teachers know some children will learn so much faster when the hands are engaged as well tactile sensation adding to intellectual pursuit. I was working with my eldest on some graduate studies last night and the text was based on research in high schools in the early seventies and the questions than pointed towards high schools today. My first point was many of the premises made in the late sixties and early seventies no longer applied considering technology and economics alone. I was thinking back to my own high school graduation.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the draws for me to John Dewey is his constant discussion and introjections of reflection into education process. For it is in reflection that we analyses and truly give credence to ideas and thoughts. I picked up a Smithsonian magazine this morning and was looking through various articles when I stumbled on an ad for The Rosette Stone language system. One of the principles of the system is to immerse you in the language you are learning. John Dewey would have liked Rosette Stone. As I pondered and reflected reading the ad I recalled various Human development courses and how we are told language acquisition is an early childhood development and Rosette Stone is saying immersion unlocks that aspect of our brains.

“Adults possess this same powerful language learning ability that orchestrated our language success as children. Sadly our clashes with vocabulary drills and grammar explanations force us to conclude it’s hopeless.” Rosette Stone Ltd.

“No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.” Terry Josephson

Perhaps some of us do far too much internalizing of where we are and why sadly so much of our existence is in our heads in perceptions and beliefs.

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Soren Kierkegaard

I have often wondered about freedom of speech when so few even consider that unless it is generally in a manner contrary to popular thought. But then is it freedom of speech when we make laws to prohibit that which is free by limiting and delineating specific terms and conditions of what is said or not said.
“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy

“Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.” G. Behn

Some people get lost because what is seen as reality is too painful for them. Working with numerous people over the years who due to whatever circumstances deem that the “real” world is harsh and bitter and withdrawal into a private realm is deemed far more enjoyable and safe.

“We spend our days in deliberating, and we end them without coming to any resolve.” L’Estrange

Each second of each day so many people squander their own reality spinning about never seemingly going anywhere. I have many times found myself in this trap looking for something to grasp, to get hold of and pull out.

“Few people think no more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once a week.” George Bernard Shaw

When I read this, I thought of blue collar comedy and my local favorites rednecks. Where in the definition of redneck is it that we so often need to use the word ignorant. But as Jeff Foxworthy has built his fame and industry on redneckism it is interesting his kids go to one of Atlanta’s most exclusive private schools which is ironic and sort of paradoxical redneckism.

“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” Buckminster Fuller

Reading Buckminster Fuller often is sort of a head clearing kind of thing and when I read this, I thought back to the dark ages when society was imprisoned by those who could read and write and think freely. Sadly it was predominantly “the church” and all thought was restricted to thought allowed by the church. How many great thinkers actually perished in wrong thinking?

“Irons rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Leonardo da Vinci

I have found the more I study the more I think the more I want to study and learn more which is an interesting thought so few aspects of life are self perpetuating such as thinking although going back to the immersion idea of rosette Stone perhaps language is as well.

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I could not have expressed myself better than my hero Ralph Waldo Emerson. Politics takes away any sort of thinking or seriously tries to. Someone stuck an extremely conservative article folded up in my teacher’s mailbox yesterday. There are so many political aides who simply spin reality in favor of that person or ideology they have chosen to support right or wrong there’s will be most likely to be picked and do not let the populous think too much or give them time to think.

“Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don’t bite everybody.” Stanislaw Lec

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head we have to change our thinking or else it will become as Emerson and Fuller stated become belief and or a sect or party. It is a circular effort we begin to think which becomes common place and soon everyone follows suit and that idea becomes law and belief and then we have to rethink everything all over again. What if human nature was not so lazy and would stay in motion if thought would continue instead of constantly wanting a break.

“No amount of energy will take the place of thought. A strenuous life with its eyes shut is a kind of wild insanity.” Henry Van Dyke

So true and so much a part of so many so for today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

Problems are often misunderstood explanations

Bird Droppings April 20, 2011
Problems are often misunderstood explanations

“Although you may understand the explanations, if you are still suffering because of problems, you clearly do not understand the true nature of your mind, your body, and your senses.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Transforming Problems Into Happiness

Every day I deal with numerous issues among students in the high school in which I teach. I listen many times as students tell their explanation. I will often start my own statement with “as a parent looking at this”. When looking at a situation it changes depending on your view point and your perspective. Kids often forget they are not alone which is a key factor. Some of them want to be alone and wish they could get out of the house literally. I joke about the students who want to go to Valdosta State University in Valdosta Georgia. If you can imagine Georgia as a large rectangle and in the bottom most corner on the eastern side is Valdosta just about in Florida. In effect it is the farthest away college from anywhere in Georgia. So you can be far away from home and still get the Hope Scholarship which is available to Georgia students.
I think many people struggle with life myself included because we do not take time to truly look at honestly and openly where we are and why. Yes I can give you definitions and facts and from experience give you context of that content possibly even the true nature of ourselves but it is in actually living out that content that we understand.

“Happiness and suffering are dependent upon your mind, upon your interpretation. They do not come from outside, from others. All of your happiness and all of your suffering are created by you, by your own mind.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Lama Zopa is displaced Buddhist monk, a native of Nepal transplanted to India during the Chinese Communist takeover. We are our own biggest problems. I watch students anxious and depressed all from self induced fears and stress walking down the hallways. In our modern world stress is our number one killer and stress is self imposed. It is our interpretations of everyday events and then in turn its effect upon us. A good example is the number one solution according to The American Psychological Association for depression is to talk to someone, counsel, discuss and communicate. It is far more effective than any medications.
Why is this not used as much as several of the leading selling drugs on the market for one of the major psychological issues of our time? Possibly because we want a quick fix. We want solutions now, immediately, and definitely not after five sessions. Side effects and such no problem give me the meds is the common response. I don’t have time to talk, to meditate, to understand and or communicate with anyone. I just want better NOW!

“The greatest problems of humanity are psychological, not material. From birth to death, people are continually under the control of their mental sufferings. Depression happens in the first place due to being under the control of the ego, self-cherishing, attachment, anger, broken vows and pledges. This depression is caused by the ego, the self-cherishing attitude and the self-existent “I”. So rather than accepting the depression, give it back to the self-cherishing attitude. Use the depression like a bomb to destroy the wrong conception of the I. Then meditate on the emptiness of the self-existent I.” Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Ego self cherishing attitude

As I listen to students who are depressed “I” is used a lot. Rinpoche offers a solution in getting away from “I”. For a number of years I have been a fan of Carl Jung’s ideas and thinking. Jung sent a letter to a friend who was depressed and this letter is in Jung’s writings on depression.

“I am sorry you are so miserable. “Depression'” means literally “being forced downwards.” This can happen even when you don’t consciously have any feeling at all of being “on top”! So I wouldn’t dismiss this hypothesis out of hand. If I had to live in a foreign country, I would seek out one or two people who seemed amiable and would make myself useful to them, so that libido came to me from outside, even though in a somewhat primitive form, say of a dog wagging its tail. I would raise animals and plants and find joy in their thriving. I would surround myself with beauty – no matter how primitive and artless – objects, colors, sounds. I would eat and drink well. When the darkness grows denser, I would penetrate to its very core and ground, and would not rest until amid the pain a light appeared to me, for in excessu affectus [in an excess of affect or passion] Nature reverses herself.” Carl G. Jung in a letter to a depressed friend

Stop wallowing in self pity and doubt find a friend talk about it. “I would raise animals and plants and find joy in their thriving”. Try and seek alternatives to moping and self absorbance. Delve deeper seeking what it is that is bothering you. Most situations of depression from my own experience are when a person self imposes their own isolation and withdrawal conversely you have to also un-impose and open doors and windows to let in light.
Perhaps it is our own hedonism that has brought about the tremendous increase in depression. We want so much and truly need so little. Our world is centered on wants and demands wants. We end up starving ourselves emotionally for lack of need fulfillment. We set ourselves up as being above all else and much like Humpty Dumpty when we fall the shattered pieces are impossible to mend. Ego and self are the culprit in this dilemma often being better than others is a birth right many believe and daily strive to prove in clothes, attitude, cars, friends and other superficially significant to them things.
I was looking at several senior pages at our high school year book which is at the printer and soon will be going out. Some were literally flagrant I am better than you pages it was advertising trying to prove to everyone and individuals self worth. Somewhere I read it is in how you live people really seeing who you are. It is the example you set that sets you apart and or marks you for life.
I walked about outside literally four times this morning with our dog. A few hours back it was out briefly into a swirl of clouds over head amidst a deep blue sky. More recently the clouds are gone and the moon is lighting the entire back yard and everywhere there are moon shadows. I wanted to sing Cat Stevens song, Moonshadow. For each of us life is a deep blue sky with swirling clouds and it is sorting through the clouds and finding again the stars and moon of our own being and building upon that. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

Finding Soul in looking at Curriculum

Bird Droppings April 1, 2011
Finding Soul in looking at Curriculum

There is something about the first light on a spring morning and trying to discern how many different birds are singing and calling back and forth waking up. Today was a rough one seems my arthritis in my shoulders is acting up and it took a good bit more to get going this morning. I did not even pack my lunch. But some silence and flute music and perhaps a memory of a wisp of smoke floating along the fence trying to rise up and dissipating in the trees helps ease the pain. It has been a few years since I studied psychology at Mercer University in Macon Georgia and a few as well since Seminary studies at Emory University. But as I continue to wander through my educational career I find new authors and favorites and recall some from days long gone. I have been a fan of Carl Gustav Jung for many years and in my assundery readings the past few years have come upon James Hillman, Thomas Moore and James Kavanaugh.
I am reading right now an article by Mary Aswell Doll for a paper I am writing. Doll is known for her work in curriculum and the teaching of literature. As I read her paper which is actually an introduction to her book, Like Letters in Running Water; A Mythopoetics of curriculum, entitled “Fiction as food.” She referenced several times Jung, Moore and Hillman, using the word soul as a medium for learning and growing.

“In another attempt upon the idea of soul I suggest that the word refers to that unknown component which makes meaning possible, turns events into experiences, is communicated in love, and has a religious concern. These four qualifications I had already put forth some years ago. I had begun to use the term freely, usually interchangeably with psyche (from Greek) and anima (from Latin). Now I am adding three necessary modifications. First, soul refers to the deepening of events into experiences; second, the significance of soul makes possible, whether in love or in religious concern, derives from its special relation with death. And third, by soul I mean the imaginative possibility in our natures, the experiencing through reflective speculation, dream, image, fantasy — that mode which recognizes all realities as primarily symbolic or metaphorical.” Thomas Moore, writing about his mentor Hillman

In the past few days I have seen the word soul used quite frequently and yet it never seems to be defined clearly ever.
Over the years I have worked with adults and children who I sense (very scientific term) with in, a void, or a vacancy that I have loosely referred at times to as soul. I am not looking at this in a religious sense as Thomas Moore also infers in his definition other possibilities as well. In this sense of vacancy perhaps learning issues become a part as well. Doll in her writing emphasizes making a connection with content and existence or context as Dewey would say and the bringing of the two together. “First, soul refers to the deepening of events into experiences” is how Thomas Moore defines soul. It is that piece that becomes a piece of your reality not just a fact memorized and categorized. As I looked over memory with an AP Psychology student yesterday several various definitions of differing types of memory fit in this idea as well.
As I read through Doll’s article other issues came to mind. In our rat race society of cramming as much curriculum into given space as possible irregardless of whether it will make sense “just get the test over with and I am out of here” I have heard that line from teachers many times. I have raised questions of filling a liter bottle (a student) with two gallons of information and where does that lead us. I think Thomas Moore sees us stripping away any soul we may have or not taking the time to nurture the soul.

“But the culture is going into a psychological depression. We are concerned about our place in the world, about being competitive: Will my children have as much as I have? Will I ever own my own home? How can I pay for a new car? Are immigrants taking away my white world? All of this anxiety and depression casts doubt on whether I can make it as a heroic John Wayne-style individual.” James Hillman

Are we killing off soul in kids and in adults is a question I keep pondering. I was watching Law and Order just yesterday afternoon after getting home from school. It was an old show about a father was so enraged with a hockey coach after a game and the coach not playing his son enough and scouts from colleges were there that he beat him and ended up killing him. As the trial and arrest played out his defense was parent rage simply losing control and the attorney for the state came back with how can we excuse this man? His rights stopped when he put his fists up to the coach. We can not accept road rage, parent rage any kind of rage and then I read Hillman’s statement again. It is about the self view, psychological depression and partly because we are all supposed to be John Wayne. Borrowing from a thought I read a day or so ago from Steven Pinker that behaviors are not manifestations of our environment but of our genetic makeup and environment triggers behavior.

“Instead of seeing depression as a dysfunction, it is a functioning phenomenon. It stops you cold, sets you down, and makes you damn miserable. So you know it functions,” James Hillman

In our rat race society where being John Wayne and never stopping and emailing till all hours of the night and working twenty four seven and no sleep and energy drinks (I tend to like the five hour shots) to keep going. I saw my first bottle of Coke BLAK coffee flavored coca-cola a few years back as the Coke man was loading coolers at a near by convenience store. Reminded me I was one who stopped drinking coca-cola when new coke came out. Hillman sees our increase in depression as a response to our competitive society and that we are leaving behind something perhaps our soul. Hillman authored a best seller “Soul Code” and Moore’s best seller “Care of the soul” these two men are not just fly by nights. Hillman studied under Jung in the 1950’s and Moore a student of Hillman and a former Monk studying for the priesthood has a doctorate in psychology and music and is a pianist as well as therapist, both are concerned about this thing we call soul. In Doll’s article she emphasizes children learning literature in a manner that stirs the soul going back to Moore’s first definition, “First, soul refers to the deepening of events into experiences”
John Dewey sought to pull experience into learning by making it a crucial aspect of his philosophy. I have many times related to context and content being equal partners in learning.

“According to the German poet Novalis, “The seat of the soul is there, where the inner world and the outer world touch. Where they permeate each other, the seat is in every point of the permeation.” Thomas Moore

Over the years I read several of Moore books and one thought he refers to often is that primitives die from water born disease and in modern society the major cause of death is stress related illness. As I think about that thought it has made me think about how we teach as well. As we are taking the soul out leaving only content sort of like a tape recording children can simply give back facts. In Doll’s article she describes several things to help teach fiction one being deliteralization that is getting back to imagination and then letting imaginations run wild. She mentions several times fluidity and:

“…fiction is food, fiction feeds the souls hunger.” “Second is a teaching method for fiction probably not favored in surveys courses: slowness” Mary Aswell Doll

I have been wandering thinking throwing out far too many ideas maybe I have been reading too much in these days before our spring vacation days. A slight change of thought but very much in line this time borrowing from James Kavanaugh with a line or two from Men too gentle to live among wolves.

“There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men to gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.
There are men to gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men to gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.”

I wonder if we could slow down or change gears or maybe find that which is missing from so many? I get excited when I read Moore and Kavanaugh hoping maybe we as a society will find answers and then I turn on the TV and ruin my thoughts. This morning a news broadcast about a high up official in Homeland Security who was arrested for soliciting sex with a under age girl over the internet caught my eye. He had been reported using secured cell phones and computers for his obsession. So a crazy what if the Katrina mistakes were because a memo slipped up during one of this guys computer sessions.
Each day it seems another mega conservative powerful person is found being naughty sort of like the parent rage on Law and Order I am sure someone will say this man has an illness. I would say it too borrowing from Pinker’s thoughts that it was in his DNA and needed something to bring it out fortunately this time it was an undercover officer posing as a fourteen year old girl on line. But what if’s terrorists figured him out and got into his secured files? What if black mail was a regular part of our governments doing business? I spent the better part of several hours discussing politics and ethics in school yesterday and came to the conclusion a politician by definition can not be ethical. We vote the way someone wants us to vote not how you know in your heart you should far too often. I might email Thomas Moore maybe we need a repair book for soul so please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

Can we change things?

Bird Droppings March 13, 2011
Can we change things?

It has been a rather long day with a drive to Colombia South Carolina to look at snakes and lizards and such at a reptile show with two of my sons. Eight hours in the car and taking pictures of King Cobras and Eye lash vipers made for an exciting day. My youngest son nonstop nearly six hundred miles cracking jokes or at least getting the joke started and reminiscing over old times was fantastic. I would not have changed anything today.

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it.” Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist

Change is something we are faced with daily and often it is change we do not want to bear. Perhaps I should consult my Jung texts on my dream of a red tailed hawk in my old back yard from my childhood. Jung was a great believer in dreams and dream analysis. I have been torn on the idea of change, what part we can play in this great cosmic drama, can we alter our minute part. What if we redirect the lines and switch characters in midstream.

“Whatever the universal nature assigns to any man at any time is for the good of that man at that time.” Marcus Aurelius

There are two basic premises in reality one we are the center of the universe that each of us is a focal point and many people do feel that way. The other is we are simple a small piece of a large puzzle, one insignificant little piece yet without it the whole is not complete.

“The men and woman who make the best boon companions seem to have given up hope of doing something else…some defect of talent or opportunity has cut them off from their pet ambition and has thus left them with leisure to take an interest in their lives of others. Your ambition may be, it makes him keep his thoughts at home. But the heartbroken people — if I may use the word in a mild, benevolent sense — the people, whose wills are subdued to fate, give us consolation, recognition, and welcome.” John Jay Chapman

A deep thought though I would beg to differ. Maybe it is how I read the passage yet I cannot help but think of Albert Switzer and Mother Theresa who gave up promising careers to help others. To me this far supersedes any success that might have been met in their other possible pathways. Giving in to fate I do not see these two great humanitarians as such but as embracing life and leaving self aside so they can help others. Perhaps it is our own definition of what is real and significant that matters.

“Whatever limits us we call fate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I do think we become limited by semantics by words that try and define and offer parameters to perhaps limitless ideas and thoughts. We all seem to want parameters to whatever we do. I watch teenagers setting boundaries and limits and barriers everyday. Some will be cultural and societal, others closer to home perhaps religious and spiritual. We want definition in our lives we want to be able to say well this person is this or that. We like stratifying and categorizing in our lives. I was working with a student on test scores trying to explain two people could have tested exactly the same on a personality test and still be totally different people. While a test is normed and validated it still has limitations that change with each person taking that test.
Some people see far more in a Rorschach inkblot test and details while a less artistic person may only see a face or a rabbit. Picasso saw myriads of color and shapes and we see a hodge podge of paint and call it abstract or cubist for lack of better terminology to define and delineate his work. Maybe we should simply say it is Picassian unique to an artist who saw differently than we other mortals.
Even in writing as I enjoy reading Edgar Allan Poe and had the experience of talking with and assisting in publishing an author’s work years ago who confessed to being the incarnation of Poe, ridiculous as it may sound. It was a bizarre period in my own life as I spent many hours on the phone and in reading his work. First of all he looked like Poe and he was an idiot savant. He could spin words and phrases instantly. When he would meet you he would literally immediately give you a poem often handwritten in beautiful calligraphy of the acronym of your name. He would write a poem each line starting with a letter from your name spelling out your name and literally analyzing your personality. While working with this fellow as weird as this sounds crows would literally flock to my yard hundred of crows, all day at my house which was in a pasture. When I sent the last of his work to him the birds went away.

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” Carl Jung

Reading over the years I came literally by accident one day upon a book, I was floundering business wise and saw an ad for a free business analysis. I called and was assured it was free and would I sign to use this consulting firm if all went well in the analysis. I signed and for two days a gentlemen came and informed me I should close my doors. Not really a shock since my largest customer had changed from print to software and was a major part of my business. After submitting his business thoughts he told me about a book he thought I should read “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. It is sort of a new age book he said.
He wrote the name and author on a piece of paper which I stuck in my wallet for my next trip to Borders. It was several Borders trips later and I forgotten about the book and while walking down an aisle a book fell and hit me in the head literally. Surprisingly enough guess which book. The book contains nine supposed insights recorded in ancient times and written in an archaic ancient language not used in 3000 years. Anyhow the point is here is the fourth insight from Redfield’s book.

“The Struggle for Power – Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce, human energy is the cause of all conflict between people.” James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy

As I read this earlier all the struggles and attention seeking of students versus teachers, and of Carl Jung teachings sort of fell into place. We draw energy from others to replace energy we are lacking. We are lacking because we are not generating but simply using sort of a parasitic relationship. I have over the years developed a chart on student teacher feedback which could as easily be people to people feedback. One the lowest most primordial level is parasitism, where we feed off others energy. The second level is symbiosis and this is where each one needs the other independently of each other and yet inseparable. The third level is osmosis, where energy is freely given and exchanged back and forth. I have been using bits and pieces of this idea as I develop my dissertation.
Albert Switzer and Mother Teresa worked in this way, they never sought energy but received in the giving an ongoing exchange. I see daily students and teachers who exhibit bits and pieces of each of these forms of human interaction. Going back to my starting quote, understanding where you are and why is paramount to changing, and the ability to growth and truly being able to help others and yourself. I went out into the rain a few days back, a drizzle of sorts and cold. Rain has a way of quieting the air and forest. It was literally silent, muffled by the rain and heavy air. Our dog does not like the rain and scurried back inside, curling up on her blankets as soon as she was back in her room. I sat down unsure of which direction I would go today and wandering as I do often. But perhaps my point is we need each other, we do need interaction and we can change. We are not at the mercy of fate and or some cosmic puzzle unless we choose to be, yet we are all part of that puzzle as well. A paradox of sorts as is so much of life. Today please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

A surgeon general, holy man, medicine man and a psychologist

Bird Droppings January 2, 2011
A Surgeon General, Holy Man, Medicine Man and Psychologist

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” Dr. C. Everett Koop 1916 – Author, Teacher, former Surgeon General of the United States, and former head of Pediatric surgery at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia

“Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk, 1863 – 1950, Holy Man, Oglala Lakota Sioux, second cousin of Crazy Horse

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull, 1831 – 1890, Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux medicine man

‎”The word “belief” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it – I don’t need to believe it.” Dr. Carl G. Jung, 1875 – 1961, Psychiatrist, an influential thinker, and the founder of analytical psychology

I opened my local Walton County Tribune to the Education section and this first quote was the start to Gina Andrew’s column although she did not mention who Dr. Koop was. “As 2011 unfolds, it creates a natural season of pondering the past and looking forward toward the future. This happens in the home and in the work place.” Gina Hawkins As I read Gina Andrews words I thought I might add in the schools as well.
I drove to South Carolina yesterday after saying goodbye to my grand daughter for a few days as they traveled to Florida for a doctor’s visit, to visit our middle son and his finance. I got home last night and rare as it might seem did not even open a page on my computer, the nine hours of driving did me in. So here I am making up for lost time sitting here a new grandfather, a father, a teacher pondering what can I do different to impact or not impact the lives of those around me in the coming year.
Perhaps I will start today with a brief connection of the four men who I will draw upon today to start my meanderings. Dr. Koop was the lead doctor for my brother many years ago after being diagnosed with severe brain trauma at birth. Dr. Koop also as Surgeon General issued the warning on the sides of tobacco packages that still go unheeded. Dr. Koop has been very busy over the years producing a mini series on health car for public TV that won several Emmy’s and now involved with the C. Everett Koop Health Care Institute at Dartmouth University named in his honor.
I was introduced to Black Elk by a dear friend of many years ago who my kids only know as Trooper. He gave me a copy of the book Black Elk speaks to read in 1973 or so and since that time I have read several times along with several others of John Neihardt’s works. Black Elk was one of the last living combatants from the battle at the Little Bighorn. Over the years I have been a Carl Jung fan and in my re-reading of the Premier edition of Black Elk Speaks a gift from my son a note caught my attention. John Neihardt, 1881-1974, published in the book Black Elk Speaks in 1932 to much acclaim. The book was a side venture from his prose and narrative works of Indians of the plains. Neihardt was invited by the Sioux holy man Black Elk to hear the words of the vision from his youth and record for history and for the whites to come. The book was extremely popular at its first publishing and was a best seller only to over the years go by the wayside. It was at the end of the 1960’s Dr. Carl G. Jung brought to peoples attention again and it became a best seller anew. It is a biography or autobiography as it is Black Elks words translated from the original tongue as he spoke by his son Ben Black Elk and recorded word for word by Neihardt’s daughter.
Sitting Bull was a medicine man to the Sioux during the famous battle of the Little Bighorn or Custer’s last stand as some call it. I have had a fascination with Indian lore and history all through my life and Sitting Bull has been a hero of sorts.

“What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and left me unfed? Who has seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken?” Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull was a man of honor, integrity, and his people. As I was reading this morning they have a year of his birth which is not uncommon for Indians of that time as they had no written records. However what is more intriguing is his death date it is precise. Sitting Bull was killed as he foresaw in a vision by his own people. Sioux Marshalls were sent to arrest him for his involvement in the ghost dance movement in the late 1890’s. As he went to get something under his blanket and depending on whose account you read a revolver or his grandson’s toy doll he was shot in the back.
Dr. Carl G. Jung I have been quoting quite frequently the past few days. I first came to know Dr. Jung as a novice psychology student many years ago at Mercer University. While we were being trained in behavioral modification to some extent I found Jung’s views more along my own pathway. Years later reading James Redfield’s books I am reintroduced and the as I started my graduate work and daily pondering numerous books and connections seemed to daily fall in place. One of my favorites is finding a book by Thomas Moore, who was a student of James Hillman who was a student of Carl G. Jung. But you will also find as I list my favorite all time movie as Billy Jack a classic from 1972 or so Tom Laughlin director and star is a Jung student and trainer.
So where are all the connections? Perhaps I should draw a Venn diagram of Jung, Koop, Sitting Bull and Black Elk and show all of the interconnections.

“We who are clay blended by the Master Potter, come from the kiln of Creation in many hues. How can people say one skin is colored, when each has its own coloration? What should it matter that one bowl is dark and the other pale, if each is of good design and serves its purpose well.” Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Hopi

As I read various authors and especially these four though Sitting Bull left little written or recorded I should say information I find they are similar especially for this new year ahead. Each of these men saw that it was not as much about now as it was about later generations. What could we do or leave behind for them.

“My father, you have made promises to me and to my children. If the promises had been made by a person of no standing, I should not be surprised to see his promises fail. But you, who are so great in riches and power; I am astonished that I do not see your promises fulfilled! I would have been better pleased if you had never made such promises than that you should have made them and not performed them. . .” –Shinguaconse, Little Pine

In the political hoopla we throw out the idea of our children’s children yet so little is done to prevent or protect them most legislation is about the immediate a more selfish agenda than say any of these four men would have agreed too.
I often wonder as I hold my grand daughter what will the world be like ten years from now or twenty years from now. Our instantaneous world has little room for thinking ahead since so much is disposable and throw away, often including people.

“If today I had a young mind to direct, to start on the journey of life, and I was faced with the duty of choosing between the natural way of my forefathers and that of the… present way of civilization, I would, for its welfare, unhesitatingly set that child’s feet in the path of my forefathers. I would raise him to be an Indian!” Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker

I refer back often to an Indian way of seeing the world. It is a world in which each tiny piece is integral to the next piece and a world where we do think beyond the immediate moment and day. I have used the following quote many times before but today perhaps some special meaning as we go out starting a new year.

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient Indian Proverb

It has been almost eleven years since I started writing each day or nearly each day as I have been a bit off lately. I began ending my daily journals with this line during the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom about seven years ago. I am adding a new line to end my daily wanderings as well starting today. So as I have for some time please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

PS – In the Creek language, Ea Nigada Qusdi Idadadvhn, translated, All My Relations In Creation