Sitting under my Elder tree


Last night I had the luscious delight of my mother’s cooking shared with friends and family. The two mentors in my life were guests of honor at our table. It was a Korean Thanksgiving feast.

When my brother in law and friend George drove down to Oklahoma from Ny to say goodbye to our Uncle Bill< I really had no idea how deeply my grief would be at loosing him. It took years to heal, and I am finally in a place where I can give him back to his spiritual realm without feeling my own loss. He is in his final stomping ground, and I hear him singing there sometimes. What was it about this man that made me love him so deeply? I’ve never met a deeper, more empathetic soul. Yes, he drank booze and smoked loads of cigarettes, but he taught me so much about love and how to care about people. My nephew Ayden once had a gnat fly into his ear, and I remember Uncle Bill was smoking on our porch. He told Ayden to come over and he blew smoke in his ear (literally) and the bug came flying out! While I have had other spiritual mentors, namely Swami Rammanada a damn near saint who married my husband and I and certified me to become a yoga instructor, Uncle Bill was accessible to me in a more honest way. I love to pray, hold ceremony and be with Creation. However, like a horse, I also like to play and run wild at times. I could never become a nun or a monk because it is just as important for me to kick back and have some fun than it is to get holy. Uncle Bill was the first example I experienced of this in a human and like the waters that fall from the highest mountain tops and drain down into the deepest gutters he saw all sides of life and never judged me or those around him. DSC01154And so the fact that Jake Singer happened to be in Oklahoma and spent time helping us fix up Bill’s family home to have his 4 day wake in, is not lost on me. I didn’t know him that well at the time, but had done a few sweats with him and always enjoyed his quiet demeanor and awesome sense of comedic timing. It was like God sent me another Uncle to fill in those dusty ol’ cowboy boots that Bill wore. Jake on the other hand, has evolved past the need to party and lives his life serving others. He is a medicine man and the more time I spend with him the brighter my space is. There are the big stories we hear about him. Like how he drags 12 buffalo skulls around at Sundance, and how he has walked from California to Washington D.C. for political awareness for native American Veterans. Wonderful stories of  helping people on their journey to heal from cancer.

But then I especially love to hear him tell of his life. The other day he spoke of catching the blessings from the East in the morning and running out his door with his siblings as a child for miles without stopping. He got really fast because he also helped round up horses on foot.

These special types of people are rare. And so I try and take care of Jake in small ways as much as possible to share my gratitude with him.

With all the news of the world I have gotten a bit depressed lately. I am a naturally positive person but it is overwhelming to hear about the strife of others and the idiocy of some of our policies. I believe in the power of the people. My husband has participated in our local government and sat in on meetings and yes, people are the ones that make change on all scales. However , it seems like a large blanket of forgetfulness has been laid down over us and some of us are forgetting to be Love and are coming from fear instead.

CC Loveheart is the female counter part of the potential I believe a woman can be. She is humorous, intelligent, also an activist and talented writer/actress. Not to mention an interfaith minister. If I held a future mirror of myself up I see her looking back at me. Her husband John is an amazing pianist and we lucked out getting to sing carols with the children last night.

So with these two, who have lived such amazing lives, I posed the question How do THEY handle all the negative news and not let it drown them as I was feeling a few weeks back.

Jake’s answer was quite buddhist. He said well, do you like listening to the piano? It sounds great doesn’t it? But then he explained that we can not worry too much about the things that we can not control. That is God’s job. However, we can be present to the things that we CAN control in our lives and be good to the people that we are in contact with. We can continue to work on our relationship to God and ourselves. It is important to pray.

I liked what the Dali Lama recently said in contrast. You hear so often people saying I will keep you in my prayers and it simply is not enough any more. We need action as well. But then the way Jake prays compared to the majority of the world IS action. I’ve cried just listening to him without even knowing what he is saying as I don’t understand Navajo. But the depths of emotion, much like Uncle Bill, is so strong that it moves the energy around. It takes all the sadness and hurt and replaces it with peace.

CC likewise after years of being an activist and sufferer for the world at large, had similar advice. Again, the power of prayer was mentioned. Even for the atheist this can be translated into communication with your higher self. I love quantum physics and the basic idea that we attract into our world things with similar vibrations. So perhaps prayer might scare some people off. I look at prayer as communication into the sea of possibility. What I can imagine in those conversations can be realized.

And she specified the need to always be in close relation to one’s self. People are apt to judge in our day and age. And claim over attention to one’s self is SELFISH. Well, it may be, but without having discovered who I am as a friend, mother, teacher and lover, I don’t think my own well to love others would be as deep. And yes, I need to go sit up in my church, take a hike, go to a spa, go see rock bands and nurture my happiness. But when I am well fed spiritually, so then is my family. Because peace is contagious. Not necessarily for those who are in a strong hold of depression, but for the average person if you surround yourself with peaceful, happy people, you will become a more peaceful, happier person.

A friend once said that my table is the most coveted in all of my county. That is Not due to my cooking, oh no. But due to the experience of tasting my mom’s love. It is true. You can taste it and feel it in her cooking. I am grateful for her for feeding the hearts of the people I love.

Things are looking up again. Nothing has changed but my attitude. Yes, I am still freaked out when I think about the state of the world. But when I come at it from the perspective of what can I myself manage to change in my own life, and how can I help those around me without losing myself, the answer is much more manageable. I no longer feel burdened with such sadness that it causes apathy, a lack of feeling that anything I do will matter. Thank you to my elders who have paved a way for me. I sit under the shade of your wisdom and drink up the honey of your love.









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