Wisdom in the Madness of Your Vomit

i was writing a poem
when coyote came
and threw up on my page
i used his vomit for ink

i found a stone in coyote’s vomit
Stone cleansed my page and wrote,
Us Stones are thousands of years old 
Some of us sing, some of us write,
some of us teach, some of us paint
We’re always learning
We always have to work around
tricksters throwing up on our pages

We live thousands of years
You humans live a century, maybe
But if you really thought life is short
you would use time to see
how much you can give, not take

It’s your choice, it always has been
So when trickster appears
throwing up on your pages
look for the gift
cultivate it – blend it – mend it
Howl at the moon with the mad ones
but never
throw up on your own pages
unless you’re a trickster, too
and if you are
you already know what to do

Vomit
then let it become art
Understand it
then find a word for it later
Live it
then dye it with purple
Mistake it when you know it
Know it when you mistake it
And find the wisdom of us Stones
in the madness of your vomit

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One Important Question 

I spend a lot of time teaching youth peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. Violence isn’t just hitting, stabbing, or shooting someone. Peace isn’t just refraining from hitting, stabbing or shooting someone. Violence and peace are mindsets. Peace and violence are choices. In making the choice of violence, there are many ways to carry it out. In making the choice of peace, there are many ways to carry it out. Once any decision is made, the path becomes clear. Once a commitment is made, the path is walked, and becomes something you know, not just know about.

There are far too many youth who know the path of violence at an early age. And there are too few adults who teach the path of peace by example in thought, speech and action. Peace is not passive, or cowardice. Peace is active and courageous.

There is an old samurai proverb that says, “A warrior can choose to be a pacifist, everyone else is condemned to it.” After being proven in battle in the ring, dojo, and on the streets many times over, I chose peace and then committed myself to its grace. And when I made that commitment, there were few men who supported me in that. But the men who did support me in my commitment to peace were men who’ve experienced the extremes of violence and war, so they understood, better than most, the importance of peace. After enough experience you learn that all violence is senseless.

When I was struggling to commit myself to a path of peace by taking my first steps upon it, the Creator posed a question to me deep within my heart, “Do you think I created you to be a healing force or a destructive force?”

It’s easy to say something negative and mean. It’s easy to throw a punch. It’s easy to use a weapon. In a world that glorifies violence and even rewards it, it takes strength, courage, and trust in the Creator to bless those who curses you, and walk away from those who want to fight you.

My uncle taught me a long time ago that the war is always behind the other person’s eyes – the war is within them, their own mind – their own choice. And so it is with peace. Peace is always behind the other person’s eyes – the peace is within them, their own mind – their own choice. Peace can be behind our own eyes, and in our own mind at any moment we choose.

What’s the reward? Often times I’ve found the reward for choosing peace is simply peace itself. And I have found few, if any rewards greater than peace.

The question the Creator posed to me years ago is a question I’ve asked many youth over the years. Although for most people the answer is obvious, the commitment to being a healing force needs to be obvious now more than ever before. Do you think you’ve been created to be a healing force or a destructive force?