Understand – Overstand – Stand

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It’s Okay to Like Yourself

One of my greatest influences in writing and spoken word is John Trudell. He was such a loving and humane human being, and in my opinion, he is one of the greatest poets, authors, speakers and thinkers of our time.

The last words he spoke to me were, “Thank you for what you do. Remember, it’s okay to like yourself. You may not like everything you’ve done, but it’s okay to like yourself.”

Yeah, I’ll stick with what he said.

The Hole in My Heart

I was born
with a hole
in my heart –
I really was

The doctors said
my heart
would heal
before I was
one year old –
and it really did

Now,
there’s another hole
in my heart –
it’s a hole
the size of you

No matter
how many words
I write
No matter
how many tears
I shed
I can’t fill it
so I’ll just
let it be
because maybe
I’ve been looking
at this all wrong

I’ve been waiting
for answers
from a door
outside of myself
when the entire time
I’ve been knocking
from within

The hole
in my heart
the size of you
isn’t a void,
but an opening
for you to come and go
as the Creator allows
to deliver words,
courage, peace,
and understandings
in sacred whispers
like these words
that were just
sent to me

heart

At the Crossroads of Reflection

A man was traveling down his path when he decided to stop, turn around and reflect upon his journey thus far. When the man turned around, he saw two roads that he had walked. One road that he looked down showed him all of the pain, loss, and failure he endured. The other path showed him all of the beauty, peace, and joy he had experienced. He sat at the crossroads of reflection for many days. He didn’t want to make any more mistakes or experience further pain. Fear settled upon him. He became frozen in that moment and was unable to continue his journey.

The man had been praying and meditating at the crossroads of reflection for four days, when he heard the crackling of tree branches and leaves. As he peered into the distance, he saw a woman walking towards him from within the thicket of trees that separated the two roads. She was majestic. The light that emanated from her illuminated the entire area. As she gently walked towards the man, he bowed his head to the ground, for he knew he was in the presence of someone or something sacred – someone or something more ancient than human beings.

With reverence and joy, the man slowly lifted his head upwards towards the woman who was now standing in front of him. Tears were streaming down his face. He knew the woman was sent to answer his prayer. The man begged, “Please tell me how to proceed. I don’t want to experience more pain, loss, or failure.”

The woman’s beautiful laughter echoed throughout all the beings of the forest, “Dear, child, there is life and beauty on both of the roads you’re looking back upon. There is also pain and disappointment upon both of those roads. Look over there, child.” The man looked to his left, and about twenty yards away from him, he saw a huge pile of human bones.

The woman continued, “There have been many human beings who spent their entire lives at this crossroads of reflection, waiting, praying and meditating, but never venturing beyond this place. They were all paralyzed by the fear of experiencing pain, loss, or failure, so they made no decision at all, which is a silly decision, don’t you think?”

“Yes, not making a decision is a silly decision, but…”

The woman interrupted him, “You’re asking the wrong questions and meditating upon the wrong things, so of course you’re going to come up with no answers, or conjure up more confusion. Morbid reflection only leads to morbid projection, which is a sneaky trick used by fear. When you can see what is just a little bit beyond what you call right or wrong, sweet or sour, beautiful or ugly, happy or sad, success or failure, then you’ll see me, remember my name, and know that I am one of the few things in this life that you have any control over. I am sacred. I am older than human beings. I am at your complete disposal to use correctly or incorrectly whenever you wish.” After saying those words, the woman vanished back beyond the crossroads of reflection.

The man remained at the crossroads of reflection and began to pray and meditate about what is a little bit beyond right or wrong, sweet or sour, beautiful or ugly, happy or sad, success or failure. Like a flash of lightning in the middle of a moonless night, the answer illuminated his mind, heart, and the truth of his path. The man’s laughter echoed through the forest in true relief and pure joy. He smiled as the realization came upon him that she is sacred. She is older than human beings. She has always been at his complete disposal. He had used her correctly and incorrectly many times in his life. The sacred woman’s name is Meaning.

The man remembered the times when he experienced pain, loss, and failure, but because he assigned Meaning to do her job correctly, the pain was used to create joy for others, the loss to give more deeply, and the failures were nothing more than learning experiences. He also remembered the times when he was surrounded by beauty, peace, and joy, but because he assigned Meaning to do her job incorrectly, he experienced frustration, isolation, and loneliness. There were many times when he was surrounded by water but still thirsty. And there were many times when he was in the middle of a desert, but with the Creator, the desert was transformed to an oasis of life-giving water.

As Meaning’s reminder settled deep within his heart, the crossroads of reflection instantly transformed back to the one road he had walked. He continued to walk his path the instant the illusion of fear melted away when he assigned Meaning to do her job correctly. He assigned her to every part of his past, present, and future with the Creator’s love and forgiveness.

Keep Soaring

It was an honor to facilitate community conflict resolution and leadership development at the Indianapolis University of Purdue with my ciye (older brother) Joseph Brave-Heart. Joseph was a mentor of mine when I was a young adult, and someone I still look to for prayer and guidance.

Years before this photo when I was about twenty years old. I was sitting with Joseph. I was angry about something someone said. Joseph listened to me and let me get some of my anger out. Then he said, “Look,” as he pointed to the sky.

I looked up and saw a beautiful hawk soaring. As the hawk elegantly soared, there were several little birds flying around the hawk and pecking at the hawk. Joseph shared, “If you’re going to soar to the heights of whatever the Creator has for you to do, there will be little birds who come along and try to distract you with pettiness. That hawk isn’t changing its course because of those little birds, the hawk just keeps soaring. Keep soaring, brother.”

Whatever vision, mission, dreams, and purpose the Creator has given you to live, ignore the pettiness and distractions and keep soaring!

~ Walk in beauty by walking in love.

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Succeed at the Right Thing

There are no awards, presentations, interviews, invitations, or five star book reviews that will ever compare to my children giving me compliments like this text from my daughter.

Yes, follow the Creator’s vision, mission, dreams, and purpose for your life, but keep your first and foremost sacred duties first, foremost, and sacred, because succeeding at the wrong thing is still failure.