Posts Tagged With: children

Perpetual creation? part 3 survival


 

Chiricahua Apache, Hattie Tom

Chiricahua Apache, Hattie Tom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When someone uses the word survival, it’s many times tied to images of living off the land, roughing it, bear grilles getting dropped from a helicopter, or some fool tripping over himself in the woods.

 

The survival I’m going to discuss, is the root of the word. Basically, to keep the body alive.

 

In part 3 I discussed life, and rezinate brought some really interesting perspectives which taught me a lot, I hope they do the same for any who read this. The part 4 will hopefully put this into more perspective.

 

In part one I talked about the mind/heart/body connection, and how one thrives or dies depending on the other two. I talked about fuel, and hopefully this part will put that into perspective a little more.

 

Survival, meaning to keep the body alive. Think about that for a minute and ask yourself, what does that truly and fully mean?

 

A person in a coma, that never recovers, the body forced to keep working through machines, that is survival. Old ones that have machines put into their bodies to keep it from failing, but in turn lose their freedom due to being tied to those machines, that is survival.

 

A serial killer, kept alive with no remorse, no caring for another person, that is survival.

 

I began thinking about what this truly meant when I read the story of massai, a Chiricahua warrior arrested with geronimo. His story can be read here, and I would ask that you do so before you finish reading this.

 

So many Americans I have talked to speak of how they want a life, they don’t have a life, they’re stuck. When life is all around them and they never see it, because they are only surviving.

 

Medical science loves to beat its chest about how there have been so many advances that life expectancy has been greatly extended. I say according to whom? If you are using the 28 year life expectancy of the roman empire, than sure. But is it really living or only surviving?

 

If corn only grew from a kernel, grew tall, and died, never having provided food, is that living, or merely sustaining it’s body? To provide bodily fuel is its role in the circle, maybe we are here to provide a different kind of fuel.

 

To see a child so full of life, slowly but surely dim, becoming a flame less candle, is that living?

 

To sit in front of a television and ignore the laughter of the child you provided the seed for, or the woman you planted the seed in, is that living, or merely sustaining the body?

 

And what does that sustaining only the body do to our hearts and minds?

 

We see so many young ones centered around the next app, the next twitter, the next Facebook post. So many complain about how little they know. Whose fault is that? Who was the one that sat in front of the television watching football, and putting them in front of their favorite cartoon just to get some “peace”? What do you think that taught them?

 

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and nothing inbetween.

 

What struck me like a ton of bricks, as I saw some of massai in myself, was the detachment from society. Another thing that touched my heart so deeply, that it still brings tears, is that as bad and as “wild” as this former man was, he was still able to be brought back to some normalcy by a woman.

 

This woman, Natastale, a white mountain apache woman, was abused terribly by massai, yet still had the strength of self to be a woman, and in time, save herself, by bringing the human back out of massai, if only in short intervals.

 

It struck me so very strongly, and reminded me of many experiences. I realized, for men, society, but more importantly, and I think most importantly, the difference between survival and living, stems from a good woman. Be it a mother, grandmother, sister, friend, wife. They are as rezinate said, our unehlanvhi. What brings light to our darkness. What separates tribes from savages. They are our civility.

 

When we do not respect them, dominate them, attempt the change them, silence them, abuse them, ignore them, we men become just as savage as massai.

 

Natastale is a credit to her people, and I feel a lesson for women today, that so many bad things can happen, yet if they remain true to who they are, there is a great strength and power inside them.

 

But also a lesson for men, that we are nothing but savages attempting to survive without our good women.

 

Addition………………….

 

My sister and mother told me stories of a childhood I can’t remember most of. They told me of a father that did not beat me because my mother provoked him when she saw the anger coming, and would lay on the floor bloodied and broken to save her children. My sister saw the same and would step between me and my father and pull his anger onto her to be beat instead of me. She said she was used to it, and I was so tender hearted she could not bear to see me hurt like she had been.

 

I am crying as I write this because if the pain in my heart from the actions of my father, but also for the love of a mother and sister who would disregard their own safety to protect the little ones. These women are my personal heroes. They are the women warriors I use as an example of strength, determination, fearlessness.

 

They took the pain for me so I would not just survive, but stay living with a strong spirit. Later in life I returned the favor as best as I could. But more than that, I learned that a person cannot overcome great suffering alone. The great suffering brings us down, we need others to bring us up, to give a hand to help us climb out of the hole. But once out of the hole, we must stand on our own feet.

 

By the time I was 10 years old, I was fed up with something I still cannot fully recall. I recall bullies at school and on the bus that my sister stood up to. I recall her scratching a teenage boy in the face and nearly blinding him because he touched her where he shouldn’t have. I recall her beating a boy that was abusing me so badly he had to stay home from school for days. Some would say she went overboard. I say she reacted to a situation she was fed up with. But she never hurt an innocent. She fought against abuse, and protected the innocent.

 

I learned from her and my mother and at 10 stood in front of a boy younger than me to protect him from my father. I do not know what I did other than speaking, but I remember from then on and my father did not hurt anyone in my presence again. I remember the look look of shock and fear on my fathers face. I remember saying “don’t ever touch him again” and I put all the strength of my little spirit into those words.

 

There is a reason we make tribes, tell stories, group together. It isn’t just for protection we group together, it is also for living. Like when my mother and sister protected me, they did so in order for who I was to more than survive, but stay living.

 

It’s far to easy to take a life, it’s much harder to take suffering onto yourself to protect others. But ones like my mother and sister do so without thinking. I learned that from them, and I continue it, and others learn from me.

 

For me that protection teaching came from my mother, for her she says it came from her grandmother, and for her it was from her father.

 

My mother has taught many women to be strong inside to stand up for themselves and others. I try to carry that on, and teach men to use their strength to protect. No man should give his woman no choice other than to take a beating to protect her little ones.

 

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Beauty


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder the saying goes. So why not change what we behold?

Growing up, I looked at women with different eyes than the men I encountered. I was attracted to the kind words, the soft touch, the gentleness and love towards children and old ones, the way they were different than I was, the mystery, the way they saw what I couldn’t, the way they stood, they way they spoke, all the things that make a woman. I found those things beautiful.

I noticed, but never really dwelled on how small their waist was, if their butt wiggled when they walked, how thick their eye lashes were, what shape their eyebrows were, what style their hair was, if they wore nail polish, or makeup.

As I grew older, I fell into noticing these things, because for one, other men did, and for another, women would ask what I thought about it.

I have recently in the last few years began a reversion. Where I see the beauty I saw before, and couldn’t care less about the other.

A woman with a “plain” face uncovered by make up, is beautiful to me.

The wrinkles of a grandmother caused by laughter and worry are beautiful to me.

Jet black hair, red curly hair, blonde straight hair, black tight curls, are all beautiful to me, because they are who that woman is.

A woman who dresses to show off everything doesn’t appeal to me, but a woman who respects herself and her body is beauty beyond measure.

A woman with a newborn, glowing with the joy of creating a life, looking on her little one with love. There is nothing more beautiful.

What do your eyes behold?

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Roots


 

Where do the roots of your personality lie? Think of your actions, your emotions, your thoughts. Where do they originate? Think of the choices you have made, why you made them.

Were all your choices what you picked up in society, what you were taught by your parents, what you learned through your own experiences, or was there more to them than all these?

Certainly much we think comes from what we are taught, either by our environment, or our experiences. But what about what we feel?

An infant can be happy, sad, angry, jealous, mischievous, tricky, playful, content, worried, awestruck, confused, loving.

An infant or a child will many times cry if around or picked up by someone with a bad heart, but will calm and sleep if around someone with a good heart, how do they know?

The heart can be bright, or it can be dark. A half moon if measured by the amount that is lit by the sun. All the phases of the moon are measured by the amount lit, no light is considered no moon.

Why didn’t the tribes all over the world measure by the darkness of the moon?

Why did the various people make ceremonies and/or prayers based on the sunrise?

Why is our sleep naturally aligned with the light of day, instead of the dark of night?

Why do our eyes measure the light of day, instead of infrared?

Why do our bodies respond negatively to darkness of the heart?

Why will people spend so much time making excuses for harm they bring to others?

Why will people convince themselves that something is good for them, that it makes them happy?

Where are your people from, what did the world we see mean to them?

Why must everyone be Christian, why can’t they be something else?

Why must any new thing come from an old one?

Why can’t a beginning BE a beginning, instead of an extension or adjustment of what is currently?

Why do so many see a mask, and think it’s change?

Why can’t babies teach adults how to change?

Why are babies considered ignorant when they know when they are happy and when they aren’t?

Why do academics respect the sacredness of a wife, but ignore the sacredness of our ways?

Why is a spousal union worthy of more law than the happiness of that union?

Why is growing old scary to the point of hiding it?

Why are rotten grapes better when aged, yet people are worse when aged?

Why is old age past the prime of life, instead of BEING the prime of life?

Why does a seed grow into a tree, yet a baby grows away from the knowledge they were born with?

If we have to collect knowledge through the years for our minds to understand, how is it the heart knows? Where is the heart rooted? Where is YOUR heart rooted? In the darkness, or in the light?

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Anger


I picked up various things from my father, some good, some bad. When I was younger, I wanted to eliminate every part of my father from my actions, thinking that even one part would turn me into him. I learned over the years that was a foolish idea, and that a bad thing can be turned good, if used properly.

An axe can chop wood to provide warmth, but the that same axe could murder your family, it all depends on the usage.

My father had utter devotion, but it was only to the church. I picked up that devotion from him, but I learned that what you devote yourself to can be harmful to those around you. So now I carefully examine what I devote myself to, and I do not devote myself utterly to one thing, but I try and spread it out. My family, my people, language, living a good life, being a good person, treating others well. These things I try to do to the best of my ability.

One thing I picked up from him was the possibility of great anger. When I was 15, my brother was teasing me, and I asked him to stop, then told him to stop, then I turned on him. The memory of this is one of the strangest I have, because at the time, I “blacked out”, and that was all I knew. Looking at this closely through the years, I recall that I “stepped back” away from myself. The anger I had built up over the years was so great, when let loose it took control of me. My arms swung, hitting him over and over, while I watched from the background unbelieving and shocked. When the anger I had built up had passed I regained control and stopped. The look on his face was something like utter shock. Luckily I did not hurt him other than a few bruises.

He told me later that I had a look on my face that was just like our father had when he would “go crazy” and start beating us.

That moment was a turning point for me. I decided with all the strength I had, I would never do that again, I was not going to become my father. So I set out to understand what triggered this act, and how to keep it from happening again.

What I learned, and this took many years and many confrontations, is that anger comes and goes. If you block that flow it will make a ball inside, like little mines, the more of these mines you have and the older they are, the more fragile and sensitive they get. In turn, your emotional state will react to this. If you are like me, and do not want to hurt another person, you will form a path through the mine field you walk every time you confront someone. If you are a person that doesn’t care if you hurt another person, you will get pushed into these mines because of words or actions you somehow relate to these mines, and these triggers will set off these mines, resulting in explosive anger.

A woman once described these to me as springs, and this would also be a very good description. A spring under tension, like a mouse trap.

I want to also clarify, that besides these mines, there are things that bring about a righteous anger. Things like a woman, child, or Elder being abused, disrespect of various forms, theft, murder, these things bring about an anger that seems directly related, in my view, to justice. If justice for these abhorrent acts is promised and fulfilled, that anger is satiated. If it is not, that anger will continue until justice is delivered, or you give up on justice being exacted.

Until that justice is delivered, anytime you are reminded of the injustice, the anger will return as fresh as the first time you experienced it. Unless you move away from requiring justice, the farther away you move from the requirement, the less the anger will be.

Now, back to the mines. These do not come from righteous anger, they come from misunderstandings, disallowance of differences, old grudges, etc., that you do not let go of, or work through.

These mines don’t care where their origins lie, or with whom, they will explode on anyone. It is each persons responsibility to keep this from happening.

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Happiness


What makes you happy? Seems like a simple question right? Yet so many are unhappy. Why do you think that is?

When I was younger, I tried to help people with what made them happy. Only to see them be happy for a short time, and revert back to the anger, sadness, depression, etc., that made me look closer at what happiness really is. In doing that, I looked at what brought that bright warm feeling into my heart and made it stay there, and tried to see that in others. Of course what made me happy didn’t apply across the board, but true happiness can be across the board in many ways.

I looked at how I felt when I bought something useful, when I bought an impulse buy, when a pretty girl flirted with me, when a good man saw good in me, when grandparents were proud of me, when I made something with my own two hands and skill, when I ate a food that tasted really good, when I drank pure water, when I sat and listened to the old ones telling stories.

I put all these together because as I understood when I was younger, they all caused happiness of some sort. What I realized as I grew up was some things fulfill a want, stroke your ego, play on an insecurity, these things do not bring happiness, but they do provide a strange form of release.

This release, in the feeling of it, is not unlike sexual climax for that alone, no good emotion associated with it. I chased after this for a few years, some of the darkest years of my life. I’ve been in extreme emotional pain, great physical pain, but that is a part of life, and not a darkness like you bring on yourself when you pursue the satisfaction of the moment.

I’m watching my newest niece sleep. I was trying my special uncle way to get her to burp earlier and was enjoying her smile, me making noises and watching her furrow her brow in concentration, then her little mouth moving trying to figure it out. She’s two months old, her little smile is happiness. It fills me up, and overflows, for lack of a better description.

This happiness is a gift. Nothing can replace the inner peace and utter joy a little one brings. When I was around grandmothers who were good women, there was another equal joy and peace they brought, the same with one of my grandfathers.

There are so many things in this life that bring happiness I have never experienced. But what I have experienced is that true happiness is given by others through our good actions towards them. True happiness also comes from us accepting the good things that come, like a newborn baby.

I would like to hear from others on what brings them true happiness. Even the smallest things like watching a hawk fly, or a rabbit eat a clover flower, or the way the sky changes colors as the sun rises and sets.

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Fear


Of all the things working against the people no matter what nation, one of the major things, is fear.

As a boy things happened to me that made me learn how to deal with fear. I had to learn how to overcome it, not just continually fight it, but how to not allow it to appear in the first place.

Growing up knowing this, I saw in others how their fear will effect them. Even I, having learned so much early on, continually saw things that brought an irrational fear. It taught me that no matter how much you know, you will always encounter new things.

As I began dating not knowing how to be good around women, as in respect for them, learning about them, seeing they are different and learning to accept that, and not understanding that seemingly good people can do hurtful things and not fully realize it, I got burned by women, trying to learn, understand, figure out how I was supposed to act, and find a woman that matched me.

I realize now that I hurt the women as much as they hurt me at times, and just as I did not mean to hurt them, many times they did not mean to hurt me.

But this hurt built a larger and more extensive “fortress” to protect me from getting hurt. Realizing this in myself I could see this in the women I had dated.

This defense led to a fear, that fear led to making up problems. Seeing troubles where none existed, seeing hurtful actions when she made an innocent mistake.

Holding onto these hurts, stresses, etc., was described to me as carrying stones. More weight added to you than you need to carry. It is a very accurate description.

But relationships are just one small aspect. Protecting is another aspect. Growing up I would see others, or get into situations myself that taught me what the laws were, I would also read up on the laws as best as I could understand for the particular place I was living at the time.

In learning these laws, and trying to conform to them, I came to understand that they are extremely restrictive for those that follow the law, yet extremely lenient for those that break the law.

Talking to men and women, I could see their non-confidence in the law protecting them and their families. I could see in myself as well as others, that this non-confidence, coupled with the restrictions gave man and women both a helpless feeling. Where if a wrong was done to them, the person might get caught, might not, but even if they did, thy would serve a few years or months in jail, then be out to do it again.

These all added together create a fear. A rational fear but an unresolved fear as well. That leads to irrational thoughts and feelings. A cat bumps a window climbing on the window sill, and it’s someone there to break in.

Crime isn’t punished to the extent it needs to be to stop recurrence. When a man feels a need to protect his family, but has to delegate that protection to another, in his heart, he loses a large piece of who he is, he is delegating the responsibility to his family to a total stranger. That creates a detachment from his responsibilities, and will bleed over into other things. But it also creates a worry that his family will not be protected, that worry can and usually does at some point, lead to fear.

Many women still look to the men around them to provide protection. I have seen women deny this, but then shortly after do that very thing. I see nothing wrong with it, as long as it doesn’t become a crutch, or something that gives away their freedom or strength.

Being raised in a Christian environment, I was taught to fear creator, the love of creator was taught, but it was done so in a way that suggested the love was conditional. It was also taught that causing fear was a good thing. Putting the fear of god into someone is a good example of this.

Using fear to get anything done among your community is no way to go about things. If someone comes to hurt someone and you need to protect your own, I think making them fear would be applicable. Our old ways used extreme punishments according to this society. But they worked. Apparently the laws now aren’t working, as anyone can see.

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Men and love


I just finished reading a book by Wilma Mankiller titled everyday is a good day. For those of you who don’t know, Wilma was a chief of our people, specifically the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma. One of the best chiefs we’ve had in recent times, and some say the best.

In this book Wilma brought together women from many different tribes to discuss various issues and ideas. The aspect of this book I liked the most is they discussed. They state their point of views, but very few things they say must be done. Of those things they speak of their people, and the environment.

I would suggest this book to anyone, man or woman, it has great insight. I would also like to reiterate that the things said are the views of these women, and will not be how every first nations woman thinks or sees things.

One of the discussions in this book was about love and got me to thinking. It showed me new things, but also clarified and helped me understand things I had felt when I was younger.

It also partially inspired me to start this blog, to put my thoughts out there as a man raised in the American society. Another inspiration was a blog titled generation y by Yaoni Sanchez. A Cuban woman who goes through hardships daily to give herself a voice. Other inspirations were a brother of my heart, and sisters of my heart, that have helped me see the value of having a voice, and having a voice heard.

Growing up, I saw many men speak about gentleness as weakness. Using descriptions that implied any man who was gentle in any way was more woman than man, and not deserving of being called a man.

I didn’t understand this. As a boy my father was abusive, uncaring, and distant. What I wanted and needed from him was love. Grandfathers were much better at giving love than middle aged or younger men were. But that was also dependent on the grandfather. It also seemed easier for them to give love to a girl than a boy.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, my sister had three children, two boys and a girl. I was told by many women, including my mother and sister, that it’s very important to love all the children the same. Boys are different from girls, but the love you have for them shouldn’t change or lessen for either. In trying to do just that, and in an attempt to not treat these boys like my father treated me, I gave them the same love I gave to my niece. I love each of them for their own personal traits, try and help them be good boys growing into good men. In just showing them the love I have for them, they still know I love them. They have not become girls or feminine in any way. But they can be caring and loving.

I think we men in America have learned a poor example as far as love goes. We do not have to be soft as far as being a pushover, or allowing yourself to be used. But you can show a gentleness as far as an understanding that a boy is not a man, and they are an innocent and deserve a protection because of that. As they grow they will encounter hardships as a part of life. But they should not have hardships thrown at them to “toughen them up”. Teaching them to recognize the protectiveness inherent in them and allowing them to discover where it applies through watching us, and their own actions, can develop a great strength that works off of that love for their family and others they wish to protect.

Love from a man can be applied differently than a woman applies it. But a woman is different than a man, and that in itself is a whole other blog. But it does not mean a man cannot love or should not love in great amounts.

In the way we treat a woman, a love can be applied without them being the woman that put us in their heart for the rest of their life as a wife. We can love a woman for being a woman and the way she acts with us and others because of it. I think we also need to understand that this love for an aspect of a woman does not mean they are “the one” for us. We can love our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, and we do not desire to take them as a wife. The same can be done with a friend and we can love them like a sister.

But in giving that love, we will learn from them their differences and see that they fit to us in a way that balances us out. We see that women in their way see the world differently than we do, and can teach us many things that we cannot see, and don’t normally occur to us.

I think it’s also imperative that we protect that difference of women. Losing it, we lose a better part of ourselves. Not to mention a way of caring for children that we men cannot produce. Also a giving nature that is essential to society.

Beyond and a part of all this, it is much more difficult sometimes to love in the midst of struggles. We men tend to get a hardness when faced with a struggle, and although it is an important tool, it can also be a deficiency in certain situations. Sometimes war, sometimes peace, without the ability to love fully, we cannot find the peace in ourselves, or find the piece with others.

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