The weight of this sad time we must obey
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most, we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
~ King Lear Scene 5, Act 3
Oh, my love. In the midst of despair I only heard “Don’t say anything to anyone. I cannot tell anyone who you are or why you are here. You must keep you mouth shut, not even share your prayers with anyone. When you give your prints in a sweat, hold your tongue. Do not say what you are praying for or who you are to be working with. Say nothing. Hold everything inside.”
Behind those words were deeply held fears passed down to you by those who ‘taught these things’. There was a time, not as long ago as many may think, that holding everything inside is what kept individuals alive and communities intact; when the threat of the ‘savage’ accessing the powers that be and to Be as they were meant to meant death for those who spoke allowed, sang and danced with the rhythm of the heart of all that is.
Those who taught you these things were taught by others who tried desperately to erase your families from their own identities, histories, stories and, for some, existence.
However, we face something very similar now and to not speak truths of things; truths of things of spirit, the spirit of nature and nature of spirit, and our relationship with all those things. To hold our tongue still and heart closed will continue the process of losing identity, history, story, and, yes, for some, existence.
For two years, I’ve not known what to say when the Ancestors and Others who walk with me have shouted, “SPEAK!” with an occasional, more gentle, “Speak, child. Speak.” I’ve asked again and again, “What would you have me say?” not in such a gentle way. Now I know.
Now I will hold neither my tongue nor my heart. There is no turning back. When They ask me to go find those disappeared at the hands of others and being disappeared because their sight and their voices, too, are being blinded and shuttered, I will. I will find them to bring them home; some to their families and some to their own hearts, their own nature. I will speak so their truths may be heard.
I will be quiet no more and ask you, my kind sir, do the same for we must do this together. No one of us can do this alone. We were never meant to.
In Telling the Holiness, I wrote :
In the Apache tradition, storytelling is to ‘tell the holiness’. The myths that speak to the holy are “performed only by medicine men and women for the purposes of enlightenment and instruction.”
We may have finally come to the time where many realize that storytelling isn’t only for medicine-people to tell; the truths of all things holy come from each of us, as much as we draw breath our own stories give us life.
In the time before we were not separate from ourselves and the places we stood upon and looked up into, we were a people so connected to the earth that the earth took our pain in the same manner it gave us life. Absorbed it like a rare rain in the desert and held onto it like it was holding onto their dear lives. At one point, back in our time, we were each those people. And, now they are mere remnants of our fabric; tossed and hidden away when not murdered from existence, removed from the collective conscious except when it appears to serve our romantic nature or reliance on greed.
I listen to those struggling to maintain communities in a good way fight to keep parking lots from plowing over medicines. My heart breaks when I’ve brought a 40 year old man back to his tribe but the 15 year old sitting next to him is desperate to escape “because I can’t be me here. I’m not safe. I’m not ready to kill myself, though. Yet.”
And in the places where we have shoved those people who represent the past that we have collectively deemed unworthy of our attention, we die along with them. As they bleed the interest in life, the earth withholds it–for them and for us. There’s no need to feed & give life if life is no longer lived in the manner it was made to support. And this is repeated around the globe, again and again, even as we struggle to manipulate natural and created systems to feed our futures. This cycle will be repeated as if a contagion until we vanish. Like those before us who were starved of connection to their sacred places & spaces, we disconnect even further from each other. Some run in any number of ways to escape, some escape to feel free yet yearn to come home. Those who have walked before and those now. I have felt the lost. I have held their hearts in my hand and I have stood in the spaces where the ancients realized all that is was no longer; that relationship with the ground, that relationship with each other, the ties that bind us as a people, that relationship between spaces below and above; the very representations of all that is home.
To walk onto home and feel the defeat between the highs and to hear the kindness of strangers turn to meanness to kin who aren’t enough of any measure to be accepted by family or community, reveals that same lostness, but not of the Ancestors but in the hearts of those beating now. “How can I be me if I can’t be seen?” “All this talk about spirits, why am I called crazy for seeing these things?” “I can’t tell anyone the trees speak to me.” “I could just die.”
Oh, love. Please stay. I hear you. I’m coming. I feel you. I’m coming.