What makes me come alive is living into deep relationship with the world I inhabit; sharing teachings that have been gifted to me and have grown in the soil of my experience and watching them flourish in the lives of others who explore and learn from them. Listening and Remembering are my two greatest practices and in all of my work these are the foundation so that wherever we are together we are breathing into the magic of each moment and its infinite possibilities. This is essential in order for us to thrive with all of life with fierce love and a dedication to liberation. Listening to the subtle communication from nature and the invisible world so that the connection of all life is present in our actions of resistance and liberation- that they are grounded in Love and Relationship.
In seven decades there have been many pivotal turning points in my life. Two significant ones as an adult were deciding to leave my homeland in 1968 after the election of Nixon and live in Europe. It gave me an opportunity of understanding my multiple identities as an indigenous mixed blood woman of color in a more global context. Being seen first as an American rather than being seen first as a woman of color was a turning point for me. It offered me to opportunity to expand beyond my identities to explore more of my own essential nature. It pushed me back toward the teachings of my Native and African elders. the second turning point was in 1984 when I had a near death experience. It also took me beyond my own sense of my individual self into an sense of myself as a facet of the Whole. It was the beginning of removing the armor from my heart and moving beyond anger and rage in my work as an artist/teacher/activist.
My life has been filled with countless acts of kindness- Wallace Balck Elk, a Lakota elder, who brought back to the cultural roots of my father's family with laughter and rigor; a priest in a shelter when I was homeless with my daughter who gave us the bus fare to travel back to family: a soldier in Germany who gave my husband and I his apartment to stay in when we had no money; A Maori elder, Dell Wihongi, who took me into her life, her family and her culture without any hesitation; an African elder, Bunsen Fu-Kiau, who shared teachings with me because of a vision he had about my name; the many friends and strangers who have cared for me when I have had illness or injury. The list is too long to write. It reminds me continually that the words that come before all else are Gratitude.
I don't have a bucket list per se but I am deeply moved by the multiplistic and vibrant cultures of India. If I had a wish it would be to experience India in all its vibrance by invitation of the people and to learn enough Hindi to feel the culture in one of its own voices.
Breathe, stay awake, listen and remember our original instructions that begin with love.