Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Solstice Twenty Thirteen || Eight Winds of the Middle Way

Void. Kanji by Mushashi, rendering by Turtle Heart ©2013

8 winds of the middle way
I live on a little island where 8 winds blow
Sometimes on the same day at the same time
It is a place in the middle
Like this island, I am in the middle
A child of the middle way
Yet crossed and blessed by all the winds
Here where Sky meets in my middle
Right here we have a fire
An ancient altar in an ancient place
Like the island, it is little
A little sacred fire that likes tobacco
And songs; songs that come from the middle
Of my body, on the side of a mountain
The middle of the mountain
Today the sun cooks my dreams
They rise like smoke from my belly
As we send our songs once again to the opening gate
of heaven
here on earth…

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rise of the Lone Wolf || Emergence of the Self-Appointed

©2013TurtleHeart. Coyote....sends his greetings from across the sea.
Pantelleria, Italy

From lunatic fringe politician Ted Cruz of Texas, at one end, to self-appointed revealer Edward Snowden, at the other end, and adorned by the Boston bombers and the Newtown shooter, America is facing an onslaught of self-appointed extremists at every level.

As billions of dollars and tens of thousands of security-clearance workers search for patterns and conspiracies, it is these lone wolves that are capturing the attention and disrupting the status quo. They, the spies, seem unable to see these isolated individuals. 

There are no algorithms for the lone wolf.....

(However, the one thing almost all of them are NOT is the image of terrorists and killers and traitors depicted by the media)

In the Tarot this idea is called “the Fool”, in Kung Fu, it is “the void”; to the old Indians “Coyote”. In physics, perhaps, it called “singularity”. Perhaps to Christians, so starved for nuance, it might be called Judas.

Self awakening is related to self activation, but this force can also be self-appointed and in feeling special and appointed, become toxic and unclean…and more dangerous. Self-appointed truth tellers. Many of us are more suspicious of this person than of the secrets they have spilled.

The pervading fear of so-called terrorism has created the most intrusive advances against personal liberty, privacy, as legal protections deteriorate almost daily…even though far more people die every day from homicide on the streets than have been killed by acts of terrorism. About the unrelenting frenzy of murder on the streets, nothing. On terrorism suspects; millions and millions of dollars, tens of thousands of employees and millions of secrets. Something is wrong with this picture.

The political right is presently obsessed with an unprecented war against women. Local and national politicians have come to restrict the rights of women and their doctors with a passion and relentless avalanche of regulations and new laws that are unprecedented in my long life. Unapologetically.

What is the difference between Ted Cruz and Mr. Snowden? Very little difference exists between these two self-serving, self-appointed zealots. They have an obvious difference in public office,but their motivations seem nearly identical to me. They are men who seem to believe in themselves more than they believe in anything else. They believe in breaking things, not in refining them. This is the singular defect of the lone wolf…the belief that explosions equal some kind of truth. Tradition means nothing to these people. Consensus means nothing. Due process means nothing. Family means nothing. Only the dull light of their singularity means anything to them. Self trumps the state. In art, arguably, it is sometimes the defect that makes a masterpiece---in real life, not so much.

As more and more of self actualized lone wolves achieve such stellar levels of media “success”, we can expect to see more of them. They are carried high on the shoulders of the main stream media. This will ensure a rise in this behavior.

Historically, the Fool, as he stumbles over his own noble intentions, has changed almost nothing. He is a seed, but not the fruit of the circumstances that measure what little progress there is.

The inverse of the rule of the lone wolf is also an awakening of the self, but in a more compassionate direction. Lone wolves are often struck by the sickness called “I am the chosen one”. Authentic compassionate awakening leads to personal accountability, personal responsibility, as the first rule of changing society.  Society desperately needs people of clarity and compassion, yet we are fascinated, almost locked in on broken people that jam up everything and block reason and progress. Not because they have reasons, but because they can. Everyone else seems cowered into silence or trapped in reaction modes. 

It feels to me that extremist groups must be paying attention to the effectiveness of this emerging trend. In the middle East, suicide bombers are horrific in their effectiveness. A suicide bomber is not a Lone wolf; such a person is conditioned and armed and pointed as a weapon by calculated rage. Lone Wolf personalities are not likely to be "recruitable" or "trainable". One of the things that make their actions so jarring is the sudden, unexpected emergence from an unlikely place and person. Like a rattlesnake suddenly appearing along a tranquil meadow path.

As to the war on terror, for all the billions in treasure, man hours, media hysteria, political posturing what have we gained?, we now see, at another end of the problem is the unexpected rise of the instant celebrity hero, aka dark Knights, an emerging generation of Lone Wolves. The terrorists, so-called, in a sense have won one part of their war, the power to force your enemy to use up his treasure and blood and attention. The Lone Wolf gains what? Most of them are in for decades of suffering, harassment, and the social ruin of their families and employers.

....and how the political right loves them. It is a confounding new trend.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Dogs Barking at the Light : Shadows of Hate and Rage

TewaShadows ©2013, Turtle Heart

  (Editorial Opinion)  

Every life leaves a shadow behind it, as it moves forward in time. This shadow emerges in unexpected ways, as people and the world stumble blindly and repeatedly over unfinished, unresolved and unhappy business from the past…usually relationships

Bitterness, rage, and the unrelenting passion to never forgive are toxic forces, moving in slow motion, and equal to all other violent forces which bring destruction blindly and without distinction. Repressed feelings are the source of almost all the trouble in the world. They are the root causes of war, of murder, of lying, of making things up, of confusion. History is crowded with such lessons, choking off progress, redemption and renewal.

If you stand still, look behind you, in time, at the long path of your life, what can you see? What will you do about the shadow stretching behind you?

The best thing I ever did was embrace those distant and precious American Indian ancestors whom I could see in the shadow of my ancestors. When I journeyed into the history and lives of my tribal ancestors, my life was changed powerfully, forever. A new understanding of how a human being should live and die on this earth impressed me deeply. I chose to take seven tobacco bundles to seven American Indian elders, living in seven different tribal communities, and ask for knowledge. An eighty year old American Indian put those bundles in my hand and gave me those seven names, and asked me to pay attention. That journey was the beginning of the long life that has brought me to this point in time, at this place in my life. Art is the light I have used to silence the shadows and keep them not forgotten, but inside the circle of my work. It has been and remains a remarkable, solid and treasured experience, this journey with the spirit, sacred bundles, prayers, songs and hearts of my old tribal teachers. That was more forty years ago.

The world is now a very different place. Voices of hostility, hysterical racism, accusation and fabricated condemnation by a loud minority have elevated accusation to an art form that has pervaded the halls of our national and local governments, and diverted once reasonable people into a state of nearly continuous intolerance and obstruction. 

The political right, fueled by predatory extremists, have created billions of dollars in rage oriented commerce based upon lies and fabricated problems in search of extreme solutions. On the internet self-appointed hate groups gather signatures and certifications of outrage, throwing stones and bullets and hate at everyone who is different from them. In many Christian churches, the message is about how mass murder and natural disasters are just punishments from a God who hates humanity for protecting homosexuals or allowing a black American to vote early for a candidate for public office….where women are told, again and again, by men, that they have no control over what happens to their own body...female soldiers are raped by their own comrades, in their own chain of command, and pardoned by their commanders...and on and on it goes.

American Indian issues and programs have long been seen as weak and largely ineffective. Much of the reason for this is the howling rage and racist hatred brought upon any American Indian person or group whom dares to go out into the world and try to get a seat at the table of the world’s issues. It is now very easy, in the internet age, to damage a person’s reputation. You can fabricate and create well-funded campaigns on any crazy idea. If you do your work well, people will believe whatever some wing nut says. Too many Americans seem to love violence, rage and scandal more than they love peace and reason. This strange fact deserves more attention than it gets.

It is now true that one of the easiest ways to get attention and feel important is to make the loudest noise possible about the most outrageous lie imaginable. If it is done loudly enough and often enough, they will come. If you build a house of dreams, they will come. Sadly, if you build a house of racist rage and hysterical condemnation, they will come. The temples of rage are many. They are flourishing.

In America, the grand illusion created by homage to something Americans call “free speech”, has become the firing pin in the new weapons of character assassination  available to extremists. Words have become bullets, and the internet has become the extended magazines of those armed with hate and rage. Haters desperate for attention have used lies and false alarms throughout history. Today the arsenal of tools available for people desperate for attention and desperate to have their lies believed are nearly limitless.

American Indians; full bloods, mixed bloods, orphans without a tribe to claim them, tribal women who push back against the epidemic of violence on tribal reservations, and many others, are often attacked by self-appointed haters who try to take down every voice from the old Indians. Most of the American Indians who are speaking out in the world today are alone. They are individuals with no one to protect their back. ...targets for hate groups and finger-pointers of the new internet trolling, predatory type. Trolls looking for targets. American Indians standing up one by one are isolated and punished. A shrinking number of free American Indians continue to stand up and speak out; they believe in the important work of participating in dialogues and ceremonies with the people of the world. It is right now uncertain how well or how long such efforts can continue combined with the toxic threat of extremist behavior and the general indifference government and media give to any and all issues related to American Indian.

Haters usually have a deep fear and loathing of their own shadows; they experience terror at the idea of self-knowledge; they despise diversity and ridicule complexity. It is easier, for them, to search for others to blame or just condemn outright anything they disagree with. An argument could be made that such behavior is obsessive, paranoid and sociopathic in nature, even while it seems to be protected free speech.

Dogs, without names, barking at strangers standing in the light. Some observers call them hate groups. Every race and culture, political party, religious belief or public person may experience organized hate group behavior. It is one of the liabilities of public service, as old as society itself. The message here may be in how little our shadows have changed, even after such a long shadow of suffering, conquest, reform and enlightenment follows us with every step we take.

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