When I was a little sailor, a lot of history presented itself to me on the tv. [Sure, it still does.] I say little sailor because from age 8 into almost 20 I spent most of my quality daytime and some of the night on the water, alone or not, in my Boston Whaler. Docking meant coming in and just about falling asleep as I might eat... but the nightly news was generally on. After a day spent largely at sea, my mind was like an open, clean page to be written across. Usually, I released all my cares and woes to the sea... it was easy to do. Sometimes I think I was preparing for my life in a secluded daily sea shamanism.
So, the nightly news hour generally stayed vivid and true. Like the endless, red images of Viet Nam. Civil Rights marches and the violence that walked beside them. Assassinations were very hot during the sixties and early seventies... from common lone criminal to bunched up terrorists. Death in bigger and bolder ways, by the hand of man. Death before our eyes... have we forgotten how terrorists would take out OPEC ministers or Israeli athletes for the cameras? The scenes of executions are still vivid in my memory. Like the yellow ribbons before Reagan was elected. It was Carter who got those hostages freed, but no one acknowledged it for, really, years. I've been thinking about how now, without my glorious sailor therapy, the endless carnage and the sweet moments in between, seem to drift one into the other like so much of an overdose of visual imagery. Until the 'big ones'... and that's what's bothering me today. The 'big ones'. DEFINE 'BIG ONES', I think to myself. I remember this on television, prophetic and wild truth. I remember the news broadcast began with the 'incredible breaking news this hour...' of MLK's murder. It was shocking. Mom cried and the bat signal kept asking who he was. She was very small. My mom was afraid that the world was going to hell in handbasket. Well, she might still be. How do we triage the worst of the worst any more? How do we define the 'big ones'? Walt Cronkite, Huntley & Brinkley, those monitors / newsmen are long gone. Even Barbara Walters, ancient of news cast, has adapted to the shock and awe of a kind.... gossip calling human interest? mainly.
There simply are no 'small ones'. We are an entire planet, a world, connected together through the visual display 24/7 cycle of life, cherry picked for shock and awe, by those who can afford to broadcast the widest and release the greatest roar. I had this idea, of triage-ing my life, from a very good article on HuffPost by Jamie Lee Curtis "Prepare to Be Desperate". Her point is to be prepared for just such a disaster to strike in your neighborhood and not have any help for days or weeks. Katrina must serve as a lesson to us. We must take care of ourselves and be willing to take care of our neighbors... the question posed so much all over the net and in the news is one that today's hero, MLK, asked..."What are you doing for others?" The message that service to others is the sanity that saves us from ourselves and brings us a realization of why we might be here. Service to others polishes our egos to a magnificent brilliance, the kind that shines on throughout time, the kind that allows us to understand a moment here and there of selflessness. Behind that, I think two other steps in my personal triage follow; forgiveness and gratitude.
I've heard it said lately via shock and awe that we 'die alone'. What BULLSHIT is that? I've done 'dead'... clinical death. I've experienced 'the Light'... the knowledge that we are NOT ALONE, ever. (Now that can kinda shake ya up or tune ya in...but there it is.) I know how much of a difference we each make. Every thought you've ever had lives in eternity... becomes the tangible dynamics of eternity, the new physics we are searching for, trying so hard to materialize. Just as I know that every nasty thought I've ever had has been the birth of a demon, a black attack on others that haunts through other realms until someone or me transforms it with our much stronger kindness. I know that I've called angels to the spot in my moments of goodness and I know the Goddess lives just as the God of all them Fathers lives. I know this.... it ain't no BELIEF (processing thoughts)... it's a knowledge. We are stardust and we are golden and we are creators. And when we do close our eyes, finally, we are joined by those who have loved us... our family or friends..., those we have admired so strongly, who have crossed over before us. They are there. It is almost unimaginable what we, as the Captain of our soul, are able to create as eternity. We are eternal, I've experienced the empirical evidence of it. So, when death overwhelms the living like what we are witnessing in Haiti or the tragedy of the Twin Towers falling or the death of a loved one and we wonder over the goodness of whatever god and whatever karma and whatever goddess... we are dancing around within natural cycles. The ancients, our Ancestors, knew this truth. And they have tried to make sure we found it for ourselves in all the wonders of world, the monoliths, megaliths, pyramids, traditions anchored in mystery to reveal to those who pursue it... that we are eternal. They inspire us to remember.
Some of us 'know' we are not alone.... It's been my experience, that unbidden, when the 'time' is right, we do come to know the truth of it. Usually, its' the firm awareness that "mom was here, I smelled her perfume" or "Granddad must have moved it" or "they say it's haunted" comes easily to mind. Perhaps you've allowed this truth for yourself, perhaps you can't or don't understand it is there for you. Today I read a story about Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a hero maybe not so widely known, who was catalyst of great change in her world. Each of us is such a catalyst of change in our world. We transcend many worlds and noble Spirit understands this one illumination. The most enduring traditions tell us that we are all connected / or Mitakuye Oyasin... we are all related: "all my relations" ... preserved by the Lakota People, the Dine. Any anthropologist will eschew the idea of globalization among Peoples... it spoils the purity of a culture. And yet; it seems to me, it is has become the time in this world to reach out to our human brothers and sisters across the planet, for our good health and our growth as a PEOPLE... as we watch it being done, so slowly, in Haiti. I and I can't help but think, today of all days', that we should transcend culture and race to reach for one another with our personal triage to
be of service
open our hearts' to gratitude, the joy of being human.