03 Jun “I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. – Geronimo
I have recently moved a couple of thousand miles away from where I had lived for the past 14 years. I had a lot of help and support moving, and I thought that the process would be a piece of cake, but it was not. Somewhere along the interstate between the New Jersey Shore and the hilly mountains of Northwest Arkansas, I lost a connectedness to myself, and I began feeling stranded.
Every time that life overwhelms me, my ability to create shuts down. I lose my voice, and I lose any vision. After a few days of this kind of existence, I begin to feel useless, and I begin to think that my ability to create will never return, but last night I was invited to be part of a Native American Drumming Ceremony, and I honestly believe that the pounding and the togetherness, and the meaningful words jarred me back into myself.
“I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. – Geronimo
Drawing of Geronimo – Jacki Kellum
Natural Red Chalk, Pencil, and Charcoal
My dad’s mother was German, and I am blonde and fair like she. But my mother’s grandmother was Native American. Both my mother and I have Native American blood, but when you look at me, you don’t immediately see that. Yet, there is something rather Native American about the way that I find God in all of nature, and when I am removed from Nature, I am empty.
My garden in New Jersey
Although I lived only a few houses from the ocean in New Jersey, my favorite outdoor spot was not the beach. It was my garden. It took me years of soil amending and tons of earth to transform my sandy yard in New Jersey into a great growing spot, and when I left New Jersey, I cried more about leaving my garden than I did about any other THING that I left. Now, I am in the rocky terrain of Northwest Arkansas and before I can grow again, I will have to tote tons more soil to my new space. But somehow, that is the first thing that I want to correct here. I need to dig in the soil. I need to be part of the earth.
My tiny back deck today–on the top of the highest hill in Harrison, Arkansas.
My new house is a little cabin, and the back of it is lifted high into the air. From my back deck, it seems that I am perched in a tree. All that I see behind my house is wilderness, and I love that. I go outside and sit and listen several times each day. Today, the birds are singing loudly and clearly. I can hear them. Their voices resonate with me once again, and I honestly believe that the Drumming Ceremony helped that.
“Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle.The sky is round, and I have heard that the Earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were.
“The life of a man is a circle from childhood-to-childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tipis were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.”—Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux
At the beginning of last night’s ceremony, the chief invited everyone to speak–to share where they were at that moment.
“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.”
― Chief Joseph
I didn’t know anyone, but I explained that I had recently moved and that I was feeling stranded and alienated. I said that I felt like I was on a ski lift and that my feet could not connect with the earth. I guess I was saying that I didn’t feel grounded. Somehow, the drumming helped ground me. I am still determined to bring more and more dirt to my yard and to build raised gardening beds all around my house, but today, I am already better. For a moment or two last night, I caught a glimpse of the sacred.
“To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.” ― N. Scott Momaday