Reflections:   October 2013.    4th Qtr 2013

more » « less

Autumn Salutations Relations,

Scaling and standing atop a colossal boulder on my birthday, I was overlooking the second to last base camp en route to Kilimanjaro - a field of colorful tents and climbers from different tour companies spread out below me and the cloud enshrouded mountain towering above us all - when I noticed the following quote emblazoned on the roof of one of the tents - “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”.

Lately, I have been tracking a prevailing attitude in the modern spiritual movement that if the practices and the fulfillment of prayers, aspirations and Dreams are not “easy” and/or “comfortable” then people resign themselves with the statement: “Well, I guess it’s just not meant to happen”. Nothing is farther from the truth. The Sacred Path is not a passive affair (which exemplifies a form of indolence and entitlement). Rather, it is an engaged approach, which requires intention, perseverance, discipline, patience and timing. Fraught with challenges, life and healing are never comfortable propositions. As my first Lakota Medicine Teacher, the late Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer, would often advise – “You must meet Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit) half way”. In other words, the journey of emergence and awakening involves deliberate action, endurance and effort – blood, sweat and tears.

The initial Rite of Passage for all human beings, which sets the precedent for this understanding and brands this reality into every cell of our bodies for the remainder of our walk on the Earth, is birth. Birth is a challenging, sometimes perilous process. While uncomfortably constricted and compressed as the womb begins contractions, there is an obstruction (the cervix) and obstacle (the canal), which the child must transcend and pass through in order to emerge. Similarly, to facilitate the emergence of her child, the mother concentrates, expending considerable effort and energy, displaying great fortitude and stamina, to ensure the child successfully moves through the narrow opening of her Blessed body and into the world at large. Failure to exert at the proper time places both mother and child in grave danger.

This universal experience (and the wisdom literally born from it) applies to all thresholds – personal, professional and relational. Therefore, whether following a Dream, devoting oneself to inner healing, starting a novel Path, making a commitment to oneself or another, experiencing change – essentially undertaking any endeavor at all - rather than abandon yourself, the intention and/or project at the first sign of difficulty, discomfort and resistance, instead recognize, celebrate and express gratitude that you are in the proverbial birth canal - remain resolute, focused and apply yourself for emergence is on the horizon.

Walk with faith toward the prayers you have uttered, patiently trusting in their realization, integrating and incorporating the Medicine you glean through life’s journey along the way – the triumphs and tribulations, both.

From the very beginning of the ascent, the East African guides encouraged the members of the trekking party and myself with the words Poli Poli, Swahili for slow and steady. In order to reach the summit, it was vital to pace ourselves - to breathe, to walk slowly and steadily, step by intentful step up the steep mountain. By honouring that admonition, we successfully emerged at the top of the world.

Chief Tsunka Wakan Sapa

Last updated Oct 10, 2013