7. An Indigenous Longing

How long will it take for our indigenous selves, lost so long ago to the empire of greed and power, to come home? There’s anger among indigenous people—especially among those who grew up with a sense of what it’s like to have an intact relationship with the earth—of what white man (or people of European ancestry) has done to them, to our shared home. But there’s also anger and deep grief that I and others I’ve met carry because of what we lost so long ago, and long to return to—that indigenous part of ourselves that has also been blocked from coming home to more sustainable ways of living on earth. So, the journey continues… img_1514[1].jpg

Blog 7: End of September, 1996—As I write letters to the East, to the land I left behind, I feel fear in my stomach. What is this fear? Is this heavy feeling my doubt, of being entrapped by the past? I feel disconnected in my writing, yet I want to write “I love you” all over the page. This New Mexico land, the Spanish music, and this desert   sun bathe me in contentment. But I feel frustrated because I can’t touch this contentment, I can’t get any closer to it, and I don’t know how to express this.

Last night, I had a dream about running around and not accomplishing a thing. But then I saw a Native American man who abruptly interrupted my dream. He appeared like a flash of light following me, trying to speak to me. There was no escaping this man’s face. There was an immediacy of someone following me, and no matter how many directions I placed my attention, he was there tapping me on the shoulder. In my dream, or maybe it was in reality, I abruptly sat up. The man appeared inside an old photograph, rough on the edges, blurry and lighter in the inside. I sense he’s been trying to catch up to me, follow me, and only at this point did he break through. It’s as if there’s another level of awareness that exists and I can’t avoid it.

Despite my dreams and several attempts by native people to break through and speak to me, I continue moving fast, carrying the old ways with me. I drive around New Mexico, up north toward Taos, where I sleep under stars only to be awakened to a high-pitched cry coming, perhaps, from a fox. I retreat into my tent and feel my civilized fears heightened inside these wide-open New Mexican lands. Maybe I’m not as free as I wish I were. I am here, though, waiting for a miracle, for God to speak—for bushes to suddenly burn and for some prophetic spirit to jump out and show me the way. I am waiting for insights, for clarity to understand my power and the earth’s gift and power that holds me. But I’m moving too quickly to hear, even in my dreams.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR OUR INDIGENOUS SELVES TO COME HOME?

5. Stopping for Peace

WHEN DID YOU CHANGE YOUR PATH UNEXPECTEDLY?   

Blog 5: September 21, 1996—Spanish poet Antonio Machado once wrote, “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar,” (wanderer there is no path, the path is made while walking). The truth of these words became reality shortly after I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the fall of 1996. I was passing through this sleepy city on my way to the West Coast, but my path changed as I listened to the still breath inside the high-desert air.

“Go on,” I told my friends when I visited with them in Santa Fe. “I’m staying for a while in New Mexico.” My travel companions, Jane and Geri, bid me farewell as they set out for San Francisco to build a new life. I drove down to Albuquerque, to a sense of peace awaiting me, along with vast emptiness. “I’ll meet up with you soon,” I said. “I just need a bit of time in the desert.”

Now, it’s one day at a time—or at least I tell myself, as I stay in New Mexico, uncertain of what is next. Life is about getting over addition—addiction to the way I’ve learned to live disconnected.  I don’t know anything, I realize. This is all. I surrender every day and yet each day I feel moments of yearning for something more.

I hear a woman on a radio show talk about the earth and finding God. I almost tear up. Pachamama, mother earth, is tired and her children are losing her, I feel.

Then at night, I dream that the wife of our portero (the man who maintained our apartment complex in Spain as a kid) comes to me and says, “You’re back. I waited two years.” (I had visited New Mexico briefly two years earlier). I wake up with a sense of awe about NOTHING. It’s like waking up every morning to a lover and an ease that I have never felt. I see where I belong for once. I am home. My challenge is to keeping coming home to the home within the home, because home isn’t in one place, but inside different layers of places and spaces. All the possibility is here because I am in a place that nurtures me.

In the morning, I sit looking out the window, out at the front yard, and I feel like crying again because I experience peace. My body is curled up inside this earth. I feel mother holding me, and I know there is love, great love inside me here.

WHEN DID YOU CHANGE YOUR PATH UNEXPECTEDLY?

Caminante, son tus huellas              Wanderer, your footsteps are
el camino, y nada más;                      the path, and nothing else;
caminante, no hay camino,              wanderer, there is no path,
se hace camino al andar.                   the path is made by walking.
Al andar se hace camino,                  Walking makes the path,
y al volver la vista atrás                     and on glancing back
se ve la senda que nunca                   one sees the path
se ha de volver a pisar.                       that will never trod again.
Caminante, no hay camino,              Wanderer, there is no path—
sino estelas en la mar.                        Just waves in the sea.

–Antonio Machado