There Is a Light in the World

There Is a Light in the World

It would be easy to ignore the events of today, and I could retreat behind the claim that I only address myself to matters of spirituality. But that would be cowardly. Something massively important happened in this country today and in other countries around the globe. It cannot be ignored.

There was a collective consciousness on this planet, an energy, that moved people who have never been so moved before. I marched today in my town of Sedona, with a large group of people, including Sedona’s female mayor. Our backdrop was beautiful red rocks that were covered with snow. There were people in my small town who brought their children, people in wheel chairs, elders who found it difficult to walk, but there they were. Present. Peaceful. Helping one another across streets, bringing water, walking service dogs and pets. My daughters and my granddaughter were marching in Washington, D.C. And Los Angeles with hundreds of thousands of people.

What I saw and heard was a demand for the end of hate. I know that there are social and political issues that are related to this great speaking out, but there was something in this demonstration that over-arched all of them. It was in the mass of humanity that felt compelled to bring a presence to the rise of something dark in our time.

That is what this really is about. It isn’t about the man in the White House; it isn’t about the political process that seems to be regressing into a cruel past. It is about the fear and hate that is driving it. And it seems to me that today, there was a great rising up of humans against our darker natures, rejecting hate in all its forms. Notable was that it was completely without violence and rooted in peace.

Make no mistake. In spite of the fear that inspires hate, it is not greater than the Light that lives in all of us, and yes, even in those who hate and despise us. But Richard Attenborough said it best, and I offer it to you now:

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”

God bless us all.

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Read: The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com and for a signed copy, visit www.themessenger.space.

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A Vision of Forever

Last week, I traveled back East to go to a retirement party. It wasn’t just any retirement party; it was for someone I have worked with and worked for, for a long, long time. There was a ballroom full of people. I saw people there whom I’ve known most of my working life, colleagues who became old and dear friends. It was a grand goodbye, not just to my friend who was retiring, but also to the organization that had been my home and my family for the last forty-five years. For his retirement marked my own. I worked for him and him alone, and when he was finished his work, so was I.

When I was young, I didn’t know that when I watched the sun set and the sun rise, when I saw the summer end, and watched as autumn redid the colors of the forest, that I was witnessing the eternal cycle that encompassed all of life. I didn’t know yet about death and life, and life and death. I didn’t know about the cycle of letting in and letting go.

Just before my trip, I learned of the death of an old friend and a colleague. This week, I learned of the death of the nephew of a friend of mine. This morning, I spoke to a woman whose son’s best friend is dying. This afternoon I went to a memorial service for the husband of a woman I have come to know here in Sedona, and spoke to another there whose partner died two months ago. There are times when it seems as if death is everywhere. And it is. I’ve seen it come to people I know and to people I love. It is how I came to write my book; it is why I write this blog. It was death that brought me here, but it was witnessing the cycle of letting in and letting go that taught me the little I know.

And today, here I am, of a certain age, knowing that death is not followed only by the space life used to occupy. I am able to see life all around me, sure that it doesn’t go anywhere. The sun sets and the leaves fall, and life continues. It changes form, but it doesn’t go anywhere. A tree will fall and leave its seed in the ground to grow again.

But even when we know what death is—the shedding of the physical body for an ethereal body, a spirit body, a non-suffering body, the loss of that beloved physical presence is painful and heartbreaking. Even when we know that our loved one is safe and happy, it is a long while before we can feel anything but grief. But grief, too, is part of the cycle. It, like the snow and ice of winter, is followed by unforeseen and unimaginable gifts, whether we want them or not.

In the past couple of days, I’ve seen a movie or two, heard a song here and there, and read a poem, all of which had pretty much the same theme—letting in and letting go. L’Histoire de la Vie. The Circle of Life. The 1946 movie and great novel, The Yearling.  They all came to me within a few days of each other. When this happens, especially in the midst of a grand goodbye, several deaths and a memorial service, I stop and listen. Apparently, the Universe is trying to tell me something, or remind me of something.

I think It is saying, Look. Look again. See how this works. It is happening all the time and everywhere. Some of it will break your heart. But all of it is followed by something you’ve never had before—the wonder of life without end, the gift of love, and a vision of forever.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com  For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space

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How To Receive (Continued)

If you didn’t read my last post before Christmas, you might want to take a look at it now. This is the continuing story of my visit to a Hopi Reservation.

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When I last left you, the Tewa elders had chosen from the gifts brought to them by the people of Sedona. It was their responsibility, not ours, to distribute the food, blankets, and clothing to the families who needed them the most. I marveled at their grace, dignity, and sense of humor – just the opposite of what I had expected. I expected the Tewa to be like me – resentful and shamed.  After all, here we were – dispensing charity to people for whom it should never have been necessary. What I saw was a people who knew how to receive without rancor or judgement. I also came to see the generosity of the white people of Sedona who had given so much and worked so hard to put this all together. The word that came to my mind was reconciliation. There was also the feeling of family. In that room, I saw my grandfather and father in those elder Tewa faces. And when all was done, I was looking forward to being a guest in a Native American home. Every person who came was hosted by a Tewa elder. It was their turn to give and ours to receive. In this way was created a beautiful balance.

On the road to Ginger’s house for lunch (Ginger was our Tewa hostess), two men waved at us to stop. My friend slowed the car and one of them approached with a little hand-made doll in his hand.  He was miserable-looking, as if he had been on a long, slow drunk. He was staggering a bit, and his eyes were bloodshot.

In spite of our warm reception and the smiles of the elders, let me not give the impression that poverty, despair, and alcoholism do not exist on that Hopi reservation and undoubtedly on every other one in this country. It was in this man’s eyes that I saw the long history of hopelessness among our Native American people. Behind him were the sad, poor houses in which the sad poor were living.  My friend gently told him that he could sell his doll back at the community center where others were displaying hand-crafted objects. We were on our way to Ginger’s, she said, and could not be late. He accepted our decision not to stop, and said no more. This man was heartbreak in person. So there is that, let us not forget.

Ginger’s house was a modest, pleasant bungalow.  Inside, three elder women were waiting to greet us. The warmth and the smells seemed to say, “Come in. You are welcome here.” The aroma of hand-grown tea brewing on the stove mingled with that of two large pots of soup, one pork and one mutton. Added to the broth was hominy from corn grown “up high on the mesa,” corn grown with seeds gathered and saved each year from a pure strain that had not been adulterated with hormones or genetically modified, corn ground by hand. Bread that had been baked in ovens outside was on the tables they had prepared for the six of us who had been assigned to Ginger.

At my table was Evangeline, an elder, her husband, Leon Nuvayestewa, and their great-granddaughter, a girl of about ten. Nuvayes-tewa, Leon told us, was his father’s name. Hopis have but one name, he explained, and Nuvayes meant falling snow, the kind with big flakes, he said with a big smile. Leon talked to us throughout lunch, studiously avoiding the football game he had been watching on the big screen TV.

The baby spinach was grown by Evangeline, picked in the spring, and dried on a big wagon wheel to be eaten in the winter. I saw blue cornbread for the first time. It was flaky and paper-thin, like a strudel pastry without the filling. And it was truly blue. The soup was comforting, and the tea was strong and hearty. We were warm, and fed, and told stories of what life was like on the mesa in Evangeline and Leon’s youth. It was not easy, they assured us. The women would haul water from a spring below to the top of the mesa. They laughed telling us about the slow trickle from the spring and how long it would take to fill a bucket. After the precious water was used for cooking and drinking, they said, there was not a lot left over for showers. And they laughed again.

On the walls were photographs of the younger generation – handsome, beautiful children in native dress who were…somewhere else. They had gone on to places off the reservation, to school, to jobs. But Tewa children on the reservation were learning their language, they told us, in classes devoted to preserving the Tewa culture.

Before we left, I promised to send Leon a copy of my book. My friend told him about my Cherokee grandfather and about The Messenger and he was very interested. While I am always cautious when explaining my book to non-Natives, I felt very comfortable telling Leon about my spirit guide, Lukhamen. Stories about spirit guides are not unusual among Native peoples, and he asked me if I would send him a copy. In return, he promised to send me a Hopi cookbook, something the elders had put together. All I could think of was a line from the movie, Dances With Wolves – “Good trade. Good trade.”

As we made our way home, the sun was beginning to set. The road stretched to the horizon and the endless sky of Arizona was a panorama of pink and lavender clouds. A sparkling star peeked through, here and there. We didn’t speak much on the trip back. I think we didn’t want to lose the feeling of harmony we had felt in that home, among people who treated us as friends, as relations. Sitting there among them, it felt as if time had folded back on itself and that it was the time when they lived on the land in their tepees, when there was buffalo, when family, food, stories, and laughter were the bonds of family, of life. For that moment, we were given a glimpse of a time that was and is no more.

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Read more about a time that was and is no more in The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it on www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, order it at www.themessenger.space

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