Below is the concluding paragraphs of my book, The Lonely Place. I have decided to begin talking to people about that book again–our young people deserve to be strong in the world. The novel it talks about, One Drum, will be out soon–another long project of the heart coming to completion.
From The Lonely Place–ReVisioning Adolescence and the Rite of Passage
Before writing this book, before Hellinger, even before my children became adolescents, I had a vision. It came to me after listening to an ancient Lakota story about Makah, Mother Earth (mother of all), and the second cleansing of the earth. In the ancient story, Makah has become displeased with the people. They war and fight, take no care of her living body, and no longer listen to the Elders. Makah, in her displeasure, brings only a few of the people deep within her body and then ruthlessly shakes the rest of the people off the planet. This event, the story says, is called the “second cleansing.” Later, those who were taken inside re-emerged from her belly as the Lakota people and, once again, began populating the planet.
When I first heard this story from a Lakota Elder many years ago, I began to think that Makah must certainly be frustrated once again with her angry, unaware, warring children. Perhaps she prepares to do a third and final cleansing. What, if anything, would keep her from shaking us off once again, I wondered?
The answer? Love. Only love. Massive amounts of love could convince her that we were worthy of living on her beautiful body. Love for each other, love for the earth, love for all other creatures. Love.
I began writing a story with the main plot constructed around a revolution of love happening on planet earth. In my story, Makah is disgusted and displeased, ready to toss us off again when, unexpectedly, her sweet granddaughter asks for the opportunity to give the people one more chance to prove their ability to love. Makah agrees to let her try and sends her granddaughter down among the people in a human body.
I put the awakening scene in the beautiful Badlands of South Dakota because it seemed that here, for sure, magic could happen. Then I sent two small Lakota boys to discover the strange woman asleep under an embankment. Next I saw the spirits flying in like racing storm clouds from all corners of the earth to assist Makah’s granddaughter in bringing about this revolution of the heart.
At this point, I fell deeply in love with my own story which I titled One Drum. Its characters were people just like me trying to find the Good Road, but not always succeeding. I loved the image of the Ancestors and the Great Beings all arriving, unseen and invisible, to help save us from our own foolish selves. In a final scene, the two boys gather around a drum at the base of Bear Butte, a sacred mountain, to drum the new rhythm for all time. They are surrounded and assisted by these Great Beings.
Today, as I read this beautiful story again, I see it not as fiction but perhaps as reality. My sight has grown keen. I see those wise ones all around waiting only for us to humbly ask, “Please help us.” An invisible hand is at work in the world; it guides this purple pen as I write, it inspires the amazing works of scholars like Senge, Fritz, Pearce, LeShan, and others. I see it at work blurring the lines and boundaries between scientific study and spiritual pursuit, creating the crossover pioneers like Hellinger, Erickson, Bohm, Dossey, and many others. It is a revolution of the heart.
To all of these invisible beings, I ask humbly and directly, “Please help us to fashion a culture that supports its little ones, that reveres its old ones, and cares deeply for Mother Earth.” Our culture seeks a deeper solution than our task forces and small problem-solving armies can provide. We need the special language of the heart, embedded in story and ritual that only the heart speaks. Help is all around if we only ask.
On the day I wrote these final paragraphs, I had a phone call from a man in Iowa who heard one of our Oyate programs on the radio. Actually, he had heard the show a while ago, scribbled the number down on an old receipt, and then stuffed the slip into his glove box. When he called our 800 number, he couldn’t recall why he had written the number down so he opened the conversation by asking me, “Do you know what you do?”
Of course, some days I ask myself the same question, so I laughed and said, “Yes, I think so.” As soon as I told him about the Oyate series, he immediately remembered hearing the program. He told me that when it began he had to pull into a parking lot to listen. Then he said something like, “I heard your heart in that program.”
His words touched something in me and, instead of taking an order, I found myself telling him about constellation work, kids and culture, this book—I even told him my astrological sign. We had an animated conversation that lasted nearly forty-five minutes. He agreed to help spread this work across the country.
What I didn’t tell him was that the night before I had asked all those unseen beings to help me with this work, to find the right people who can find the right people who will make a revolution of love. And then, a stranger was calling me from nowhere!
Let’s find each other, you speakers of the language of the heart who are out there reading books, praying, talking to the spirits, and raising your children to be awake and aware. Let’s put our heads together, our hearts together, and make our families and culture strong once again. This is no time for sitting on fences, walking the middle road, or keeping your truest thoughts to yourself.
The next time a little girl falls in the hot sun, let’s catch her quick, before she falls.
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