Friends and relatives,
As I sit here in my quiet Ozark Mountain forest home, looking out the window at the budding trees, fluttering birds, blue sky and sunshine, the harsh reality of the global pandemic we are in the midst of seems far away. From my earliest years I have felt most content in the solitude of the natural world. The pines whisper their secrets as the winds blow softly upon them, and I am grounded and connected to their silent strength. In all my conversations about this pandemic with my Oglala relatives there is a common theme: what feels like a disruptive ‘new normal’ for so many is not disruptive or new for us at all. We don’t need to learn to be still, because we always have been. We don’t need to learn to make do with less, because we always have. And the quiet doesn’t make us stir crazy because we have always welcomed the silence. The slowness of life and absence of possession obsession in Native communities naturally lends itself to a world in which there is time and space for the things that really matter. So much of humanity has lost touch with that, and now it is making us sick.
The relentless pace of the modern world has created a performance driven society that leaves little room if any for quiet self contemplation. People have been moving so fast for so long that they have lost touch with who they are at the center of themselves. And being forced to stop can feel very foreign and uncomfortable. But this is a chance for a shift, a moment in which self reflection is finally given the space it has been denied. The speed at which modern life moves has caused too many to be like a rock skipping across the surface of the sacred waters, never knowing the deep mysteries that exist beneath. But now the skipping has stopped, and the rock can no longer just skim the surface. This is the time to seek the depth of what lies within. To turn our ear to those whispers that are only heard in the silence. And to sink away from the shallow, and into what is real. My friends, this pandemic will have its day, and it will pass. It is not forever. But in this defining moment we have a chance for a great transformative shift. We have a chance to find ourselves again, to reconnect with our Mother Earth, and to finally begin to reestablish our relationship with the natural world we all belong to. Maybe this time can be a reset for human beings. Maybe on the other side of this, we will find we have adjusted our breakneck pace to give ourselves more time to connect, more time to listen, more time to share, and more time to live a life of depth. May we emerge from this global crisis with our eyes wide open, that we may once again see clearly what is truly of value, and what is not. I pray for you all my friends. Be well and safe. And take this time to tune into the small voice that whispers within us all, and draws us back to that sacred place of connection, grounding and peace.
John Two-Hawks - Grammy nominated Native American Flute Music Recording Artist, author, activist and speaker. FULL BIO