A long time ago, the wisdom of a Lakota Unci (grandmother) was shared with me. It went like this: No matter what you do in this life, no matter where your path takes you, and no matter how short, long or winding your road is, never ever forget to have a good time! The shining sun will always be concealed by the clouds now and then, and the rains will slide away and be replaced once again by the sun. All of life is the same. There is ebb and there is flow. The tide comes in, the tide goes out. There are good days and bad days, times to laugh and times to cry. All of this duality is why we are here. Through it all, we are learning what really matters – and what really doesn’t. Spirit is teaching us how to be at peace, and even smile, when we find ourselves on a small boat with no oars in the midst of a storm.
In my new book, Hidden Medicine, I write about the severe abuse I suffered as a child and the journey I took to survive, heal and ultimately rise from the ashes victorious. I did not write this book because I am the only one who has experienced such things. On the contrary, I wrote it because we all have. It took me 30 years to arrive at the place where I could finally tell my story. And those 30 years have given me time to climb the mountain and look back with a heightened perspective on it all. It is that perspective I wanted to share, because it is a key to happiness. It is a road-map for how to be at peace with the ebb and flow – the good and the bad – of this life. There will always be dark days. And sometimes it will seem as if the sun will never shine again. I want to offer you an excerpt from my Hidden Medicine book that says it best:
There are moments in this life that test your faith; moments when it seems love has left us and we are alone. Love is like the wind, sometimes it swirls and gusts and you know it is present. But other times it is so still you can barely feel it, and yet it is all around you. We cry out for it and hear nothing, causing us to doubt its presence and question its existence. Love is a mystery. Its purpose is deep, and its vision long. We cannot always comprehend its hidden medicine. Thus, we must quiet our heart and lean in to hear its still, small voice. For just when it feels as if love has abandoned you and all hope is lost, it reveals itself, and you realize love has been with you all along.
So remember the wisdom of Lakota grandmothers. Good times and bad times will come. This we can be sure of. And the light always seems brighter after a great darkness. In all things, there is balance. So no matter what – never forget to have a good time. I offer you the lyrics to a Michael Jackson song to sum it up:
Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just… smile.
If you haven't gotten my new book yet, I hope you will. Click/tap the image of the cover below to get it.
It is also available on this site as a downloadable E-Book, on Kindle and on Amazon.
I will be doing author readings and signings of my book on May 7th at Ozark Research Institute in Fayetteville AR, and on May 12 at The Writers Colony in Eureka Springs AR, and at other events and venues in the coming weeks and months. Keep your eye on my Event Schedule and social media.
In Spirit and Friendship,
This photo is a favorite of mine. I took it while on tour in Ireland. In the photo are two of my favorite people on this earth. On the left is Morten Wolf Storeide, who is from Norway. On the right is Brother Seamus Byrne, who is a monk from Ireland. They stand at the base of a tower that was built by the Irish monks in ancient times as an escape from the Norse, who would come to kill and destroy them. To see these two beautiful men – one of Norse heritage and the other of Irish monastic heritage – together as dear friends in this historically painful spot is a testament to the healing that can happen when love and peace reign supreme. It is easy – perhaps too easy – to look at the global picture and become cynical about the idea of human beings ever living together on this earth in peace. After all, for thousands of years up to the present we have demonstrated again and again how impossible we can make it to be at peace with each other. It seems almost an alien concept to us, this ‘peace’ idea. After all, I don’t think the way you do about lots of things, so how could I possibly live in total peace with you, right?
What is ‘peace’?
Is it the total absence of disagreement? Is it some kind of utopia in which no one has a differing opinion or an opposing view? I don’t think it is either of these things. Peace is a state of existence in which human beings with widely diverse views do not consider the inflicting of physical violence an option for intellectual discourse, period. Peace is not some gloomy place where people have all had a frontal lobotomy. Nor is it an idea that only makes sense to hippies and flower children. My friends and relatives, if humanity does not learn what real peace is, and find a way to it globally, well… I think we all know the answer.
So what will it take?
After countless centuries of war, it will at the very least take plenty of healing, education and enlightenment for humanity to find a worldwide peace. Or it may very well take a global cataclysmic event large enough to draw all of humanity together. Climate change would be such a thing. Regardless of the catalyst, the onus is on us. Peace will not be achieved by an angry minister shouting that he doesn’t care about offending someone he disagrees with any more than it will be achieved by an angry fundamentalist taking the life of another human being because he disagrees with them. Both are guilty of hate, and hate is not the way forward for humanity on this earth. We must learn – or relearn – the meaning of love. We must learn the power of humility, compassion, empathy and kindness. These virtues are not the traits of weakness. They require great strength and wisdom. This is the way to peace. Peace is not void of turbulence. It is the ability to navigate that turbulence with love….
Oh, by the way, Morten Wolf Storeide is the facilitator of The World Drum Project, a global vision that has sent a handmade drum to every continent on earth for people of all walks of life to touch it, play it and pray for world peace and healing.
And Brother Seamus Byrne is a healing music recording artist and spiritual teacher who has traveled the world sharing his message of grace, compassion and love. Both know the meaning of peace....
As always, I continue to pray and work for world peace, and ask you to join your unique and beautiful prayers, positive energy and love with mine....
Click these links for: John's Music ~ John's Books
“What is the meaning of life?”, a question human beings have pondered for centuries. And yet, the answer is surprisingly simple. It’s only the explaining and understanding of that simple answer that can get complicated! So… is it purpose? Yes, having a reason for your life does give it meaning. In our Lakota way, we seek out that purpose through a custom called Hanbleciyapi — the crying for a vision, or vision quest, in which we go up on the mountain alone for several days and nights to ask Spirit to give us a vision for our life. So purpose is definitely a part of the meaning of life. But so is laughter! Yes, I said laughter. Finding and enjoying things that make you smile and laugh are also necessary to give meaning to our life.
What about service? Of course! There is nothing that enriches our lives more than those times when we serve. Whether it be another human being, or just the greater good, when we serve, we find meaning. We also find meaning through learning and enlightenment. Spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth help us to see the world and our lives through eyes more open, more illuminated and with more meaning. And then there is the biggie… love. Ohhhh yes, experiencing the power of love gives great meaning to our lives in both broad and intimate ways. But even love is only a part of that simple answer to the question, ‘what is the meaning of life?’.
So, what is it? What is the answer?!! My friends, the profoundly simple answer is this: the meaning of life, is to live. Yes, it is that simple, and yet how many of us do it? How many of us really live, and live fully? Having a vision, being enlightened, serving and loving, and experiencing laughter and happiness are the tenets of a life fully lived. Listen to your inner voice, it will tell you of your purpose, the gifts you have to give. Take the time to breathe in the beauty of your world, to celebrate its wonder and its mystery. So live, my friends. Live fully. Fully present in all your moments. Fully alive all of your days. For when you are fully alive, there is no need to ask, ‘what is the meaning of life?’.
~ John Two-Hawks
We are on tour in Florida as I sit down to write. Since we have been here, Peggy has been collecting sea shells. For a week and a half, during our walks on the beach, she has kept her eye out for shells, which for whatever reason were quite scarce. And the shells she did find, though lovely, were all rather small. So, for many days she dug in the sand, toiling to fill her pockets with the little beauties. Then, yesterday, we were taken to a beach a few miles down from where we had been taking our usual walks. We were not thinking about shells, just sightseeing with a new friend, going with the flow. When we stepped onto this beach, there at our feet were piles and piles of the biggest and most wonderful shells! In minutes we gathered more sea shells than we had the entire previous week and a half! So, what is the point of this story?
Sometimes, in this life, we find ourselves stuck in the same place, only able to dig up barely enough to fill our pockets. This does not mean that those times are a waste. It’s good to keep digging! And those small things we find in those times and places are a blessing. The wisdom here is to keep your eyes open for the opportunity to take a journey, to explore another place, another view. For when you do, you just may find an abundance of what you seek in that new place, and all that digging and learning you did about how to spot what you seek will finally be rewarded.
So keep searching for your sea shells. Even if they are small, they are still beautiful. And keep your spirit open to receive the invitation to go someplace beyond the familiar. And when it comes, go with it. Take your mind off your sea shell searching and just enjoy the ride. That will be when the miracle happens. Such is the pathway to a purposeful, rewarding, enriching and happy life.
John Two-Hawks - Grammy nominated Native American Flute Music Recording Artist, author, activist and speaker. FULL BIO