I stood outside tonight and looked up at the stars in the quiet forest of my Ozark Mountain home. As I gazed upward into the night sky, I thought about how small our human disputes are, and how large our global crises are. While we bicker with each other over race, religion and politics, over who’s this and who’s that, the temperature keeps rising and the storms keep getting stronger. Bob Dylan wrote in his song ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’, “I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world.” I wonder if we are able to hear that roar over the shouting and yelling we unleash on each other.
I recently received a slew of nasty attacks online, including threats of violence, after material from a slanderous blog post about me resurfaced. I was actually on Pine Ridge reservation at a Sun Dance, sleeping in my truck at night and singing the sun up every morning with the guys, when the attacks started. It was awful. The vitriol was palpable. The accusations were inflammatory and highly offensive. Not to mention completely ridiculous and fabricated. And it went on for days. Too much time was spent on it. Angry people who don’t know me from Adam trolled my Facebook page and posted snarling, hateful things. I responded privately when I could. Some were kind. Some were not. As I have said many times, it is far too easy to sit behind a screen and hurl insults at people we don’t know. This is the thing I have always disliked the most about social media. It has disconnected us from the cause and effect of human interaction. It doesn’t affect our conscience to hurt another human being when we are not there to see the suffering we cause. This numbing of our human decency is a global phenomenon and a worldwide epidemic problem that poses a great threat to all of humanity.
I had originally planned to write this blog in an attempt to defend myself and respond directly to the lies that were being spread about me. I had intended to include some personal and explanatory information, and make my case for why these bad things that were being said were so wrong. But then a few things happened. First, I spoke with several of my closest hunka relatives from Pine Ridge, Rosebud and elsewhere about what was happening, and their encouragement, support and love poured out and consoled me. These beautiful people truly know who I am, and I love them dearly. They know what’s true, and what isn’t. And they all gave me great advice and reassurance. Then, tonight, I went into my studio with a bag of my flutes. I stood there surrounded by the instruments that have been my life for the past 25 years. I could almost feel them reaching to embrace my spirit. Tears came as I thought of all the songs these instruments have sung to hurting people around the world. I quietly whispered a wopila to each of them for the healing they have imparted to others, and to me. And finally, when I walked outside tonight and looked up at the stars, it all became clear. What matters is the big picture, not the ‘me’ stuff. Who cares about the insults strangers hurl, when those who actually know you hear those insults and love you more? And who cares about being lied about, when the only truth that matters is the love you give? And lastly, who cares about all the egocentric, self-centered name calling we human beings engage in, when the ancient stars are looking down upon a world that is in desperate need of healing, reconnection, restoration, balance and love? We all need to stop yelling at each other and pay attention, because a wave may be coming that could drown the whole world.
My dad used to say, “Let other people do your talking for you.” That was his way of teaching me not to boast, and not to get too fixated on myself. I thank him for that lesson, which is part of the reason I decided against the original direction for this blog, which would have been way too self focused. And so no, there won’t be any juicy personal information offered here. Besides, most of that stuff has been on my website for the taking for years. Nor will there be any defensive rebuttals in this writing. I have opted to see the big picture instead. In conclusion, I will only offer this; the pathway of my life was not planned or contrived. All of what has become my life experience happened organically and unfolded gradually over time and continues to unfold. My only active part in all of it has been to accept and receive that unfolding, and embrace it. That is all I have ever done; with my identity, my music, my speaking and my writing, is to remain open to what comes, and to learn and grow from it. I don’t push anything. I have always been perfectly okay to wait. I will learn and grow from this hurtful experience too. In fact already have. For starters, I have witnessed firsthand how much stronger love is than hate. And that gives me hope for Mother Earth, and for our future generations around the world.
John Two-Hawks - Grammy nominated Native American Flute Music Recording Artist, author, activist and speaker. FULL BIO