Category Archives: Aboriginal

The One Word that Makes America Really America

A Contemplation for Our 241st Birthday

I read a book in which an Aboriginal tribe asks why we celebrate birthdays. They point out that we get older regardless. That, in itself, is not a reason to celebrate.

“We celebrate if we are a better, wiser person this year than last. Only you would know, so it is you who tells the others when it is time to have the party.”- Mutant Message Down Under/ Marlo Morgan

Today is America’s birthday. It is up to each of us, individually, to decide if the collective spirit within our land has become better and wiser.

There is a part of me that wants to rail out against the plans to defund our public libraries, the first of which was founded by Benjamin Franklin. The current efforts to privatize our public museums, parks, and schools, for me, diminishes the flame that fires our collective imagination and soul.

Emma Lazarus was the Jewish poet who gave our Statue of Liberty these words to proclaim:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”

I feel the pilgrims, the founding fathers and Emma would all be ashamed at our current lack of hospitality.

Still, there is a part of me that appreciates that we were the first nation to not be ruled by a king. Our ideal is that America can be ruled by the people, for the people.  A nation that recognizes its inhabitants are…

“created equal…endowed…with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”- Thomas Jefferson

To me, America is all of humanity living peacefully, boldly, as weird as we want to be.

There is an image conjured up in the TV show, This is US, of an abstract painting. While the painting is a metaphor for life, it can also apply to us here in the US.

“We all get to come along and we add our own color to the painting…

And these colors that we keep adding, what if they keep getting added on top of one another, until, eventually, we’re not even different colors anymore? Just one thing, one painting?

Not you, me or them, it’s just us. And this sloppy, wild, magical thing that has no beginning and no end is right here. I think it’s US.”- This Is Us – Kevin’s Painting of Life https://youtu.be/xh-Tof_QxKU

I am celebrating today because I am grateful that, at this point, we still have the one word that really makes America truly beautiful.

We still have a free press and can share the ideas of those we admire. So, I would like to allow the American author Tom Robbins the chance to reveal this one word to you:

“The word that allows yes, the word that makes no possible.
The word that puts the free in freedom and takes the obligation out of love.
The word that throws a window open after the final door is closed.
The word upon which all adventure, all exhilaration, all meaning, all honor depends.
The word that fires evolution’s motor of mud.
The word that the cocoon whispers to the caterpillar.
The word that molecules recite before bonding.
The word that separates that which is dead from that which is living.
The word no mirror can turn around.
In the beginning was the word and that word was,,,

CHOICE”

 ~ Tom Robbins/ Still Life With Woodpecker

From the far right, to the far left, from the Jimi Hendrix museum in Seattle to the Pride-filled sunsets of Key West, from the nude beaches in San Diego, to the bilingual English and French speaking residents at the tip of Maine, and everyone in between, the CHOICE is still yours!

Happy 4th of July!

 

Being “Vintage” in our Disposable Culture.

Keeping things real in and out of business.

This week, my wife, Julia, and I took our laptop to the Apple store to get a new battery for it. We were told that all models before 2012 are considered “vintage” and Apple no longer works on them.

Our computer is a great product and, with a new battery, it will last a few more years. We surmised that Apple doesn’t work on “vintage” products because they want us to buy a new computer every few years, even though we don’t need to.

Before I ever considered buying a Mac, I remember their “Think Different” campaign.  They had posters of people like Albert Einstein, Jim Henson, Jane Goodall, Jackie Robinson, Pablo Picasso, Amelia Earhart and the like. They had a commercial that said:

Here’s to the crazy ones

The ones who see things differently…

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I just read a book called Mutant Message Down Under about some “crazy ones” who call themselves, the Real People. They are a small Outback nation of Aborigines, who have been around for fifty thousand years. In all that time, “they have destroyed no forests, polluted no water, endangered no species, caused no contamination, and all the while they have received abundant food and shelter. They have laughed a lot and cried very little. They live long, productive, healthy lives and leave spiritually confident.”*

They are “crazy” enough not to even want to change the world but to recognize how wonderful the world is, as it is.  They live with and honor the land, which provides all of their needs, for free. They honor each individual among them in a way that we reserve for the people on Apple’s Think Different posters.

One of these Real People noted:

“Your businesses were started so people could get better items collectively than they could get by themselves… But now the goal of business is to stay in business. It seems strange to us because we see the product as a real thing, and people as real things, but business isn’t real. A business is only an idea, only an agreement, yet the goal of business is to stay in business regardless.”*

Julia and I are grateful for our Mac and various technologies. They are powerful tools that help us create and share ideas. Still, we strive to be the “crazy ones” who will find another store to replace our computer’s battery. Being “vintage” ourselves, we believe that we are not living life to just buy new things. We are living life to generate as much love as we can.  We believe that we can recharge and even replace one another’s batteries with the way we honor one another.

We do not need to live in the Outback to appreciate the value of life. Even though living in the city makes it harder to see the stars at night, we can see them if we persistently look up.

*- Quotes from Mutant Message Down Under by- Marlo Morgan