Sing Your Song
The Red Road is a Native-American tradition of walking the spiritual path, of seeking the right path of life. I have been reading about it, collecting writings and teachings about the Red Path. The person who walks the Red Road lives a life of truth and charity, a spiritual life. In some cultures, old people walked the Red Path as they approached death, in others, Roadrunners walked the road looking for truth and connection to their world.
I'm going to enter some thoughts and writings about the Red Road almost every day, a kind of living journal of my own walk on this path and in my life. Today, April 22 is my first entry:
"Abuse no one and no living thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."
I take two things from these beautiful words.
The first is especially relevant in our time, our world is filled with hate and judgement. I see it when I go to New York and talk to the carriage drivers, who have been abused for years. I see it when I write about animals and other things, there are always some who love me and some who hate me for what I think and try to abuse me to discourage me and turn me from my beliefs. I seek to embrace this wonderful rule: I will abuse no one and no living thing.
If you live in the world and share your feelings and belief, the haters will come to you, it is part of our world. Each one can make you stronger, as it has made me. it is a long time since I have abused anyone or any living thing. One day at a time.
Hatred and anger are poisons, they corrode the soul equally of those hate and those who hate back. We are all of us human, we stumble and err, lose ourselves and our ground. But we can always step back, give rebirth to ourselves, reset ourselves. My world is divided into parts. Those who hate and those who love. It is up to me to find the ground on which I choose to stand.
The second thought on the Red Road deals with dying and aging in our culture. In our so-called modern and progressive world, we are no longer permitted to choose a death with dignity, we die on pills, in hospitals and nursing homes, far from peace and beauty and the natural world, far from our friends and family and animals. We are kept alive far beyond our natural life, mostly to enrich other people. We live too long, we suffer too much, we age in the midst of the lie of progress, we live longer, and with less and less purpose or joy.
How blessed are the animals, we can spare them that, and nature, left alone, can spare them that fate. No animal in the natural world lives too long, they die when it is their time. The Native-Americans could choose their time, that right has been stolen from us.
I am approaching the end of my life there is so much less time ahead of me than behind me, I am not there yet, but I can sense it, feel it down the road. When my time comes I do not wish to cry and pray for more, I want to sing my death song and die like a hero going home.
I want to live that way also, I want to sing my life song and live like a hero going home as well. Everywhere, every day, there are people and things telling me what song to sing, what to say, what to write, what to think, what to wear, how to treat our animals, what pills to take, what to eat, how to drive in a car with my dog, what forms are needed, what ID's to show, what must be faxed.
They seek to silence our songs, crush our spirit, bend our wills. They often succeed, the world is filling up with hollow men and women, living lives without meaning, enslaved by other people's notions of safety and security. Each day, in my words and my photos, in my life, I sing my life song. Every day, in every beautiful piece of art she creates, Maria sings hers. Each day, I remind myself to sing my life song and live like a hero. That is my message today, I am a Roadrunner on the Red Road.