Three weeks on the road, traveling 2,272 miles through Oregon, a bit of Nevada, Utah, Colorado and now New Mexico. Much so far has been a counter clockwise circling of the Colorado Plateau. Seeing rock formations BILLIONS of years in creation only deepens my reverence for the Holy. The trip has shown me ancient hunter & gatherer dwellings, and the places where they began to settle in and farm. Pit houses, then adobe above ground communities, cliff dwellings and today the Taos Pueblo, one of the sites where the Red Willow People have lived for over 1000 years continuously.
Saturday, as I strolled through the Taos Pueblo, I had an extended conversation with Barbara Woods, an artist who was raised in Albuquerque. Her parents raised their children in public schools, but insisted on Pueblo language and ways in the home. When she was in high school, her parents moved all 9 of their children back to the Taos Pueblo. She stayed, but since she married a white man she is not allowed to live in the traditional Pueblo, but a few yards away on the reservation. I learned her story when I bought a fry bread from her and she invited me to sit. Best fry bread I’ve ever had — thin and crisp and hollow.
I thanked every artist or shop keeper I met for allowing me to come into their living space. One vendor said, “It is good, as this allows us to make a living at home; we can shut the door when we need to.”
After days of visiting sacred sites that have been uncovered by archeologists, in Bolder, UT, Captiol Reef NP, Arches NP, Mese Verde NP, the “Aztec Ruins” and the “Salmon Ruins”, I was deeply honored today to see the LIVING Pueblo in Taos, and break bread with one who belongs to this land.
There is something important about the vastness in miles but also the eons of creation, sand gain by gain falling through ancient inland seas. Time is more eternal when observing the effect of centuries of water, drop by drop, continuing to create these landscapes. This helps my soul in these days of watching my fellow Americans show disregard for protecting creation, human health care, education and basic human rights. The evil working in Washington, and reaching out to divide the United Methodist Church are put into perspective by conversations with visitors from France worried about their election or a pastor of a UMC in Ely, Nevada who loves rural church ministry or residents of Taos who have in their business window:
IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE…No human is illegal. Love is Love.
SCIENCE IS REAL. Women’s rights are Human Rights.
BLACK LIVES MATTER. Water is Life.
And Kindness is Everything.
I was blessed by a link to Robin Chancer’s blog, “How to Stay Sane if Trump is Driving you Insane….[I would add …If the UMC is driving you insane!]. I found her words very helpful and in some places challenging. Mindfullness matters, she said. Notice the beauty around us: on my trip but also in your own daily being. Chancer writes,
“Each time you feel hopelessness creep in, focus your attention on the kindness, generosity, and good will around you.”
I found her words about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) worthy of more attention in the days ahead. I who, love things to be good or bad, must remember –
“People are complex webs of goodness, love, selfishness, and aggression. Allowing the co-existence of opposites is the essence of dialectic. Individuals are not selfless or selfish; they are selfless and selfish. Our political terrain includes progression and regression. DBT maintains that mental health requires a paradox of acceptance and change. We accept what is and we work toward change, in a dynamic, continually evolving process. Embracing ambivalence, paradox, and shades of gray promotes a sense of wholeness and flexibility. We become less outraged when circumstances don’t fit within our rigid expectations.”
For Chancer’s very helpful essay, go here: