I’ve been in the Black Hills area of South Dakota for a while now.
I have been relaxing in the same National Forest campsite for a week and besides doing my personal business, I’m driving and hiking through some pretty incredible scenery and swimming in some gorgeous lakes when it gets hot. What a life.
The new lifestyle feels right. Back at Stanford this is the crazy time of year and I’m thinking warmly of my team back there, and feeling so glad to be here instead. The pic to the right is “Cathedral Spires” in Custer State Park, one of this week’s hikes.
Having chosen this traveling lifestyle on my own twisting pathway approximately two years ago, I look back with amazement at the deciding. I didn’t know for sure if I was daring enough or if I would be able to even do it. I remember I was intellectually considering it, but the crux of it was that one morning I just woke up and it was settled. That’s what I was doing. I’m not sure how that happened in my sleep but it did. Now I am reaping the benefits. I didn’t know then what it was going to be like at all. But there is something so freeing about trusting when you just know what to do without thought. Its like just aligning yourself with something greater than yourself and just letting go.
So here I am almost two months into this life as a full-time retiree-nomad and I’m finding that I LOVE it!!
Sun rising, bird song.
A pleasant weariness
Makes a day complete.
Anything is possible.
I see so many signs that the global community of awakeners is coming together – coming into being aware of itself. Perhaps that is because I stay in touch with so many groups through my email. I promise to add more listings to the Evolutionary Connections Directory very soon. We are growing and gaining momentum. While the forms of the old world are becoming more and more unstable, there is a new world arising in its midst. It is just beginning to take shape enough to recognize itself. I am blessed to be able to see it. Maybe that is what my role is… or maybe there is more – we’ll see where the path leads next. One day I may just wake up and know.
As I write this, the thunderstorms are rumbling and rolling over the hills.
See below why they are called the Black Hills? You can imagine how black they looked from the flat prairie as the covered wagons spotted them from a distance. See the mountain goat?
To the Lakota, the Black Hills are Paha Sapa, “the heart of everything that is” and are all about the interplay between spirit and matter. Through the ceremonial cycles of the Lakota year, this interplay was brought into collective consciousness… as above so below. It is also where their ancestors were laid to rest for untold generations. Mt Harney (now renamed Black Elk Peak) was described by Lakota spiritual leader Black Elk as “the Center of the World.” It is the very breath of life that blows out of the wind caves, gulps from the sink holes and flows from the many springs of these hollowed hills. It is the voice of the ancient ones arising in the stone spires and rock formations.
Yet the history of the Black Hills documents one of the most blatant land grabs in U.S. history and continues to be the site of a legal and political confrontation.
The Lakota were given the Black Hills in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie “for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Sioux.” But a few years later, after gold was discovered there, they were basically swindled out of the Black Hills when Congress forced the Lakota to relinquish it and to settle on reservations . They filed a court case in 1923 to reclaim the Black Hills as their own and every time they are offered money to settle it, they refuse the money. They have been working on this effort for almost 100 years and they are NOT giving up. It is the longest running court case in history. Rick Two-Dogs, an Oglala Lakota medicine man, explains: “All of our origin stories go back to this place. We have a spiritual connection to the Black Hills that can’t be sold.”
According to Charlotte Black Elk, the Lakota origin story says that the earth is the mother who nourishes everything. It teaches respect for all living things, all related to one another. When you look at what ails US society, the willingness to treat the earth as a commodity that can be used up, the Lakota have a lot to offer. Charlotte says “what we do today is not for us alone; it’s for our children and our children’s children. What we do today must not dishonor our grandfathers. If we can bring people around to this theological principle — a way of thinking that is broader in time — it’s going to benefit the entire society, not just the Lakota.”
So it is a privilege to rest here in these sacred hills, and see what the rock voices have to teach me about how to live in harmony with the one life that animates all things. I need to sense into this in order to, at some point, know what my role is in helping to support the uprising of a new society, a new world that we can be proud for our children to inherit.