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“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
    ~ Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

I think everyone who danced in the circle
Had expected the event to be different
Each from what the others had expected
And each from what it was
Afterwards I thanked the dances’ organizer
Who asked that I help carry her drum, guitar, and other accoutrements to her truck
Returned and found a few people hadn’t yet left
As I entered the room
One who was speaking regarded me
While the others turned or already conversed among themselves
As though these words were specifically for me

“I refused to sing that Lakota song
  For the Lakota have sold it
  Like they’ve sold so much of their tradition
  Its blessing isn’t for everyone”

I let gentle warmth wash through the outer layers of my aura
“Why do you say the blessing isn’t for everyone?”

“So many people are seeking
  But my people aren’t seeking
  Because we’ve already found
  So I participated in the friendship dance
  But I wouldn’t sing to that drumbeat
  I came here with the understanding this was
  A drum circle
  If it had been
  These things would have been understood
  But I’m the only Native American here
  We have our own traditions
  That should never have been sold”

“Who are your people exactly?”

“Let’s sit down
  My legs are tired from the dance”

We grabbed chairs and I kept listening

“I’m Apache
  My father and mother were some of the last
  Who remembered the old ways and taught their children”

“What sort of things were you taught?”

“I can tell you’re really understanding me
  I can explain this then
  My father once took a sheet of black construction paper
  And with a needle poked a hole in it
  Held it to the light and said
  Most people see Creator one way”

I listened quietly and said nothing

“Then he poked lots and lots of holes
  Held it to the light again and said
  You shall see Creator as many ways
  As the light comes through”

Watching her I could see exactly what she described
Sunbeams shone every which way on her face
Though night had long since fallen
“Many channels?”

“Your pagan way of speaking
  Fails to capture the essence of what is
  My mother did hands on healings
  My daughters do hands on healings
  That’s just part of a tradition
  I went my own way for awhile
  Studied Taoism Sufism Judaism Christianity Hinduism
  There are lots of ways to see Creator”

“I don’t have the words to express certain concepts
  Even though I know those concepts”

“Yes, and yet I see you understand me
  For I use word-pictures
  And you can see what I’m showing you
  Parallel with the words”

I continued to let the gentle warmth flow
“I think everyone has some intuitive understanding of things”

“When I was diagnosed with cancer
  I said to the radiologist and oncologist
  You’re not treating me unless we pray together first
  Requesting Creator’s blessing on the radiation and chemo
  You might not have expected medical professionals to pray like that with me
  But they were happy to do as I asked
  Regretted that more people don’t ask
  And were amazed at how quickly and completely the medicine worked”

As I listened I saw in her space
The pictures from the hospital as she showed them to me
Though neither of us moved but for breath

She read me too
Answered my unspoken question succinctly
“Father son and holy ghost
  Represent mind body and spirit
  Their prayers and mine were similar that way”

“It is after all the same light
  That shines through those many holes, isn’t it?”

“After they hooked me up
  I walked out of the room with my chemo bag
  Still pumping me full of the drug
  I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to go anywhere
  But I asked directions to maternity
  I wanted to connect with Baby medicine”

“Seeking rejuvenation”

“Just connecting with Baby medicine
  I would stand there and sense the feeling of new life
  Not draining it from anyone
  Just feeling it
  And I matched it
  Invigorating the blood”

“I like your use of terms from traditional Chinese medicine”

“I’ve studied lots of things
  Then between age twenty and thirty
  I went through a time when I began to see
  That time shook me up completely”

I caught her word-picture and named it
“The dark night of the soul”

“That’s right
  The hospital was something like that all over again
  They got used to me doing that maternity ward visit every day
  Knew where I was going and were okay with it”

I reflected and said “There are times when we can’t go on alone”

“Every day before I went for my treatment
  I would arrange a basket of different fruits
  Bring them to others who shared the ward with me
  Many of them depressed or despondent
  Not me
  Nothing ever got me down
  I’d say to one of them ‘you look like an apple’
  Or to another ‘you could use a pineapple’
  You shoulda seen how their faces shone
  At those moments”

“You said your mother and daughters have done hands-on healings
  Why not you?”

She swung a hand around and smacked me on the knee
I felt a jolt that seemed to intensify
Replacing the coolness, calmness and an amazing amount of what was beneath it
With a silent hum that slowly spread from deep within
As she retracted her hand and sat looking at me
Emotionless clear and silent

“Do you have a technique for recovering your energy
  After releasing like that?”

“I don’t release
  Creator told me long ago just what pictures to use
  I surround myself in a blanket of grace
  Let my body be a drinking straw
  The big kind
  Firm so it won’t buckle
  With flexible sections so it can go where it must
  At one end of that straw is Creator
  At the other is you
  Creator uses that straw to give you whatever you need
  While wrapped as I am in my blanket of grace
  I don’t really know quite what it is that you get
  Everyone needs something different”

“Your parents didn’t teach you about the straw?
  You got that image directly from —”

“My parents had their own ways
  I’ve taught my daughters this one
  I don’t rely on strength
  Strength will run out and let me down
  I rely on power
  The limitless power that’s always there for me”

“The way I read your word-pictures
  What you’re calling strength is an outward manifestation
  Of what we might call internal power
  Or power that’s available to you somehow
  If you can reach that kind of power, you can use strength too
  You tapped into a kind of power just now
  And it affected me because it came across via a kind of strength
  That also won’t run out”

“I suppose you’re right about all that
  I’ll have to give it some thought”

“I have my ways too
  That haven’t so far involved anything like your tool
  The flexible straw
  I use my techniques all the time
  Varying them according to the occasion”
I smiled
“I like your straw image
  Thanks for telling me about it”

“Last time I did that was at the supermarket”
She looked at me intently
“I’m afraid that what I’ll say next will scare you”

“Not too many things scare me”
(besides fit white American women, but I figured we need not go there)

“Well, I deal with demons”

I laughed
“Demons are one of my main things
  I have lots of conversations with them”

She scoffed without making the least movement or sound
Just calmly breathed
Then continued
“A demon had possessed the lady who was in front of me
  There in the checkout line
  I noticed it while the cashier scanned her items
  And it noticed me
  Her face turned to me and became contorted
  Into a demon face”

“That happens”

“I reached and told it to leave
  And it left all right
  The lady was rid of that demon
  She didn’t remember any of it
  Everyone else there looked horrified
  The lady smiled naïvely
  Finished buying her groceries
  Then went on her way
  The cashier and the people behind me in line
  All said ‘did you see that?’
  I told them I had everything under control
  Gave them all healings like I just did with you”
Pride shone silent and motionless from within her
As she took another calm breath

“I think you took only the first step with that demon
  It’ll be back
  There’s a handle to that lady it’ll use to take over again
  Let’s hope you’ll meet her then
  This is the reason I converse with demons
  To explain to them that their uses and abuses gain them nothing
  Since they can get all they need directly from the source
  Which is a limitless power
  Unlike a lady checking out her groceries
  Providing strength that won’t run out
  So I keep letting them know how pointless their tired-out ways are”

“Demons lie
  There’s no sense talking to them”

“Doesn’t every lie contain a kernel of truth
  You can always start somewhere
  When there’s something to start with”

She listened quietly, showing me nothing

“Demons I can deal with
  I’ve been talking to some of them regularly for years
  Maybe they’re my friends by now
  Though so far I’ve never trusted any of them very much
  Maybe that’s something to work on
  I have bigger problems
  I’d say the biggest comes indirectly from dealing with things like that
  As often as I’m asked
  Which is to say all the time
  So much
  People become drawn to me
  Seeking healing energy
  I’ve had to move to an isolated hilltop to get away
  To connect with nature and replenish
  Despite that they’ve beat paths to my door
  Till shutting it can’t keep them out
  They project their spirits into my living room chairs
  If I give them a hundred healings their beings sit there wanting more
  They’ve even blazed trails all around my home
  In the physical world
  Right across the face of the cliff
  Surrounding me so I can’t get rid of them
  You can see how they’ve changed the terrain since I came there
  By comparing the older and newer satellite images of the area”
I showed her side-by-side pictures of the older and newer views
Though neither of us moved except for breath

“You need Skunk medicine”

“Funny you should say that
  I’ve been seeing lots of skunks
  Just yesterday one crossed the road slowly as I was driving toward it”

“See, Skunk has been calling out to you
  Knowing how much you need him
  Lift that tail and spray
  It’ll make all the difference”

I pondered her word-pictures in silence

She watched me with a brief little smile and continued
“You might also need Frog medicine
  Frog can get stuck on his back
  Typically with one leg caught somehow
  Then as he lies on his lily pad
  He spins haplessly round and round
  But Frog can flip over just as easily
  Can then hop from a pond that’s grown stagnant
  Right over intervening obstacles
  To a new lily pad on fresh water”

“I’ve heard it said that each of us is affiliated with a particular animal”

  You’re a deer”
She looked closer
“You’ll never guess what kind of deer you are”

I sat mutely for an astonished moment
I encounter deer all the time
They practically plague the mountain
Yet who else is like me?

“I must be an unusual one”

“Deer is cautious
  Deer always knows when predators are about
  But even when he’s running
  Deer always knows where he’s placing his feet
  And will never step without certainty in where he’s stepping”
While still speaking she showed me nonverbally how well the deer image fits me

“Maybe I’m a big gangling mule deer”

“You’re a giraffe
  A sort of deer with a higher perspective
  But you’re still very aware of your feet
  Where you’re placing them
  Still aware of predators
  Even though you pack such a kick
  That no cat or bear would attack you so long as you’re strong”

“Oh yes
  Of course
  This isn’t the first time
  I’ve been told I’m a giraffe
  Thanks for reminding me”

“You never told me what brought you here tonight”

“I thought it was a concert”

   I credit many of these images to the
   person who shared them with me as described here,
   though I know only her first name.

Thanks always returns

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