This is a psalm to my teachers. Friends dedicated to Spirit. So many teachers have flown into this life with gossamer wings flapping, showing this, revealing that, fluttering here, stopping there.
Teachers in red dresses with fierce eyebrows, teachers disguised as teenage popular culture. Teachers sharing wisdom with eyes softened by life’s teachings. Teachers sharing the opposite of all my beliefs. Teachers purring and building my ego. Teachers tearing it to shreds.
This morning I think of three teacher-friends who offered everything with wide open palms. None of them looked like a teacher. Each of them bore gifts larger than birth and death. Each of them sang a fierce song, a wild song, a song of spirits trembling to embrace life more fully.
The first teacher birthed from a native world of midnight spirits, alcohol, drugs and sexual abuse. Most people ran faster than a cougar away from her. Most people never stopped to glance back. They knew she would destroy them with schizophrenic wisdom. They judged her and left her to hang on their inner crosses.
I was either too dense or naive to run. I stayed and dove into her crazy world. Out of her Ojibway eyes bled orange suns. Mice scampered at her feet, terrified. A bear lumbered from its den and ate her. Buffalo horns sprouted from her long braids.
The gifts from her crazy-wisdom multiplied, like wild rice at a feast. I learned to stand strong in the face of destruction. I learned to pick through the crumbs of her offerings and choose what felt right. I learned how to dance on the yielding earth and find eagle wings.
Spirit cracked through her teachings and the yolk of something beyond life and death poured into my heart. Oh my friend, thank you, thank you. I have loved you deeply, Yellow Cloud Woman. May you find rest with your feet in the sky and your hair across the reservation’s freedom.
Oh, Second Teacher, more terrifying that the first! You led me past the pavement end and destroyed everything I thought or desired or wanted or loved. With sweet smile, you led me deeper into the underworld, past the hissing snakes and wounding scorpions. You led me down, down, down the shaman’s path onto the backs of dolphins who dove into dreaming worlds beneath the oceans.
You carried knifes and scissors everywhere and cut up the creature known as “Kathy” until she couldn’t find the doorway. Yet, in your cutting, you stoked the fire of energy like a bellows freeing creosote from the chimney.
The being tried to claimed herself. She needed strength to claim herself. She claimed what she knew, what she believed, and finally she garnered enough energy to say “enough” and tossed the key westward to the graves of egos and crawled naked into the eastern direction.
When the words “enough” smoked into the sky like a blue smoke of prayer, we opened into a new horizon of friendship, spirit willing, one with fewer knives and more prayer flags flapping in the wind of that which seeks and draws sustenance from clouds.
Oh, third teacher! You who stroke and prowl like a wild animal in the woods, you fur-bearing star, you sense-filled aesthetic. You who look nothing and everything like a teacher. Too many people can’t see past you, into you, for the nothingness which dwells within you frightens the soccer-playing moms.
You so occupy your body that it’s a living rainbow skin of Spirit. You coax the light of essence back into the destroyed ego world. You purr at ego’s attempts. You laugh at the moon, pearly teeth thrown back against your native lineage.
While the other two teachers helped to create strength and energy, you embody it. You show the Way like a red carpet. You hang by your feet from the morning sky. You breathe so deeply that babies pop out, one after another.
Your dedication is so fierce it lights my fire again and again and again. Like a shining flame, you draw me closer to myself. In myself I see the entire world undulating, the dancers dancing and the singers mouthing praises to the crescent moon.
Oh you mirrors, my teacher-friends, you beautiful mirrors who showed me myself and turned me inside out! How precious you all are. How I could not rest in this peace without all of you gleaming your bright light and dark shadow-play.
The love and gratitude I feel for each of you shines immense. I offer a thousand tiny candles of prayer that each of you fully realize your complete merging with the Beloved which is all of us. Amen, namaste, blessings.