Once the World Was PerfectHarjo, Joy. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems (pp. 14-15). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
Once the world was perfect, and we were happy in that world.
Then we took it for granted.
Discontent began a small rumble in the earthly mind.
Then Doubt pushed through with its spiked head.
And once Doubt ruptured the web,
All manner of demon thoughts Jumped through—
We destroyed the world we had been given
For inspiration, for life—
Each stone of jealousy, each stone
Of fear, greed, envy, and hatred, put out the light.
No one was without a stone in his or her hand.
There we were,
Right back where we had started.
We were bumping into each other
In the dark.
And now we had no place to live, since we didn’t know
How to live with each other.
Then one of the stumbling ones took pity on another
And shared a blanket.
A spark of kindness made a light.
The light made an opening in the darkness.
Everyone worked together to make a ladder.
A Wind Clan person climbed out first into the next world,
And then the other clans, the children of those clans, their children,
And their children, all the way through time—
To now, into this morning light to you.
It’s difficult to think of anything other than the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as I began to research today’s topic I was reminded of the poem above.
For those of us who have been living privileged lives, the world we thought was perfect, is no longer. Those who aren’t privileged say welcome to my world. “And now we had no place to live, since we didn’t know how to live with each other.”
Many of us are doing everything we can to convince ourselves our perfect world will return. But we know in our heart that isn’t true.
Fear is a natural reaction when facing the unknown. But fear will not help, indeed is an impediment, to moving forward. Many are writing and more importantly acting, finding ways to move ahead today. “Then one of the stumbling ones took pity on another And shared a blanket. A spark of kindness made a light. The light made an opening in the darkness.“
Now is a time to create and share stories. Actions and stories of kindness that make a light, an opening in this darkness. “We change the world one story at a time.“
ALL THAT WE ARE IS STORY.Richard Wagamese (October 14, 1955-March 10, 2017)
From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship — we change the world one story at a time.
Ojibwe from Wabeseemoong Independent Nations, Canada