Renovation of the Heart

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Beautiful Planet Earth, photographer unknown

Modern humans made the night sky opaque; made the stars disappear; cut ourselves off from the cosmos; severed ourselves and our children from celestial miracles; banished mystery and knowledge; exiled ourselves from infinity. — Drew Dellinger


I remember, as a little boy, fishing with him up Indian River and I can still see him as the sun rose above the mountain top in the early morning…I can see him standing by the water’s edge with his arms raised above his head while he softly moaned…”Thank you, thank you.” It left a deep impression on my young mind.

And I shall never forget his disappointment when once he caught me gaffing for fish “just for the fun of it.” “My son” he said, “The Great Spirit gave you those fish to be your brothers, to feed you when you are hungry. You must respect them. You must not kill them just for the fun of it.”

This then was the culture I was born into and for some years the only one I really knew or tasted. This is why I find it hard to accept many of the things I see around me.

I see people living in smoke houses hundreds of times bigger than the one I knew. But the people in one apartment do not even know the people in the next and care less about them.

It is also difficult for me to understand the deep hate that exists among people. It is hard to understand a culture that justifies the killing of millions in past wars, and it is at this very moment preparing bombs to kill even greater numbers. It is hard for me to understand a culture that spends more on wars and weapons to kill, than it does on education and welfare to help and develop. — Chief Dan George

As a refugee from a warlike culture, a culture that instills an undying sense of isolation, I’ve spent my life recovering my humanity. I’ve shed so many skins I can’t count them all. Who are all those people I once was? I vaguely remember them, but I’m frankly not very interested in them. I’m too preoccupied with the next incarnation, even as my eightieth decade approaches at warp speed.

Those of us raised in a culture cut off from nature have been given the task of discovering what it means to be human. Our culture teaches us how to kill but not how to resurrect our hearts or connect to the web of life on our planet. I’ve been recovering from my upbringing all my life, not that it was exceptionally bad. In the grand scheme of things, it was actually better than most but it was infiltrated by a sick culture all the same.

Shedding my Americanness and adopting a Frenchness was only a stopgap measure. It didn’t go deep enough. Western culture itself wears blinders. It tries to make you more efficient, more rational and less sensitive to subtle energies.

We are formed and held in place by our cultures. We are poured into a mold as children and live our lives as replicas of an idea of what qualifies as a good human. Our modern culture wants obedient automatons. It has little room for deviation from the norm. It doesn’t want too much kindness or forgiveness. Boys don’t cry. It’s shameful.

So, somehow I dedicated myself to beauty, to sympathy and empathy, to the idea that somewhere in me was a healing energy, if I could find it and give it. I went down many a wrong path not even knowing what I was looking for. But looking back, I start to see a theme. I see why I couldn’t stop trying.

Around us all are angels and not so beneficent energies. People attract the spirits commensurate with who they are. Someone said that people like Trump attract evil spirits who work through them. If that’s true, it just goes to show how important it is to encourage our best selves to come forth.

As we wrestle with who we are and how we came to be that way, we have to examine our conditioning. Family, culture, society, era and circumstance often create people who live “at some distance” from themselves.

The work to become what you innately are is a worthy life project.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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