March 16, 2011

My Heart Soars

This song by Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of my favorite songs in the world (and i do love music from almost every culture in the world!).  It is in a category all its own.  It is in the realm of spirit, a chant, a prayer, a sacred celebration, as well as a somber melody expressing the pain of injustice that touches peoples' lives.  It touches me in a way that goes very deep.

Back in 1992 i went to live and serve the Navajo people at NABI (Native American Baha'i Institute) on the Navajo Reservation.  As a Baha'i, i wanted to volunteer my time and give my heart in service to others -- sometimes this is done when a person is an older youth or young adult and it's called 'a year of service'.  At the time i had no money saved and my life was a bit depressing.  I had graduated college and was working at Jenny Craig, a weight-loss program, as a 'Client Coordinator' -- a fancy name for a receptionist and cashier.  By mid 1991 i was praying for a husband** and desiring with all my heart to arise to serve in any way possible.  I didn't have enough money to travel far, but my love for the Native American people led me to write NABI to see if i could be of service there.  The Administrator, Lorraine Kahn, welcomed my request to serve.  By December 1991 I decided to take a round-trip train ride there even though i could only afford to sustain myself for 3 weeks -- all i wanted to do was put my trust in God and make an effort to do something that was for God, not myself.  I was lovingly greeted by the caretakers, Bert & Joanne Marian.  Almost immediately after meeting me and seeing my desire to serve, they invited me to continue living with them for a year without any concern for buying food or having spending money.

It was during my stay at NABI that the Marian's played an old vhs recording of Native American prophesy by Lee Brown.  It also shows many photos of Native Americans throughout the Americas -- photos that leave an imprint on your heart as a result of knowing their struggle, their hardships, their oppression, and all that was sacrificed and lost.  The video ended with Buffy Sainte-Marie's song -- i just sat there and cried.  Her chanting penetrated my heart in a way i had never experienced.  The drums pounded in my heart and i never wanted the song to end.  It felt like my soul was lifted up into the realms above and beyond, and i wanted to stay in that state of being forever.  Her cry infused me with inspiration to be tireless in my efforts to create justice in my daily relationships with others.  This song was like a homecoming to my heart which grew up in this life very attuned to the downtrodden, the teased, the oppressed, the marginalized -- it fulfilled my inmost desire to expend all my life energy on readjusting antiquated, old-world paradigms for how people are valued.

**Right before leaving for NABI, on December 28, 1991, i met Dashiel.  He was the soul i was praying for that year.  God brought our souls together in a mysterious, magical way.  I believe our souls were destined to meet, though i realize it was necessary for me to turn to God in prayer to be able to recognize his soul.  I had never experienced love until i met him.  I was very attracted to the light around him (i can still see it in my mind's eye across the dance floor where we met).  I was very focused on arising to be of service when i met him and didn't immediately recognize that this was going to be my soul's beloved throughout all the worlds of God.  As the story goes, i had to return home after 3 months anyway to attend my dad's 50th birthday celebration.  It was during this visit that i fell in love with Dashiel and we were inseparable from that moment on.  I returned to NABI though it was now a challege to arise to serve knowing that Dashiel was the one for whom i had been praying to God.  Dashiel was able to visit NABI 2 times -- offering his heart, time and skills to a people who he loved as well and who touched his heart forever.  We both love this song by Buffy Sainte-Marie. :)

2 comments:

  1. what a beautiful story, Pamela! It is inspiring to hear about your desire to serve the Native Peoples, and how pursuing your heartfelt commitment to serve led you to Dash. Thank you for sharing this story, and this song.

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  2. What a wonderful story. I had a similar thing happen to me too, twice in a week 9 people from different countries appeared in my lounge when i returned home, and one was a Native American, one was Chinese, but I cannot now remember who the others were. I should share my story sometime. Little did I know that they had brought a heafty message just by being there.

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