The Top 10 Happenings In Tad's Life In The Past Month:
It's been awhile, and I haven't really given you all an in-depth update in the last month. So, here here are my highlights.
1. General Life Update: Have been feeling very humbled these days -- noticing my own reactions and uptight need for control. My sense of entitlement -- trying to balance that with getting my needs met. It's amazing, and I think it's such a hallmark of the sickness of our culture -- how entitled we can feel to having whatever we want. I remember as a child and even growing up -- I was quite the kleptomaniac. If I saw something I wanted, I took it. I can see how this same impulse plays that over the world -- I want your land and so I'll take it. It's not so much hatred of the other it's just that... they really don't matter. As the old joke goes "it's not whether you win or lose... it's whether I win."
I continue to be amazed by my capacity to suddenly tighten up, move into fear, stress and judgment. The more that I reflect on the last decade of my life the more I am simply stunned by the level of arrogance I had. God bless it for the role that it served and I'm very clear that it's no longer useful in my life. Or, at least not as a controlling a dominating force. I suppose everything is useful somewhere.
I'm still sitting a lot with the question of where this is all going -- my life. Where do I fit in this whole Gaelic world? What are the aspects of my roots and I feel most called to explore? Where do I feel most inspired to give my gifts to the world? I've heard the number of indigenous people talk about the importance of developing your "giveaway" -- your gift to the world. So, I'm still even sitting with knowing what that is.
2. Financial: Dear God is
3. Meeting my first Gaelic elder -- while I was that the book launch for "A Waxing Moon" (a book about the
I was very excited as, just the week before, I’d been asking a teacher at school if there were any old "seanachie" (a word meaning "storyteller" or "tradition bearer" -- it derives from the root "sean" which means old) in the area. He had said that there were not.
As it turned out, Rima was having her own book launch in Portree the next week. She mentioned that George would be there and, since it was only an hour away, I decided to go. I loved her presentation thoroughly -- people who write books about shamanism seemed to fall into one of two camps "glassy eyed new agers" or the more grounded in legitimate variety. Rima did an incredible job of laying out the political situation in speaking primarily to that in her presentation -- which I deeply appreciated -- and she deftly woven in mystical strands as well. It was clear that she had an incredible amount of respect for the people and communities in
George arrived a little late and, after the presentation, I spoke to him briefly.
Rima had given me the sense that he spoke Gaelic fluently so, out of respect, I switched into Gaelic for him. After about a minute he had a look of confusion on his face. "You have met a disadvantage," he said. "I only have a little bit of Gaelic. I was following you for the first bit... " I apologized and explained that I had understood that he spoke Gaelic. "Well," he replied. "My father had excellent Gaelic but he never spoke it at home. When we were growing up it was a thing to be ashamed of. You could be punished in schools for speaking it." I asked him if there was much interest from the youth in the area in the old stories. He shook his head and told me what I'd witnessed myself, that most youth think of such things and traditions as "the past". As I was going he said, "if you're ever in the area stop by for a few stories." I'm hoping to go up some points in November and perhaps for great deal of the Christmas break in December and January.
4. Going for walks with Maggie and learning Gaelic songs: one of the few other students here from
5. Visiting a
6. Leading a workshop: Back in May, I heard about a book entitled Soil and Soul: the People Versus Corporate Power by a fellow named
During the October break I'd gone down to
It was so wonderful to meet all the people of the workshop -- it was, really, one of my first times of really feeling at home with a group of people. I felt so wonderful to be in the group of like-minded folks. Alastair had asked me to speak about the importance of "conviction" in activism. I had never spoken about that before, but I thought, "why not?"
My session went quite well and I was surprised to be invited to attend the second day which Alastair had told me I wouldn't be able to attend. It was such a gift to be able to watch Alastair work -- he was very masterful in the way that he facilitated and presented and I'm just unbelievably impressed with his effectiveness as an activist. You can check out his work at www.AlastairMcIntosh.com
7. Hanging out with students from the Gaelic
They held a ceilidh in the Talla Mhor (The Big Hall) which also acts as a sort of informal pub. I went, got to know them, did a magic show and, the next day, went up north in Skye, by Portree, to visit a famous landmark called "the Bodach”.
It is a huge, phallic protrusion of rock.
Its name was originally the "bod" which meant... well... you know... but, maybe did Christianity or tourists it's been changed to "bodach" which means old man. It was a long and fairly steep hike up their in the wind was very loud. I remember the words my friend Puma, a Peruvian medicine man, had told me once -- he told me that if I would ever visit the sacred place or was going to do a ceremony that it was important to give something back to that place, something sweet -- maybe some fruit or candy. So, I made a Celtic cross from some white rocks and left an apple up there.
So, that's all.
I know, I know.
It was only SEVEN things that I updated you on... but uh . . learn to live with disappointment?
Gaol Mòr (Big Love),