See, I fill this sacred pipe with the bark of the red willow; but before we smoke it, you must see how it is made and what it means. These four ribbons hanging here on the stem are the four quarters of the universe. The black one is for the west where the thunder beings live to send us rain; the white one for the north, whence comes the great white cleansing wind; the red one for the east, whence springs the light and where the morning star lives to give men wisdom; the yellow for the south, whence come the summer and the power to grow. But these four spirits are only one Spirit after all, and this eagle feather here is for that One, which is like a father, and also it is for the thoughts of men that should rise high as eagles do.
Black Elk (1863-1950) Oglala Sioux holy man
I am not technically lost. Geographically, I know exactly where I am, but I am still finding my way. I have found my way several times in this lifetime, but in the past 4 years I find myself on this new path and realize this is where I want to be. I touched a little bit on this in my very first introduction post here at NDIN. I mentioned making that first loaf of no-knead bread and how that was a major turning point for me and I haven’t looked back.
I have done a lot of different jobs (and had a few careers) to get me to where I am today.
I don’t regret any of those jobs; they make me who I am now. I am still the same person, but I my focus is now different.
I think back to my schooling in art and interior design. I really enjoyed my architecture classes and the exactness of creating an architectural drawing. Yet I still enjoyed the feel of clay in my hands and making a bowl on the potters’ wheel or thrill of drawing a picture that someone could actually identify! I still long to work with clay and so I take a class every now and then so I can play a bit. I feel I can never have too many bowls!
I also think back to the jobs I have had. Selling wallpaper. Waitress at a pizza place. Catering. Switchboard operator at a medical center. Float receptionist at a medical center. Receptionist and switchboard at a large corporate headquarters for a music store chain. That doesn’t even include all the different jobs in aviation or my time spent making and selling jewelry.
The days of serving pizza and working a buys switchboard are long gone, although I can make a tasty pizza and I can answer the house phone with flare (while making the pizza), but I don’t have to juggle 10 incoming lines anymore. I haven’t flown in several years, but we own a few planes so one day I hope to be able to fly now and then. Beading isn’t a part of my everyday life as it once was, but I have a nice stash of beads and dabble in them from time to time.
I feel I use my art schooling and design skills from time to time, even though I am not drawing up an electrical plan or measuring for blinds I use some of these skills in the backyard. The hot color this spring is green with some red accents; well maybe that is just the hot color this spring in my garden. Green and red go well together, especially in the garden and also around Christmas time.
I can think and think, and rethink and wonder if I have gone in the right direction and made the right choices over the years. All I can say right now is yes! YES I have, because here I am, thoroughly enjoying what I am doing and happy to be right here. I am enjoying the process of getting back to the basics. I am enjoying the art of simplifying our life. I enjoy learning and making new things and I enjoy the garden. I am grateful that I have the opportunity and time to do these things. I thank my husband for that.
The key chain in the first photo is very special to me. A friend and co-worker, David, made it and gave it to me when my husband and I left Minnesota to go live in Kenya. He told me about the significance to the design and what it represented to his Native American tribe. He explained that he made it for me so that we would not lose our way, we would always know which direction to go. I do not remember which tribe David was from, I believe it was Sioux. I found the above quote and though it went perfect with this gift David made for me and explained the direction and symbolism better than I ever could. There have been a few times in the past 25 years when I have “lost” this keepsake. I know I have it, just couldn’t remember where I put it… and then I always find it.
Thank you David. This has always been a very special gift and I will treasure it always. It has helped me find my way and will continue to guide me.
I am finding my way…
There is more information here about the symbolism in the beadwork that David made for me.