Years ago (I realize now I sound JUST like my father when I start sentences with those words) I remember hearing a phrase that has once again become important in my life. The vague memories make me wonder if it was a less enlightened self that remembers the phrase, or if it comes from another lifetime. Whichever it is, that phrase is here and now in my life and I have realized that these four simple words could have HUGE effects on the entire world.
The phrase is "in a good way."
The first time this phrase came back to me was at the Totah Festival in Farmington not long after I moved to New Mexico. I remember that Sunday well. I was disgusted with the fact the I am white. I was hearing the singing and the drumming from the pow wow while I was sitting in the local Unitarian Fellowship, and was thinking I should have been at the pow wow.
After church, I went to the pow wow and listened to the singing, watched the dancing and delighted in the various drum crews competing.
The emcee talked about the generosity of the indigenous people, about how it was part of their culture. A few times he talked about doing things in a good way. That phrase soaked into my consciousness and was filed away for later use.
A week or two later was the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, Arizona.
At the pow wow there, the emcee talked about the man who invited the emcee to perform those duties at the fair. He said, "He offered me tobacco in a good way to be here tonight."
THAT is when things fell into place for me!
"In a good way" is not simply a turn of phrase...it is a philosophy, a spiritual practice and a way of life!
Tobacco is one of the sacred medicines in many indigenous cultures. To offer tobacco as a gift is to show respect to someone and honor them.
In the case of the emcee, I envision the process of offering tobacco in a good way to have gone like this: The person went to the emcee and said "I would like to offer you tobacco to come emcee the pow wow at the fair. I do this with an open heart, without expectation or coercion. I come before you as a sacred being who honors the sacredness in you and I humbly ask you to share your gifts with us."
Of course, the nature of this conversation is pure speculation on my part, but doesn't that make sense?
I see the in a good way philosophy as part of the ancient wisdom that all indigenous people hold. Be honest and truthful in your words and thoughts. Ask with an open heart and respect the free will of others. Take only what you need and preserve our precious resources for the seventh generation. Be pure in your thoughts and actions. Help those in need and be gracious when others offer to help you. Show kindness to yourself and others. When darkness enters your heart, do not let it linger. Honor yourself and others and live in joy.
This is whatin a good way means to me.
How different would the world be if more people chose to live in a good way?
No more manipulation, no more deceit, no more acts of violence. The lost souls could find their way again. All people would be paid fairly for their work and business dealings could be conducted with consideration and respect. Conflicts could be resolved peacefully. Those in need would get the help they require.
People would be measured by their character, not the color of their skin or their beliefs. There would be no need for random and senseless acts of violence because those souls that have given in to the darkness and the fear and the anger would have support and guidance before they give themselves over completely to the darkness.
When we choose to live in a good way, we see that the differences between us are the unification of humanity that we have been seeking for millennia, not the divisions that have kept us apart for so long.
We feel free to share our hearts openly with others so that we can all benefit from the experience and wisdom of those we encounter. Without fear, we share ourselves and silently state, "Yes, I have had trouble, I have had pain and I have been hurt, but now I offer myself to you openly so that we may learn from each other."
Living in a good way starts with small things: smiling at people on the street, holding a door, helping the person whose bag just spilled onto the floor, making friends with the dog that has been mistreated, waving at children on buses.
All we have to do is let go of some of the hardness our hearts have picked up along our journeys. Be open, be kind and help each other along the way.
How different would the world look if we all made small changes? How far could humanity go?
To me, that is the power of living and doing things in a good way.
In a good way