This is a story about welcoming creativity and acknowledging the element of darkness as it relates to spending quiet time alone in reflection, connecting with others one-on-one, taking good care of yourself, sleeping well, paying attention to your teaching dreams and creating new things. The darkness helps all the other areas of our life to balance. Long, long ago we were taught to fear darkness. It is time to embrace darkness for there is nothing to fear. We are safe, powerful and loved.
The time is back in a day before the industrial revolution. I’d like to introduce you to a character, Aikanah (Creative Crow of Darkness), a boy about 11 years old who was made fun of in his small village of Onu for encouraging others to dream and for paying attention to his own dreams.
A few months ago, the people in the Onu village started having vivid dreams of things they did not understand. There were bright lights, roads, water, buildings and all kinds of colors. Not knowing what to think about them and not understanding the dreams, the people’s need for survival set in. Some were very afraid the dreams were a sign of the end of the world. They asked themselves, what did the dreams mean? Were they good? Bad? The people did not understand them or know what to do (they just weren’t ready). So they chose to ignore the dreams, not talk about them and keep as busy as possible.
Being a boy, only 11 years old, Aikanah loved all the dreams! He spoke of them with excitement to anyone who would listen. But he had not earned respect from many people because of his age. The people did not put much weight to his suggestions that everyone listen and pay attention to their dreams. One day, he gets in a fight with his friends and family over a dream journal he kept filled with drawings. His parents wanted to burn it. Frustrated and angry he runs away to the forest on the edge of the village to live on his own. Aikanah, who has a very creative mind, survives living from the earth and spending time with a bird who follows him everywhere.
One day, Aikanah climbs a tree, curious about the possibility of building a tree house. He falls and quite seriously hurts his upper chest. It hurts when he breathes and there is a lot of blood from a cut. Aikanah is not sure what to do so he lies on the ground in pain.
Along comes a young woman with long blonde hair, Akimitsu, (Powerful Tiger of the Sun). Akimitsu is accompanied by her dog, Azafum (Seeing Wolf of the Wind). They are on their daily walk in search of healing herbs which grow quite well in the sun near where they have found Aikanah.
Seeing Aikanah on the ground, Azafum, gently woofs and wags his tail in a concerned greeting. Normally he would be much louder and bounce with joy. But this time he senses something is wrong with the young man so the dog is much more gentle. Akimitsu looks down . . . she gasps at the sight of the blood coming from Aikanah’s wound but uses her friendly smile and lyrical voice to comfort him, “Would you like me to help you?” Aikanah, feeling relieved, says, “Ummm, yeah, thank you. I was climbing the tree and I fell and hit a rock.” His eyes are wide with fear and he is bleeding. He groans with each breath.
Akimitsu and the dog, Azafum, slowly guide the boy to the nearby home of Great Aunt Nyliram (Aunt Nilli — Earth Rabbit of Belonging) where they find Sister Ima (Singing Condor of Love). Ima has just returned home from one of her adventures to a nearby village in search of healing items. Ima, recently acquired a new scarf wrap and suggests using it for Aikanah’s wounds because she was told the scarf was made by a healer. Ima holds up the scarf. It is woven with the design of bird wings. Pink and green, it’s iridescent in the light. lma wraps the scarf around Aikanah — he starts to breathe a bit easier. Aunt Nilli quietly observes the situation. She has worked hard her entire life to make the space safe and welcoming and knows Aikanah has found the three women for a reason.
Aikanah’s pet bird has followed them to Aunt Nilli’s home. The bird sits on a nearby branch, singing. There are birds throughout the area which answer back. Aikanah, in weak voice, almost a whisper says, “Oh, my bird sings to me whenever I am sad or get hurt. It seems to help.” But then Aikanah collapses suddenly near the front door of Aunt Nilli’s home.
Sister Ima says, “Oh! What else can we do for you? I can see, we need some things from the village to bandage your wounds.” Ima has a large travel cart, so they gently sit Aikanah on the cart and use it to wheel him into the village. The three women, the dog and Aikanah slowly make their way to the village for help from the people (Thinking People of Oneness).
The people of the village Onu are the same people that had shunned Aikanah because they were afraid of their dreams. But today, they are in a good mood, having a celebration with food when the group arrives. At the entrance of the celebration area, Azafum, the dog who everyone loves, disarms the people with his usual friendly bark of greeting. Azafum’s friendly bark and tail wagging always helps everyone relax. They love the dog as he is known for his nudges and hugs. Akimitsu makes a joke about the dog being there only for the food, which he smelled miles away. “Forget about how good he can see, his sense of smell is even better!”
The people at the entrance of the celebration area then notice Aikanah who is sitting hunched over on Ima’s large luggage cart. His eyes are closed and he is bleeding from the wound. The pain is quite evident with every breath he takes, he groans.
Xela (Truth seeking water Frog), one of the men at the entrance exclaims, “Oh my! Is this the boy who went off into the forest months ago? What does he need from us?” Great Aunt Nilli replies, “Well, for one thing you can get us some bandages. But we also noticed that Aikanah calms down when his pet bird sings to him. He seems to relax when he hears it. Could you find a student of yours to sing him a song while I bandage up his wounds?” Aunt Nilli knows singing and music is a rare occurrence in the village but she remembers it from her days as a young child. Xela has many students and is open-minded so he looks around.
Xela, who is a teacher, looks around and finds a group of his older students sitting at a sturdy table. He says to them, “Hey, you guys always brag about all the songs you write. Do you have a song that might help this young man here? Great Aunt Nilli says music calms him down.” The group of 3 teens look up. “Huh?” — they had been whispering for a while, sharing their dreams with one another. The things they had in common in the separate dreams were the words — almost like a chant. They didn’t know why they suddenly all mentioned the dream — for dreaming was something nobody talks about openly. Today was different.
Today was the day they reveal to the Onu People something they only whisper about. (or in some cases brag about to their friends) The 3 teens stand up, mostly out of respect for Xela who is a very kind teacher. The teens look at each other, grinning and nodding their usual “yep, we can do this together” look. One starts and then the other two join in. They start quietly but then pick up and really get into it, drumming on the table and chanting louder and louder but with confidence and an ease which seems to come from a different world.
The chant catches on … with the encouragement of a few rebel rousers. And the crowd starts in and it becomes a completely different energy. Akimitsu, Ima and Aunt Nilli look at one another and then at Aikanah who is bandaged now. His bleeding has stopped. He rises from the cart. His eyes bright, he smiles for the first time in many months. Akimitsu steps up on the edge of the fountain and shouts joyfully, “Look! Look! Look at what your song is doing for Aikanah! Welcome back!”
The main character is inspired by several people but mostly Jessica, Zack and Hanakia. Jessica’s passion and commitment to her art is an inspiration. Zack has always been in tune with himself and goes his own way, teaching me so much. Hanakia (Aikanah) has carved a path for himself and changes the lives of so many people through connection, creativity, courage, honesty and tenacity. The story is a bit inspired by the character in the book “My side of the mountain” which is one of my favorites. Marilyn is Great Aunt Nyliram (Nilli) is a very wise mentor and healer. Alex (Xela) is a gifted teacher and strong leader. The scarf in the story is from the scarf my son Alex brought back for me from Afghanistan. The musical teens are inspired by my nephews CJ, Lukas and Sklyer. My sister Jami inspired Ima – for her gentleness, sense of adventure and wisdom. The dog, Azafum is inspired by our collie Kramer Mufasa for every reason you read in the book. He passed years ago but continues to comfort and guide. The people of the village are representative of all people. They have good hearts but have been distracted. Dean is the fountain in the village that gives Akimitsu support at the end of the story to shout, “Look! Look!” The bird in the story is inspired by my father who suggested I read a book called, “Bird by Bird” last year which changed the way I think about writing. My father has been a gentle guide of inspiration to me as a person. And I’m in there too of course with the character Akimitsu.
Many thanks to all the people in my life and throughout my life for reflecting back at me my truth. We are all one.
As a note. I have been working on changing the elements as they relate to our physical, emotional and spiritual systems. This is how they’ve been working out. So far it’s been very interesting.
Element — Chakra — Purpose — Color– Animal
1 Earth — Root — Belong — Red — Rabbit
2 Darkness — Sacral — Create/Connect — Black — Crow
3 Light/Fire — Core/Solar Plexus — Power — Yellow — Tiger
4 Ether/Sound — Heart — Love — Pink/Green — Condor
5 Water — Throat — Truth — Blue — Frog
6 Air/Wind/Breath — 3rd Eye — Seeing — Indigo — Wolf
7 Thought — Crown — All is One — Violet/White — People
8 Nothingness — — — —