Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soft Muscle Hard Bones

"Each part of your body
should be connected to every other part."

- Zhang San Feng

I was an Apache warrior before 'The Reservations' ...

My Apache fierceness was connected to my devotion, which was connected to my skill as a warrior and as a human being. The Elders trained my body as the Great Spirit trained my mind.

We knew when to face and we knew when to run .. we knew when to hide and we knew when to attack. We knew where to hide and we knew how to confront. We knew when to kill and we knew how to die.

My devotion to the Great Spirit guided me in all things.

Killing our enemy was the same as killing the Great Spirit. We never took killing lightly. It never came easy to us. Killing an enemy was like soft muscle and hard bones. The bones and the muscles are interdependent .. the Apache knew this.

I lived 43 Suns before the white man came.

The white man was hard muscle and soft bones .. the opposite of all that the Great Spirit taught us. The white man was afraid, and that made his bones soft. The white man liked to kill, and that made his muscles hard.

It was an insult to the Creator to fight with hard muscles and soft bones.

My people were moved to reservations .. the rest of us died.

I was not for the reservations. A small number of us could survive in the wilderness .. hard bones guided by soft muscles. That was how we lived until we died.

When I died the Great Spirit laughed... He laughed so much, that I laughed with him. Then I looked back a long long way .. to that place behind me .. that place I had left behind. The place of hard muscle and soft bones.

Connected To Every Other Part
As a male warrior, I was born into a tradition of many teachers who are one. The elders taught us .. the Great Spirit guided us and the Ancestors watched over us.

Our muscles are soft for a reason. Our tendons balance the softness of the muscles and the hardness of the bones. Our bones are hard for a reason. That was the way it once was.

Along the trail a young coyote had died.

First his organs melted with his blood. Then his muscles began to dry up with his brain. Then his fur and his tendons dried like straw in the hot Sun .. and last of all his white bones lay upon the path ahead.

The white man fears the bones most of all .. their sign for death.

The white man kills out of fear, where the Apache killed out of need.

I looked back down the trail to where the Great Spirit was looking and laughing. People without bones worshiping the soft flesh. The Great Spirit was laughing so hard, that I also began to laugh.

The Apache built their foundation on hard bones .. moving with soft muscles .. tempered with tendons .. fed with organs .. nourished with blood. The waters of the Earth moved freely within us.

My skull lay unseen under the tall red walls of some dusty canyon, until the winter river swell carried it away. No different than my brother, the coyote, on his way across the path.

We Apache, were the Masters of timing and movement... each part of the body was connected to every other part. Each part of the body was connected to the Universe. But, most important of all .. each part of the body was connected to the Creator .. the Great Spirit that moves in all things.

Soft muscle .. hard bones...