April/May 2009 Volume 56Welcome to this bi-monthly edition of our newsletter! You will find these columns contained in our April/May issue:
Carla Woody, Founder
Metaphors for Life
The Nature of True Community
Excerpt reprinted from Navigating Your Lifepath by Carla Woody
The term ayni can be loosely translated from the Quechua language as "sacred reciprocity." In my estimation, it bears exploring over and over again. We can dip more deeply into the meanings that rest beneath the surface. Ayni is not merely a concept, something nice to talk about, to the people of the Andes. It is an actual day-to-day practice so embedded that they don't even question it.
In our culture we think more in terms of giving and receiving. I give you something. You owe me something in return. In the Andean tradition there's a much different flavor to giving and receiving. It has to do with the support of the entire community, not just one person.
If one person knows how to do something very well and the other person doesn't, the one who has the skill automatically shares the teaching or supports in whatever way they can. The reciprocity comes to the first person in two ways. First, the teacher is validated for her knowledge base and may also learn more through the process. Maybe even more importantly, the entire community benefits because there are now two people with added value instead of just one. The whole is elevated.
Some time ago I heard a program on global cultural change called Worlds of Difference on National Public Radio that lent a further distinction to ayni and its influence. The interview took place in one of the mountain villages in Peru and had to do with the potato crop, of which there are a few hundred varieties. The challenge had to do with the farmers growing more of the different kinds of potatoes and getting them to market effectively. To do so would give the opportunity to increase their livelihood. As a part of this undertaking they were being advised by outside sources.
But the farmers rejected most of the sources' advice. In the interview one of the elders said, "We will do nothing that would put one of us in competition with the other." He went on to explain that introducing competitiveness would negatively impact the overall health of the community. What he said gave me pause and a great deal of consideration by contrasting it with our culture.
Competition introduced into locales such as those in the Andes would create confusion, disrupting their underlying spiritual tradition. People there are known not so much by what they do, but by who they are. Many of the shamans and mystics that I've come across in Peru can determine who we are by seeing our energy field. Light energy and pure intent are clearly visible to them. Truly coming from the heart and acting toward betterment of the whole is what garners respect.
Witnessing our own thoughts and actions is a slippery slope at best. The ego has all kinds of rationale to convince us that what we do is for our own good and that of those around us. Coming from the culture we do, unconsciously ingesting what we have, we perform a service to ourselves, and ultimately our communities, by being alert and wiser than the ego mind. The Core Self insists on it.
© 2009 Carla Woody. All rights reserved.Carla Woody is the author of the book Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness and founder of Kenosis, an organization supporting human potential and global consciousness. Carla has long been leading people toward mind/body/spirit wholeness using integrative healing methods blended with world spiritual traditions. She may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone (928) 778-1058.
More often than not, the publications or music you will find reviewed here will not be new or "bestsellers." Websites or organizations may not be well known. But all are spotlighted by virtue of their impact and value.
If you've ever heard Tuva throatsinging and been fascinated by it, this is a film to watch. Aside from that, it tells the poignant and truly inspirational story of blind blues musician Paul Pena. In the mid-80s he first heard throatsinging via shortwave radio transmitting from Moscow and was enthralled. It took eight long years, but he tracked down the source, found a recording and proceeded to teach himself the unusual harmonics involved in this technique coming from the tiny Republic of Tuva, between Siberia and Mongolia. He also began to teach himself the spoken language.
In 1993 Tuvan throatsingers came to the USA on their first tour and Paul attended a concert. There he met Kongar-ol Ondar, revered in Tuva, and broke out in an extemporaneous demonstration of his self-taught throatsinging. Kongar-ol was amazed and invited Paul to Tuva for the international symposium. The film follows Paul and his friends as they traveled across the world and made fast friends of the Tuvan people who fondly called him "Earthquake" after the quality of his voice. This was not an easy journey for Paul who had to deal not only with the limitations of blindness, but also poor health. He set it all aside for this adventure and his love of music.
In his day Paul Pena played with many blues greats and wrote the 1970s hit "Jet Airliner" recorded by the Steve Miller Band. The documentary won the Audience Award at Sundance in 1999 and awards at several other film festivals. A CD is also available called "Genghis Blues" that combines Paul's roots of American blues, Cape Verdian morna music and Tuva throatsinging. Sadly, Paul passed away in 2005.
DVD available through Netflix and other sources. A story of courage, intent and passion perfect for our times.
Here's a bonus. You can watch Paul singing Jet Airliner on You Tube.
- Carla Woody
Kenosis LLC - PO Box 10441 - Prescott, AZ 86304 - 928.778.1058 - www.kenosis.net