Good morning from a hot, late Tulsa morning. I miss blogging. I can get on here immediately and write. The WordPress system demands over ten steps, including finding a photograph for every blog, so I have not been blogging except on Facebook. I want to see how many people get this one if I send it out. Please send back a note if you do. Let me know. I want to start again here.


Guns, Winds, and Breath

Last night practiced targets in the garage with a BB gun pistol. The practice reminded me of focus and intent. This morning up at 6:30AM. Went to hardware store for building supplies for a patio build out. Had to load in heavy north winds. They too are focused with intent to get where they are going south of here. I cannot fight them or will be tangled.

...a spiritual teacher told a close friend that she would be doing what she’s supposed to be doing in life if she just took breath and went with the story of her life. blame others. If we do just breathe, write, drum, blow horn…love…it will keep moving, and the gifts can emerge easier than when there is resistance.


Don't forget to check out Joy Harjo's new blog

Don't forget to check out Joy Harjo's new blog http://www.joyharjo.com/category/blog.
This blog will no longer be used.

Recent Blog Post: http://joyharjo.com/from-my-hotel-room-listened-to-an-alto-sax-player-at-dusk/
*You can subscribe to the new blog there.


Moving Blog to www.joyharjo.com

This will be my last post here. Please join me at my Wordpress blog at www.joyharjo.com. I believe you can subscribe there too. Let me know if you have any difficulties. Joy



Tonight ran by the post office to pick up my mail, an ordinary task in an ordinary world. Polar temperatures have returned; it will be even colder tomorrow. I open a card-sized envelope from my friend Sandra. We have known each other since graduate school at Iowa: we helped each other find a place in what was essentially a far distant country of the mind. We continue to stay in touch, through relationships, moves, new projects, deaths of our parents, and the twists and turns of politics of career and country. In the envelope was a card with a bright blue and red eagle design, and simple but profound words of thanks and encouragement for the New Year. She enclosed a card with what she knows is one of my favorite images, the only art my mother’s mother ever had on her wall in the one and two room houses she and my grandfather lived in: the angel protecting two children walking across a broken bridge. I appreciate my friend Sandra’s witness of my life. We do that for each other.
We all witness for each other on this Earth. It is a profound act. Sandra’s note reminded me how profound. In these last months I have lost many people with whom I have traveled in this world. One was like a mother, another a fierce teacher, and two like brothers. I almost lost one of my closest friends to cancer, a cousin is fighting the fight of his life, and another friend was up late last night writing her will and to think of her passing was almost too much to bear. All of it can feel too much to carry in the dark, and then someone reaches out with words, a song, a simple image or gesture that says I am watching. I am here walking alongside you until we make it to the other side. It matters.
Write, call and encourage.
It matters.



The last thing Charlie Hill said to me was that he was going to have breakfast with his buddy Floyd Westerman. He'd missed him all the years it had been since Floyd passed over. What helps the grief of losing a best friend, a wise (ass) philosopher, gatherer of stories, a healer, is knowing that he will be there, with Floyd catching up. He'll get some rest, and will be there when the rest of us who love him, follow. Prayers here for you Charlie, and for your family, and all those whose hearts you have opened with laughter, with love.



We are each planted with a spark of light.
Each life is like a fire.
We must take care of that light.
Feed it.
Do not let passions for anything we find delight in
Rage and consume us
In any small or large manner
Or we will dim the fire.
It is made of the love of our parents
And ancestors.
It is lit by the Divine within everyone.
We must take care of it.
We each carry light into the world,
Every small and large being.
We share the light with every
Small and large act of compassion.
Laughter and joy make it dance
Beyond time.

What will we leave the day as a gift

Of remembrance and thankfulness?

c Joy Harjo November 6, 2013 Grand Rapids, MI dark and rainy


These last few days I have wrestled with difficult parts of my psyche.
It came to me that some of them aren't mine.
The ones in particular I wrestled with were my mother's.
I have to clean them out for myself, and for the generations that follow.

This is quite a profound teaching.


Return to Iowa City

This has been quite a homecoming here in Iowa City. Last night an incredible dinner cooked by and at the home of Professor Linda Bolton. The evening ended with several of Linda's students and Linda and I in a circle. Linda addressed the power of teaching. She was my student years ago when I taught at the University of Arizona, in one of the best classes I ever had in Native literature. It gets passed on. As I looked around the circle at the burning bright students I realized they were my "grand-students" and told them so. Yes they are--I must have many around the country! And I am the grand-student of many, including the teachers of N.Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, Gene Frumkin, Nappy Napolean, John Coltrane, Karen Leialoha CarrollLeilani Sheldon....so many teachers in this life....they make a powerful matrix in each of our lives.


Health Care Standoff

Last night I wrote to my state senators, both Republican. They may not read the letters, but they need to know that not all of the constituency for whom they are responsible is in favor of their destructive stance. This standoff is dangerous. It is a stand of the rich against the poor. Revolutions are made of this. Ironically, most of the tea partiers need this healthcare, yet they've organized against Obama because of his race. We have to step carefully, and always with compassion.

People need the opportunity to buy affordable health care without being shut out because of pre conditions or because of inability to pay high premiums.

I believe race was and is a huge motivation for anti-Obama movements, but of course, not for all. We all need to be able to speak with each other. No, we shouldn't be forced to buy health care. All citizens should have access to health care. I don't have health care. The cost would take a third of my income, and I have no pre-existing conditions.