When I was touring my music years back, I would include different written wisdom pieces I had picked up along the way. I would read them between songs and often open up conversation between the stage and the audience. It was something I loved about the format we chose. And this speech below was always one of my favorite ones to integrate. Every damn time I read it aloud during a show, I would inevitably tear up. It just moved me so much. The speech was delivered in the 90s during a time of transition for the Hopi people. And it has so much for all of us to consider today and every day. That is a wonderful thing about wisdom, it tends to be universally applicable.
The world may feel a bit topsy-turvy today. It may feel that way every day. And to accept change as the rule rather than the exception may help us move with greater ease and awareness. It also develops in us a greater sense of personal responsibility for the things we actually can be responsible for. It reminds us that we are part of some macro story that feels out of our control; but it also reminds us of the micro story that is often within our control.
Every time we are presented with a new challenge—internally or externally—we are gifted a moment to reflect, to become aware. And awareness creates choice. It takes us off of auto-pilot and requires that we take the wheel. We must decide. Who we are. What we will do. Where we are going. And how we want to get there.
I hope this short speech speaks to you. It has spoken to me for decades now and is fresh every time I read it again.
A Hopi Elder Speaks
You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour. Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour! And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your Garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to yourself.
And do not look outside of yourself for a leader.
This could be a good time! There is a river flowing very fast. It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid. They will hold on to the shore. They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say that we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones that we have been waiting for.
— Thomas Banyacya Sr. (1910-1999), Speaker of the Wolf, Fox and Coyote Clan, Elder of the Hopi Nation
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do. — Edward Everett Hale
Today is your day. Do what you can do. Banish the word struggle and do not look outside yourself for a leader. Be a leader in the good way you know to be. Be yourself. Take care of those around you. Nurture your garden. Be good to each other. Start small. Just start. Today is your day.